**spoiler alert** Read this book in one sitting, for starters. I want to make it clear that I'm aware that Adam Braun is not actually just an regular**spoiler alert** Read this book in one sitting, for starters. I want to make it clear that I'm aware that Adam Braun is not actually just an regular guy. That is the only thing incorrect in the book. But I don't believe that his not actually being just like everyone else renders his book meaningless. You'll likely read several reviews of this book criticizing Adam because he was born to wealthy, Ivy League alums, lived in a rich area of a Connecticut, and experienced the privilege of being a well-to-do white male. He himself went onto the Ivy League and had his pick of every job on Wall Street.
We don't choose the circumstances we're born into. We cannot blame Adam for being born into the life he had. This book is about Adam's personal growth and transformation into the person he wanted to be, and what inspired him to quit his job at Bain and found a for-purpose organization with the mission of providing a rigorous education for children around the world who lack educational access. There's nothing wrong with an individual writing his or her own story. I don't believe he deserves criticism of any kind for doing so.
Can we all accomplish what Adam accomplished? Maybe not. His wealth and connections made it possible for him to do much of what he did. So did some very hard work and commitment and passion and unwillingness to give up even in the face of obstacles. So even if you can't relate to Adam because you don't share his circumstances and background, I don't think you need to in order to leave this book with very valuable takeaways.
He clearly states that your dreams can be of any size, small or big. No matter who you are and what size your dream is, Adam encourages you only to fight for that dream with all your heart. He simply shared the story of how he fought for his own dream. His lessons don't have to be applied to his specific context. They can be applicable to people in many types of situation. No matter who you are or what your circumstances are, it's important to work hard and believe in yourself. It's important to be willing to take feedback, to handle failure in a productive way, to be open to doing things differently than you may have originally planned. It's important to remember that nobody does anything entirely alone, and that relying on others who may know better and offer you an alternative perspective is valuable. The mantras that Braun shares can be applied to anyone.
The idea of paying it forward, and respecting the sacrifices that those who came before you made in order to make your life possible are meaningful no matter who you are.
And if you do have money and power and privilege and connections, then consider using those assets to make change in the world....more
Brilliant piece by a brilliant author. The suffering of the "lowest" members of India's caste system is something that simply cannot be felt or undersBrilliant piece by a brilliant author. The suffering of the "lowest" members of India's caste system is something that simply cannot be felt or understood unless you've endured it yourself or lived right amongst those who did. Mulk Raj Anand falls into the latter category, and did the world a great service by sharing the voices of those rendered voiceless by a society working against them. An absolute must-read, if for nothing else than to boost your compassion, give you a little perspective, and make you count your blessings.
Also note that this is an extremely intense book. It's relatively short, and I'm known for reading every book in one sitting, but this was one I had to read in intervals. The gravity of the subject matter required breaks for reflection and emotional processing. This might not be everyone's experience, but it was mine, so I figured I should give fair warning for those who might be more sensitive to the suffering of humanity....more
A must-read. This is one book you can judge by the title and the cover: it looks like it'll be hilarious, and it sure is. This book is just page afterA must-read. This is one book you can judge by the title and the cover: it looks like it'll be hilarious, and it sure is. This book is just page after page of priceless political gaffes from nearly the last 100 years. Goes quickly, and when you're done, you'll wish you there were more (although for the sake of our country, I suppose it's better if there isn't material for a sequel...)...more
I'm not sure why this book got so many bad reviews. It may not be perfect, sophisticated literature, but anyone who got so hung up on that really missI'm not sure why this book got so many bad reviews. It may not be perfect, sophisticated literature, but anyone who got so hung up on that really missed the point. This book is about cultural transformation, about the kinds of feelings and experiences that impact a person so deeply... The kinds of things that are next to impossible to put into words. The author tried, and in my opinion she succeeded. I was much too absorbed by her incredible journey, personal interactions, struggles, and victories to even bother noticing anything about her writing worth criticizing. I did NOT find the research she did regarding learning a second language to be an interference to the main storyline at ALL. It was so interesting and even though she did have to interrupt the story to discuss the research, I felt she chose mostly opportune points at which to do so. I learned so much about the cognitive aspect of language-learning and I found the inclusion of this in the book to be very useful. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in India, in cultural immersion of any kind, in understanding what it is like to move to a foreign country, in Hindi, in foreign languages in general, in the process of learning languages, or in any combination of the above. And even if you don't have specific interest in any of the above, if you're willing to just take the plunge and see what one person's experience was when she decided to move halfway across the world and find herself, you'll probably enjoy this book!...more
Stevenson is just brilliant. The construction of the story and the level of intensity, emotion, and suspense in his writing is incredible. This will aStevenson is just brilliant. The construction of the story and the level of intensity, emotion, and suspense in his writing is incredible. This will always be one of my favorite classics. A must-read....more
Read this cover to cover. An unbelievable story that touches on every aspect of self-development, establishment of a personal identity, the way identiRead this cover to cover. An unbelievable story that touches on every aspect of self-development, establishment of a personal identity, the way identity can be forced on a person due to societal expectations, and medical expectations. We see how the decisions we make for those too young to make their own decisions have an enormous impact on the adults they grow into, and how damaging it can be on their ability to find themselves and be who they know they are. Though much has changed in our society in terms of views on gender and sexuality, this story starts at the beginning of it all, and we see how much and yet simultaneously, how little, our world has changed in terms of openness to sex and gender identity concepts. A must-read!...more
Unbelievable. I have a tendency to read books cover to cover, but I blew through all 346 pages of this (that includes the epilogue) without thinking tUnbelievable. I have a tendency to read books cover to cover, but I blew through all 346 pages of this (that includes the epilogue) without thinking twice. Frank Meeink does know the truth. The ugly truth. The cold, hard truth. Whatever adjectives you use to describe the word truth, Meeink knows how it is, and he tells it like it is. And the truth hurts. But it's a good hurt, and a necessary one. There is so much we fail to understand about racial constructs in society either because of ignorance or denial. Frankie removes the former, and makes it impossible for you to continue to engage in the latter. His work reminds you that everyone, no matter how you judge them, has a story. And that people can change. And while hate is an extremely strong force in this world, love is always stronger....more