Let's just say that Hofstadter is a fascinating combination of brilliant and boring. If you like the way he thinks, then it's a good book to have around to listen to here and there. He always has something interesting to say, often, though, the executive summary might be sufficient.
Oh good, time to move on to Dennett...
I am giving Hofstadter a hard time, but I love his mind, he's just, well, you know, tedious...
I completely misunderstood what I was about to read when I got this book. I foolishly thought it was going to be a strongly researched and thoughtful historical investigation into the nature of power with 48 astute observations similar to Good to Great or other thoughtful research.
This books is probably written for and is appealing to the shallow and overconfident who seek to take more from the world than they give by using the perpetually infantile "well, they're doing it!."
If you are committed to understanding the human condition and pushing our socio-evolution to higher and higher levels of mutuality, collaboration, and "peace on earth, good will toward" one another, this book is either comedy, parody, or pathetic. Maybe the author has his tongue in his cheek like Rush Limbaugh who makes bazillions whipping the ignorant into a frenzy. I find that annoying. I find this book annoying.
More concretely, there are two ways to research or investigate a subject; one is to know already what you believe and then find examples that you can stick into your belief system. A good example of this is Creationism. Another good example of this is this book. The other, more...what shall I say, interesting way is to wonder about something, investigate it, look at your findings and see what what you can make of it - even if you don't like what you find.
The world, in my view, is moving - slowly - to a more beautiful way to think about power (Read Robert Greenleaf's The Servant Leader for starters, then read something like The Joy of Work by Bakke and, again, Collins' Good to Great where we find great leaders "looking out the window" when things go well and "looking in the mirror" when things go badly).
You can't talk people out of listening to Rush Limbaugh and those people will love this book. I think I just wandered into the wrong bar. My bad.
Footnote: The reader really does a perfect job with the text that he's given. He uses an arrogant, pompous style in keeping with the pretentiousness of the book. I didn't like it, but the reader was spot on in his performance. I would have given him 4-stars but he should have had enough integrity not to have read the book!
I think it was the publisher who came up with the title to be provocative. Rosin tells an excellent story of the current rise of women and the struggle of men to find their place in the latest iteration of the new world order. In fact, the book basically ends with the path ahead for men. I found this to be very informative, well written, well thought out, and absolutely an important reflection and look at our current era. Given the dominance of the males of our species over the course of history, and their oft-times abuse of power, the Rise of Women (as I prefer to think of this book) is an exciting narrative of the human world - and all that it influences - coming into a era which will be better for all; women, men, children, animals, all biological life, the environment. Viva la spiritus feminus and viva a world which blends all the wonderful aspects of both sexes of our species!
This is a wonderful foray into varying bits of history with a sharp, well thought out theme. It is easy to be an armchair quarterback with 20-20 hindsight, criticizing leaders and governments for their failures and mistakes, but Tuchman gives us a clear target: leaders who had every bit of information and advice they needed at their disposal to change course, but could not bring themselves to do so. Tuchman never strays from her theme and gives an invaluable lesson for those who can find it in themselves to be introspective. This should be required reading for any modern leader.
As with any Tuchman book, her writing is brilliant; articulate, witty, and kept me captivated throughout.
Wanda McCaddon's reading is superb, capturing Tuchman's wonderful writing style perfectly - at least as perfectly as an Brit can capture an American's "voice".
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