I was first introduced to Malcolm Gladwell a few weeks ago on a podcast for the WNYC program Radiolab. The episode is called "Choice" and if you are new to Gladwell, i would suggest you start there. You'll be hooked.
The negative reviews i've read seem to have felt misled. As if Gladwell were expected to present some unifying theory of intuition. Yet, n a way, he actually does, just not scientifically. What he does present are thought provoking anecdotes about the under appreciated importance of our instinct.. The patches on the quilt missing the thread of your perception. There is lots left to be learned from the experience of others, and luckily there's authors such as Gladwell who will find them.
Being a left brained artistic type, i'm naturally resistant to these sort of goal oriented psychology books. However, In an effort to challenge my beliefs, i've been reading several of them lately, and this is by far the best. I was a big fan of their last book Made to Stick and actually just read it for the third time. That book seemed a bit derivative of Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point on my first listen, but i've since gone back to Made To Stick more than most any other book I own. Mostly because of all the practical, real world applications of interesting scientific experiments. Having just finished Switch, i'm impressed with how much they've outdone themselves. I didn't want to stop listening. There's almost no filler in the whole 8 hours.
I wasn't sure there'd be much practical use to a book about 'change,' but i couldn't have been more wrong. They reference several books i happen to have read recently, and i realized change is at the center of all of them, and Switch is the perfect synthesis of all their ideas. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who's read The Happiness Hypothesis, The Now Habit, James Hollis' books, or anything in the field of positive psychology. If you haven't read those books, save your money and just get Switch.
I'm 23 and couldn't be happier to have found this book before i may really need it in old age. More than almost any other author, James Hollis has a way of making everything clear. Don't expect answers, but if you're looking for the right questions to be asking, this is the book.
I always listen to audiobooks at 2x speed, this is convenient for how many books i read, and rarely a problem as most books are written to be as 'palatable' as possible ("filer" is probably too strong a word..) Then there's Mary Roach.. Her clever writing is so full of information and imagery that i'd listen at 1/2x if i had the time. Palatable? Yes. How? I don't know, but this is one of the most entertaining, intelligent and enjoyable books i've read.
If you have an eating disorder, this book may be helpful. So would a dietician, a doctor and a group of supportive friends. If you're an average healthy person with common sense and an internet connection, there's not much to be learned here.
As soon as i finished this book, i started over from the beginning, just to appreciate and learn from it's use of the ideas it teaches.
The writers suggest that for an idea to be sticky, it should follow these 6 princples:
And there is no better way to sum up this book. It follows and teaches these principles brilliantly.
I got a lot out of this book. It's like Vertigo, written by Charlie Kaufman, starring Robert Downey Jr. The story isn't much itself, but the writing is great and the narrator makes it easy to follow the overly observant and analytical protagonist. The writing is full of interesting scientific and psychological anecdotes that the protagonist struggles with trying to make sense of his subjective reality. More than anything this is a story about love and the way people change, or the way people think people change.
My first time through, i grew restless with this book. I kept finding moments of brilliance though. Enough for me to finish, but not enough for me to care much for it.
After a growing interest in psychology, cosmology, existentialism, solipsism and neurology, among the other complex themes of Aegypt, i decided to revisit it and see how it would resonate. Needless to say, it inspired me to write this review and I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the greater questions of life
Of course, this is a challenging read (or listen) and Crowley's writing may seem tedious at first. The layers of synchronicity, subtext, historical 'facts' and allegories, etc. require his level of detail. Some fore knowledge of the subject mater would help as well, but this book might actually be a good place to start, if for nothing else than to see if John Crowley's fascination with the world doesn't inspire your own.
Not perfect, but well written and well thought out. If you like Dostoevsky, you'll like this.
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