Professor McGonigal's stories about and advice for strengthening willpower are helpful and thought provoking. Especially interesting is the idea that willpower is inborn in people, and explanations for how our environment sometimes causes it to work against our best interests.
This is an important topic addressed by the Grandfather of Social and Emotional Intelligence and Learning. However, there was an important problem.
The decision to have Dr. Goleman narrate his own text was not helpful. Although a journalist, he's clearly no sort of performer, and has no understanding of how to use his voice appropriately. His volume trailed off occassionally, or he rushed through sentences. I notice this often when authors narrate their own works. Perhaps it's because they are so familiar with their work, they forget that the rest of us are not. Most bothersome, though, was his tendency to whisper at the end of a sentence, as if to emphasize his point. We often do this when speaking, but it has no place in an audiobook performance. I found myself "rewinding" the book again and again to catch what seemed to be an important phase, and eventually just gave up and carried on with the book, ultimately missing what seemed to be important ideas. So, a note to Audible's producers: unless the author is an experienced performer, don't let them narrate! Also, he butchered the pronunciation of bestselling psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's name, which he shouldn't have done if he's connected in the field.
Nonetheless, Dr. Goleman's analysis of our attention to outer, inner, and other types was very insightful. It's particularly helpful to teachers (like me) who are interested in helping kids. I'm looking forward to watching some of his supplamental videos on the topic.
Tim Ferriss is clearly a rich white dude in his 20s- or at least he was when he started writing this book. Ambitious, naive, and energetic, he has all the traits necessary for success, and he makes some good points about achievement and success, and having a positive outlook on life. He gets credit for that. For example, his assertion is correct that instead of striving to earn large amounts of money, we should decide what experiences or things we want out of life, and then work backwards from that to decide how much money we need. Also, the automation of income is truly the way to financial independence, and he's right on the money there.
But his stories quickly get weird, even ridiculous. His accounts of tango contests and global sailing are quaint, but he loses credibility very quickly when he advises the reader on how to win a kickboxing contest: basically, he says game the system. And here is where his age shows. While taking advantage of technicalities in order to earn money might be legal and profitable, he misses the point on kickboxing. Isn't the point of learning to kickbox health, competition, discipline, defense? What value is a trophy if you only got it, as he basically did, though his opponents' forfeit? Did he really master kickboxing? Or did he just create the illusion of being better than his opponents? How deep is the joy one gets out of that? There are a number of assertions out there, in fact, that he never did win any national championship.
If the goal is make people think you're successful, Ferriss is on to something. I hear he made his fortune selling a nutritional supplement that was never proven effective scientifically. Legal? Yes. Profitable? Hella. Does that make him trustworthy? Uh...
Ultimately, happy people are those who enjoy the work they do, not people who spend even just four hours a week being miserable so they can sip mai tais the rest of the time. I want to read the book Tim Ferriss writes when he's 60, and has more perspective than he does now. TED should have waited as long to give him talk.
A great synopsis of doing good, doing well, and being a great professional, with plenty of examples from not only law, medicine, and education, but custodial work as well. Schwartz induces rage by relaying stories of how strict adherence to rules blinds us to the wider, deeper knowledge of our experience and subconcious minds. An inspiring book...
However, this is a great example of why authors generally shouldn't narrate their own works: their own familiarity with the work caused them both to be lazy in their enunciations. Numerous times they trailed off, barely voicing crucial words, and I found myself hitting the "Go Back" button repeatedly and straining to hear a word that the author was probably hearing loudly in his head. Sharpe's voice especially is pretty drab.
Nonetheless, the content and flow made up for the performance.
The case studies recounted here compelled me to re-evaluate some of the strange interactions I've had with associates over the years. While I've always known that some people do bad things, the concept of sociopathy as applied to successful professionals introduces a whole new dynamic into how I try to figure out what motivates people. As a public school teacher, the issue for me is quite serious: it's the challenge of working with sociopathic students, teachers, or administrators, and it is compounded by the vulnerability of the children in this industry.
Particularly interesting is the description of how sociopaths often need high levels of stimulation, take serious risks, and are often charismatic and charming. The book made me very suspicious of people with these characteristics, especially when such people are trying to persuade me or sell me something. In fact, because of Dr. Stout, I've made conscious decisions to ignore, defy, or challenge otherwise convincing and impressive people based largely on my new intuition that they might be sociopathic.
I recommend this title to history teachers, history fans, civil rights advocates and lawmakers. This is a candid account of how brilliant people with good intentions struggle to implement liberty in an imperfect world.
There were some awkward pronunciations. I was distracted by the narrator's pronunciation of the
At 18 hours, there was no way I could listen to this in one sitting. As a high school History teacher, it was helpful to take breaks and reflect on the content.
Colvin's take on how we learn and improve is central to improving education today. This is one of the more relevant subjects and successful titles I've heard.
Dan Coyle's The Talent Code builds on Colvin's ideas. The idea that no one is born with innate ability can be easily refuted (after all, have you ever seen an infant slug a homer out of the ballpark?), but expanding on this idea by coupling deep practice (Coyle's term) or deliberate practice (Colvin's term for what is essentially the same thing) with master coaching and some sort of inspiration is what really makes this idea relevant to Education today.
Drummond performed well. I can't recall any mispronunciations (which should be almost unforgivable in this profession). I don't recall anything about the voice- I just remember the content of the audiobook, and I think this is the greatest compliment to the narrator: that his or her voice kind of disappears while the overall story remains in my memory is the point of an audiobook.
As a high school teacher, I passionately agree with the notion that all kids can learn, that all children deserve the chance to be taught, and the next superstar could be any student who is taught how to practice something they love. The right inspiration, the right teaching, and some serious practicing are what it takes. The idea that kids either have it or they don't is a lazy, treasonous idea for a teacher to have.
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