Fantastic. Picked this book off the library shelf purely based on its title and cover. No knowledge, no expectations. My quibbles are this: the changeFantastic. Picked this book off the library shelf purely based on its title and cover. No knowledge, no expectations. My quibbles are this: the change in narrators made it somewhat less entertaining, the resolution was a bit flat, and it ended too quickly for my taste. But I totally forgive that. I loved the characters and the wackiness. ...more
On the one hand, Cal Newport is an incredibly prolific guy who is by all measures I can think of (as someone not in his field), pretty darn successfulOn the one hand, Cal Newport is an incredibly prolific guy who is by all measures I can think of (as someone not in his field), pretty darn successful. The way he used his downtime during his job market year is quite impressive. He also has views that are not exactly in the mainstream - to some extent this alone is valuable as it makes me think more carefully about how things work and what actually matters. He writes in a very clear way which means this book is light, easy to read, and enjoyable in that way that nonfiction can be. He is a proponent of deliberate practice, which I agree is undervalued in our generation.
On the other hand, his style passes anecdotes off as data (look at several of these successful people versus these couple of super unsuccessful people whom he might not actually know much about). He seems to have a predetermined conclusion and to shape his stories to fit it somewhat more than necessary, including by interpreting stories or suggestions that might counter it very simplistically (another reviewer mentioned Jobs' speech on following passion was accompanied by the same story Newport tells, so maybe the flat interpretation in this book isn't exactly what Jobs was going for). Also, the final section, on the importance of missions, is poorly supported relative to the rest of the book. And Newport is certainly aware of his own accomplishments, as a number of people note.
I think the valuable insights from the book can be stated more directly and can certainly be found elsewhere in life and online: Doing things is far more valuable than just thinking about them. Doing something can lead you toward other things you value even more, and can give you the knowledge and experience to understand how to choose between these things.
Nice and fairly unique in my own experience and discussions is a point he makes (on page 206) about his post-college choice between Microsoft and MIT: "I... didn't see any reason to worry. Both paths, I was sure, would yield numerous opportunities that could be leveraged into a remarkable life." This is similar to the way I feel about romantic partners. There are probably hundreds if not thousands of potentially great matches for each one of us, and which one (or more) of them we meet depends more on the circumstances of our life and the sum total of our (and their) choices, including whether we recognize each other as potential matches, than anything else. I like this way of seeing other facets of life....more
I really enjoyed reading this. It wasn't perfect and there was more I wanted to know at the end - what about Eleanor's siblings??? I think Rowell captI really enjoyed reading this. It wasn't perfect and there was more I wanted to know at the end - what about Eleanor's siblings??? I think Rowell captured the desperation of first (or new) love quite well. ...more
Mixed feelings. I've read fairly little crime and so I'm not sure about the line between my thoughts about the novel/novelist and the genre. This bookMixed feelings. I've read fairly little crime and so I'm not sure about the line between my thoughts about the novel/novelist and the genre. This booked happened to be available at the library and Mosley did a great job making me feel like I had enough background to follow the story despite not having read the previous books. There was a lot of action and a lot of switching between subplots.
One small, repeated theme that distracted me was the author's cheesy way of attributing speech. These illustrations aren't taken from the book but do capture the feeling: "said the young man"; "said the femme fatale"; "said the hospital patient". Another reviewer said she appreciated the hints about who everyone was and I assume she was referring to this, but I'd prefer it done differently.
It's certainly solid writing. A long time ago, I read an Easy Rawlins book. I think I'll try one of those out again. ...more
Mixed feelings. Interesting concept, at times intriguing enough that I found myself going, "huh!", but often dragged enough that I was literally awareMixed feelings. Interesting concept, at times intriguing enough that I found myself going, "huh!", but often dragged enough that I was literally aware of the page numbers as I turned them. I want to give credit to the author for pursuing this but I can't say I was gripped. Might be a style thing or just an issue of format - someone mentioned the audiobook may be easier to consume because of the different voices telling these stories. ...more
**spoiler alert** The writing is good but the substance is not all there. Feels like we're missing some key bits of information - where does Stuart's**spoiler alert** The writing is good but the substance is not all there. Feels like we're missing some key bits of information - where does Stuart's experience with water come from? What does he do in his tailored suits when he's new to the world? How can he write a sweet letter to Harriet and then move on without a thought or any real interaction? (Also, really EB White, "fair, fat, and forty"?). Maybe for children Stuart's trip feels more like adventure. For me, today, it didn't.
EB White is clearly a great writer, but this book wasn't totally coherent. ...more