I am listening to again right now so I can take notes and impress/annoy my friends with my new-found knowledge
Uhh.. wrong genre
The title is really poor- I would have called
One of my new favorite books! This was one of those rare times where I have ten books to read but as soon as I finished this one I had to put every other book on hold just so I could read this one a second time. The book is a long list of thinking errors that most or arguably all people use unconsciously. If you read these kinds of books a lot you will spot a lot of familiar studies and there is a lot borrowed from the book “How we Decide” but everything is explained in terms simple enough for a ten year old to understand. Long stories are shortened to a sentence or two and the overall tone of the book is very fun and fast. No more long drawn out life stories just to tell the brain damage story at the end- this book is dense with fun information that you can apply right away to your own life. One of the major themes of the book is that we tend to make decisions about things first and then come up with reasons to justify it- and the reasons are mostly garbage. First the movie is bad- then we might make up something about the director or unclear motivations but really that is all stuff we make up to justify the initial “confirmation bias” and the examples of this are stunning. Highly recommended for all ages and experience levels.
I would have preferred if she shared her views on what would make schools better or worse. For the most part the criticism for schools is that they are "bad" and should be "good". That the levels of proficiency in math and science are "low" and they should be "high" and the best solution is the get "better" teachers. I wanted her to say what kinds of traits and behaviors make a better teacher or what makes a better atmosphere for learning. She did share her views on the voucher system (she is for it in cases that it allows kids to get better education results) and for strong teacher evaluation including kids ranking the teachers. However, more of this book is on her personal story of growing up, getting jobs, rubbing shoulders with important people and occasionally complaining about the teachers union. for Michelle Rhee's views on the teachers unions watch the big documentaries on education reform today such as The Cartel and Waiting for Superman (starring Michelle Rhee) also on the topic of education reform I recommend The War on Kids
I still hope that Rhee works to make schools better, the reforms she suggests are too simple to fill a book but are difficult to fill a life's work. she is indeed a hero- When she has something more to say- I hope to listen
There is a lot of detail about how officer school works, there is a lot on the Challenger Disaster and about how hard it is to become an astronaut and a lot in there about various debates on unrelated political issues but aside from the introduction which briefly recants what everyone read in the newspaper there is nothing in here about the famous killer astronaut - it is hours of everything but the "main topic". The book frequently tags the famous lady by saying this must have been what it would have been like for her to go though school, and she had probably heard about this famous challenger disaster and so forth, but there is nothing on her actual story. It is all speculation and guesswork at best- and at worst (and this is what mainly fills the book) it is totally unrelated material.
Everything not related to "The In-Depth Story of the Astronaut Love Triangle Case that Shocked America" but perhaps I am asking too much. Seriously, after the long introduction which revealed very little from what could be found on a very brief look online there is not even an attempt to clarify the real story. I gave up after four and a half hours
People who like novels about women - going to work, meeting people, experiencing culture shock in another country, dieting and so forth might like this book...oh, I'm sorry -- was this supposed to be a book about children? Yes, there is a small bit of informal information about kids- it is not researched, it is always just things she sees and hears from her friends. But there is so very little of that kind of information it seems almost knitpicky to scrutinize its quality. This is a book about this woman living in France and her personal feelings about random stuff- mostly involving getting used to living in France with her daughter Bean- that is not a typo- I listened to her say that name hundreds of times- slow-mo and fast forwards and every single time she says Bean- so either the narrator has it wrong or the cover is a typo
There is also a strong emphasis on teaching the language and culture of France. These lessons fall equally into two convenient categories: Obvious and Irrelevant
I can't believe I let myself listen to seven full hours before I decided that she had nothing to say on the actual subject of her book.
I like books about raising kids- maybe one day she can write one of those and keep her personal life stories out of it- and she should source her material like a grown up professional who writes based on research
For the most part she was acceptable except the long spans in which she spoke with a thick French accent even if quoting a written article- I think she was just looking for an excuse to sound bad- It was hard enough to get through this book without having to rewind bits to figure out what she's saying
I would cut her personal stories but then the book would be ten pages long. Again this is a lot more about her personal stories than it is about education and very little has anything to do with children
So here is her advice:
-Let babies cry for five or ten minutes before tending to them- so they might comfort themselves.
-When children over four demand attention, politely tell them to wait a moment
-low carb diets work and can make you as pretty as the women in Paris
-The day cares in France are awesome
- France is a great place
The rest is all filler
This book is a collection of essays that were written by a highly decorated teacher discussing the ways he was ashamed to a pert of the American schooling process- I keep remembering him talking about how he would grant permission for a child to use the bathroom knowing they did not have to go- that they just wanted water to move around but he would consider this a kind of favor to be repaid, He mostly talks about how the current system kills the natural curiosity of children and ensures that they will despise learning and intellectual topics. For those wondering the only semi solution given is home school and there really is not a lot of advice in there for people who want to start homeschooling
There are some good movies that follow this theme-- The War on Kids, The Cartel -and- Waiting for Superman.
The broken format of your kids' school
This book is about Murrow- not so much what he accomplished in his career or his epic and important battle with Senator Joseph McCarthy which is but a couple paragraphs (you just have to watch Good Night and Good Luck) this is more about where he was born and where he went to school and what friends he had and so forth- Exactly all the things that was NOT interested in. There are very few quotes from Murrow himself and the ones they chose were mostly odd at best. Only get this book if you only care about his objective history
There was a bit of Murrow in war correspondence and that was nice- I wish there was more of the man himself talking or at least being quoted
This book is based on the assumption that men hate listening to their wives and that women hate having (or giving) sex to their husbands- this is a long collection of trades such as (I am not making this up) I, as the man, will listen to you talk for X amount of time but in exchange I want X amount of sex. This extends to things like chores, money and the car. This is not a loving relationship- this is a business relationship. I was disgusted that couples actually see things like affectionate communication, cuddling and sex as chores to be endured and recorded for compensation. There are other lessons in the book but after 3 hours that was the basic formula- I will give you this and you will give me that- and let's not complicate this exchange with love, this is business
If you really think that you need to give your man sex so that he will listen to you about your day at work than save your money and get a book on divorce because that is just sick
The author seems committed to not making any point- Only stating things that are obvious as if some greater point is coming up. I Got three hours into the book and I still can't tell you what the book is about- He just keeps talking about how there are many churches in the nation and there are more now than there used to be and they have different points of view and different levels of influence- which is obvious.
I bought this book thinking it was about the atheist perspective of the negative influences of theocracy in American politics- well, the author is a catholic and the book is apparently not about anything- at all! I don't think I am a dummy- I read this genre all the time- even though he said it was not what I thought I still tried really hard to give this book a chance- I think the author is afraid to say what he thinks on such a fragile subject so he says nothing- He just quickly jumps from one subject to another with no rhyme or reason or wit or moral- it's just written on autopilot with any kind of opinion or point carefully edited out.
I am a longtime fan of the experimental books by AJ Jacobs who is best known for writing about the year he spent reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica (the know-it-all) and the year in which he followed all the rules of the bible (The Year if Living Biblically) and now this one where he tries to get “healthy” but because everyone has a different idea of health and how to achieve it he spends a lot of time bumbling between one crazy idea to another without the normal discriminating gaze of an experienced athlete. He does eventually settle on some kind of routine but it is unclear what he was doing. I know that near the end of the book he was benching 185 lbs x 15 reps which is very good for a middleweight and fantastic for a person of his size with so very little experience- he could also do about 170 push-ups in one go. How did he achieve these feats? We may never know. The parts I was most interested in, like his exact workout routine and diet are seldom discussed- more time is focused on new experimental or silly fads. I do know that he spent a lot of time on the wii which gave him a training injury and that much of the book was written while on a treadmill allowing him to walk over a thousand miles – I may need to get one of those. I can't emphasize enough that this is not a “health book” it is a pseudo intellectual humor book about health. It is fun natured and he quotes a lot of the most popular currently trending health books that he got from TED (so he knows these people)- but I do not know what all he kept at the end of the experience other than a lot of tips on eating small portions- He said in an interview that the healthy lifestyle almost killed him- I may been dozing off a little here and there but I don't remember anything like that in there. So the book is very fun but terribly incomplete
The other books by AJ Jacobs are really just prequels to this one- same genre- same charicters- different experiments. One certainly has to admire his adventurous spirit, attempting everything at least once- reminding me of what a close minded curmudgeon I really am. I am glad to have his opinion of so very many angles of the health world including a couple I had not heard of before
I spent a lot of the book wondering when he was going to get down to business and start the REAL MAN exercises- He did do them at some point but didn't write about it. I feel cheated. Sounds like they worked well, too. Also, a Before and after PDF would have been nice.
Sam Harris is a favorite author so I will buy whatever he puts out- Knowing this Harris has decided to put out micro books that make tired old points that he can make slightly better than everyone else. This book is about free will- noting that the reasons we make decisions are biological, sociological and just plain logical. Religion really does not enter into the book but rather Harris reviews all the old favorite that come to mind when one talks of free will-- which takes about as long as an average newscast but costs the same as a real book. I recommend all of his work for major followers of the New Atheism moment but if you don't have regular talks of theology this may be brutally uninteresting for you. For those of us who go to special groups on atheism this is a useful tool to phrase old arguments a little more articulately
I love listening to Sam Harris both in book and debate because of his calm style that reminds us that the very gruesome stories he sometimes tells to make his points are not there to disgust but to make a point better. It is difficult to not dramatize stories of such profound violence but Harris can speak of those matters calmly better than anyone else
I recommend everyone get his other book The Moral Landscape-- That is where his magic really is
Fans of the Rachel Maddow show will already know her playful nature and her fun way of starting a long story with seemingly unrelated topics that later become paramount to the topic at hand. It is a style that has made me a fan of her show for years and it is all here in full force.
In this book she takes a half step away from the red and blue politics to discuss the military industrial complex and the hold it has over today's leaders. This detailed look at the need for war is made more fun than ever before and always seems relevant to today. I am sure I will be listening to this one over and over and using it in discussions with friends and family because even though I have always thought that war was a bad thing motivated by the need for money this book shows a more powerful motive for war than even I had suspected.
Maddow is a very fun and funny woman- I am glad that she read the book and could deliver her material in the playful way that she does on the show. I do not think that any woman could have brought this to life as well as her
A modern history of the Military Industrial Complex- and why you should care
Many people know Maddow for her role in the polarization in politics and even I have to admit that there are sides and loyalties in the fight that will keep conservatives from reading the book. Be aware though that this is not about the kinds of things that she normally discusses on her show- there is a surprising lack of opinion in the book, which is mostly history. So even if you are a conservative you should find this book fun and enlightening
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