I already believed in the principles of the book (basically that punishments and rewards are not effective as a long-term discipline solution), but th...moreI already believed in the principles of the book (basically that punishments and rewards are not effective as a long-term discipline solution), but this book built on what I already accepted adding with it an emphasis on responsibility over obedience. So far, three days in, it's been a very successful mindset switch. I actually stole this book from my husband and zoomed through it so I could give it back to him. He's read the first 18 pages, and is already excited to start implementing changes in his high school classroom this year, and even more at the beginning of next year.(less)
A fun read. Numbers are easily manipulated. Learn some math, so you can understand (or see through) the numbers and stats that are around everyday. No...moreA fun read. Numbers are easily manipulated. Learn some math, so you can understand (or see through) the numbers and stats that are around everyday. Now to find some math puzzle books for my kids (so they won't be innumerate).(less)
A few years ago, when I was in the middle of gestating, birthing and taking care of babies, and devouring books on such subjects, my husband suggested...moreA few years ago, when I was in the middle of gestating, birthing and taking care of babies, and devouring books on such subjects, my husband suggested I read Candide for a change of pace. "It's a quick read," he assured me. Thank goodness he was right, even though it took me a few years to finally pick up and read this book.
I have never read a satirical book before--though I had read Jonathon Swift's "A Modest Proposal." But this book, was just weird. Really weird. I turned to my philosophy degreed husband while I was reading this book and asked him if he thought it was weird, too. He replied that he had never read it (despite owning it for years). I am now going to insist that he read this book, and then I want to take it on a trip to Half Price Books. Sorry, Voltaire.(less)
The first fourth of the book was good, the middle half was almost unbearable, and the last fourth was better again. The middle half was difficult for...moreThe first fourth of the book was good, the middle half was almost unbearable, and the last fourth was better again. The middle half was difficult for me because while I have a rudimentary understanding of philosophy (having taken some college courses and being married to a philosophy BA), it was a bit above me. However, if I had known more about philosophy, I would not have needed his drawn-out, super-advanced primer! (And my husband argues that he misunderstands Nietzsche.) He makes good point about the changing of university culture, and how it's left it's philosophical roots. However, he should have made the distinction that if universities were to return a liberal education (and leave the "job training" to some other institution), that our idea of "everyone should go to college" would need to be drastically altered.(less)
I am currently on page 79 of this book, and so far, I'm not liking it. As I started to read, I thought to myself, "I think this book is going to be li...moreI am currently on page 79 of this book, and so far, I'm not liking it. As I started to read, I thought to myself, "I think this book is going to be like 'The Two Income Trap'--a book whose premises I agree with, but not their solutions." I was wrong. So far, the author has not talked one bit about the food part, but more about the industry. For pages, he covers the rise of Carl's Jr. and it's founder Carl Karcher, pointing out that he grew up without running water or electricity, but then seems disappointed that Karcher was okay with the changes in Anaheim CA from "progress." So far, the author seems anti-progress, pro-labor unions and nostalgic to a fault.
I'll admit, there is romanticism in thinking of days gone by, with family farms, rural communities, etc., but I think we live in a much better world today with nearly every American having running water, electricity, telephones, refrigerators and air conditioning.
He decries the marketing done to children, and while I admit that marketing to children is borderline evil, I worry that later he'll propose more government laws against it. Do you know what I did about it? I cancelled my cable/satellite... years ago. My children rarely watch commercials. Heck, they don't even go to public school where he complains that, now, fast food or other less-than-healthy food companies are advertising at schools to help school districts close budget gaps.
But what made me get up and write a review at this point in the book (to be added to when I finish the book) is his portrayal of the industry as anti-union. Frankly, I don't like unions myself (twice in my college career, I wrote research papers on the pros and cons of unions and their history/impact). I don't think that an industry that gives low-skilled workers the skills and experience to move into another (probably) better paying job needs to be unionized! Besides, the author himself on page 78 says, "Almost every fast food restaurant in Colorado Springs has a banner or sign that says 'Now Hiring.' The fast food chains have become victims of their own success, as one business after another tries to poach their teenage workers. Teenagers now sit behind the front desks at hotels, make calls for telemarketers, sell running shoes at mall. The low unemployment rate in Colorado Springs has made the task of finding inexpensive workers even more difficult." Well, look at that, other business are COMPETING to get those low-skilled, young, low-paid workers. The fast food chains are either going to have to improve working conditions, or pay more, or keep their high turnover rates as people use a McJob as a stepping stone to something better. Sounds like the free labor market is working just fine.
Okay, I've finished the book now, and I'm sticking with what I said above and my 1-star rating. It wasn't until the second to the last page that he finally said the obvious: "The first step toward meaningful change is by far the easiest: stop buying it." I think that more government is rarely the answer. The private sector already has the UL and the Good Housekeeping seal of approval for many products, so that consumers know that an independent company has tested the product and found it safe/trustworthy. Why can't an independent meat certification company rise up and stake its reputation on meat being clean/uncontaminated/etc. Why? Because whenever there is a problem, everyone runs to the government first. The USDA (and all the spread out agencies that are supposed to keep the food supply safe) suck because they are government run. The author basically calls for more rules and increased government efficiency. Sorry, that's an oxymoron. The meat for the fast food industry has improved (the author admits that) because they demanded it of their suppliers... McDonalds doesn't want it's customers getting sick... it ruins their reputations. As more consumers demand it, the same will happen for grocery stores. It just takes some time--more so if people keep looking toward the government to save them.
Oh, I should also say, that I expected to really like this book from the little I knew about it. I'm very into healthy eating (less processed foods, more whole foods, water instead of soda, more fruits and veggies, less meat), so I thought it would be right up my alley. I guess I was wrong.
Also, I think one major factor that led to the decline of the "family farm" way of life--which the author mentions in passing on one page of the entire book--is the estate tax (aka "death tax") that unduly harms those who make their living off of the land. After each generation, the tax would come due, but without liquid assets, the way to pay the tax is to sell some or all of the land in order to pay the tax. Not enacting the death tax in 1916 would have made a world of difference for the All American family farm.(less)