I liked the advice and it will certainly impact the choices I make as my daughter grows. I know now how much she needs a father in her life and no mat...moreI liked the advice and it will certainly impact the choices I make as my daughter grows. I know now how much she needs a father in her life and no matter what happens between my wife and I, I have to stay. I can never put my own happiness aheads of hers. And this is obvious. What the book did was give specific situations through anecdotes about how to handle a growing daughter. I now know that when she's out on a date, to find something in the garage to work on while she's out, so I will be seen when she gets dropped off. Amazing. However, the book does get a bit preachy. The demand for religion in her life goes against what my and my wife's philosophies are. I'll have to cross that bridge when I come to it. And then there is the author's firm stance against masterbation. Because it's keeping a secret from the family and can lead to secret cyber relationships. Or secret cyber relationships can lead to online pornography. This is rubbish. So I won't make my masterbation a secret. And yes, I frequently look at online porn. I won't be doing either with, around, or even when my daughter is home, so I don't see a problem with it. Along with the preachiness, which detracts from some of her messages, she does write from the female perspective - and this is invaluable. However, the constant preaching female in my head is a bit much. The book felt unbalanced in this regard. I would have loved to have read a book just like this (expect for the masterbation is bad part) written in partnership with a male counterpart. I would have wanted to read anecdotes from successful fathers, not just about them. I would've wanted a male author from the same pediatric psychology background as Dr. Meeker partnered and have his voice and perspective heard. The author frequently discusses the behaviors and psychologies of men vs. women, which is appropriate for the book, but I would have wanted that reiterated and elaborated on, and even balanced by a male author partner. I think this would diminish the preachiness of her voice and balanced out her way of persuasion, which was primarily anecdotal evidence. She even sounded defensive when she had to cite scientific research to back up her claims. I understand that that's necessary, but the way it was presented sounded insecure. Overall, a fantastic book for fathers of new and growing daughters. Mine is almost 15 months and I'm far far away from her dating years, and I still found valuable, practice, and applicable information. And I probably reread certain sections every so ofter as my girl grows up. (less)
It was tough reading a book concerning "new" physics written over 30 years ago. I couldn't stop thinking about updates and what recent theories have a...moreIt was tough reading a book concerning "new" physics written over 30 years ago. I couldn't stop thinking about updates and what recent theories have added to the discussion. That said, the book wasn't what I was expecting. Sure, I was expecting a discussion of physics and its tie into the everything-ness philosophies of the world. The explanations were thorough and clear. But I wanted some sort of connection. What was the point of the book? And maybe this is just too much of me getting in the way - after all, part of the title does say it's just an overview. But still, I wanted to know the why? What was the unifying theory behind the whole book? And that very well may be the exact point of the book, I'm aware. After all, it did flat out equal aspects to Zen koans. Maybe I'm supposed to put the book down and meditate on it. I'm not a math person, well, at least I haven't been in almost two decades. I understood the concepts and the theories explained. But I just wasn't interested. I did, however, love the different explanation/definitions for Wu Li. That was perfect and I wanted the entire book to reflect that - and I believe that there was an attempt made to do that, but it fell flat for me. I also loved the fact that every chapter was Chapter One. But the book is definitely dated. It's late 70's LSD references were more of a distraction than helpful, relevant, or even funny. (less)
A fantastic concept, but very poorly executed. Considering how much I loved the His Dark Materials trilogy and how much I respect Pullman's religious...moreA fantastic concept, but very poorly executed. Considering how much I loved the His Dark Materials trilogy and how much I respect Pullman's religious philosophies, I was surprised with how much I was underwhelmed by this book. It was too simplistic in its narrative - almost patronizing. There also didn't seem to be any commitment from Pullman for telling the story. What a loss! He would have been perfect to explore the dual and contradictory nature of Christianity's split between Church and action. Nothing beats "The Master and Margarita" as a retelling of Jesus. (less)
Books don't intimidate me. The length of a book, its thickness, its thinness of pages, its size of font, its complexity have never phased me. But "War...moreBooks don't intimidate me. The length of a book, its thickness, its thinness of pages, its size of font, its complexity have never phased me. But "War and Peace" scared me. For years, it sat on my shelf, mocking me with its prestige, with the many book lists it's on, with its accolades, with its "classic-ness," and its polysyllabic character names.
I never stopped to think about this irrational fear. I've read Russian literature before and even enjoyed much of what I've read. Chekhov is a genius of the short story. One of my favorite books of all time is "The Master and Margarita." Dostoevsky is thought engaging. So what was my reluctance for "War and Peace" based on?
Maybe its treatment of the Napoleonic wars, and I have little interest in reading military histories. Yet, I have no problem reading about wars in space and future histories.
I think, when it comes down to it, I was actually afraid of the length, the thickness, the thinness, the font size, its complexity, and one of my biggest peeves of Russian literature, keeping up with an plethora of characters with polysyllabic names sometimes containing the rare vowel. My own last name has nine letters, but only two vowels so I get sick enough with my students butchering my name.
So, ultimately, this book surprised me. This was my first book of Tolstoy and didn't know what to expect. And I don't know how much to attribute to the translation or to the author, but the writing was absolutely poetic. That surprised me the most. The writing was engaging and exciting and through that, I developed a fondness for the characters and their situations. I cared about how they changed in the rough dozen or so years presented in the book. I watched them grow from boys and girls into men and women. That in itself, I felt was a magical evolution.
The issues that this book deals with are not restricted to war and peace, but everything in between. Hypocrisy was dealt with. Fate was dealt with. Honor. Value of Genius vs. Opportunity. Rights of the underclass. Woman's rights. Group theory. Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. Socialism.
I find myself listing things as they come to mind, but over the course of 1500 pages, this list can go on and on. Needless to reiterate, but I was engaged and interested the whole time. Russian novels are not known to be beach page turners, but this one was definitely a page turner.
My only complaint, and not even a big enough complaint to warrant less than five stars, was that Tolstoy can be didactic at times. Most of these instances are interspersed throughout the book dealing with Napoleon being a genius or just a man at the right time in history - basically chance. These didactic interludes are extensive, yet what makes them tolerable are his use of analogy to fully explain his philosophies regarding fate's purpose. The only instance where this became tedious was at the end. Tolstoy devotes roughly the last fifty pages of the novel to his theories. No more characters. No more story. Just plain classroom time. They were still well written, but I think by this point, with the story over, it was frustrating for me to be so close to the end, but needing to make it through some of the most dense writing of those 1500 pages.
Read it. It's wonderful. It's beautiful. And it's worth the time you'll devote to making it through this opus. (less)