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.
95 theses against the school system and I don't think I agree with the author on a single one of them. Pretty impressive since I love the authors he cites, I love the homeschooling and schooling movements, survived some extremely bad school experiences and loved being home schooled. Most of his complaints are that school teachers engage in politics and behind the scenes drama, favoritism, rank based on education with the people who hold the fewest credentials being given the least work and the most demeaning tasks and with the most educated and most powerful staff calling the shots. In that case I guess we should shut down all newspapers, hospitals, grocery stores... just about everything. Most of his examples are very specific to his own work history and how he did not get along with some of his peers. There is a lot of talk about his principal who he constantly refers to as "Chairman Mao" because being unwilling to negotiate with a teachers assistant is just like-- genocide? This is the first and only book about homeschooling that I find to be poorly thought out and grossly harmful to the movement. The reader has a hard time with some words, I cringe every time he says "ask" as he will say "ax a question" At least he has the decency to read quickly. I wish more readers could match his pace. Though his pace is inconsistent- when he is reading fast he goes at what I think is the perfect pace. If he can develop a bit of annunciation and double check how to say key names and big words he could be a great reader in the future
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
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