Twentysome years ago my friend José and I were looking at some then recent images from the Hubble telescope, and one of us said to the other, "One dayTwentysome years ago my friend José and I were looking at some then recent images from the Hubble telescope, and one of us said to the other, "One day we will recognize that these photos of trillion-mile-high clouds of dust and gas are icons, contemporary images of God." Apparently the Templeton Foundation Press felt similarly, because a few years after that conversation they published this collection of beautiful astronomical photographs juxtaposed with quotations from scientists, philosophers, and theologians about awe, reverence, and mystery.
Twentysome years ago I would have given this book four or five stars, but something has changed in the intervening years. It is not that I have "lost my faith"—if anything I am more religious, in my own way, than I was then. Nor is it the hint of intelligent design that runs throughout the book—though I oppose the teaching of religious narrative as science (i.e., ID as a political movement), I don't summarily dismiss the ideas put forward by different intelligent design proponents, as I was not convinced in BIO 101 by the mantra that the universe is neither teleological nor anthropomorphic.
It is that the reverence in this book is a bit shallow, a bit glib, and the intelligence revealed in the universe a bit too humane and benevolent. I want a little more of the terrifying, cosmic, inhuman God that these photos reveal, the God of Robinson Jeffers, the God of exploding stars and colliding galaxies, if only for the sake of balance. As shit hits the fan in the age of the Anthropocene (i.e. the Anthropo-done), and life suddenly becomes a lot harder than we've gotten accustomed to, we're going to need to engage with that side a good deal more, in our faith and our science. ...more
A begrudging thank you to all the hipsters who have restored the beard to its rightful place on the faces of men across the nation.
Thankfully, growinA begrudging thank you to all the hipsters who have restored the beard to its rightful place on the faces of men across the nation.
Thankfully, growing up in the 70s meant that, to me, a man with a beard was a natural as a dude with long hair, and so I never really needed the reminder.
What I did need was the information on how to grow, style, clean, maintain, and (Heaven forfend!) remove said facial hair, and all of that info is available in this slender, surprisingly well written and informative book. A definite requirement on the bookshelves of all those guys who love their beards, but who never learned from their own fathers how to groom themselves properly. ...more
A basic introduction to the basic skills involved in good management, in the form of a fair lyclunky fable. In fact, you can skip the prose version ifA basic introduction to the basic skills involved in good management, in the form of a fair lyclunky fable. In fact, you can skip the prose version if you want and get right to the meat via this review.
Here are the bullet-pointed highlights:
One Minute Manager Secret #1: One Minute Goal Setting 1. Agree on your goals. 2. See what good behavior looks like. 3. Write out each of your goals on a single sheet of paper using less than 250 words. 4. Read and re-read each goal, which requires only a minute or so each time you do it. 5. Take a minute every once in a while out of your day to look at your performance, and 6. See whether or not your behavior matches your goals.
One Minute Manager Secret #2: One Minute Praising 1. Tell people up front that you are going to let them know how they are doing. 2. Praise people immediately. 3. Tell people what they did right – be specific. 4. Tell people how good you feel about what they did right, and how it helps the organization and the other people who work there. 5. Stop for a moment of silence to let them “feel” how good you feel. 6. Encourage them to do more of the same. 7. Shake hands or touch people in a way that makes it clear that you support their success in the organization.
One Minute Manager Secret #3: One Minute Reprimand 1. Tell people beforehand that you are going to let them know how they are doing and in no uncertain terms.
the first half of the reprimand: 2. Reprimand people immediately. 3. Tell people what they did wrong – be specific. 4. Tell people how you feel about what they did wrong – and in no uncertain terms. 5. Stop for a few seconds of uncomfortable silence to let them feel how you feel.
the second half of the reprimand: 6. Shake hands, or touch them in a way that lets them know you are honestly on their side. 7. Remind them how much you value them. 8. Reaffirm that you think well of them but not of their performance in this situation. 9. Realize that when the reprimand is over, it’s over....more
V told me I had to read this book, and so I took it with me on a three-week work trip to the Windy City, partly as a way of keeping in touch with my kV told me I had to read this book, and so I took it with me on a three-week work trip to the Windy City, partly as a way of keeping in touch with my kid.
The first chapter literally had me laughing out loud, multiple times per page, but as I made my way through the book, something didn't feel quite right. As another reviewer said, parts of this book left a bad taste in my mouth. So when my daughter asked me last night what I thought of this book, and I said, "It was great, I gave it four stars," to which she IMMEDIATELY responded, "Why didn't you give it five?" I really had to wonder—what was it about this book that took away that final star, and brought it from the realms empyrean to the merely really good?
It is a challenge to articulate my reasons. It isn't that the author describes her depression in detail; as someone who endures self-contempt on a daily/monthly/yearly/life-long basis, I appreciate her honesty about the depths of hopelessness that one can, well, feel isn't exactly the right word. And it isn't that the author goes to absurd lengths to explain why she is fundamentally a terrible person, though I don't think her self-assessment is inaccurate; as someone who studies and practices Buddhadharma, I consider it essential to begin the process of self-overcoming by recognizing precisely how fucked up one is to begin with and how that fucked-up-ness infects all attempts to be rid of the fucked-up-ness.
I think what bugs me is how resistant the author seems to be in changing those experiences, in finding the "cracks," whether in the depression, in the self-identity, or wherever, and taking the tiniest step to widening those cracks and letting in some fresh air. In my own experience, "taking that step" equals thinking about someone else and then being there for them, even if that compassion originates from selfish motivations (e.g., so I can feel better about myself). The knot unties itself, almost alchemically, if you simply let it. There is an icky self-indulgence in Brosh's serious musings that stands in stark contrast to the humor, rooted as it is in an appreciation of quotidian absurdities. I see this sort of crippling, paradoxical self-serving self-deprecation in many of the younger Gen X'ers and millennials with whom I work and interact, and, dammit, it doesn't deserve that fifth fucking star! ...more
If you came to this book via the TV show, like me, you'll recognize most of the content in this novel because it was the basis for the first season. DIf you came to this book via the TV show, like me, you'll recognize most of the content in this novel because it was the basis for the first season. Dexter is basically a serial killer who only kills other serial killers and who works as a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Metro police as his day job. In other words, Dexter uses his evil for good, to quote singer-songwriter Brian Kenney Fresno's classic song "Goatsucker".
I thought the book was as good as the TV show, if not better (after all, the book is always better, right?) until I got to the last twenty pages or so. Suddenly the author hit the accelerator, like he had a deadline to meet or something, and a bunch of loose ends just get looked at and told to get lost. Seriously. The ending on the TV show made some sense, if only to prepare us for the second season; this novel ends in a way that I can describe, charitably, as a head-scratcher. It definitely leaves the door open for a sequel, but also paints Dexter in such a way as to make that sequel unnecessary and uninteresting, at least for this reader. ...more
We is as challenging to summarize as it was to read. It is a work of speculative and satirical fiction that simultaneously embraced and critiqued theWe is as challenging to summarize as it was to read. It is a work of speculative and satirical fiction that simultaneously embraced and critiqued the utopian futurism of the post-revolution 1920s Soviet Union.
Written in the form of a journal by an engineer "named" D-503, it details the inadvertent discovery of those then-archaic qualities of individualism, independence, and dissent that are all subsumed under the rubric "soul," qualities which are revealed and cultivated as the protagonist finds himself embroiled in romantic and political intrigues that are all too familiar today.
What struck me most about the novel was its take on Jeremy Bentham's "panopticon," a prison in which everyone is visible to the jailer at all times; in this case, the prison consists of apartment blocks of glass cubes, in which every highly circumscribed action of every citizen is on display for everyone else at all times, the only exception to which are the government-sanctioned sexual liaisons, which occur with the curtains drawn, ironically constituting its own form of total visibility. What results is a society "where nobody is allowed to mind his own business," to quote William Burroughs. I was reading this book at the same time, often literally, that I was enduring a workshop on social media, and my takeaway from that combo is that the contemporary world of Twits and tumblrs is life in the glass cube, and that the society described in this novel is not far from the self-policing, politically correct, predicament-avoiding, homogeneously multicultural, intolerantly "tolerant" madhouse in which today's USAmericans find themselves residing. Yikes!
Luckily, there are cracks in every edifice, and those made of glass are particularly susceptible to fracture, but the struggle for our own hearts and minds is a never-ending one, as this story makes abundantly clear. ...more
This has been in my library since it came out, and I wish I'd read it earlier. Not because I would have benefited any more from the information it conThis has been in my library since it came out, and I wish I'd read it earlier. Not because I would have benefited any more from the information it contains but because then its layout and design wouldn't feel so dated. Like so much from the late 90s, with that Wired magazine emphasis on form over function and of font over content, this book's layout, with thick black ehorizontal rules on both sides of the text and comics placed randomly throughout, leaves a lot to be desired. That said, it is well written enough to be enjoyable in spite of stylistic limitations and it provides a neuroscientific rationale justifying further research into psychedelic medicines. Many of the weblinks are long-dead, and I am certain that the state of the research is far past what is documented here, but this is still an entertaining introduction to the history and science of psychedelic substances. And it contains two essential research tools for any sort of inner exploration, substance-induced or otherwise: Ralph Metzner's Altered States Graphic Profile (ASGP) form and Rick Strassman's Hallucinogen Rating Scale (HRS)! ...more