Insightful, funny, the world through Tina Fey glasses. We listened to the audio book version which was narrated by Mrs. Fey herself, which was half thInsightful, funny, the world through Tina Fey glasses. We listened to the audio book version which was narrated by Mrs. Fey herself, which was half the fun. She is brilliant at voices, especially imitating her father. ...more
I think the only reason I had not given up eating industrial meat (e.g. pretty much all meat) is that, up until now, I had not allowed anyone to argueI think the only reason I had not given up eating industrial meat (e.g. pretty much all meat) is that, up until now, I had not allowed anyone to argue on its behalf for long enough. JSF's book is an long argument that, for me, was enough.
This book is designed to make the reader care about the issue of meat production in the US. It does this quite effectively through a combination of dispassionate fact-conveying and appeals to our morality. Its aim was not to argue in favor of vegetarianism per se, but to condemn the horrific industrialized practices of raising meat, which account for nearly all of the meat available to buy today. After this has been described in all its bloody detail, the book confronts us with the question, "And now what will you so?" and does not let us go until we are forced to answer it.
For me, and many others, the answer was clear: stop being part of that system, as much as can be helped. Stop eating so much damn meat. And when you do, make sure you buy the expensive but good stuff.
You can't read this book if you want to continue eating meat the way you did before. Then again, you can't NOT read this book if you've ever eaten a drumstick or porkchop this century. That piece of flesh is the artifact of a story with more drama and conflict than the the most gripping prime-time television series. And it's a hell of a lot more real....more
This was one of those books where, as I read it, I kept agreeing with everything he says. Steven Johnson has a brilliant way of explaining his thoughtThis was one of those books where, as I read it, I kept agreeing with everything he says. Steven Johnson has a brilliant way of explaining his thoughts through anecdotes and metaphors, and he is great at finding and then elucidating patterns across different disciplines and contexts (perhaps this has something to do with the fact that the book is actually all about ideas as pattern recognition).
My only qualm is that he, in an attempt to be exhaustive in his explanations, gets a little repetitive at times. Other than that, it was a fun read. Not only do you learn about his theory of the origins of good ideas, you also get a "greatest hits" tour of historical breakthrough ideas and how they came about. Each of these innovation case studies is written with just the right dose of narrative drama to keep the book from becoming a tedious academic treatise. Also useful for keeping the arguments fresh in your mind—the image of a pensive young Darwin wading in the shallow waters of an atoll, musing about coral reefs, will stick with me for quite some time.
While far from preachy about what you should and should not do, this book can definitely be used as an advice book for organizations to individuals. While (barring the very last paragraph) it will not actually offer a checklist for instant innovation success, it suggests useful attitudes that can be applied to daily life and organizational structure. Liquid over solid states, patient gestation over frantic cogitation, conversation and debate instead of isolation, open rather than closed, etc....more