I don't know is similar in content to Being Wrong, but is a briefer, gentler book. As the title indicates, the author focuses on admitting ignorance...moreI don't know is similar in content to Being Wrong, but is a briefer, gentler book. As the title indicates, the author focuses on admitting ignorance rather than (as Schulz does) admitting wrongdoing or wrong-thinking.
Though I don't know is much shorter than Being Wrong, the pattern is similar: the author introduces a concept, supports it with research, and provides examples and anecdotes. Leah Hager Cohen is a lovely writer (I highly recommend her novel, The Grief of Others), a thoughtful person, and a good researcher.
At just over 100 pages, there's really no reason *not* to read this book; I can easily envision it becoming required reading for high school students or those entering college.
Quotes (from the uncorrected proof):
Over time, [Ashley Montagu] lamented, we lose our openness....By the time formal education stops, around early adulthood for most people, "it is as though they believed that they had learned all they needed to know....At this time they begin to grow a shell around this pitiful store of knowledge and wisdom; from then on they vigorously resist all attempts to pierce that shell with anything new." Montagu called this process psychosclerosis, the hardening of the mind, and cited it as the reason that most adults "draw back from the unfamiliar, perhaps because they are reluctant to reveal ignorance." (13-14)
So how should we make decisions when we can't know what's right? (34)
That our intuition could lead us astray is troubling in direct proportion to the degree of trust we place in it. (36)
[Robert A. Burton] describes how the neural networks that link a thought to this feeling of knowing can be hard to undo, so that sometimes "an idea known to be wrong continues to feel correct." (37)
Telling the truth requires no special courage so long as the cost is nil. But the ability to say "I don't know" derives in no small part from privilege. (52)
Refraining from saying "I don't know" when we are conscious of making that choice is one thing, but what about all those times we don't know we don't know? (58)
The ability to know one's limitations, to recognize the bounds of one's own comprehension - this is a kind of knowing that approaches wisdom. (65)
Is there a wrong way to say "I don't know"? Yes. When we declare ignorance, it should be a) honest and b) in the spirit of opening ourselves up to hearing, to learning, to receiving. (70)
[Stokley is a reference librarian at] Evergreen State College, and saying "I don't know" is a big part of his job. In fact, it's what got him the job. (95)
Real civil discourse necessarily leaves room for doubt. That doesn't make us wishy-washy...We can still hold fervent beliefs. The difference is, we don't let those beliefs calcify into unconsidered doctrine. (105)
...Fundamentalism of any kind is the refusal to allow doubt. The opposite of fundamentalism is the willingness to say "I don't know." (106)
"The way I think of it," [my mother] said, "is when we're born, we get this wonderful prize, we get to be a person in the world. We get to partake of life. There's only one condition: At some point we have to die. That's the contract." (111)
Whether we tilt more in the direction of dread or hope boils down to how we manage our feelings about living with mystery. (107)(less)
Read in preparation for the New England Library Leadership Symposium (NELLS).
Chapter One: Leadership for Today's Libraries and Information Services
p....moreRead in preparation for the New England Library Leadership Symposium (NELLS).
Chapter One: Leadership for Today's Libraries and Information Services
p. 1 manage things, lead people leader (defn.): a person who influences others in an identified situation or group to obtain a particular result that will benefit the organization. Such a position does not depend on a title or on some recognition of formal authority. p. 2-3 hierarchical vs. democratic/collaborative approach, empowerment of team members, cooperation p. 3 "situational leadership" and "nine-nine" model p. 4-5 five models/theories: Kouzes & Posner's team leadership (rotating roles); Maslow's need satisfaction; Bennis & Nanus' "transformational leaders" and "Four Is"; Goleman, Boyatzis, & McKee's behavioral domains; Bolman & Deal's "Four Frames" p. 7-8 Some leadership traits inherent, others learned (mentoring, team building, coaching, talent development, succession planning) "bottom to top" approach p. 9 "cooperative, comprehensive, continuing effort" between management and individuals - align individuals' goals w/ overall goals of org. participative mgmt and shared decision-making - focus on mission & vision p. 10 three Cs: cooperation, collaboration, commitment - participative management approach, distributed leadership
Chapter Two: The Leader's Role and Responsibilities
p. 14 formal (position) and informal (opportunity) leadership leadership competencies: systems (big picture) thinking, build relationships, manage conflicts, inspire/influence, foster collaboration, deal w/ ambiguity, have self-confidence, empathy & compassion Three E's qualities: encourage, empower, energize do things right vs. do the right thing Library Leadership Network (lln.lyrasis.org) p. 15 communication ameliorates resistance to change p. 16 strategic & creative problem solvers p. 16-18 Techniques in establishing confidence: establishing trust, seeking feedback, developing collaboration & communication, motivating & promoting colleagues, visioning ("future reality seen now") p. 19 Total Quality Management (TQM): focus on quality service and continuous improvement p. 20 more C's: committed, compassionate, collaborative, courageous, confident, compromising "telling, selling, participating, delegating" p. 20-22 Leadership styles (most-->least conservative): coercive, authoritative, affiliative, democratic/participative, pace-setting, coaching p. 25 ethical behavior: aligning a leader's personal values with subsequent actions within the organization p. 26 bases of ethical decision-making: objectivity, respect, openness, trustworthiness, fairness self-development: examine strengths/weaknesses; conscious effort to improve areas of character/abilities p. 27 Leadership Practices Inventory p. 27-28 Key components for developing visionary leadership: envisioning the future, managing change, listening & learning p. 28 self-confidence, self-control, compassion (set an example; good communication) p. 29-30 "Teachable point of view" (4 areas of leadership: ideas, values, edge (readiness to face reality, courage to act), emotional energy)
Chapter Three: Influencing and Persuading Others
p. 33-34 resonant leadership - resonant leaders work in sync with those around them, in tune w/ thoughts and emotions (Boyatzis & McKee); three key components are mindfulness, hope, empathy p. 34-35 Influence strategies: empowerment, interpersonal awareness, bargaining, relationship building, organizational awareness, common vision, impact management, logical persuasion, coercion p. 36 "Why should I do it?" Establish credibility, find common ground, provide evidence, connect emotionally (Jay Conger) p. 37 Stages of persuasion: preparation, presentation, implementation
Chapter Four: Building and Leading Groups and Teams
"It is amazing what can be accomplished when nobody cares about who gets the credit." -Robert Yates p. 39 Katzenbach and Smith: team (defn.): a small # of people w/ complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable" Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, (Adjourning) p. 40 sidenote: most impt. tool for facilitating group/teamwork is an agenda -measurable, observable goals -realistic timeframe p. 43 key conditions for team development: compelling direction, enabling structure, supportive organizational context, expert coaching p. 45 round-robin technique (everyone contributes) p. 47 Guiding consensus decision making: unanimous agreement (rare), majority decision, or consensus (cooperative spirit, mutually acceptable solution through sharing, questioning, testing, clarifying assumptions, learning from others) p. 48 http://www.teampedia.net/wiki/index.p... “compromise by synthesis”
Chapter Five: Project Management
p. 51 PM = a planned, structured approach to design, plan, & implement a project; an organized effort; disciplined approach; short-term, temporary effort p. 52 four stages: defining project & expected outcomes, planning (ID resources, set timetable), executing/implementing, evaluating & closing p. 53 Roles & responsibilities: sr. mgmt, dept. mgmt, sponsor, proj. team leader, proj. team members p. 54 Writing the charter: (obtain approval) scope statement (goals, objectives, deliverables), parameters (quality, cost, time), status reports, team membership work breakdown structure (WBS), sequence p. 56 Tools & techniques - WBS, Gantt chart, Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
Chapter Six: Coaching: Keys to Successful Leadership
p. 59 “Coaching is an ongoing conversation in which one person, the coach, helps another to improve his or her performance or to solve a problem....an ongoing process of continuous development” p. 60 skills for effective coaching: active listening, respect & acceptance, open communication, clarify problem, identify options, ask effective questions, identify possible consequences, check perceptions & assumptions, give feedback coaching is not counseling p. 62 “most of us think faster than we speak” “Many managers avoid counseling because it takes time and they want to avoid difficult conversations” constructive feedback on performance p. 64 traditional (annual) performance evaluations ineffective; shift from performance feedback to focus on future improvement (“feedforward” -Goldsmith) “feedforward reinforces the possibility of change. It is based on the assumption that people can make positive changes in their performance.” p. 66 Performance Management System (PMS) (really??) - achieve org. mission, establish org. culture “the most effective way to develop leadership competence is through trial and error on the job, an action-learning approach” p. 68 “Numerous studies...have shown that people recall more of what they learn the more actively involved they are in the learning process” p. 69 Questioning technique - good questions are brief, clear, focused, relevant, constructive, neutral, open-ended. Focus on employee (“What can you do to keep this from happening again?”), both (“Is there something I can do to help?”), or process (“How can we work this out?”)
Chapter Seven: Mentoring
p. 71 mentoring is a learner-focused relationship; ideal outcome is professional and organizational development p. 72 one-on-one encouragement and advice; formal or informal; benefits mentor, protege, and organization p. 73-74 staff (org’s most impt. resource) connect in a meaningful way, improving morale and work performance, creating the next generation of leaders. Model, Empathize, Nurture, Teach, Organize, Respond p.76 Mentors and proteges should agree on purpose, communication, trust, process, feedback p. 78-79 peer-to-peer and group mentoring: equality & empathy - sharing knowledge base - supportive environment p. 79 Roles & responsibilities of a mentor: teaching by example, by observation, by repetition; listen & empathize; communicate, advise, encourage p. 80 key factors for successful relationship: commitment, clarity, communication importance of goal-setting p. 82 reverse mentoring “younger professionals” aid “senior members” p. 84 “One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.” -E.M. Forster
Chapter 8: Succession Planning and Development “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” -Will Rogers
p. 87 Succession planning (succession management) involves recruitment, training, retention, performance management “facilitates the inevitable organizational leadership transition” “a systematic process to maintain leadership continuity in key positions” p. 88 “Succession planning is designed to ensure the continued effective performance of an organization’s staff by making provision for the development and replacement of key persons over time” - identify, assess, develop, retain talent at every level objective: the right person in the right place at the right time for the right reason - to ensure organization’s successful future p. 89 traditionally “replacement planning,” SP 1st step is assess current workforce, ID potential pursue strategies to meet anticipated future needs how to ID potential candidates “without demoralizing those not chosen” p. 90 ways to prepare for future leadership: attend leadership training programs, focus on personal development, pursue specific work experiences (add’l responsibilities), pursue hands-on opportunities (supervisory), rotate jobs, shadow soon-to-retire leaders p. 91 “outline a sequence of personnel moves so that candidates for key positions can be identified in advance of the actual need” p. 92 ideally strategic rather than reactive, “just in case” instead of “just in time” p. 93 identify and prepare candidates; develop a feedback system p. 94 standardized tools to assess competencies (e.g. Leadership Competency Model from Central Michigan University, http://www.chsbs.cmich.edu/leader_mod...) p. 95 Key criteria for an effective program: management expects staff to grow and provides opportunities to do so; organization has a clear vision; systematic approach to ID & nurture talent; open flow of information; diverse workforce; recognition/appreciation of staff; regular feedback; commitment to staff development(less)
This is an essay and catalog of a show put up at the Galerie St. Etienne in New York in 1983-1984. (The first exhibition of her work at that gallery w...moreThis is an essay and catalog of a show put up at the Galerie St. Etienne in New York in 1983-1984. (The first exhibition of her work at that gallery was in 1958.)
"[Paula] was an artistic sieve, sifting outside influences and collecting, bit by bit, the particles that would later be of use." --Jane Kallir
Acknowledgements/bibliography: Letters and Journals, by Busch & von Reinken, translated by Arthur Wesinger of Wesleyan University and Carole Clew Hoey
Cover: Detail from Self-Portrait with Lemon Frontispiece: Self-Portrait with Lemon B&W plates include: 1. Girl with Yellow Wreath and Daisy, c. 1902 2. Peasant Woman in Profile, Facing Right, c. 1898 3. Standing Femal Nude, 1900 4. Standing Female Nude, from Back, 1906 5. Study of an Egyptian Statue, 1903 or 1905 6. Study of the "Princess d'Este," after Pisanello, 1903 or 1905 7. Paris Street with Hooded Child, 1905-06 8. Horsedrawn Bus, Paris, 1905-06 9. Still-Life with Yellow Bowl, c. 1906 10. Self-Portrait in Front of Paris Buildings, 1900 (*) 13. Old Factory, 1900 14. Bare Tree in Landscape, c. 1900 16. Gooseherd Playing a Flute, 1899-1900 17. Woman with Goose, 1899-1900 18. The Woman with the Goose, c. 1900 21. Little Child in High Chair, c. 1904 22. Mother Nursing Her Infant, c. 1903 (*) 23. Nursing Mother, 1905 25. Two Little Girls in Front of Tree Trunks, c. 1905 28. Kneeling Mother with Child, 1906 29. Kneeling Mother with Child, 1906 30. Reclining Mother with Child, 1906
Color plates include: 11. Bathing Boys by Canal, 1901 12. Girl in Landscape, 1901 15. Bare Tree in Landscape, 1900 19. Girl with Green Hat, in Profile, c. 1901 20. Self-Portrait with Necklace, c. 1903 (*) 24. Peasant Woman with White Cap, c. 1904 26. Portrait of the Artist's Sister, Herma, c. 1905 27. Reclining Female Nude, c. 1905-06 31. Still-Life with Pitcher, Peonies and Oranges, c. 1906 32. Still-Life with Bouquet of Dahlias, 1907
This is laugh-out-loud funny and pull-no-punches honest; the author describes some of his worst moments as a parent, from the everday (tantrums in pub...moreThis is laugh-out-loud funny and pull-no-punches honest; the author describes some of his worst moments as a parent, from the everday (tantrums in public) to the extreme (in the NICU after his third child's birth). He illuminates the drastic difference between Life Before Kids and Life After Kids, and doesn't shy away from portraying fraught situations with his wife, parents, and in-laws. He delves into details that non-parents won't have considered, and conveys the everyday exhaustion of parenting without any gloss save humor. (less)
Drawing upon a wealth of primary resources - including letters to and from Paula, Rilke, Clara Westhoff, and Otto Modersohn, as well as the artwork cr...moreDrawing upon a wealth of primary resources - including letters to and from Paula, Rilke, Clara Westhoff, and Otto Modersohn, as well as the artwork created by Paula, Otto, and Clara, and Rilke's poetry - Torgersen weaves a cohesive account of how these four artists met, interacted, and influenced each other. The book is organized largely chronologically, including biographical information about Rilke and Paula's lives before they met at the German artists' colony of Worpswede.
Though Rilke was initially attracted to Paula, she was already (secretly) engaged to Otto (whose first wife, Helene, had recently died) when they met. Rilke's attentions then turned to Paula's friend and fellow artist Clara Westhoff, a sculptor. Rilke and Clara married on April 28, 1901, and Paula and Otto's wedding followed on May 25, 1901. Their four lives continued to be intermingled - sometimes peacefully, more often with tension - for the next several years.
At the center of many of Rilke and Paula's disagreements and misunderstandings was his belief that one must choose art or life (preferably art over life), and her belief that she could be happy in life and also create art. Rilke's "Requiem for a Friend" indicated that he thought her life had been wrongfully cut short (she died shortly after giving birth to her daughter, Mathilde, in 1907) before she could fully realize her potential as an artist, but Torgersen argues that "her life, though cut short, was a triumph" (245).
Read this just before arriving in Paris. It's not a travel guide per se (though there is information in the back matter about museums and other attrac...moreRead this just before arriving in Paris. It's not a travel guide per se (though there is information in the back matter about museums and other attractions), but is, as it says, a literary (and historical) guide to Paris, providing a brief overview of many authors who were Parisians or spent time living and writing in Paris over the past few hundred years. Many interesting tidbits about various historical events as well as writers such as Voltaire, Baudelaire, Zola, Hugo, Balzac, and yes, Hemingway.(less)
If you're interested in technological obsolescence, I recommend reading the introduction, first chapter, and last chapter of this book. The chapters i...moreIf you're interested in technological obsolescence, I recommend reading the introduction, first chapter, and last chapter of this book. The chapters in between are well-researched, in-depth essays - essentially case studies - presented chronologically. The writing is clear, and though the book was published in 2006 the problem still looms.
Most engineers in the nineteenth century designed and built their products to last. (31)
"Where man can find no answer, he will find fear." -Norman Cousins, 1945 (144)
Planned obsolescence....psychological obsolescence...grew out of "the desire to own something a little newer, a little better, a little sooner than necessary." -Brooks Stevens (153)
"Our whole economy is based on planned obsolescence....We make good products, we induce people to buy them, and then next year we deliberately introduce something that will make those products old fashioned, out of date, obsolete. We do that for the soundest reason: to make money." -Brooks Stevens (153)
"The product with the longest life period is not automatically the most economical. Value is a product of time and utility....Is a product that has served a short, useful life at a satisfactory cost necessarily wasteful?....There is not a product on the market today that could not be improved by using...more expensive materials. Every design is a compromise..." -Ernest Cunningham, 1959 (168)
[Moore's Law] Every year, smaller and smaller electronic devices became available for less and less cost, and these devices became at least twice as capacious and twice as fast as their immediate predecessor, effectively quadrupling the value of each generation of chip. (196-197)
These apps [WordStar, VisiCalc, dBASE] empowered new users while rendering old skill sets - minute ledger work, the ability to type quickly and flawlessly - completely obsolete. (208)
Electronic components have extremely short lives. [Cell phones and TVs] are creating unmanageable mounds of electronic waste each time they are thrown away. All of the discarded components in this growing mountain of e-waste contain high levels of permanent biological toxins (PBTs)...(261)
Because the toxins contained in most electronics are indestructible, the EU has banned their use by manufacturers and consumers. This ban is proving to be an effective encouragement to the development of alternative, non-toxic materials for electronic manufacture...Although some legislation now exists at the state level, there is no uniformity, no consistency, and no funding for electronic waste disposal programs throughout the United States. The increasingly short life span of high-volume electronic goods, along with miniaturization, is what causes the e-waste problem. This lack of durability, in turn, grows from a unique combination of psychological and technological obsolescence. (262)
It makes no sense to call a discarded but working phone obsolete when the same make and model is still available for purchase and continues to provide excellent service to its owners. (264)
"...the increasingly rapid evolution of technology has effectively rendered everything 'disposable.'" (265)
...modern consumers tend to value whatever is new and original over what is old, traditional, durable, or used. (265)
Colin Campbell on the mystery of modern consumption: "an activity which involves an apparently endless pursuit of wants, the most characteristic feature of modern consumption being this insatiability." (265)
"Americans are poorly equipped to recognize, let alone ponder or address, the challenges technology poses....Although our use of technology is increasing...there is no sign of an improvement in our ability." -Committee on Technological Literacy's 2002 report (280)
Very soon, the sheer volume of e-waste will compel America to adopt design strategies that include not just planned obsolescence but planned disassembly and reuse as part of the product life cycle. This is the industrial challenge of the new century. (281)
I read this just a couple days before arriving in Paris, and was able to take advantage of many of the tidbits of advice on French manners (and French...moreI read this just a couple days before arriving in Paris, and was able to take advantage of many of the tidbits of advice on French manners (and French pastries. Of course). Lebovitz's humor isn't a perfect match for my own, and there were at least three copy-editing errors; nonetheless, it was an enjoyable read with some valuable guidance for those traveling to Paris (or moving there), and I'm looking forward to trying out some of the recipes included at the end of each chapter.(less)
I read about this book in an article called "23 Science Books That Are So Exciting They Read Like Genre Fiction", and it did not disappoint. It is sim...moreI read about this book in an article called "23 Science Books That Are So Exciting They Read Like Genre Fiction", and it did not disappoint. It is similar to Steven Johnson's The Ghost Map, which I loved, in that it is a sort of history of science/medicine, but instead of focusing on one specific case (e.g. the cholera outbreak in London), The Poisoner's Handbook covers about two decades, from 1915-1936. Each chapter focuses on a specific poison (e.g. arsenic or cyanide) and time period; the chapter headings include the chemical makeup of the poison in question.
The two main figures that the author follows are Charles Norris, chief medical examiner of New York from 1918, and Alexander Gettler, a toxicologist in his lab at Bellevue Hospital. Norris and Gettler solved many cases that baffled the police, and helped establish the validity and usefulness of forensic medicine (medical jurisprudence). The two did groundbreaking work, inventing new techniques and publishing many papers on the topic, all while underfunded.
However, the most lethal and widespread of the poisons they encountered were the various forms of alcohol that people consumed during Prohibition, including wood alcohol (denatured grain alcohol, or industrial alcohol). Gettler foresaw the problems Prohibition would cause, and was unfortunately proven right.
Part detective mystery, part medical and scientific history, The Poisoner's Handbook is an engaging read (though not for the squeamish), comparable to The Ghost Map and Typhoid Mary.
So began a deadly cat and mouse game - scientists and poisoners as intellectual adversaries. (2)
As soon as legal drinking ended, purveyors of illicit alcohol came helpfully forward...[A Brooklyn judge said], "Prohibition is a joke. It has deprived the poor workingman of his beer and it has flooded the country with rat poison." (50-51)
Only two years into the great Prohibition experiment, the State of New York was ready to give it up. Where were the high moral standards, the uplifted culture, and the return to prewar innocence promised by supporters of the Eighteenth Amendment? So far the effects seemed almost the opposite, considering the street shootings, the increasingly brazen speakeasy trade, and the mounting deaths from poisoned alcohol. (88-89)
[From the chapter on carbon monoxide, (CO)] In New York City a personal automobile offered escape from standing on a snow-slushed sidewalk waiting for a surface car (streetcar), and from risking one's life in the rackety elevated trains. Reliable public transportation had yet to be realized... (129)
[From the chapter on methyl alcohol (CH3OH), on the government's adding extra poisons to industrial alcohol, and dry legislators' defense that "no one would be dead if people simply obeyed the law and tried to live in a morally upright fashion"] Norris, in response, argued that this imposition of one group's personal beliefs on the rest of society could not be justified as moral. (163)
[From the chapter on ethyl alcohol (C2H5OH)] The Prohibition era had been a great source of material for building an excellent science of alcohol intoxication. (211)
[From the chapter on thallium (TI)] In a best-selling book, 100,000,000 Guinea Pigs...a pair of consumer-advocate authors complained that American citizens had become test animals for chemical industries that were indifferent to their customers' well-being. The government...was complicit. Regulation was almost nonexistent. The nineteen-year-old FDA was a joke, lacking authority to set even minimal safety standards. (245)
[After a cough syrup, Elixir Sulfanilamide, killed over 100 people, mostly children] The following year Congress passed and Roosevelt signed the 1938 Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which empowered the FDA to demand safety testing and accurate labeling and to hold manufacturers legally responsible for harming their customers. (262)
Read/skimmed this concise, useful guide in a day. It's possible to do all travel research on the internet now, but I still like using published travel...moreRead/skimmed this concise, useful guide in a day. It's possible to do all travel research on the internet now, but I still like using published travel guides as well. This one has some still-current recommendations for hotels and restaurants, as well as activities, and there's a helpful pronunciation guide (although, good luck) and a breakdown of what certain prefixes/suffixes mean. Plus, color photos and maps. This is a lightweight book that would be good to bring along when traveling.(less)
A slim, informative history of Mary Mallon (Typhoid Mary) written by chef Anthony Bourdain. I enjoyed his writing style, which is direct and casual. A...moreA slim, informative history of Mary Mallon (Typhoid Mary) written by chef Anthony Bourdain. I enjoyed his writing style, which is direct and casual. After reading Fever by Mary Beth Keane, I was interested in where she had diverged from fact, and Typhoid Mary served neatly.(less)
experience in reading books, experience in reading reviews, experience in writing reviews (Preface, xii)
Marketing through reviewing: websites, handout...moreexperience in reading books, experience in reading reviews, experience in writing reviews (Preface, xii)
Marketing through reviewing: websites, handouts, blogs, book clubs (p. 1-4)
Reviews vs. criticism: -subjective opinion and qualitative judgment vs. analysis -broad survey/appraisal/assessment vs. specific focus -new materials (announcements) vs. older ones Three questions: Would you read [the criticism/review] before actually reading the novel itself? Would [it] be instructive without having read [the novel] beforehand? Would reading [it] without having read the novel compel you to read [the novel]? (less)
It's widely accepted that early childhood development is important. Now, scientists' attention is turning to the even earlier stage of fetal developme...moreIt's widely accepted that early childhood development is important. Now, scientists' attention is turning to the even earlier stage of fetal development. Annie Murphy Paul, a science writer and a mother, delves into the research and interviews many leading scientists in the field. Her point of view is both professional and personal, and she presents a balanced view of the research that does exist, though it is an emerging field.
Origins Origins is not a guilt- or terror-inducing "blame the mom" screed; rather, it presents some thought-provoking facts and evidence, framed in a nine-month narrative, while frequently noting that fetal development is a relatively new area of study. Most of the research suggests, but does not yet proclaim with certainty. However, there is still plenty to learn from this book, and the writing is knowledgeable and accessible.
...such convictions emerged from a widely shared understanding of the relationship between a pregnant woman and her fetus as intimate and reciprocal. There may be only one culture, in fact, in which this idea was roundly rejected: the scientific and medical culture of the modern West. (6)
Research suggests that more mature fetuses can experience tastes and smells in the womb; by seven months, the fetus's taste buds are fully developed, and its olfactory receptors appear to be functional. The flavors of the food a woman eats find their way into the amniotic fluid, which is continuously swallowed by the fetus. Babies seem to remember, and prefer, these familiar tastes once they are out in the world. (21)
The Gift of Health, Karin Michels (37)
"We often respond to today's world with yesterday's adaptations." (Dan Fessler, 43)
Re: male-to-female birth ratio: "Now that almost all children in the developed world live to adulthood, most of the natural selection that goes on today happens in utero. Compared to men, women are biological fortresses. There's no doubt that men are the weaker sex, started as early as the womb." (Ralph Catalano, 129)
Because of [the practice of aborting female fetuses], demographers and political scientists point out, millions of males in [China and India] are now reaching adulthood with no prospect of finding a mate and starting a family. (135)
Re: "Mommy Despair": Confusion turned to anger, and because there was no good place to put it, anger turned to despair. (142)
...researchers have proposed that the Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci in the sixteenth century, was pregnant. (Sherwin Nuland, 143)
[Another] reason to focus on pregnancy: early interventions are almost always more cost effective than later ones, as Douglas Almond notes...."Multiplier effects mean that early interventions can be much less expensive and much more effective, [Thomas Miller] explains. "So, we can pay to help pregnant women now, or pay more to help their offspring later." (214)
[Last paragraph]: When we hold our babies for the first time, we imagine them clean and new, unmarked by life, when in fact they have already been shaped by the world, and by us. It's a koan of parenthood, one worthy of long contemplation: We are meeting someone we know well for the very first time. (240) (less)
I'm a longtime reader of Ken Jennings' blog, but I haven't read any of his books, until now. Because I Said So! is one of those rare book...morevia Edelweiss
I'm a longtime reader of Ken Jennings' blog, but I haven't read any of his books, until now. Because I Said So! is one of those rare books that I would recommend to everyone - male or female, young or old, numbers people or word people.
Jennings takes those stock phrases familiar to all, from the patently ridiculous "If you cross your eyes your face will stick that way" to the aggravating "Put on a sweater, I'm cold!" to the seemingly-logical "Don't run with a lollipop in your mouth" and investigates them: where and when did they originate, how they have been perpetuated, and whether or not there is any scientific basis for them.
Each "myth" gets about a couple of pages (I had the galley version on my e-reader, so the page numbers were a guess at best), and Jennings' writing is engaging, bright, and funny. Because I Said So! is perfect for those who enjoy Myth Busters and the Ig Nobel Prizes; children (of any age) who wish to say "I told you so!" (or, "Turns out you were right about that...") to their parents; or parents or teachers who care about giving kids factual information instead of questionable old wives' tales. A thoroughly enjoyable (and quick) read.
It is true that when we eat, our body diverts blood to the stomach to aid in digestion, but, as you may have noticed after every meal you ever ate in your life, that doesn't immediately immobilize your arms and legs....Not one water death has ever been attributed to post-meal cramping. (27)
Well, you can't buy Mercurochrome anymore. It turns out the "Mercuro-" part means it's full of mercury! (61)
[In case of a nosebleed] Sit down, tilt your head slightly forward, and keep your head above your heart. (Note to the American Academy of Physicians: This is the normal configuration of a sitting person. Do you treat a lot of circus acrobats?) (67)
It's even easier to see why a parents would endorse this myth: knuckle popping can quickly get annoying, and moms and dads have long sought to squelch annoying little behaviors by linking them to medical threats. This is why I tell my kids that knock-knock jokes cause colon cancer. (83)
Instead of a tumor, they found a two-inch fir tree inside his left lung, evidently growing from an accidentally inhaled seed. "I'm so relieved it's not cancer," [he said], obviously a glass-is-half-full type. (93)
[Re: sucking helium] Because what could be funnier that people with normal voices suddenly sounding like Donald Duck and saying stuff? Nothing. There is nothing funnier. (97)
"Thumb-sucking is bad for you!" This was an open question back in the 1950s, with psychologists at war against their natural enemies, the dentists. (100)
No, this cockeyed myth is yet another case of parents saying, "That's dangerous!" when they really mean, "Why the hell are you doing that?" (162)
Jabbing a big piece of conductive metal into live, exposed wires is, obviously, problematic, and for much of the twentieth century, toaster electrocution was a not-unheard-of-way to die....But modern safety technology is helping to short-circuit evolution by making it much harder to die via toaster idiocy. (213)(less)