Auburn, WA, United States | Member Since 2008
Allen Bloom's THE CLOSING OF THE AMERICAN MIND is monumentally important, especially in regard to its central assertion that the surface American education's first principle has for some time now been: "To avoid discrimination [particularly in regard to class, culture, race, and religion or lack thereof], one must be indescriminate in all. The one exception, and the thing to be hated, is the man who asserts otherwise." I am always just utterly amazed at how absolutely relativistic (parodox intended) 99% of my college students have become in their judgements (or rather lack of them) regarding lit and art. I push them to extremes. They will proclaim (as though programmed to say so--and Bloom says they are) that Brittney Spears "music" is every bit as good as Mozart's "for the person who hears it that way." I actually ask them if a pile of dog dung on a paper plate is as much art as Michalangelo's David, and you would not believe how many will, without a twitch, say that it is "if someone thinks it is," as though putting forth an opinion in regard to any obvious difference in quality will lead directly to the acceptance of Hitler's race policies--or, at least, they don't want to be viewed as having any "dangerous" opinions, whether or not they really have them. And this is Bloom's brilliant argument--"absolute freedom" (everything is equally good) has supplanted real freedom (the ability to say the truth or even think it). In another class, in which we study different models of morality, many students will assert with an absolute straight face (get ready!) that baby-torturing, if accepted by a given cultural as moral, would be a moral activity to take part in. What can one even say to such things?!--but Bloom saw this type of non-thinking and warned of the extremes to which it could, and would be taken.
The master does it again! If you were held riveted by SON and DOC or GIVE A BOY A GUN, Jack Olsen's latest, PREDATOR, will not disappoint! In his usual enthralling style, Olsen tells the thrilling tale of Mac Smith, a Seattle based serial rapist who terroried the emerald city for more than a decade and how the Seattle police department originally bungled the case, arresting the wrong man for the crimes. Just as with his other books, we get not only the heart-pounding details, but a story full of integrity to the facts and the psychology of a sociopath. A must read for the Olsen fan!
Audible reviews on this audiobook yet, I get to be the first to give one. First, forget the narrator--okay, you don't always get Charlton Heston, but hey, someone is reading you a book, all right?... Now... I first encountered Stanley Alpert's story on 48 Hours Live To Tell. I instantly went looking for the book. This thing is great! It's terrifying, hilarious, engaging and so wacky and off the wall that when Stanley first told the tale to police, they thought he had to be making it up. Movie-style thugs with guns, drugs, sex, compassionate prostitutes who offer hostages freebies, fancy cars, wild rides--all after a simple ATM robbery goes awry. Unless you are obsessed with voice intonations, you can't help but love this audiobook. If you ARE obsessed with voice intonations, get it in print. Great story!
I first became acquainted with Kelly McGonigal through her talks published on youtube, and her work on compassion and social change is the best. YES! she does use brain science to back up her ideas (one reviewer below denies it). Yes, her methods are practical, though they must be steadily and regularly implemented. Read her book on willpower along with this one. They dovetail nicely, and the book on willpower will help you understand and apply the principles in this book.
since Tom Miller's 1986 classic The Unfair Advantage. McGonigal combines knowledge from behavioral psychology and the newer brain science to show how willpower is not just an abrupt act of decision but rather a long training--or retraining--of the brain in the positive ways that you want your life to go. Like Miller, McGonigal shows that willpower is not so much an instantly claimed virtue as it is steady, plodding day-to-day programming of the self, taking small but regular steps toward your personal goals of development. Miller's great line was "No one has willpower except guys named Will." This is the great message of both books: willpower is not an abstraction that can be seized at a moment's notice when temptation arises, but a cultivated personal power, an individual course that can only be constructed a day at a time by any given individual.
I first encountered Wodehouse like most do--through the Jeeves stories, and since those years ago, he has never failed to delight me with the fine British wit and charm that come across in every well-crafted line of his stories and short novels. The real grace of Wodehouse is that his fiction feels light, with its airy little jokes and puns, but there is, in the end, real depth in the social commentary and criticism that is always present, even in the most light-hearted tale. Doctor Sally comes highly recommended.
and listened to Doc after listening to the twenty one hours of Son: A Psychopath And His Victims nearly nonstop. Olsen does in Doc exactly what he accomplishes in Son: in a terse, tight, Hemingway style, he paints a vivid, living background and then peoples it with living, breathing individuals, good, bad, ugly, letting the story come to life of its own, teasing out each fact, each personality, each vital detail. The stories are purely factual, but they are nothing like police reports; they are even less like tabloid stories. They are crime stories, Capote-style, just as they should be. Doc comes highly recommended from this reader.
of the schizoid-type psychopath who terrorized an untold number of victims in the South Hill region of Spokane Washington back in the 1970's. The two negative reviews here on this book complain that it is "dry" or "lacking in detail." To begin, I don't know what book these reviewers read, because SON is actually quite riveting and rich in detail, but if one is looking for a story dripping in gore and body fluids, well, okay, one might look elsewhere; if one is looking for a true crime story that is penetrating, psychological, intelligent, and always seeking the truth of the situation, this is the one to get.
to both Kant the man and his philosophical theories. Entertaining and enlightening stories from what little "personal life" Kant engaged in, and a thorough going-through of his ideas and how they developed. This would be particularly good for someone just beginning to study Kant.
when it is used with effect, but this is gratuitous and stupid. The author tries to make up for the very ordinary approach to anxiety treatment (nothing new here) with "talking like a normal person" ("normal" if you use empty vulgarity every other word) and trying to seem hip and cool and identifiable. (The tone pretty much runs like this: "You don't need some egghead telling you about those fancy neurotransmitters when I can make it seem much more relatable by referring to your brain as a "douche."--Please!) It's not so much anxiety as the reader here that ends up feeling....well,,,
reminder of the vital need for traditional values in a culture drifting ever closer to moral relativism and suppression of traditional values... This book is about the reestablishment of the traditional family as the central element of American culture, but it is about a lot more than that: namely, the need for movement away from the Orwellean, 1984 reliance upon Big Brother government for the establishment of moral value and the common good. It is a call away from the morally relativistic "individualism" of postmodern America to the rugged individualism that put the burden of the common good and social stability upon "the people" rather than on a governing body that could then impose its own system of self-serving values upon the people. It is a call for a renewed sense of responsibility and a holding to the values that have made for a strong America in the past... And should you think there is not an active suppression of traditional values in this country, consider this: today, my wife was giving a taped interview for her workplace concerned with positive activity she was doing in the public sector. During the interview, she stated that she felt her public service was an expression of her Christian faith. At this point, the interviewer/camera person paused and turned to the person in charge of the project and asked sotto voice (but loud enough for my wife to hear): "can we use that?"--that is, "can she say that?" or, more rightly, "isn't anything having to do with traditional religion out of bounds outside of the musty walls of a church building?" Imagine such a question in regard to race, nationality or sexual orientation--the interviewer would have never worked again. But because religion is the current social kryptonite, he felt compelled to inquire as to whether or not its very mention should be censored. And totally without regard to whether or not my wife would be offended by such effrontery. Read this book while you are still allowed to do so.
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