This curious little owl decides to sleep through the night to stay awake the next day to see what the fuss is all about ‘day.’ It finds...more(spoiler alert)
This curious little owl decides to sleep through the night to stay awake the next day to see what the fuss is all about ‘day.’ It finds day surprising, color after color (yellow sun, green trees, blue skies, and you’ll be surprised what other colors the author elaborated). When night returns, the owl sees it with a new light and equal wonders. Hopgood made WOW a book of color, curiousity, and bewilderment in just one book —that’s too good to be true. (less)
In Heart Jeffers tells the story of a little girl whose thoughts are full of the lively of the world and loses them as she grows (and in the end, foun...moreIn Heart Jeffers tells the story of a little girl whose thoughts are full of the lively of the world and loses them as she grows (and in the end, found them back).
It too metaphorical for a 5 year-old, but as Jeffers, I think, would argue in this book, who are we to say that they wouldn't get it? (less)
Most straightforward thank-you book I have ever got my hands on. Clayton thanked everything any of us would think of AND MISSED OUT! (and I haven't ev...moreMost straightforward thank-you book I have ever got my hands on. Clayton thanked everything any of us would think of AND MISSED OUT! (and I haven't even mention anything about his drawings yet!). Buy two maybe, so you can give the other copy to whoever you can think of.(less)
Lucy, a young bear, took home a human boy he found squeaking behind bushes. Keeping him a pet, Lucy finds children make the wors...more (major spoiler alert!)
Lucy, a young bear, took home a human boy he found squeaking behind bushes. Keeping him a pet, Lucy finds children make the worst pet to take care of (aside from the fun of it). She too will learn that, for the pet, keeping it as one is not always the best thing.
This is Peter Brown's picture book following Curious Garden, and Children is as fun as Garden is, and more. His drawings are something to marvel over and over again. One can immediately realize they are of meticulous design instead merely of things to pass time with (Brown quite the experimenter when it comes to drawing styles). Almost on every page he jokes without skidding off the main story. To make his point on empathy, Brown reverse the roles of pet and pet keeper (genius, I say).
. This tells a story of three friends: Jackass, Monkey, and Mouse. Jackass the laptop nerd haven't seen a book before and found Monkey's interesting. T...more. This tells a story of three friends: Jackass, Monkey, and Mouse. Jackass the laptop nerd haven't seen a book before and found Monkey's interesting. Though can't do many things a laptop can, the book captivated him (or her, not sure). Very funny story, and funny ending, too.
I found publishers' video trailer, a short animation based on the original illustration. Funny. I didn't know children picture books have video trailer. I've embedded the video here(less)
It's basic premise, that it is plausible someday (maybe soon) science can objectively map moral landscape, is engaging.
Though not beating around the...moreIt's basic premise, that it is plausible someday (maybe soon) science can objectively map moral landscape, is engaging.
Though not beating around the bushes, it takes quite some time untill it makes its main argument (and as usual, an angry tone toward religion, to which I don't disagree but feel queasy nonetheless). The whole book is more of philosophy than research report )I was expecting more of the latter).
Harris closes his arguments with a note of optimism of global pursuit of happiness, but, I think, closes its opinions prematurely. (less)
This Ken Watanabe (not the actor. This one is younger and has more hair on his head!) once worked for McKinsey Consultant, and decided to resign to ve...moreThis Ken Watanabe (not the actor. This one is younger and has more hair on his head!) once worked for McKinsey Consultant, and decided to resign to venture on writing a book on basic problem solving guide for children as his contribution following the announcement of the Ministry of Education that Japan education was to shift from memorization-focused to problem-solving-focused. The result was a best-seller not only for children market, but all demographic reach (originally released in Japan two years ago; now it's available in english, thank you very much).
PS101 builds upon three study cases --stories, since it's for kids. (1) A bunch of vegetable rock band --literally-- aspiring to make big; (2) Another vegetable with ambition to be Hollywood CGI virtuosp, and; (3) A kid with goal the of becoming world-class soccer star [it isn't clear why the last case is human child, while the first two are veggies:]. Through these tales Watanabe advices that problem-solving is a skill acquired through habits, not talent (nothing new) and teaches six problem solving tools (all six are, too, nothing new).
But here's where the book hits your surprise nerves. Almost every problem tricks you into a hesitated solution, and Watanabe points this in the clearest way. The veggies and the kid in the cases cleverly dodge these mental booby traps. It makes you reflect on your failing pasts and be ashamed of yourselves for underestimating your own surroundings' circumstances (boy o boy, the kids beat you good).
The third story is so moving I got goosebumps reading it. It wasn't clear if I was reading children picture book (see my bookshelves) or a self-help book. I find all self-help books rubbish, but I guess there's always a first everything.
PS101 is old recipe delivered with the truest simplicity. Watanabe is definitely hands-on kind of guy, so while problem solving is a work of mind, through his words it's a vivid painting. Beautiful one, at that, too.(less)
In I Feel Bad About My Neck Ephron tells her stories on various female signature experiences: wrinkles, purses, physical maintenance, and, not to disa...moreIn I Feel Bad About My Neck Ephron tells her stories on various female signature experiences: wrinkles, purses, physical maintenance, and, not to disappoint readers, a little bit of romance, too (I'm surprised there's nothing on PMS!). She does so intimately personal while at the same time present herself as the female human species prototype.
Neck is not a self-help book. It doesn't advocate, or worst, gives consultation. It just tells things. It rants and rambles. Her intimacy, New York sense of humor (and Ephron loves New York very much), and her typical female perspectives in a fresh semantic wrap make Neck hard to put down once picked up. Reading it, you'll feel like you're having a lively conversation at some coffee house (I told you Ephron loves New York). You'll laugh (ha-ha) and gain insights (ah-ha) by every chapter, every page, every paragraph, every sentences, every written phrase.
I'm not proud to say that several weeks ago I found out that I am a gender chauvinist. A student asked me in a classroom if it is true that males' thought are more organized and make more sense than females'. I don't exactly know the answer, but, referring to my personal experiences, I could not dispute the claim (or maybe I didn't want to, which made me even worst chauvinistic). I don't have many favorite female authors, or favorite female anything (even my favorite actors rank higher than my favorite actresses).
But if you asked me how much I like I Feel Bad About My Neck, just remember that I mentioned Neck is filled with rants and ramblings, remember the chauvinist that I just confessed I am, then look at how many stars I put for it. That's how much.
Chopra tells the of tale of Mickey, a stage comic, whose recently deceased father's soul came to clue him in that he's about to get a lesson on life....moreChopra tells the of tale of Mickey, a stage comic, whose recently deceased father's soul came to clue him in that he's about to get a lesson on life. A guide equipped with puzzles, Francisco, is provided to help Mickey sees that he has been, among other things, trapped in life of fear, addicted to his ego, and have been taken hostage by social role that life entices instead of being a free soul. These get in a way to his own happiness --a big irony for a guy whose daily job is to bring laughter for others. If let go all of these, Mickey is promised to have a big laugh. You have to give Chopra credits for his storytelling: he's brief, the jokes feel real, the characters are optimally playing their roles, and the plot is magical. But it stops there.
The Mickey's tale serves to prove Chopra's point of a 'path to joy and spiritual optimism,' which served well until Chopra put god on its title. First, there's almost no god in it (Chopra implies that God is the whole universe, but he left the idea raw and fleeting).
Second, Why God Is Laughing? is supposed to be a teaching note. Any teaching proposes 'truth'; and one doesn't deliver any kind truth through anecdotes and metaphors per se, which is what Mickey's tale is: 7-chapter-stretched of anecdotal tale fat with metaphors. Anecdotes and metaphors are only used when one tries to: (1) simplify complex, abstract ideas to newcomers, and/or; (2) beautify the deliveries of already proven, truthful ideas. But neither anecdotes or metaphors are the truth themselves. That leaves the one remaining extra chapter, the 10 lessons of spiritual optimism, is a cluster of ideas that put to play far too much too soon.
Who am I kidding? After 255 pages, Why God Is Laughing? is almost fictional, and I'm not even slightly convinced. Either I'm reading the wrong Chopra or he is overrated. But for what it's worth, Mike Myers' foreword is heart-melting. (less)
Cikibawawaw claims to be a collection of picture-stories of no importance. I beg the opposite. I’ll try to make...moreReconsidering Cikibawawaw (adihrespati)
Cikibawawaw claims to be a collection of picture-stories of no importance. I beg the opposite. I’ll try to make my case one argument at a time.
Psychologist Noam Chomsky proposed a set of structures that construct a language: surface structure (deals with grammar and syntax; minimizing the ambiguity of message delivered) and deep structure (pragmatism, to manage how the message on delivery is intended to be responded; it deals with the transfer of meaning). If I want to express hunger (deep structure), I would say “I am hungry” (surface). This, I suspect, applies to all forms of languages; sign languages included; and the same, I again suspect, goes with visual communication. I’m quite sure that its surface are forms, shapes, shades, lines, etc; and its deep is/are also the intended message. On the surface, Cikibawawaw is undeniably neat all -- lines, shapes, colors-- looks articulate, if not perfect; almost all in good proportions. This, readers would agree. But on its deep is where I think its creative triumph really is, but what is its deep structure --its intended message?
Anyone would spontaneously dubbed Cikibawawaw a creative product, and they’d be right. But note that creativity is largely defined as an act of making something new and useful. Since the author himself has dismissed the importance of the stories he composed, its creative status is skating on thin ice. It is either he is being modest, or just plain wrong.
Experimental psychology found that when creativity occurs, two common ideas that are unrelated at first, become related; its peculiarity is where the novelty taste comes from, and we love novelty. Our society unfairly high-praises people blessed with creative personalities. However, creativity is more of a learnable ability than personality. Thus, theories of grooming creativity have been proposed by numbers researchers, and its methods by self-help authors and trainers. Most of these exercises encourage brainstorming; and the most difficult thing about brainstorming, especially for untrained adults, is keeping oneself from prematurely censoring his/her own thoughts. The fresh, meaningful value of creative products depend on this temporarily overlooking all socially learned rules. This is, to borrow Chomsky’s perspective, where deep structure of a creative communication lies, where meanings --original ones-- are constructed. And this is where Cikibawawaw shines.
I dare not say from which element Cikibawawaw started; the words come first or the pictures do (I do not know the author that well). His ideas may come from the mental sound of the rhymes already buzzing in his head, and that mental speech song --the prosody-- gave birth to its words. However, the author being a visual communication practitioner, the whole thing could come from scattered images brought together --images upon images. Either way, it is the rhymes that send Cikibawawaw home; not because they’re perfect, but because they’re not. The story bears little significance, but the rhymes hide an immaculate richness. Each rhyming word needs not reality check. They are almost merely a continuous sequence, without any moment of hesitation. It is the linguistic version of Will Smith’s Men In Black dance; smooth and flowing.
More importantly, these rhymes reflect almost no inhibition along its production. No censorship --what comes out, comes out, and the author openly accepts. The stories are made as they go --real time-- as if almost without self-criticism (itself is a sort of self-kindness). That is brainstorming at its purest. Creativity in its most fun possible. Production in the fastest lane. As if the author breathes creativity. Cikibawawaw is Putra’s playground (in playground, you never think twice, you just run around until you find another thing fun to do. It’s his freedom land. That’s why Cikibawawaw is fun to follow. And fun, by the way, turned out to be the hidden message: its deep structure. So hidden, it is now probably Putra’s reflex (thus, probably why the price he put on his small book is ‘not important’), when in fact his very experience, is the envy of all authors, illustrators, composers, even leaders, and me included.
I mentioned that creative product must bear usefulness; and Cikibawawaw potentially does. I personally hope, if not suspect, that all sorts of creative items are contagious. In fact almost anything an individual does is contagious. Yawning, for one, is contagious. It was said that it is so because when one yawns, he/she exhales carbon dioxide, which then is inhaled by others and caused him/her yawn along. But the explanation turned out false. Yawning isn’t contagious to others, it is copied by others. Our mirror neurons make this possible. Everybody is equipped to yawn, and when we see someone contracts his/her jaw to the max, our mirror neuron recognizes and understands that person’s experience, and ignites the similar set of neurons the do the same, and we ourselves thus yawn along. It is the most primitive form of imitating behavior, and, later on, empathy.
At a more complex form, when we consume a creative product, our brains responded in a similar way with the neural process originated from the creator’s brain. Here where Cikibawawaw gets funky. When you read it, your brain mimics --little by little-- Putra’s way of thinking. Since the stories almost bear no significance, what emerges is the liberating rhymes. And what you’ll copy is Putra’s free, fast, and full of acceptance; his genuine nature in brainstorming. Read it multiple of times, you may get lucky to inherent his creativity (and if you’re a school-age kid, your in the best of luck). One other thing: you inherent it wirelessly (how cool is that?).
If this is so, maybe its unimportant status needs reconsideration.
John Humphys offers a promising premise in his In God We Doubt: His implicit claims is that to be an atheist is to follow Dawkins' footstep: to think...moreJohn Humphys offers a promising premise in his In God We Doubt: His implicit claims is that to be an atheist is to follow Dawkins' footstep: to think that atheists are both intellectually and morally superior. He disagrees on both points, especially the latter. He points out how Dawkinian atheism goes to far by ridiculing believers. And because he does not share the same sentiment, he calls himself a failed atheist.
As a reporter, Humphrys makes his case well. This should come to no surprise; he ran Humphry's In Search for God --a talkshow on BBC Radio 4. However, Humphry's arguments are weak at best. None of Humphrys's arguments are scientific, just common sense. His final argument toward Dawkins is nothing more than "why not" --which would be the very cop-out point Dawkins trumps.
That leaves Humphry's final view of religion: It brings peace to some people (majority, even), so why not leave them alone. In the end, In God We Doubt is no more than a writing of a nice man.
PS: He refers to Sam Harris --author of End of Faith-- as Sam Smith. Either he makes a silly mistakes, or Harris sometimes does go by another name.
After reinvented his intelligence he realized he lost (and wrote Know-It-All), Jacobs is to add something to his life he previously didn't have --a ta...moreAfter reinvented his intelligence he realized he lost (and wrote Know-It-All), Jacobs is to add something to his life he previously didn't have --a taste of religion.
Brought up in a secular family and stranger to religion, Jacobs envies those with faithful convictions and decided to give it a go. Journalist as he is, he began his journey reading a neck-high stack of books on biblical topic, to then walked his life abiding the bible word for word, for one year.
The year turned weird, socially at first (asocially is a more accurate term), but then spiritually: finding out that he lived the bible from literally to personally --spiritually. His insights are fresh and genuine, like no cliche-ish, lip-service, take-for-granted-ish believers. His new-found thoughts are much much better.
And with him being very that funny, you cannot but hope he's your friend.(less)
Funny man Bill Bryson is never only funny. His notes on growing up within the historical context of the time --United States of America's 50s 50 70s--...moreFunny man Bill Bryson is never only funny. His notes on growing up within the historical context of the time --United States of America's 50s 50 70s-- gives new meaning on self-disclosure to self-discovery to, especially, the psychology of growing up.(less)
In a morning of December 1996, Jill Bolte Taylor had a stroke attack. A prominent neuroanatomist as she was, she analyzed the attack real-time and con...moreIn a morning of December 1996, Jill Bolte Taylor had a stroke attack. A prominent neuroanatomist as she was, she analyzed the attack real-time and confessed the experience is, to borrow her word, cool (how many brain scientist get to study this inside out). For eight more years, her scientific skill is what guides her self-rehabilitation.
My Stroke of Insight is managed into three parts: 1) an introduction-for-dummy on how the brain principally work; 2) the morning of the stroke and rehabilitating from it, and; 3) post-rehabilitation contemplation. The fun starts on part 2 and 3. On the previous, amazing is the word for Bolte's first hand discovery on what it may mean to have a self-awareness and consciousness. On the latter, mind-opening is the word for her premise on what it means to be happy. Because of its scientific approach of, Stroke makes all conventional self-help books on happiness worth of only paper recycling.*
*If you have to litter, the least you can do is make Al Gore proud of you.(less)