In the beginning I was irritated by Cresswell's somewhat contrived conversational style (as if she's the instructor speaking to students who have to bIn the beginning I was irritated by Cresswell's somewhat contrived conversational style (as if she's the instructor speaking to students who have to be lured into finding an interest in mathematics) but gradually I ignored that in favor of the topics regarding human relationships.
Eg.: -- Why is it biologically 'sensible' that the human male produces millions of sperm daily while a woman releases only one egg a month? -- Why are there more than 2 sexes in other species? And what is likely to happen to the 2 human sexes, over the passage of biological time? -- Is there a statistical and/or descriptive differentiation in the experience of orgasms between men and women? -- Is there a formula for evaluating happiness? What's more likely to contribute to a more fulfilling life - seeking personal happiness or achieving group happiness? -- How much should one compromise in a marriage?* -- How many behavioral characteristics should we take into consideration when evaluating our compatibility with a romantic/sexual partner? Is there a formula for deducing who is the most suitable mate? -- How many persons should you date before concluding you've found 'the one,' or at least the 'best' person who's liable to reciprocate your affections?**
I find that this perspective of looking at human (emotional & sexual) relationships is refreshing, especially in the wake of the countless self-help relationship books that advise us to work and work on improving our lackluster selves, or our lackluster relationships, in the hope of improving our 'odds,' rather than guiding us towards identifying the partner who is compatible in the here and now.
Unfortunately Cresswell is not as good a writer as she is a summarist of other people's theories. And she has an annoying style of simplifying the mathematical formulas, usually by not identifying the variables of the equations. That's a shame, because it suggests that Cresswell assumes her readers are mathematically challenged, incapable of understanding the science involved. At least she could have included a detailed presentation of the formulas in a final chapter for optional reading.
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* (view spoiler)[Spouses that have a low negativity threshold (expressing negative feelings immediately, rather than keeping quiet and empathizing with their partner) remain married longer. (hide spoiler)] **(view spoiler)[If you experiment with 12 persons and then pick what Cresswell calls the 'next best' that most resembles the 'best' of the first dozen, then you have a 75% chance of selecting a suitable person for settling down with. (hide spoiler)] ...more
You could call this Eat, Pray, Love in reverse: the tale of a young educated Indian female who travels to the West in search of love, enlightenment, aYou could call this Eat, Pray, Love in reverse: the tale of a young educated Indian female who travels to the West in search of love, enlightenment, and self-fulfillment. Although it doesn't intend to be that deep and meaningful, the novel does succeed in being so. Where Eat, Pray, Love stumbled by trying somewhat too hard to maintain gravity and import, Getting There's tongue-in-cheek and often comedic levity nicely balances the earnestness of the narrative, making it a credible account of the protagonist's journey to self-discovery. Overall it's an enjoyable read. ...more
An excellent insight into the food chain from farm (read: feedlot) to fast food tabletop.
It's not a pleasant subject to read, but Schlosser does an eAn excellent insight into the food chain from farm (read: feedlot) to fast food tabletop.
It's not a pleasant subject to read, but Schlosser does an excellent job in sticking to the hard facts and presenting them in an understandable (digestible?) manner. The in-depth (but not exhausting) exposé of the fast-food business - from the manner in which animals are raised & slaughtered, what exactly they are fed, to the working conditions of employees in slaughterhouses & the fast-food outlets themselves - presents a troubling picture.
Rather than paint a bleak future, Schlosser remains hopeful, and he explains how change can be brought about. The power does indeed lie with the consumer, and Schlosser cites several examples where businesses practices changed either because of consumer action, or due to proactive steps taken by the industry itself in anticipation of consumer disapproval. If the situation that Schlosser portrays is an ugly one, it's because we as consumers are continuing to vote for it at the register.
Since the publication of F.F.N. there have been some changes: the banning of trans-fat oils in U.S. restaurants, the decision by fast food chains not to use (some) bioengineered crops, the bill to remove sugar-laden sodas from U.S. school's vending machines, Jamie Oliver's campaign to improve school meals, etc.
- Excerpt on the use of flavor additives. This was one of the most interesting segments of the book, as it is a privileged peek into the almost invisible industry of 'natural' & artificial flavors and fragrances. ...more