From the Goodreads description: "Danilo Kis (1935-89) was a Yugoslav novelist, essayist, poet, and translator whose work generated storms of controverFrom the Goodreads description: "Danilo Kis (1935-89) was a Yugoslav novelist, essayist, poet, and translator whose work generated storms of controversy in his homeland but today holds classic status. Kis was championed by prominent literary figures around the world, including Joseph Brodsky, Susan Sontag, Milan Kundera, Philip Roth, Nadine Gordimer, and Salman Rushdie. As more of his works become available in translation, they are prized by an international readership drawn to Kis's innovative brilliance as a storyteller and to his profound meditation on history, culture, and the human condition at the end of the twentieth century."
Fascinating and readable -- will make you look at the world differently. I'm going to be thinking about the ethnic theory of plane crashes and the "cuFascinating and readable -- will make you look at the world differently. I'm going to be thinking about the ethnic theory of plane crashes and the "culture of honor" for a while.
As with The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, I loved the evidence but wanted a little more from the conclusions -- I suppose when the world is revealed to have patterns heretofore unseen, I want to know how to make them work for me, but there is little controlling them, only trying to understand the ways they affect us. However, as Gladwell says at the end, "To build a better world we need to replace the patchwork of lucky breaks and arbitrary advantages that today determine success -- the fortunate birth dates and the happy accidents of history -- with a society that provides opportunities for all."
"No one was used to thinking about health in terms of community."
"Achievement is talent plus preparation."
"Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good."
"But what truly distinguishes their histories is not their extraordinary talent but their extraordinary opportunities."
"We pretend that success is exclusively a matter of individual merit. But there's nothing in any of the histories we've looked at so far to suggest things are that simple. These are stories, instead, about people who were given a special opportunity to work really hard and seized it, and who happened to come of age at a time when that extraordinary effort was rewarded by the rest of society." (timing is everything?)
"...that's not because [Oppenheimer] was smarter than Chris Langan. It's because he possessed the kind of savvy that allowed him to get what he wanted from the world."
"They lacked something that could have been given to them if we'd only known they'd needed it: a community around them that prepared them properly for the world."
"But as is so often the case with outliers, buried in that setback was a golden opportunity."
"For twenty years [Flom] perfected his craft at Skadden, Arps. Then the world changed and he was ready. He didn't triumph over adversity. Instead, what started out as adversity ended up being an opportunity."
"Those three things -- autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward -- are, most people agree, the three qualities work has to have if it is to be satisfying."
"Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning. Once it does, it becomes the kind of thing that makes you...dance a jig."
"You have to be quite strong to fly that airplane. You heave it around the sky. It's as much physical effort as rowing a boat."
"a hint is the hardest kind of request to decode and the easiest to refuse."
"Planes are safer when the least experienced pilot is flying, because it means the second pilot isn't going to be afraid to speak up."
"Each of us has his or her own distinct personality. But overlaid on top of that are tendencies and assumptions and reflections handed down to us by the history of the community we grew up in, and those differences are extraordinarily specific."
"Virtually all of the advantage that wealthy students have over poor students is the result of differences in the way privileged kids learn when they are not in school." ...more
A life manual based on nerdy quotes that is surprisingly profound. I felt in-the-know when I knew the quotes, and educated when I didn't. Geeks are deA life manual based on nerdy quotes that is surprisingly profound. I felt in-the-know when I knew the quotes, and educated when I didn't. Geeks are definitely my people, and those who love them should read this, too, for insight into the geek personality. The footnotes, index, and up-to-the-minute trivia are amazing. If nothing else, I am convinced that I need to get acquainted with Dr. Who, which is mentioned about 627 times.
"What is religion?...It's a framework of ideas -- a body of thought shared by a community, written and handed down through literature -- that's intended to guide us toward maturity by helping us ask and answer the big, cosmic questions about existence...You know what? Religion isn't the only place to find those kinds of stories. The modern scientific world tells them, too. In fact, geek culture is built on them." (p. 8)
"In real life, things can be broken irreparably and irreplaceably -- a treasured heirloom, a marriage, a nation. So before yielding to the impulse to poke at the soft underbelly of things, it's worth asking: Do you know how not to break that? Are you sure?" (p. 33)
"You are the single common factor in every situation -- so perhaps the best way to improve your surroundings is to improve yourself." (p. 37)
"The Doctor represents not only 'the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism,' as Craig Ferguson so eloquently put it, but, more specifically, our unsullied, childlike vision of a universe where all things ought to be possible." (p. 45)
"...perhaps you should consider how, whether children in sweatshops or migrants working under substandard conditions, the lifestyle of comfort that we likely take for granted has been built on a foundation of systematic dehumanization. It's made out of people." (p. 78)
"We don't like doing any more work than we have to or thinking any harder than we need to. That's at least partially to blame for the age of extreme partisan polarization we find ourselves in: Reason has been removed from the discussion, and it's become all about the ego we have invested in our point of view." (p. 116)
"We would like to humbly suggest that Ralph Wiggum, like Rose Nylund and Phoebe Buffay, is an avatar of Delirium of the Endless." (p. 117)
"There's a lesson here for all of us: If you're going to breach the line of decorum, do it with someone you can trust to accept your apology later." (p. 119)
"To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness." --Ursula Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness
"...we live in a quick-and-dirty world that functions largely on snap decision and compromise. That can often take some adjustment for geeks, who prefer their world-building logical and their decisions foolproof." (p. 152)
"Could there ever be a real Starfleet -- a force using military organization to effectively promote individual accomplishment throughout its sphere of action? Countless disillusioned Peace Corps vets suggest no -- and yet our geeky hearts still want to say yes." (p. 151)
"The imperative to be kind to one another may seem obvious, but part of being human means that both the right thing and the wrong thing are forever at arm's reach. It doesn't hurt to be reminded every now and then which one we should choose." (p. 158)
"Setting out with specific goals and specific ends in mind is great -- except when that single-minded focus keeps us from finding real treasure buried just a few degrees off center." (p. 186)
"Myth, too, holds power in the world. The trick is to remember the element that magic and science have in common: imagination. It's both a world-builder and a problem-solver and, when properly applied, can lead you to triumph over just about anything." (p. 190)
"That's what makes the difference between a life and an epic life: the ability to envision the big picture and commit to it, to resolve to leave a mark on the world that goes beyond the imprint of pure self-gratification." (p. 197)
"Would anyone remember Hercules today if the Greek storyteller who first spun his tale insisted on maintaining creative control?" (p. 199)
"When visionary geniuses [like Tesla] get marginalized...we shouldn't only identify with their unappreciated minds. We should recognize where and how they failed to build the relationships that might have made things come out differently -- and resolve to make that human factor a priority in our own endeavors." (p. 209)
"But those of us blessed with the heart of a geek never really let go of the excitement of creation and discovery, do we?" (p. 213)...more
I actually read this a couple years ago, and liked it SO MUCH, and highlighted SO MUCH on my Kindle that I've been waiting to post a review until I coI actually read this a couple years ago, and liked it SO MUCH, and highlighted SO MUCH on my Kindle that I've been waiting to post a review until I could think of the best thing to say about it. But let's just say it's that good. So eye-opening that it makes this introvert wait two years to find the right way to talk about its greatness.
Favorite quotes (only a selection!):
The trick for introverts is to honor their own styles instead of allowing themselves to be swept up by prevailing norms.
In other words, introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important, people they love, or anything they value highly.
I have found that there are three key steps to identifying your own core personal projects. First, think back to what you loved to do when you were a child. How did you answer the question of what you wanted to be when you grew up? The specific answer you gave may have been off the mark, but the underlying impulse was not. Second, pay attention to the work you gravitate to. Finally, pay attention to what you envy. Jealousy is an ugly emotion, but it tells the truth. You mostly envy those who have what you desire.
“Emotional labor,” which is the effort we make to control and change our own emotions, is associated with stress, burnout, and even physical symptoms like an increase in cardiovascular disease.
Scores of studies have shown that venting doesn’t soothe anger; it fuels it. We’re best off when we don’t allow ourselves to go to our angry place.
So when introverts assume the observer role, as when they write novels, or contemplate unified field theory—or fall quiet at dinner parties—they’re not demonstrating a failure of will or a lack of energy. They’re simply doing what they’re constitutionally suited for.
But Ethan’s problem, says Dr. Miller, was not depression but a classic case of poor “parent-child fit.”
When ultimately she learns to swim like a fish, she has reached a crucial turning point in her relationship not only with water but also with fear.
And make sure to get there early. It’s much easier to be one of the earlier guests, so your child feels as if other people are joining him in a space that he “owns,” rather than having to break into a preexisting group.
Why do we accept this one-size-fits-all situation as a given when we know perfectly well that adults don’t organize themselves this way? We often marvel at how introverted, geeky kids “blossom” into secure and happy adults. We liken it to a metamorphosis. However, maybe it’s not the children who change but their environments. As adults, they get to select the careers, spouses, and social circles that suit them. They don’t have to live in whatever culture they’re plunked into. Research from a field known as “person-environment fit” shows that people flourish when, in the words of psychologist Brian Little, they’re “engaged in occupations, roles or settings that are concordant with their personalities.”
At the Foley Center for the Study of Lives at Northwestern University, McAdams studies the stories that people tell about themselves. We all write our life stories as if we were novelists, McAdams believes, with beginnings, conflicts, turning points, and endings. And the way we characterize our past setbacks profoundly influences how satisfied we are with our current lives. Unhappy people tend to see setbacks as contaminants that ruined an otherwise good thing (“I was never the same again after my wife left me”), while generative adults see them as blessings in disguise (“The divorce was the most painful thing that ever happened to me, but I’m so much happier with my new wife”). Those who live the most fully realized lives—giving back to their families, societies, and ultimately themselves—tend to find meaning in their obstacles. In a sense, McAdams has breathed new life into one of the great insights of Western mythology: that where we stumble is where our treasure lies.
The trick is not to amass all the different kinds of available power, but to use well the kind you’ve been granted....more
Stolen from Robin's list -- sounds so interesting!
The 12 rules are: EXERCISE | Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power. SURVIVAL | Rule #2: The human brainStolen from Robin's list -- sounds so interesting!
The 12 rules are: EXERCISE | Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power. SURVIVAL | Rule #2: The human brain evolved, too. WIRING | Rule #3: Every brain is wired differently. ATTENTION | Rule #4: We don't pay attention to boring things. SHORT-TERM MEMORY | Rule #5: Repeat to remember. LONG-TERM MEMORY | Rule #6: Remember to repeat. SLEEP | Rule #7: Sleep well, think well. STRESS | Rule #8: Stressed brains don't learn the same way as non-stressed SENSORY INTEGRATION | Rule #9: Stimulate more of the senses. VISION | Rule #10: Vision trumps all other senses. GENDER | Rule #11: Male and female brains are different. EXPLORATION | Rule #12: We are powerful and natural explorers. ...more