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There’s a small club of books which, after I’ve read them, obliterate my need for any gift list the coming Christmas: I’ll simply buy the book by the case, and give it to everyone I care about. In this small club are First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, and Love is the Killer App by Tim Sanders. There are a few others, but those come to mind most immediately.
An Everlasting Meal is newest to the club and I don’t think I’ll wait for Christmas with a good nine and a half months’ of birthdays lined up before then. Tamar Adler didn’t just write a book; she gave us all a gift.
I believe that the best books will change your habits in some way, and this one certainly has changed mine. For most of my life I’ve said, “I don’t cook.” and now, I am. I’ve been cooking throughout my reading of An Everlasting Meal, and I’m quite sure I’ll continue to. I’ve already experimented with a few variations of her recipes, approaching them with no fear. Amazing if you know of my history in the kitchen, just amazing.
Lehrer’s book is useful, and so I greatly appreciate that he has written it; to me, useful is what all non-fiction should be.
One of my favorite passages in the book was this one: [blogged a story related to it on Talking Story:We see what we want to see.]
“For too long, people have disparaged the emotional brain, blaming our feelings for all of our mistakes. The truth is far more interesting. If it weren’t for our emotions, reason wouldn’t exist at all… When we are cut off from our feelings, the most banal decisions became impossible. A brain that can’t feel can’t make up its mind.”
The book is full of case studies and explained experiments, and that can wear on me at times, but Lehrer pulled it off with just one or two exceptions; his pacing is generally good.
Near the end he writes,
“THINK ABOUT THINKING. If you’re going to take only one idea away from this book, take this one: Whenever you make a decision, be aware of the kind of decision you are making and the kind of thought process it requires. It doesn’t matter if you’re choosing between wide receivers or political candidates. You might be playing poker or assessing the results of a television focus group. The best way to make sure that you are using your brain properly is to study your brain at work, to listen to the argument inside your head.”
He was very successful in getting me to do so, and I’ll be practicing it going forward now that I have his coaching and helpful vocabulary in mind about the brain science of it all.
The success of this book is that Lehrer did tackle decision-making: If he’d only written “How We Think” it would have fallen short.
As of this writing, it’s only $2.99 on Kindle, and your experiences are like the blade of a comprehension slicing pair of scissors (more on that within the blog post this points to).
I decided to post this earlier than I usually do (as full book review), just in case you want to read along with me: The price is certainly right! (You don’t need the Kindle device itself; you can download it from the Kindle page to your computer.)
I’m just 15% through it, about to start Chapter 3, Fooled by a Feeling, and so far am liking it quite a bit. Lehrer has a very easy-to-read writing style.
I find that nowadays I gravitate increasingly to older books and particularly to tales of romance and derring-do from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the period that the critic Roger Lancelyn Green dubbed “the age of the storytellers.”
To my delight, the class proved immensely popular. Students said that it reminded them of why they had majored in English: not because they could hardly wait to read the latest in literary theory, but because they loved stories.
It kind of made me wonder: what did I really learn? Am I smarter than I used to be?
He’s captured the thesis of each book in 140 characters (so I assume as he tweeted them), similar to how others will do so with index cards; imagine how retrievable they become as his resource library.
A Voluminous Dream Unfolding in Denver and South Park: Calling all booklovers in the Rocky Mountain West! Got empty rooms? Adopt a Library and help a voluminous dream come true! Read today’s Denver Post.
Oh my! As a book lover, this story has me dreaming wildly, both to help support them, and in imagining what a Sense of Place book haven could be here in Hawai‘i.
Upstairs, the situation seems almost under control. But in the basement, the stacks are floor-to-rafters. Leaning. Forming walls. Framing the furnace and water heater. Filling the stairwell. Each book is a beautiful brick of paper and knowledge bound together and asking to be held.
Each book, however chaotic its placement in the basement, has a handwritten 3-by-5 index card devoted to it. These books are loved.
But a library that exists as piles, or in boxes, is not a proper library…
News Flash! Couple who are moving 30,000 books from their basement to temporary housing have a website. And a beautiful blog. And a facebook page, and most important of all, a ranch, (one of the oldest in Colorado) with a 99 year lease (pending), which will be the future home of this amazing “living library” with the help of bookfriends, investors, and architects willing to donate a little time and effort and some much needed funds to make the dream come true.
I shouldn’t be able to read most of the books on my shelf. I never took a single classical history class and I cheated through most of Economics 001. Still, the loci of my library are Greek History and Applied Economics. And though they often are beyond me educationally, I’m able to comprehend them because of some equalizing tricks. Reading to lead or learn requires that you treat your brain like the muscle that it is–lifting the subjects with the most tension and weight. For me, that means pushing ahead into subjects you’re not familiar with and wresting with them until you can–shying away from the “easy read.”