I finished reading Outliers yesterday. I borrowed the book from the library and it was over 2 weeks overdue by the time I returned it which resulted i...moreI finished reading Outliers yesterday. I borrowed the book from the library and it was over 2 weeks overdue by the time I returned it which resulted in a whopping 3 dollar fee!
I think Gladwell only has 3 books out. If this is true, I’ve read all of them now. Blink, Tipping Point, and Now Outliers. Blink and Tipping Point didn’t really captivate me. Contrastingly, Outliers really did interest me. Gladwell outlines what makes really successful people successful. He investigates the success of geniuses, professional athletes, Bill Gates, Bill Joy, Asians and their proclivity for mathematics, Jewish New York lawyers and takeover law. What he finds is that birth dates, birth years, social-economic climates, arbitrary lucky breaks, and cultural legacies all play crucial roles in a person’s exceptional rise to success.
For instance, pro-athlete hockey players in Canada, he’s noted usually were born in the first 3 months of the year. The cut off date for youth hockey leagues is January 1, suggesting that the kids who just miss the cutoff date, get a few extra months to develop and mature in their skills which also draws extra coaching.
Success is the result of what sociologists like to call “accumulative advantage.” The professional hockey player starts out a little bit better than his peers. And that little difference leads to an opportunity that makes that difference a bit bigger, and that edge is turn leads to another opportunity, which makes the initially small difference bigger still - and on and on until the hockey player is a genuine outlier. But he didn’t start out an outlier. He started out just a little bit better.” - pg 30
I don’t want to give the rest of the book away. Suffice it to say it’s pretty interesting and surprising. I leave you with my favorite passage that pretty much sums it up and inspires.
“We are so caught in the myths of the best and the brightest and the self-made that we think outliers spring naturally from the earth. We look at the young Bill Gates and marvel that our world allowed that thirteen-year-old to become a fabulously successful entrepreneur. But that’s the wrong lesson. Our world only allowed one thirteen-year-old unlimited access to a time sharing terminal in 1968. If a million teenagers had been given the same opportunity, how many more Microsofts would we have today? To build a better world we need to replace the patchwork of lucky breaks and arbitrary advantages that today determine success- the fortunate birth dates and the happy accidents of history - with a society that provides opportunities for all. If Canada had a second hockey league for those children born in the last half of the year, it would today have twice as many adults hockey league for those children born in the last half of the year, it would today have twice as many adult hockey stars. Now multiply that sudden flowering of talent by every field and profession. The world could be so much richer than the world we have settled for.” - pg 268
I loved that it was such a stark diference from James and the Giant Peach, my only other experience with Dahl. I borrowed this short collection of sho...moreI loved that it was such a stark diference from James and the Giant Peach, my only other experience with Dahl. I borrowed this short collection of short stories from the Roomie and enjoyed the stories immensely. The first one, "The Visitor" had me cracking up. I think it was actually my favorite. The others were impressive and I enjoyed the dark humor. Roomie's favorite was "The Great Switcheroo" Dahl's a little dirty ain't he? Who would have thunk it? I did find it a tiny bit tiresome that 3 of 4 stories ended with a punchline... I almost expected the drum and cymbol cue for a "LAUGH NOW, JOKE'S OVER" to sound. But I only find it a TINY bit tiresome. Mostly, I enjoyed the experience.
Roomie asked me what I thought he enjoyed writing more, the pervy short stories or the children's storie. I must say I'm willing to bet that he enjoyed the adult stories so much more. (less)
Great book on love. Especially for philosophy majors. They would definitely appreciate all the references/it would cater to the egoist in them.
So, I...moreGreat book on love. Especially for philosophy majors. They would definitely appreciate all the references/it would cater to the egoist in them.
So, I loved this book because not only did it appeal to the philosophy major in me but also the cynic in me.. which just so happens to be a big part of me. At the very end it does have a slight uplift that would soften the cynic a little.. and all cynics need to work on softening up even if it's just a little once in a while.
The ending also reminded me of the Egg anecdote at the end of Woody Allen's Annie Hall. (less)
I just knew Steve Martin would have a quiet, gentle, simple grasp on prose. Something about his persona.. odd since I know he's usually slapstick humo...moreI just knew Steve Martin would have a quiet, gentle, simple grasp on prose. Something about his persona.. odd since I know he's usually slapstick humorist.. but I just had a notion.
He met and exceeded my expectations of him :)
I rented the movie after reading the book. He wrote the screen play for it too and it was very nicely adapted.
Charming. Quaint. Heart-breaking in the quiet lonely way. Slightly uplifting. Slightly comforting.
“Women have no appreciation of good looks; at least, good women have not.”
“We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle...more“Women have no appreciation of good looks; at least, good women have not.”
“We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind, and poisons us. The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification. Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret. The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things. It has forbidden to itself, with desire for what is monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful.”
“Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious. Both are disappointed.”
“Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.”
“When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one’s self, and one always ends by deceiving others.”
“He was a most offensive brute, though he had an extraordinary passion for Shakespeare.”
“One could never pay too high a price for any sensation.”
“There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves we feel that no one else has a right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.”
“It is only shallow people who require years to get rid of an emotion. A man who is master of himself can end a sorrow as easily as he can invent a pleasure. I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”
“It often seems to me that art conceals the artist far more completely than it ever reveals him”
“A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her.”
*************************************** “Each time one loves is the only time one has ever loved. Difference of object does not alter singleness of passion. It merely intensifies it. We can have in life but one great experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that experience as often as possible.”
“Even when one has been wounded by it?”
“Especially when one has been wounded by it.” *******************************************(less)
So I started Kite Runner two nights ago after finishing Blink. It took me a week or so with Blink since I wasn’t very enthralled, making it easier to...moreSo I started Kite Runner two nights ago after finishing Blink. It took me a week or so with Blink since I wasn’t very enthralled, making it easier to put it down at night when it was my bed time.
Kite Runner, I started over a long weekend and could not for the life of me put it down. I was so hooked I even found myself reading Bing’s copy when I was over at Deesh and Bing’s this weekend playing an invigorating (and might I add victorious) game of girls vs. boys Cranium and then Cheez Geek (Cheez Geek one of the 3 new things this week).
The Kite Runner. Must be the most disturbing, haunting book I’ve yet to read. The close seconds would be A Child Called It and Night. They both broke my heart but not in the way Kite Runner did. I was in tears maybe four separate times during the past two days it took me to finish the novel. A coming of age story with pre–war Afganhistan and the post-Taliban arrival as the backdrop of the story.
I tend to take note of books I know my dad will enjoy and as I read them I jot down notes on post its for my dad and flag the relevant pages. I flagged the story about Amir and Hassen tying bumble bees with string and letting them fly a bit before yanking them back. My dad used to do exactly the same thing to dragonflies when he was younger growing up in Vietnam. Then as I got deeper and deeper into the book and found myself tearing up, I started to doubt whether my dad, a vet would enjoy going down memory lane. I took breaks and called Mary Ellen to relay the story and basically to pull me out a little. Relief.
The refugee stories seem to make vivid my parents’ stories post Vietnam.
I kept imagining I was reading about my dad. Funny how war is pretty much the same no matter where it is. I usually don’t read war books so this is somewhat new to me. Before Kite Runner, the only books I’ve read with war in the background were Anne Frank’s diary, The Hiding Place, and Night. All heart breaking in their own respect but I never felt so invested in events unfolding with each turn of the page as I did with Kite Runner.
So aside from making me cry so easily, Hosseini also managed to make me laugh several times out loud. One scene when Amir, in such a detached manner, thinks to himself as someone is experiencing an eye injury, “Oh that’s vitreous fluid.. I read about that, that’s vitreous fluid.” I used to work for an ophthalmologist.
So here are a few quotes I jotted down into my reading journal…
“There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft..”
“If there’s a God out there, then I would hope he has more important things to attend to than my drinking Scotch or eating pork.”
“Children aren’t coloring books. You don’t get to fill them with your favorite colors.”
“We plucked the stinger off a bee and tied a string around the poor thing and yanked it back every time it took flight.”
“John Wayne didn’t really speak Farsi and he wasn’t Iranian.”
“And the beggars were mostly children now, thin and grim-faced, some no older than five or six. They sat in the laps of their burque-clad mothers alongside gutters at busy street corners… Hardly any of them sat with an adult male- the war had made fathers a rare commodity in Afghanistan.”
“Returning to Kabul was like running into an old, forgotten friend, and seeing that life hadn’t been good to him, that he’d become homeless and destitute.”
‘I’m so afraid…. Because I’m so profoundly happy, Dr Rasul. Happiness like this is frightening. They only let you be this happy if they’re preparing to take something from you.”
I wrote the last one down because that’s how I feel when I feel very happy. I get extra wary of freak accidents.
“I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up and slipping away unannounced in t(less)