You cannot over estimate the importance of sleep for your health, both physical and mental. That is the message forever etched on my mind after enjoying this book.
I'm a guy who pays a lot of attention to nutrition and exercise. It was not until I read this book, however, that I seriously considered how sleep is no less important than food and exercise in affecting body fat, muscle mass, heart health, hormone balance and so on.
The author does a very nice job setting out in non-jargon laden language the science of sleep. Its remarkable to learn how "busy" the brain becomes during sleep. Data is sorted and stored. Nerves are refreshed and energized.
No longer will I envy the guy who claims he "gets by with just 4 hours of sleep." We learn that even if this person is functioning at what appears to be a "normal" pace, he is actually working at a fraction of his capacity, and probably endangering his long term health.
I especially liked the closing chapter in which the author gives us his suggestions for bringing on more healthful sleep.
I highly recommend this book. A fantastic companion piece to this book is the Learning Company's lecture, "Stress", which also addresses sleep and health issues at length.
This is a well written prolonged reflection on the joys of swimming. But if you are a "serious" swimmer looking for the "joys swim training" or competition, this is not for you. Take this book to the pool or beach and read a chapter here and there. Its just OK.
This book kept my attention and interest, but there was a lot of detail about Tiger's golf swing (as well as the author's). If you are not an avid golfer you may leave this book wishing for more of Tiger's story.
Woody Allen explores the health craze. That is how I am describing this book to my friends who I am encouraging to read this book. He combines common sense, a sense of adventure, and good humor in exploring the misconceptions, fads and good advice we are bombarded with in the media about good health. You will learn a lot, even if you read the nutrition and fitness press regularly.
You know you have enjoyed an audio book when at the end you wish you could invite the author to lunch. I hated to see this book end.
This book is a somewhat like a magazne, with interesting articles peppered here and there, but there is no overarching theme which holds the text together. I wish the author had drawn some conclusions about the otherwise interesting observations he makes about such phenomena as traffic patterns, overly complex technology, and human nature.
There are probably many others like me, who are utterly skeptical about the possiblity of encountering intelligent alien life forms, but deep down wish we would live to see the day...
Author Davies resets the business of seeking alien life forms on a foundation of sound science. He proposes that the "alien" life form we are most likely to discover is at the bottom of the ocean, or deep inside the earth. The odds of contacting intelligent life through projects such as SETI are so remote, why not look for life forms on this planet that may be traveling along unique evolutionary paths.
As much as I was inspired by Carl Sagan's Cosmos, I am persuaded that science has not exhausted the search for the origins, nature and prevalence of life right here in our own backyard.
There are few topics that would interest me more, but I was so disappointed. I got lost in a fog of details, names, and dates. It "reads" like an encyclopedia on the KGB, which is of interest as far as it goes.
But, I was hoping for great story telling. As a student of history, I have found that a good historical story tells more than a "reporter's" account of an event.
No doubt this is an important contribution to our understanding of the KGB. Its back to the cloak and dagger novels for me I suppose.
Think of making a Grand Marnier Soufflé. It requires concentrated effort, but the payoff is intoxicating........Freedom's achievement is artfully reflecting the foibles of the 21st Century American family, along with the moral dilemmas that seem to creep into our lives. Nearly every scenario and character rang true to my ear. Franzen writes the way a good comedian performs; presenting situations with which we can immediately identify, then revealing the absurdities that may not have occurred to us.......But what annoying people populate Freedom! Several times I stopped the audio book because I couldn't stand another moment of a character's handwringing or braggadocio or self destructive behavior. Time would pass and I would wonder what was happening with these strange people, and then I would continue listening. (I am not one of those people who feel it is their duty to finish a book.) I returned to Freedom after a few breaks because these oddballs were interesting and the issues they were wrestling to the ground are relevant and in a couple of instances, urgent......Then in the final pages Franzon pulled the rug out from under my assumptions about the two central characters. His resolution was so unexpected and moving that my eyes filled with tears. To my surprise, I found myself starting the audio book from the beginning, suspecting that Franzon’s menagerie of characters have depth I might have missed the first time through.... You might consider avoid driving or operating heavy machinery while listening to the last chapter.
I had no preconceptions when I ordered Tinkers. My wife's book club selected it and in my ongoing effort to be a supportive husband I decided to "read" along. (If I had known the book's premise, I wouldn't have touched it with a ten foot pole. A book about a dieing man? Never.)
I was immediately taken by the poetry laced through out the narrative. The master of the well-turned phrase, John Updike, came to mind in light of the extordinary richness and color of the language in Tinkers.
Slowly I became increasingly interested in the odd assortment of characters. By the book's conclusion I was swept away by what is certainly the best work of fiction I have "read" in years.
Whether you have read Tinkers already or not, if you have not listened to it being read you have missed part of its enchantment. Close your eyes and let the stream of beautiful sentences flow over you.
In case you are wondering, I borrowed my wife's copy of Tinkers after her book club and read it through in one setting. Another wonderful, but less sensual experience.
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