mostly nonfiction listener
"Traffic" freaked me out. I knew that 40,000 people died each year on our roads. And I knew that a car accident was the most likely way that trauma would encroach into my world. Vanderbilt gives me lots more things to worry about (like Dr's have the 2nd highest accident rate, pick-up trucks are dangerous to everyone else, new cars have higher accident rates then older cars, and intersections are bad news for bikers, runners, and drivers.
This is a book I'd like my girls to read as a prerequisite to getting their license (and I'll install the driver cam that Vanderbilt writes about being effective in teaching young drivers defensive skills).
Read the book. Slow down on the roads.
Quiet will definitely be included in my list for the top nonfiction books of 2012. This is strong praise indeed, given that we are barely in May. The book is that good that I find it inconceivable that 10 other better nonfiction books will be published this year.
The strength of Quiet surprised me, as I went into reading the book a strong skeptic about the whole concept of personality types. I'm a sociologist, and I believe my bones that structure and situations determine behaviors as much as personality. I've also been unimpressed by either the reliability or validity of tests that purport to predict or explain behavior, such as the MBTI. Nor can I confidently report where I fall on the introvert / extrovert scale, and would have a hard time making this judgment about either my spouse or my children.
If you, like me, are skeptical of personality types then you are ideally suited to approach Quiet. Every page of Quiet contained for me some revelation that caused me to re-think and re-evaluate how I approach my relationships and my work, and how I interpret the actions of colleagues and family.
Cain's thesis is individuals vary on how we respond and react to stimuli. For some of us, external stimulus is energy giving and restorative. Other people may enjoy external stimulus, but interactions with other people subtract from the pool of psychic energy and can be depleting. Those people that we call "introverts" are those that expend energy in interactions, "extroverts" gain energy.
What Cain points out is that our schools and our workplaces have been moving to a state where only the skills and behaviors of extroverts are valued. We want our kids to be assertive and confident. We get worried if our children are reserved, dreamy and quiet. At work we all operate in teams. We look to our colleagues to speak up and to proactively contribute to our discussions and team projects. The vision of the open office, designed to ease collaboration and break down barriers to communication, has captured the imagination of many managers. (I know. I work in just such an open office plan).
Cain believes, and cites lots of evidence to support her ideas, that our efforts to construct our schools and workplaces around only extroverts are counterproductive to our organizations and damaging to individuals. Families, schools and workplaces can be better off with a mix of personality types and styles. We need to design classrooms and workplaces that honor the needs of our colleagues for quiet focus and intensive solo pursuits.
Quiet is one of those books that is so beautifully written and so persuasively argued that one wants to convince everyone else to read along and discuss its conclusions. Sometimes I fantasize about having the sort of wealth that would allow me to hand out books to everyone I come across. Quiet tops my list of books to share so far in 2012.
I think that Taleb is probably an S.O.B. and a nut....but his argument that the world (and our lives) is in reality ruled by unpredictable large-scale events (black swans) is intriguing and forcefully argued. Taleb's background is in quantitative trading...and while arrogant beyond belief his arguments seem hard to dismiss.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
Warning, if bad words offend you, do not read this book or this review.
Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone: The Essential Writing of Hunter S. Thompson is a book that is basically just that. It was in the early 70’s that I first met HST. We used to hang out, smoke a little weed, do a few lines then drop some blotter and discuss the political chicanery going on in Washington or just the basic f--kedupedness of world affairs in general. Vietnam was grist for our mill back then. Ol’ Tricky Dick, being the easy target that he was, had a great deal to be said and written about him. Man, those were some wild times. Crazy..., as messed up as we thought Nixon was back then, how we wished for him back years later when a particular "W" winds up stealing the While House. Man and we thought some cheap, hotel break-in was bad. S--t!
I remember HST telling me about how he met Clarence Thomas on a road trip with these two hookers...
And that’s my rather feeble attempt at Gonzo Journalism. The inimitable writing style that made Hunter S. Thompson so unique and absolutely brilliant. Actually, inimitable back then but not so much now. Gonzo journalism is a style of journalism that is written without claims of objectivity. The reporter is part of the story by way of a first-person narrative. Some of his stories, as mine above, are so outrageously fantastic that they often defy belief but contain elements of truth only in hyperbole that cannot be denied.
The real truth is that I met Hunter S. Thompson in the pages of Rolling Stone (never had the honor in person) in the 70’s and subscribed to that periodical only to read his writings. Journalists are supposed to be objective but objective journalism, as HST has said, is a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron. Fox News stands out today as the paragon of that contradiction but even PBS’s bias these days is only thinly veiled. So give it up, don’t be a hypocrite. Let it all hangout like Limbaugh and Beck. Be who you are and twist and crank the reporting of reality anyway you like, just don’t call it objective (or even real) .
With HST, this was easy reading for me. I adored the guy. To me, he was a true American hero. He was saying things in public not so many people had the guts to say in private. FaLaRS is not only essential Hunter S. Thompson, it is essential reading period. I would like to say that I don’t care what side of the political spectrum you sit, you will laugh your ass off reading this book. But that is probably not the case. Liberals might actually tear-up a little also because they too see the good doctor’s sense of reality. Conservatives, lacking any sense of humor, will probably deny the truth of any of what he had to say and dismiss it all as the ramblings of a drug-crazed maniac.
There’s a lot of talk about drugs here; not so much about sex or rock and roll. There’s mostly politics that is as relevant today as it was between the years of Nixon and George W. Bush, the span of the book. There’s a wonderful part in the book about HST and Mohamed Ali and other parts as well about other sports figures that are priceless.
I absolutely loved this book. There was not a moment that I was not completely entertained by it. It was totally bittersweet and not because HST had the ability to turn the most tragic times in our recent history into something hilarious but because Hunter S. Thompson is no longer with us. And I miss him like crazy.
The narration of this Brilliance Audio production was by Phil Gigante, a better narrator to tell the story of Hunter S. Thompson they probably could not have found. I could not recommend a book more highly.