Definitely a worthwhile read for the athlete and non-athlete alike (but especially for the athlete). Some amazing insights given that this book preced...moreDefinitely a worthwhile read for the athlete and non-athlete alike (but especially for the athlete). Some amazing insights given that this book preceded all of the empirical work within the field of psychology concerning the dual role of the conscious vs. unconscious mind in shaping behavior. The most difficult part is figuring out how to institute some of the suggestions in specific situations (especially in other sports). Most of the examples are of course heavily dependent on the tennis medium, but there is no reason they couldn’t be adapted for other sports. The focal point to always keep in mind is that the unconscious mind is especially well-suited for processing tremendous amounts of information at once, which is exactly what training muscles to coordinate into complex motions requires. Most of the techniques Gallwey describes are simply ways to get your conscious mind out of the way so you can let the correct motor learning system take over. Not a difficult book to understand, but nearly impossible for many athletes to actually enact. I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever struggled to experience the true joy that comes with playing sports. (less)
There is a sense in which we moderns are inundated with facts to the detriment of understanding. One of the reas...more**spoiler alert** My notes and quotes:
There is a sense in which we moderns are inundated with facts to the detriment of understanding. One of the reasons for this situation is that the very media we have mentioned are so designed as to make thinking seem unnecessary (though this is only an appearance). The packaging of intellectual positions and views is one of the most active enterprises of some of the best minds of our day. The viewer of television, the listener to radio, the reader of magazines, is presented with a whole complex of elements – all the way from ingenious rhetoric to carefully selected data and statistics – to make it easy for him to “make up his own mind” with the minimum of difficulty and effort. But the packaging is often done so effectively that the viewer, listener, or reader does not make up his own mind at all. Instead, he inserts a packaged opinion into his mind, somewhat like inserting a cassette into a cassette player. He then pushes a button and “plays back” the opinion whenever it seems appropriate to do so. He has performed acceptably without having had to think. (p. 4).
The first is the ignorance of those who, not knowing their ABC’s, cannot read at all. The second is the ignorance of those who have misread many books. They are, as Alexander Pope rightly calls them, bookful blockheads, ignorantly read. There have always been literate ignoramuses who have read too widely and not well. The Greeks had a name for such a mixture of learning and folly which might be applied to the bookish but poorly read of all ages. They are all sophomores. (p. 12).
Thinking is only one part of the activity of learning. One must also use one’s senses and imagination. One must observe, and remember, and construct imaginatively what cannot be observed. There is, again, a tendency to stress the role of these activities in the process of unaided discovery and to forget or minimize their place in the process of being taught through reading or listening. For example, many people assume that though a poet must use his imagination in writing a poem, they do not have to use their imagination in reading it. (p. 14).
If you ask a living teacher a question, he will probably answer you. If you are puzzled by what he says, you can save yourself the trouble of thinking by asking him what he means. If, however, you ask a book a question, you must answer it yourself. In this respect a book is like nature or the world. When you question it, it answers you only to the extent that you do the work of thinking and analysis yourself. . . . Students in a school often read difficult books with the help and guidance of teachers. But for those of us who are not in school, and indeed also for those of us who are when we try to read books that are not required or assigned, our continuing education depends mainly on books alone, read without a teacher’s help. Therefore if we are disposed to go on learning and discovering, we must know how to make books teach us well. That, indeed, is the primary goal of this book. (p. 15).
The essence of active reading: The four basic questions a reader asks 1. What is the book about as a whole? You must try to discover the leading theme of the book, and how the author develops this theme in an orderly way by subdividing it into its essential subordinate themes or topics. 2. What is being said in detail, and how? You must try to discover the main ideas, assertions, and arguments that constitute the author’s particular message. 3. Is the book true, in whole or part? You cannot answer this question until you have answered the first two. You have to know what is being said before you can decide whether it is true or not. When you understand a book, however, you are obligated, if you are reading seriously, to make up your own mind. Knowing the author’s mind is not enough. 4. What of it? If the book has given you information, you must ask about its significance. Why does the author think it is important to know these things? Is it important to you to know them? And if the book has not only informed you, but also enlightened you, it is necessary to seek further enlightenment by asking what else follows, what is further implied or suggested. (p. 46-47).
People go to sleep over good books not because they are unwilling to make the effort, but because they do not know how to make it. Good books are over your head; they would not be good for you if there were not. And books that are over your head weary you unless you can reach up to them and pull yourself up to their level. It is not the stretching that tires you, but the frustration of stretching unsuccessfully because you lack the skill to stretch effectively. To keep on reading actively, you must have not only the will to do so, but also the skill – the art that enables you to elevate yourself by mastering what at first sight seems to be beyond you. (p. 48).
Perhaps you are beginning to see how essential a part of reading it is to be perplexed and know it. Wonder is the beginning of wisdom in learning from books as well as from nature. If you never ask yourself any questions about the meaning of a passage, you cannot expect the book to give you any insight you do not already possess. (p. 123).
Every author has had the experience of suffering book reviews by critics who did not feel obliged to do the work of the first two stages first. The critic too often thinks he does not have to be a reader as well as a judge. Every lecturer has also had the experience of having critical questions asked that were not based on any understanding of what he had said. You yourself may remember an occasion where someone said to a speaker, in one breath or at most two, “I don’t know what you mean, but I think you’re wrong.” There is actually no point in answering critics of this sort. The only polite thing to do is to ask them to state your position for you, the position they claim to be challenging. If they cannot do it satisfactorily, if they cannot repeat what you have said in their own words, you know that they do not understand, and you are entirely justified in ignoring their criticisms. They are irrelevant, as all criticism must be that is not based on understanding. When you find the rare person who shows that he understands what you are saying as well as you do, then you can delight in his agreement or be seriously disturbed by his dissent. (p. 144).
Rules for finding what a book is about 1. Classify the book according to kind and subject matter. 2. Sate what the whole book is about with the utmost brevity. 3. Enumerate its major parts in their order and relation, and outline these parts as you have outlined the whole. 4. Define the problem or problems the author has tried to solve. Rules for interpreting a book’s contents 5. Come to terms with the author by interpreting his key words. 6. Grasp the author’s leading propositions by dealing with his most important sentences. 7. Know the author’s arguments, by finding them in, or constructing them out of, sequences of sentences. 8. Determine which of his problems the author has solved, and which he has not; and of the latter, decide which the author knew he had failed to solve. (p. 163).
Special criteria for points of criticism Show where the author is uninformed, misinformed, illogical, or show where the author’s analysis or account is incomplete. (p. 164).
The great writers have always been great readers, but that does not mean that they read all the books that, in their day, were listed as the indispensable ones. In many cases, they read fewer books than are now required in most of our colleges, but what they did read, they read well. Because they had mastered these books, they became peers with their authors. They were entitled to become authorities in their own right. In the natural course of events, a good student frequently becomes a teacher, and so, too, a good reader becomes an author. (p. 167).
The child is a natural questioner. It is not the number of questions he asks but their character that distinguishes him from the adult. Adults do not lose the curiosity that seems to be a native human trait, but their curiosity deteriorates in quality. They want to know whether something is so, not why. But children’s questions are not limited to the sort that can be answered by an encyclopedia. (p. 270).
But their efforts are enormously wasteful because they do not understand how to read some books faster than others. They spend the same amount of time and effort on every book or article they read. As a result, they do not read those books that deserve a really good reading as well as they deserve, and they waste time on works that deserve less attention. (p. 315).
Summary of Syntopical Reading 1. Surveying the field – create a tentative bibliography of your subject by recourse to library catalogues, advisors, and bibliographies in books. 2. Inspect all books on the tentative bibliography to ascertain which are germane to your subject, and also to acquire a clearer idea of the subject. Syntopical Reading of the Bibliography Amassed in Stage 1 1. Inspect the books already identified as relevant to your subject in Stage I in order to find the most relevant passages. 2. Bring the authors to terms by constructing a neutral terminology of the subject that all, or the great majority, of the authors can be interpreted as employing, whether they actually employ the words or not. 3. Establish a set of neutral propositions for all of the authors by framing a set of questions to which all or most of the authors can be interpreted as giving answers, whether they actually treat the questions explicitly or not. 4. Define the issues, both major and minor ones, by ranging the opposing answers of authors to the various questions on one side of an issue or another. 5. Analyze the discussion by ordering the questions and issues in such a way as to throw maximum light on the subject. More general issues should precede less general ones, and relations among issues should be clearly indicated. (p. 335-336).
Reading for information does not stretch your mind any more than reading for amusement. It may seem as though it does, but that is merely because your mind is fuller of facts than it was before you read the book. However, you mind is essentially in the same condition that it was before. There has been a quantitative change, but no improvement in your skill. (p. 339).(less)
Funny little book all about cat "psychology". Mostly in Q&A format, I thought I'd take a look at it since I spied it on the library display shelf....moreFunny little book all about cat "psychology". Mostly in Q&A format, I thought I'd take a look at it since I spied it on the library display shelf. Things I learned from this book: the wonders of double-sided tape for keeping the kitties off the counter, cats mark their territory with oils from their whiskers (that's why they rub up again you), and you can test your cat's IQ by seeing if it has object permanence (just like you would with a small child). Oh, and cats knead because it is calming and reminds them of how they used to stimulate milk production from their mothers ...(less)
As I mentioned in this book’s introduction, by tragic historical coincidence a period of abysmal under-educating...more**spoiler alert** My notes and quotes:
As I mentioned in this book’s introduction, by tragic historical coincidence a period of abysmal under-educating in literacy has coincided with this unexpected explosion of global self-publishing. Thus people who don’t know their apostrophe from their elbow are positively invited to disseminate their writings to anyone on the planet stupid enough to double-click and scroll. Mark Twain said it many years ago, but it has never been more true: “There is no such thing as ‘the Queen’s English’. The property has gone into the hands of a joint stock company and we own the bulk of the shares! – Following the Equator, 1897. It hurts, though. It hurts like hell. Even in the knowledge that our punctuation has arrived at its present state by a series of accidents; even in the knowledge that there are at least seventeen rules for the comma, some of which are beyond explanation by top grammarians – it is a matter for despair to see punctuation chucked out as worthless by people who don’t know the difference between who’s and whose, and whose bloody automatic “grammar checker” can’t tell the difference either. And despair was the initial impetus for this book. I saw a sign for “Book’s” with an apostrophe in it, and something deep inside me snapped; snapped with that melancholy sound you hear in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, like a far-off cable breaking in a mine-shaft. I know that language moves on. It has to. Not once have I ever stopped to feel sorry for those Egyptian hieroglyph artists tossed on the scrapheap during a former linguistic transition (“Birds’ heads in profile, mate? You having a laugh?”. But I can’t help feeling that our punctuation system, which has served the written word with grace and ingenuity for centuries, must not be allowed to disappear without a fight. (p. 184).
“I can scribble the word “bomb” barely legibly 18 times in one minute and “bom” 24 times, saving 25 per cent per minute by dropping the superfluous b. In the British Commonwealth, on which the sun never sets, and in the United States of North America, there are always millions of people continually writing, writing, writing … Those who are writing are losing time at the rate of 131,400 X x per annum … -George Bernard Shaw on Language, 1965 (p. 186).
You will know all about emoticons. Emoticons are the proper name for smileys. And a smiley is, famously, this: :-) Forget the idea of selecting the right words in the right order and channeling the reader’s attention by means of artful pointing. Just add the right emoticon to your email and everyone will know what self-expressive effect you thought you kind-of had in mind. Anyone interested in punctuation has a dual reason to feel aggrieved about smileys, because not only are they a paltry substitute for expressing oneself properly; they are also designed by people who evidently thought the punctuation marks on the standard keyboard cried out for an ornamental function. What’s this dot-on-top-of-a-dot thing for? What earthly good is it? Well, if you look at it sideways, it could be a pair of eyes. What’s this curvy thing for? It’s a mouth, look! Hey, I think we’re on to something. :-( Now it’s sad! ;-) It looks like it’s winking! :-r It looks like it’s sticking its tongue out! The permutations may be endless: :~/ mixed up! <:-) dunce! :-[ pouting! :-0 surprise! Well, that’s enough. I’ve just spotted a third reason to loathe emoticons, which is that when they pass from fashion (and I do hope they already have), future generations will associate punctuation marks with an outmoded and rather primitive graphic pastime and despise them all the more. “Why do they still have all these keys with things like dots and spots and eyes and mouths and things?” they will grumble. “Nobody does smileys any more.” (p. 193-195).(less)
I picked up this book after reading Pryor's book, "Don't Shoot the Dog", which was also really great. I haven't really had the time to invest going al...moreI picked up this book after reading Pryor's book, "Don't Shoot the Dog", which was also really great. I haven't really had the time to invest going all out with clicker training our cats, but the little I've done has worked beautifully. It really teaches how important associations and habit are in determining behavior for both animals and humans. The best part about clicker training pets is how mentally stimulating it is for them (and for you because you have to be so creative in your methods for teaching them new things). I would definitely recommend this book to cat owners, or even for people who just want a brief overview of how clicker training works. (less)