After reading this book I'm definitely drinking the Patagonia Coolaid. I told my roommates not to let me buy any Patagonia gear for at least a month a...moreAfter reading this book I'm definitely drinking the Patagonia Coolaid. I told my roommates not to let me buy any Patagonia gear for at least a month after reading this book so that I don't make any rash purchases. I felt it was a great book that talked about the early days of patagonia and chouinard equipment (to become Black Diamond). However, it was defintely a chance for Yvon Chouinard to stand up on his soap box and talk about how awesome Patagonia is and how it's products are far superior to everything else on the market. Despite the obvious bias the founder and owner has for his company, Patagonia has really done some amazing things in the past for business in America. Here is a cool website that has the video and audio of a talk Yvon gave at UCLA School of Management http://www.environment.ucla.edu/calen...
Here are some key highlights I got from the book: - Patagonia started one of the first paid maternity and paternity leave programs in the United States - They were one of the first ones to institute a flex time work policy so that you could go surfing, take a nap, or run errands during work time if you wanted to - They were one of the first companies to offer a childcare center at work - Employees can bring in their home recycling to work. One Patagonia store actually opened up their parking lot as a recycling center because their area didn't have their own. - For its employees, Patagonia will pay $2k toward the purchase of a hybrid car - Patagonia has a matching program where they will match any donation you make to an environmental charity - There are no private offices at Patagonia, even for Yvon Chouinard and his wife Malinda - Patagonia started the 1% for the planet foundation where companies donate 1% of their total annual sales to environmental causes, thousands of companies are now on board with this.
Here are some cool quotes: - In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away (Antoine de Saint-Exupery) - Good design is as little design as possible (Dieter Rams, head of Design at Braun) - Complexity is often a sure sign that the functional needs have not been solved - The best products at Patagonia use up to 50% fewer parts than their less successful rivals - The Zen Master would say that a true Patagonia product should be identifiable even from a distance by teh quality of workmanship and attention to detail - If everyone thinks you have a good idea then you're already too late - Identify the goal then forget about it and focus on the process - Real adventure is defined best as a journey from which you may not come back alive, and certainly not as the same person - The key to confronting and truly solving any problem is to conitue to ask enough questions to get past all the symptoms and reach the actual cause - Function dictates form, design, and materials - Why buy 2 pieces of gear when 1 will do? - The more you know the less you need - The overall durability of a product is only as good as its weakest element - It would take 7 Earths for the rest of the world to consume at the same rate we Americans do - 90% of what Americans buy will end up in a landfill within 60-90 days - the average American reads at only an 8th grade reading level - 50% of Americans don't believe in Evolution - If you have the ability, the resources, and the opportunity to do good and you do nothing, that is evil
Some Business Tips: - LL Bean fulfills orders at 93-95% because they would have to double their inventory to reach 98% but it is just not efficient to do business that way. LL Bean defined this standard for the outdoor industry - Many Japanese companies don't do a yearly budget, they do a new budget every 6 months because they recognize that things are always changing - You should not have any more than 100 people at any given location - Having the company's philosophies in writing as well as the shared cultural experience of the philosophy classes played a critical role in teh turnaround in 1991 - Keep the company in yarak (a falconry term for when your falcon is super alert, hungry but not weak, and ready to hunt) - Philosophies aren't rules, they are guidlines (less)
I would compare this book to Antoine de Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince. It is a Brazilian folktale with many layers that talks of dreams and pursui...moreI would compare this book to Antoine de Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince. It is a Brazilian folktale with many layers that talks of dreams and pursuing (or not pursuing) your "personal legend". The first layer would make it a great children's story of adventure, suspense and travel. The second layer talks to adults who have given up their childhood dreams and youthfulness and have replaced them with security and comfort yet ultimately an unfulfilling lifestlye. The third layer speaks to cultural flaws in the modern world where historically, travel was considered necessary for personal growth but today travel has evolved into consumer-based activities like tourism. I read it in 2 days but plan to read it again more in depth. There are many good life philosophies throughout the book, each are personified by the characters that the boy meets along his way to fulfilling his personal legend. I definitely recommend reading it.(less)
I basically read this book because of it's massive popularity. I read the first 100 pages all at once and they were truly gripping, heart wrenching, a...moreI basically read this book because of it's massive popularity. I read the first 100 pages all at once and they were truly gripping, heart wrenching, and filled with terrifyingly real emotions, props to the author for drawing me in (this was the section before he met god, jesus, and the holy spirit). The rest of the book centered around the main Character's healing (from his daughters brutal death via pedophile serial killer) through philosophical and spiritual talks with god, jesus, and the holy spirit. I felt that most of the metaphors were overused and that the representations of the trinity were over-simplified (accents on submitting to Jesus, major de-emphasis on scripture). I am afraid that many church-goers will refer to metaphors in this book to help define their religious views instead of actually reading the Bible. I feel it has the same danger as Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, both are fictional (though opposite in religious nature) yet many people will view them as fact without consulting what the scripture actually says. It's a great book that is written well with a gripping story of healing. However, as far is religion is concerned, read it with a grain of salt and understand it for what it is, a fictional book about god and healing.(less)
There's a good side to this book and there's a bad side to this book. Good side first. Ever since reading the book I've put 80/20 thinking to use, tha...moreThere's a good side to this book and there's a bad side to this book. Good side first. Ever since reading the book I've put 80/20 thinking to use, that is to say that cause and effect are rarely linked in an equal way. 80% of the world's energy is consumed by 15% of the world's people, 80% of hospital costs come from 20% of the patients, 80% of your sales come from 20% of your products etc. It's not so much the "80" and "20" that are the point with this book, it's the theme that the inputs are never balanced with the outputs. Therefore, take a look at your thriving 20% efforts and figure out how to duplicate them. If you spend 5% of your time hiking but it brings 65% of your total enjoyment of life, then start hiking 10,15,20% of your time and cut out the dead weight that doesn't lead to happiness (insert example: relationships, profit, exercise, etc). The down side to this book is that it could be summed up in one Harvard Business Review article and any self respecting smart person would get the point pretty quickly and be able to use it tomorrow. However, the author took 262 pages to make his point. He rambles quite a bit and really just says the same thing over and over again. just says the same thing over and over again. just says the same thing over and over again. just says the same thing over and over again. It got old pretty fast but I eventually stopped reading after about 170 pages. My last negative point is where I actually put the book down, I didn't even finish it. There was a part of the book where two paragraphs, one after the other, are exactly the same. I thought maybe he was making a clever point or perhaps he was just being coy. No, I had several people look at this too and it just seems that they didn't do a good job editing. That's when I moved on to another book instead. Here are some good quotes I took away from it:
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself" - George Bernard Shaw
- - The rest are from the Author himself:
"Ambition is not served by bustle and busyness"
"Happiness is not equal to money. Money can be saved and multiplied but happiness cannot. Happiness not spent today does not lead to a greater store or multiplication of happiness for tomorrow"
"Simplicity requires ruthlessness"
"The way to create something great is to create something simple"
"Time and time again, those who recognize the effective 20% and seize the day never fail to become seriously rich"
"Many managers would rather run large firms as opposed to exceptionally profitable ones."
"Defending the role of the middle manager is one of the lamest most self serving defense mechanisms ever contrived"(less)
This book was a very interesting read on the very taboo topic of cadaver research, I learned a lot of things I never knew about the process. I am prou...moreThis book was a very interesting read on the very taboo topic of cadaver research, I learned a lot of things I never knew about the process. I am proudly an organ donor but after reading this book I am not sure I would go as far as donating my cadaver to scientific research under the current state of the research field. This is due to the unsettling fact that it is a largely unregulated field of study. You don't have a say on what your body can and cannot be used for and there seems to be no accountability for where your body (parts) go and what they're used for, i.e. some of it I would call pseudo-science like using bodies for religious-based research or cosmetic surgery practice. If I could choose to be an anatomy lab cadaver for students to practice surgery techniques or a crash test dummy in a car to develop safer vehicles or rot in a field to study crime scene investigations then I'm all for it. If I can save a life or two after I'm dead then that's great, that's more than I've ever done for anyone while alive. I'm going to rot in the ground anyway so why not leave a legacy behind me once I'm dead of trying to promote human health and further medical science. Many cadavers have benefited your life (development of airbags in cars, literally every type of major surgery, etc) Just leave me out of the religious propaganda and 90210 cosmetics scene, but you don't have that choice or control. Often you can only donate your body if you live close to a medical university or a teaching hopsital, sorry rural america.
While I thoroughly enoyed all the tidbits of information the author revealed about what happens to your body when you donate it to science, I really had a general distaste for her style of writing. In part it is because I dislike it when people without science backgrounds try to write about science topics, it made her sound uneducated. In place of a real discussion on a thought provoking topic she would simply throw in a joke or a (not) witty side comment. I understand trying to make this topic light-hearted but if she had spent more time understanding the process and the science involved instead of trying to be witty I think the book could have been 4.5 stars instead of 3. Maybe that's just the academic side of me coming out but I'd rather have read this book from a doctor or a professor. I would recommend it just because it's a facinating topic, not because it's written by this author.
Here are some interesting tidbits I picked out of it. There are 18,000 people on the waiting list for organ donations, 16 die every day and 50% of Americans say no when they are asked to become organ donors. Everyone please become an organ donor, you can save a dozen lives with your dead body, why wouldn't you sign up for that?
She referenced a book that I now want to read called, "The American Way of Death: America's Funeral Business" which was mentioned several times, seems like a scam to me to charge families $5k to put their dead body in the ground, yet there's a massive business in the US. Some other cool tidbits involved a story about a University in the Netherlands who did a study on people having sex and had them do so inside of an MRI machine, never heard of that before :). Steering wheels in old cars used to be super dangerous because in an accident they would hit people in the heart and the impact would stop it immediately, that's why we have larger steering wheels these days (air bags as well but that's another story). There was a shoutout to Tufts' cadaver research, woot. There's a scientific advisory board to the Pope called the 'Pontifical Academy of Sciences' and they inform him every year about things like stem cell research and cadaver research. In China they used to sell these capsules called Tia Boa Capsules which were actually filled with parts of aborted human fetuses, it was (is) believed that the fetus contains healing agents and it has been used for a variety of illnesses. It was unclear from the book if these are still sold today. Lastly there was an interesting point that as far as human body composition (fat, lean mass,organ size, etc) we are approximately the same as Veal, interesting.
I read this book in preparation for my first trip to the Holy Land as a catholic in my young 20's. I like the structure of how this book was approache...moreI read this book in preparation for my first trip to the Holy Land as a catholic in my young 20's. I like the structure of how this book was approached, but that's about where my praise ends. Each chapter starts with introducing a place that was prominently featured in Jesus' life. However, there isn't much substance to the history, it simply dives very shallow into what is an extraordinarily complex set of issues. If you are looking for a shallow overview written in an informal tone then perhaps this book is for you. In my opinion the descriptions are watered down and not done justice in the 10-15 pages he uses to describe (or not describe) their significance. The first section is followed by the author's own translation of a relevant section of scripture that touches upon the geographic location of that chapter. I don't know how trusted this man's translation credentials are so I am not entirely sold that using his own translation was the best choice. Lastly, the author reflects on the passage with real-life stories which in essence is a great idea, however, I couldn't get engaged in many of his stories. They were also tied to the verses very loosely and written in a very informal tone. The entire book was written in an informal voice which lost me on his scholarly 'credentials'. In many places he would paraphrase what Jesus said and would end with a question directed at the reader "do you know what I mean?" instead of a scholarly or though provoking analysis. Overall not impressed with this book, A+ for intent and structure, D+ for execution. If you read above a 3rd grade reading level and are looking to learn about Israel and the Holy Land, this is not the book for you.(less)
I decided to read this short story in order to bring some adventure into the mix of this month’s selection of short stories. The first time I heard this story was in my junior year of college while riding up to NH in a blizzard with a car full of guys ready to go ice climbing for winter break. It was a very fitting scenario to hear Jon Krakauer’s voice narrating the short story of his defeat on the legendary North Face of the Eiger.
Krakauer and his friend (8 years younger) spent about a month camping out near the lodge at the base of the Eiger just waiting for a streak of good weather. Each day they would walk to the payphone to get the four-day forecast and each time it involved storms and high winds on the Eiger. He mentioned that his younger friend often equate sentiments of dangerous climbing with fun climbing but he was a supremely good climber so he was excited to get on the face with him He mentioned several times his partner’s summit fever, an attitude that can surely get you into trouble on mountains like the Eiger. Which was more important, climbing the mountain or coming back alive? Krakauer wasn’t sure his partner had fully considered the latter. It reminds me of a great book I read called "On the Ridge Between Life and Death" by Krakauer's life and climbing mentor David Roberts.
Avalanches, blizzards, and dangerously high winds (170km/hr) kept them off the mountain for several weeks. One night a strong wind blew in and sent their tents a quarter mile away from their campsite despite the fact that each tent had about 250lbs of food and gear inside as well as it having been tied down to large logs and an ice screw sunk securely in to the icy ground. Once they tracked down their tents, which were tore mostly to shreds, they simply went into the lodge and got drunk with all the tourists. Why not right?
Finally, they got a streak of good weather and headed up onto the wall. The ice was in poor condition and they soloed many pitches (i.e. no anchors to protect yourself from a fall). After two days on the wall and a forced bivouac they decided that they couldn't make it any further and they turned back repelling where they could and down-climbing everywhere else. It was a pretty epic short story and I'm definitely interested in reading the rest of the stories in the book of Eiger Dreams. I highly recommend the audiotape versions as well. (less)
I really enjoy reading books that challenge you to question conventional wisdom. If you like Malcolm Gladwell I definitely recommend this book. HOWEVE...moreI really enjoy reading books that challenge you to question conventional wisdom. If you like Malcolm Gladwell I definitely recommend this book. HOWEVER, many of the topics are covered it Gladwell's books The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers, so be prepared to hear some regurgitation (the brutal murder in queens with 38 onlookers who didn't call the cops, how the month you were born greatly affects your ability to play professional sports, and many others that have been covered in other more popular books). Also, many of the statistical conclusions are nothing short of outlandish, for example, telling me that statistically I could drive in a car continuously for 285 years before I would be likely to die in a drunk driving accident. The assumptions leading up to that conclusion are vague and weak.
With that caveat out of the way, most of the book was facsinating and it was a very quick read (only 200-ish pages). For example, the accidental death rate for soldiers in the 1980's was larger than the hostile death rates for every year since we've been in Iraq/Afghanistan, therefore, training for war in the 1980's was more dangerous than actually fighting a war, yikes. Also there's an interesting piece on prostitution and how lucrative it used to be, who knew that they made the equivalent of over $100k/year plus medical/dental/education/food/apartment benefits paid for by the brothel owners. Also, definitely look up the group called "Intellectual Ventures", they are brilliant minds who believe the best solutions are cheap and simple. I had heard about them before this book but finally decided to look them up, very good stuff.
I definitely recommend this book but read it WITH A HUGE GRAIN OF SALT. Nothing should be taken literally or for truth. But I really believe their fundamental premise that "the laws of supply and demand are often more powerful than the laws made by legislators."(less)
I am a young 20-something working for an employer where 35% of the workforce is elligible for retirement. Therefore, the idea of knowledge transfer sh...moreI am a young 20-something working for an employer where 35% of the workforce is elligible for retirement. Therefore, the idea of knowledge transfer should be ever-present in an attempt to not let all of this knowledge die when they leave. The reality is that this culture doesn't exist in a formal or beneficial way for anyone. The older employees who are truly professionals in their field with deep subject matter knowledge simply don't understand how to teach the highly motivated, tech-savvy, 20-somethings, and vice versa when it comes to the yuppies learning from the knowledgable yet old fashioned PhD's.
My boss handed me this book in an attempt to start cultivating a culture of knowledge sharing among our team (4 people over 50, and 5 people under 26). The book is a very practical guide for establishing a knowledge transfer environment. The ideas that the author proposes are not new, nor are they novel. However, many employers seem to throw their new hires into the deep end to see how they fair. Coming from technology industries, the author is able to tailor his methods in a very practical layout with the high-tech, fast-paced innovator in mind. I found the book very practical, thorough, and potentially useful so I am developing a system for peer-mentoring with my boss and my boss's boss in order to try and harness the knowledge of our senior engineers/scientists and make it available to our tech savvy 20-somethings. We'll see how it goes...(less)
This is the story of four U.S. Navy SEALS in a desperate battle in the mountains of Afghanistan which became single largest loss of life event in Navy...moreThis is the story of four U.S. Navy SEALS in a desperate battle in the mountains of Afghanistan which became single largest loss of life event in Navy SEAL history. The author, Marcus Luttrell (SEAL team leader) was the only member of his team to survive the catastrophe and he vividly (almost too vividly at times) recounts the events that lead to the death of his three comrades as well as several more SEALs and Army Rangers who came to his rescue but whose helo was shot down.
I recommend this book but under a few conditions. First, it is written in poorly, keep in mind that the author is a navy seal and not a professor in english. Second, don't try to read into the politics surrounding this book (conservatism vs liberalism), it simply adds to the ridiculous shouting match between conservatives and liberals and gains no ground for either ideal. The author is a hardcore conservative so keep that in mind as well.
With that being said, you may not agree with the author, or even like him or his job, but it is real and these types of events are happening to U.S. Soldiers. The book is 100% action and I guarantee that you will not put it down for a minute.(less)
Wondering what it takes to become a U.S. Navy SEAL? This book was written by DIck Couch, a graduate of BUD/S class 45 in 1969 (top of his class) and h...moreWondering what it takes to become a U.S. Navy SEAL? This book was written by DIck Couch, a graduate of BUD/S class 45 in 1969 (top of his class) and he follows class 228 through 6 months of some of the most brutal training int he world. The author describes finishing BUD/S training as analogous to child birth, i.e. the pain is quickly pushed aside by the joy of finally having it behind you. Mealtime is described as "a dreamy hiatus in a relentless existence of cold and pain."
In my constant attempt to find inspiration out of the books I read, here is the list of the 6 key attributes unique to SEAL recruits that complete hell-week; 5 punishing days with sleepless nights:
1.) Maintaining a positive attitude 2.) Teamwork 3.) Guts 4.) A never-quit mentality 5.) Belief in yourself 6.) Mental focus
"The only easy day was yesterday"
I highly recommend this book for those of you who want a very up-close and personal view of some of the most intense physical training anywhere in the world.(less)