College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
leveled at this brilliant narrative concerning unnecessary length and lack of structure. As to the first, I wanted more, not less! I found the book remarkably compelling. As to the second, a stirring and intriguing story should not read like a sixth grade history book, but rather something like a novel. El-Hai accomplishes this wonderfully well here, weaving in and out of plot-lines, developing characters richly and fully along the way. This historical narrative is not nearly so much about Goering--or Kelley--as it is about those incredible accidental meetings of personalities and circumstances at the most telling times in history and how much of what becomes cultural consciousness is developed in dark rooms under conditions and by people of which most remain forever unaware. El-Hai's book is a mystery and suspense tale, told as though Poe or Hawthorne had penned an historical drama. It comes highly recommended from these quarters, especially for anyone who prefers a literary turn put to what would otherwise be dry classroom facts.
Haidt does an amazing job here of showing us how it is our intuition that often decides for us in regard to controversial (and even trivial) subjects, and then "uses" rationale as an ad hoc reasoning machine to justify the decision. Haidt also shows how this is not always a bad thing, that "gut instincts" can be truer and better than those come to entirely on rationale (if the latter were even possible, which, it seems, it isn't in most normal people.) Rationale can temper intuition, but if someone's mind is truly to be changed, it must be the intuition that is addressed first, not the rationale. If one can understand this, violent arguments can often be defused and the "opponent" can be understood as something other than "someone who is stupid" or who "refuses to accept MY logic." A must read!
I am not going to rave about this book, as others have, but I must say it is a thorough and thoughtful look into a personality type that has not entirely gotten a fair shake in American society. As I said, Cain does a better than usual job here in the pop psychology genre, though even as she seeks to escape two typical traps, she often enough falls in: 1) the overgeneralization of personality type a la Myers-Briggs and 2) the "feel-good-by association-you're-okay,-Vincent-Van-Gogh-was-just-like-you!" syndrome. The best parts of the book are where Cain is helping the reader to best utilize various aspects of personality, and fortunately, this make for the majority of the book.