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
Write with your non-dominant hand. Why-- dunno. Maybe you will think of something new. What is that good for. Idunno. The example that keeps coming up is "what animal would you want to be?" my dominant right hand says tiger but my non-dominant left says sparrow- what does that mean? I don't know. It is not useful and hearing it over and over for several hours does not shed any light on the topic. This might have been an interesting paragraph but after this book I never want to hear about this topic again until someone somewhere figures out what this is good for
This book moves very fast and covers a lot of topics throwing out logical vocabulary and case studies and clear examples at a super rapid pace. If I did not know all of the stories he was talking about before I read the book I would be very frustrated. He might mention the Orson Wells War of the Worlds Radio Show incident and quickly move on. If you don't already ready know the story than you are out of luck. For us that know this material it is like six books in one. The question might be- why read a book if you know all the material- meh, it's fun, it's healthy to review, it is nice to hear it from a new perspective. But if someone said that he was moving too quickly or not explaining himself enough I would totally understand
This is a book about kids who wanted to go to school in Europe and found ways to go. This is NOT a book about how those schools are different. Any discussion about the differences in the school systems is a footnote to the real topic of the book- long overly dramatized mini-novels about kids who want to go to Europe- Why do they want to go? Meh, Not important. Every time the writer comes dangerously close to having to say something substantive about her supposed topic she very suddenly and awkwardly changes the subject. She might have though she was being suspenseful but I don't have a whole lot of patience for writers who want to fill their non-fictions with pointless stories, all of which are overly dramatized to pad her book. Who cares how depressed these kids were about the weather and what they thought about their hair when they wanted to go to school in Europe? How about telling us the differences in the schools? Differences in the administration? Differences in the techniques? Differences in the discipline? Differences in the teachers? Differences in the culture? Differences in the schedules, curriculum, athletics, funding ANYTHING! What about a book about The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way? Would that be too much to ask? I am going to get a refund. This book is nothing like advertised. People who like short novels about kids getting into European schools will find this book entertaining.
This sounds worse than if it was recorded on an olde audio cassette player- there seems to be a vacuum or loud air conditioner in the backround. Doors opening and closing. the reader stumbles on his lines, trails off, mumbles and reads slowly with long pauses. I got about twenty minutes in. While I would not be surprised if I had missed some of the content all I got from the book was that it is important to develop personal problem solving skills- not instructions on how to do it. I can't go any further. I hope I can get a refund.
This is just a long LONG series of seemingly random quotes from people who worked at Nickelodeon in the 80's and 90's. The program gives a name and then a quote- over and over. No attempt is made to link any name to any program or role so if you don't recognize a name then you are out of luck. In fact, many of the quotes mention other names also without explanation and you have to try to figure out who these people are as well. I spent the entire book just trying to figure out who was being quoted and who was being talked about. From what I have pieced together the contributors are mainly directors, executives and actors. Again- all they give you is a name and a few sentences so the extreme majority of the time you have no idea what show or what era the line is related to and there is no pattern. Sometimes there will be a bunch of lines that mostly relate to "Are You Afraid of the Dark" followed by a bunch of lines that mostly relate to "Salute Your Shorts" but even these are not consistent blocks and the transitions are not announced.
AGAIN, I need to really drive this point home- there is NO commentary except a name and then a quote- and then a name and then a quote. You don't know if this is a child actor or a stage hand and because it is so very scrambled YOU CAN'T KNOW WHAT THE QUOTE IS ABOUT! Waste of time and money.
A real shame because with just a little effort it could have been fun instead of frustrating
This book is an adult variation on the homeschooling movement- more specifically the un-schooling movement which focuses strongly on self guided education. Themes include ways to get into college courses without paying (and without accreditation and sneaking into expensive seminars and getting jobs that utilize a persons skills in spite of education. The idea that a person might not have highly sought after technical skills to begin with seems totally lost on the author. Much of the book focuses on how great it was for hundreds of now successful individual people to have skipped high school and college in preference of their own path- so far less time is really spent on educating ones self. It is however a dandy little guide in making your life more interesting and sparking new ways of thinking but I am not sure how much more marketable it can make someone. I think most people with marketable skills are aware that certification is an outdated hassle and many employers do too. Those people are already looking for loopholes to bypass those requisites. I would recommend this book to people interested in the Homeschool/ unschool movement or to people looking for new ways to learn things- don't expect this one to make you any money or help you to get a job. The ability to acquire new marketable skills (for adults) is hardly discussed
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
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