An excellent tale of the Cultural Revolution and one boy's awakening to manhood. Stories that I've heard from my parents and the older generation found their echo in this story. A time period like the Cultural Revolution was so charged of emotional energy that I think it took this long for most chinese people to begin address what has happened since then.
A note about the ending, it is a chinese story after all. Every ending begets another beginning.
The idea of a social tipping point is definitely intriguing and Gladwell gives plenty of anecdotal examples. In a nutshell, social phenomena happen because of a complex inter-relationship between social innovators, mavens, and first adopters. It's basically the theory behind viral marketting, and "cool hunting", though the $1M question "What makes something (ex iPods) cool and others not?" remains unanswered beyond the elusive "because the mavens showed it to their friends". Beyond that, why do some crazes stay in a niched and loyal subculture (linux adoption) whlie others become mainstream? And taking into attempts like ilovebees and subservientchicken, I have to wonder if viral marketing even works, or if it's just another unmeasureable gimmick/fad in marketing and advertising.
It's certainly an interesting theory, full of possibilities, but I suggest reading "Linked" by Alberto-Laszlo Barabasi for what I believe to be a broader look at not only social phenomenae but also the properties of highly connected networks as general model, and how networks apply to other phenomena like computer virii, AIDS epidemiology, power outtages, and computer security. Although I felt that Gladwell did a suitable job covering the subject, having just finished "Linked", the "The Tipping Point" felt like a weaker, more limited, reiteration of network theory.
Okay, I'm a little concerned about the other reviews this book's been given. They seemed to be from people that either didn't finish reading the book, don't understand the subject material, or just plain don't know what they're talking about.
First, despite rampant media mislabelling, hacking is *not* breaking into computers, and this book won't talk about the ethics of computing exploits. There are a number of books and websites for that, and if you can't find them, you probably don't deserve to know about them.
Second, this is a socio-economic look at a new working ethic, which I doubt any true tinkerer-geek "in the inside" would have had the perspective, time, or the interest to write about. Ethics equals values, not in the sense of whether something is a "good" or "bad" in the moral sense, but the values on which you build your life. Just as historians didn't have to have installed telephone wire in order to comment on the industrial revolution, I don't think the author had to have programmed in Alair BASIC to be able to make a social commentary.
Third, this book isn't going to tell you how to have more free time if you're working 9-to-5, have 3 kids, and eat your meals in front of a TV. It's a shift in perspective and values. I'm not working to play, I'm playing while I work. I'm not trying to find free time in between my day job and leisure time: *All* of my time is free. I work at a game development company and I see the "hacker" culture all around me. Yes, we wear shorts & sandals, show up at 10am to work, and take breaks at work to have Quake III tourneys, but I dare anyone to walk in at 8pm during crunch time and call us a bunch of "slackers". But I guess such misunderstanding are to be expected when we're talking about a complete shift in social values.
If you have a mind open enough for it, this is a fascinating read and worth the effort of digging in.
I didn't think the book really lived up to the hype. It's a great all-american sports story, and a does a good job of transporting the reader to depression-era america. Probably because I'm not a huge sports or horse-racing fan, I found the subject a bit boring after a while. The plot seems a rehash of any of the Rocky movies: so-and-so champ overcomes untold adversity with guts and heart. In all the narration of the races, is there ever a doubt that the biscuit would pull through and win? Stil a good romp none the less.
Who woulda thunk that salt had such an interesting history. Whole empires and economics lived and died by salt. Definitely a great book!!! Read it.
It's definitely a behind the counter look at the clean & polished industry of fast food. There's even a great history overview of the start of the fast food franchise. I found it excellent with just the right mix of informative, intriguing, and entertaining. Just a warning, you may never want to step foot into McDonald's ever again.
Awesome book. Loved Neil Stephenson, loved the book version. I found it very well narrated. Great stuff!!!
This is a great book if you have a mind for math/logic. As a programmer I found great interest in the talk of highly connected networks as a new model of looking at the world. Wonderful listen, and definitely worth a second, third, or fourth time if are into the subject.
The story is fanciful but very very well written. The narration is engrossing, and the imagery transports the listener to a reality that (while ultimately dream-like) is rewarding and wonderful. Far from being anti-climactic, I feel that the ending leaves the story openly and asks the reader to make up his own mind regarding the story. Ultimately, I feel that it doesn't really matter which version of the story you believe, the important part that you're willing to put yourself in either perspective.
This is an absolutely gorgeous audio book. The writing is superb: great setup, suspenseful, masterful imagery, and a suprisingly good love story for a sci-fi. One note of warning: this isn't your typical Asimov-esque sci-fi book. Science and futurism only acts as part of the backdrop for the main story. If you're looking for well-thought out sci-fi techno-wizardry, like lases, spaceships, and aliens, this isn't the book or you. The voice acting is also faultless and spot-on.
Wonderful to listen to. Makes me want to read the book and watch the HBO mini-series. Ambrose has a gift for bringing out the horror and humanity of war. Sometimes, the characters (i.e. who was who) were a bit hard to follow.
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