Yes, and I have. Chris Hayes has an extraordinary mind, both capturing the underlying unease Americans feel for their elite institutions and pinpointing why.
There were no characters, per se, but actual events. My favorites involved the victims of the Catholic Church's pedophilia scandals and the discussions about elite charter schools.
The Catholic Church stories were fascinating for the illustration of putting the bishops above the flock. The charter schools discussion was brilliant for shooting down the myth that anyone gets in by merit alone these days; the well-off will always find ways to ensure their offspring have early advantages in "earning" good test scores, while the poor and under-served are left to pray for natural brilliance and good timing.
Listen to this book. I've listened twice. The depth is more than I can elucidate in this review, and it is essential for understanding the unease our society finds itself in.
The insights into authoritarian brains vs open brains. The title, "The Republican Brain," is a smart one, because it grabs attention, but it is not so much about political affiliation but how likely you are to affiliate with a certain way of thinking based on how your brain receives and processes information. It was helpful to understand, on a scientific and practical level, how certain affinities for openness or hierarchy will color a person's outlook and how they receive information. It helped me to rethink how I approach debates of all kinds, as well.
It was conversational. He had a lot of statistical information to relay in an interesting way, and he did a commendable job.
Facts don't matter as much as certainty and closure to those most likely to agree with Republican points of view. This is saving me countless hours trying to pull together the most convincing facts to present to a conservative.
Don't dismiss or pass over this book because of the title. Insights like these are crucial for bringing together our divided citizenry. Why should liberals, especially, listen to it? Because they are the most likely to take the information and adjust in ways that will help us all be more effective. Why should conservatives listen to it? One, they will find equal amounts of commendation for what they bring to the world as critiques of where they are missing out on it. I will shake the hand of any self-identified Republican who listens to and hears the whole thing. There's not a bunch of conservative bashing in here; rather profound insights into why we think the way we do - and the research is just getting started.
It was funny and endearing. My husband and I listened to it on a road trip. We laughed and related to the characters. If you've ever worked in a restaurant, you will love this book.
The last dinner. I don't want to give anything away, but we still quote lines from it when we're buying vegetables at the grocery store.
I heard a review of this book by Maurine Corrigan on Fresh Air. I'm glad I took her advice and bought this book. The narration is great, too. This is an entertaining listen that will stick with you.
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