This has it all. A fabulous topic, perhaps one of the greatest artists of all time, a fabulous period piece, the Italian Renaissance, and a marvelous story, brilliantly drafted by Stone, that is as captivating as it is informative. I first read this book 40 years ago as a teenager backbacking through Europe, and when I finished it five days later, by which I was in Venice, I had to return to Rome to see pieces I'd read about but not seen when I was there. Planning to return to Italy again, I re-listened to the book, which reignited my interest in the Renaissance and Italian Art and improved the whole experience of touring this marvelous country.
Historical Fiction has the marvelous ability to weave a compelling story out of cloth that is the history of the era, putting names, places and players into context such that you really feel you have a grasp of the history.
A book loaded with interesting insights, Outliers is compelling in the way that chain emails capture the attention with their surprising stories. But Gladwell's preoccupation with explaining individual greatness as the product of its unique environment seemed a socialist twist on suggesting that greatness is possible and achieved not by individual effort, but by circumstance, and therefor failure to achieve excellence is acceptable because the circumstances were obviously not favorable or conducive.
The value in this book, to child rearing and people management, is to understand the environment and use it to find and make the most of opportunities. Business treatises are replete with advice on how to cultivate the best out of your people, but Gladwell-speak can be misconstrued into thinking that everyone has the potential to be great leaders, which can leave organizations weakened by potentially good people rather than actively seeking already great people. Whilst the former may be better for society, the latter is better for the business.
Several biographies on Jack and Ted led me to want to know more about their father Joe, which brought me to Nasaw's biography, an extraordinary biography of a fascinating man whose influence on his children can not be understated. Kudos to Nasaw whose extensive research allows him to present both a deep dive into this historically important man, but also an unusually unbiased discussion. So whilst I came away with strong view that this was an evil man, I was equally struck with immense respect for his deeply felt principles, his unflinching dedication to them, his extraordinary accomplishments, and the tragedies he endured.
But most of all was the insights into this family that helped me to understand his children in ways that multiple biographies on each of them failed to convey. Joe was more than a force. He was an industrialist success story to rival Carnegie. He was as involved in his family as he was in his business, with tactics in each that inspire and revolt. His devotion and dysfunction in his marriage is extraordinary, perhaps an exageration of his era that is hard to comprehend today. That he had so many children develop such extraordinary lives and be such a force for this country is a reflection of this aptly titled book--the remarkable life and turbulent times of Joe Kennedy.
frequently cited as the bible of conservative-think, this bleeding heart liberal was pleasantly surprised to find it a wonderful story, brilliantly written, and thoroughly enjoyed. It's politics are more libertarian than conservative, challenging assumptions not so much about whether there is a role for government, but where the lines are or should be drawn on that issue of 'spreading the wealth' between the economic benefits and revolution avoidance vs. compassion than can take it so far as to be self destructive. Despite an ending that I thought was far weaker than the book in general, its length, originally a turnoff, turned to be a delight, as it was one of those books that you just don't want to end.
A well researched and excellent perspective on the thinking driving a company and technology that is and will shape our world. I thought I was aware of google, but realize I saw only some of the surface of the water. But the deeper dive into not just what its done, but what was and is possible makes for a fascinating understanding of this remarkable technology and how it can, and most likely will be used...and a sobering reflection on the challenging societal questions of whether we're comfortable with going there.
What started as an interesting, and very well narrated, story of the history and role of midwives evolved into a captivating insight into the life and culture of England's desperately poor in the mid 20th century. Despite a tendency to play for the "heartwarming", it was a fascinating look at recent history that was so different than what I'd expected
After completing Ted Kennedy's autobiography, a fascinating albeit sacharin perspective on the history of the Kennedy's in world events, I was intrigued enough to want to get another perspective on this remarkable clan. Joe McGinniss' book was, if this is possible, more anti-Kennedy than "True Compass" was the sugar-coated version. As a pair, they were an excellent insight into this important and fascinating clan, from Joe to Teddy and everything in between, and their significant role in history. At the end, you stillo won't know exactly what it was--but there really is no 'truth' when it comes to history, just perspective
Most interesting book that gives a compelling narrative as to why the food industry has corrupted all aspects of eating by its clever marketing of ingredients vs. food, and the associated value judgement that goes with "good" vs. "bad" ingredients, vitamins, lipids, minerals, etc. He also makes a compelling argument for the social aspects of food, spanning pleasure, calories, and nutrition. Absolutely worth reading if you have an interest in food
But perhaps the operative word in that last sentence would be the recommendation to read it. The narrator was awful. Easily understood, but sacharine and sanctimonius, leaving one with the constant and nagging suspcion of being preached to and judged unworthy. Admittedly a hard book to narrate, as it has preachy leanings. But, they could have done better! Hecki, anyone could have done better
The first half of the book was unbearable, at best. Bourdain's self-importance is oppressive, with an overabundance of affectation embellishing his affectation. In the second half, I found myself begrudgingly agreeing with many of his assertions, tho still finding his delivery offensive, but increasingly found his observations on chefs, food, and politics to be modestly interesting.
Some might think it worth mentioning that Bourdain fully acknowledges that he is an obnoxious, self-impressed blowhard with no more right to his opinions than his readers think he should have, which is modest. I took little comfort in his self-awareness. He's still obnoxious. Just interesting.
Isaacson is one of the great biographers of our time, and Jobs is deserving of his skill. He provides insights and perspective into this complex man who has had such an immense impact on our use of technology in the current era, perhaps akin to our current industrial revolution. How he did it, what he was thinking, all provide lessons in leadership that will easily and frequently be misunderstood as coloring books that will mislead aspiring artists to thinking they're Michelangelo, but are well worth studying.
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