Some writers are so far ahead of their time that they fail to get the recognition they deserve. I'm not sure that is the case here. I think Korten is perfectly synched with "time." It's everybody else who is so far behind the times that creates the mismatch. Korten is presenting "cooperation" as a life affirming essential in an age when dog eat dog is still the mantra. We have no trouble grasping the concept of cooperation when it's abstract, cartoonish and linked to a story long ago and far away (the classic childhood tale of two men with a pot of food and only long handled spoons), but in the here and now it all becomes Greek (the stock market goes up when employment goes down, schools that can't afford a good lit department invest heavily in a new football stadium, etc.) Sadly, I think things will have to get much worse before most readers truly open up to Korten's message. Let's just hope it isn't too late by then.
I have now seen a tv show based on the book, read excerpts of the book, and listened to the full audio version. I must say that while the topic lends itself nicely to a visual presentation, I got the most out my Audible version. Why? It forced me to examine things too easily glossed over by a reader's eye half-fixated on the clock and visuals that too easily molded my tv-tuned gaze into a kind of flashy tunnel vision. The most important issues raised by Diamond really require the reader to hit the pause button and ponder. It is in these moments that extrapolations become most vivid because they are very personal and immediate. Yes, one could summarize the main themes and points of this book rather quickly, but that would be a shame. The book should be taken in slowly and its final pages should serve as the beginning of any reader's exploration of the matter, not the end.
After nearly 2 hrs of listening I had to give up. There are endless teasers about "what's to come" but very little is ultimately delivered. What little there is comes capped by unbelievable shoddiness: "and I imagine that few of those people today are . . ." How about doing a little investigating and THEN writing a book? Random House published this "outline for a book" and fooled us all.
Another classic makes its way to audio in fine form. If you haven't read The Stranger since high school, you may be surprised by which details you remembered and which you forgot (something of a Rorschach in that respect). Regardless of recall, however, you are apt to get more out of this book the second time around, especially because of the version used and the narrator who gives the work a proper and penetrating rhythm that can be missed by the hurried eyes of a reader working the page.
If your only exposure to Fitzgerald is The Bookshop, you may find this collection of odd shorts disappointing. Too much effort is put into trying to devise clever endings or stoke literary quirkiness that calls attention to itself; it quickly becomes tiring. Having said that, the lead Sakiesque story is a winner by any standards and deserves a listen. The others are good for when you want to experiment a bit. Approach it with that attitude and you may discover something worthwhile (but wait until this one is offered at sale pricing so you're in the right frame of mind).
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