And secondly, I think we must admit that the discussion of these disputed points has no tendency at all to bring**spoiler alert** My notes and quotes:
And secondly, I think we must admit that the discussion of these disputed points has no tendency at all to bring an outsider into the Christian fold. So long as we write and talk about them we are much more likely to deter him from entering any Christian communion than to draw him into our own. Our divisions should never be discussed except in the presence of those who have already come to believe that there is one God and that Jesus Christ is His only Son. (p. 6).
One reason why many people find Creative Evolution so attractive is that it gives one much of the emotional comfort of believing in God and none of the less pleasant consequences. When you are feeling fit and the sun is shining and you do not want to believe that the whole universe is a mere mechanical dance of atoms, it is nice to be able to think of this great mysterious Force rolling on through the centuries and carrying you on its crest. If, on the other hand, you want to do something rather shabby, the Life-Force, being only a blind force, with no morals and no mind, will never interfere with you like that troublesome God we learned about when you were children. The Life-Force is a sort of tame God. You can switch it on when you want, but it will not bother you. All the thrills of religion and none of the cost. Is the Life-Force the greatest achievement of wishful thinking the world has yet seen? (p. 35).
Very well then, atheism is too simple. And I will tell you another view that is also too simple. It is the view I call Christianity-and-water, the view which simply says there is a good God in Heaven and everything is all right – leaving out all the difficult and terrible doctrines about sin and hell and the devil, and the redemption. Both these are boys’ philosophies. It is no good asking for a simple religion. (p. 46).
Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed. If it offered us just the kind of universe we had always expected, I should feel we were making I up. But, in fact, it is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. It has just that queer twist about it that real things have. (p. 47-48).
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. (p. 56).
A live body is not one that never gets hurt, but one that can to some extent repair itself. In the same way a Christian is not a man who never goes wrong, but a man who is enabled to repent and pick himself up and begin over again after each stumble – because the Christ-life is inside him, repairing him all the time, enabling him to repeat (in some degree) the kind of voluntary death which Christ Himself carried out. That is why the Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or – if they think there is no – at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it. (p. 64).
Morality, then, seems to be concerned with three things. Firstly, with fair play and harmony between individuals. Secondly, with what might be called tidying up or harmonising the things inside each individual. Thirdly, with the general purpose of human life as a whole: what man was made for: what course the whole fleet ought to be on: what tune the conductor of the band wants it to play. You may have noticed that modern people are nearly always thinking about the first thing and forgetting the other two. When people say in the newspapers that we are striving for Christian moral standards, they usually mean that we are striving for kindness and fair play between nations, and classes, and individuals; that is, they are thinking only of the first thing. When a man says about something he wants to do, “It can’t be wrong because it doesn’t do anyone else any harm,” he is thinking only of the first thing. He is thinking it does not matter what his ship is like inside provided that he does not run into the next ship. And it is quite natural, when we start thinking about morality, to begin with the first thing, with social relations. For one thing, the results of bad morality in that sphere are so obvious and press on us every day: war and poverty and graft and lies and shoddy work. And also, as long as you stick to the first thing, there is very little disagreement about morality. Almost all people at all times have agreed (in theory) that human beings ought to be honest and kind and helpful to one another. But though it is natural to begin with all that, if our thinking about morality stops there, we might just as well not have thought at all. Unless we go on to the second thing – the tidying up inside each human being – we are only deceiving ourselves. (p. 71-72).
You will find this again and again about anything that is really Christian: every one is attracted by bits of it and wants to pick out those bits and leave the rest. That is why we do not get much further: and that is why people who are fighting for quite opposite things can both say they are fighting for Christianity. (p. 80).
“Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it. (p. 99).
Most of us find it very difficult to want “Heaven” at all – except in so far as “Heaven” means meeting again our friend who have died. One reason for this difficulty is that we have not been trained: our whole education tends to fix our minds on this world. Another reason is that when the real want for Heaven is present in us, we do not recognize it. Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy. I am not now speaking of what would be ordinarily called unsuccessful marriages, or holidays, or learned careers. I am speaking of the best possible ones. There was something we grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in the reality. I think everyone knows what I mean. The wife may be a good wife, and the hotels and scenery may have been excellent, and chemistry may be a very interesting job: but something has evaded us. (p. 119).
It is not reason that is taking away my faith: on the contrary, my faith is based on reason. It is my imagination and emotions. The battle is between faith and reason on one side and emotion and imagination on the other. … Now just the same thing happens about Christianity. I am not asking anyone to accept Christianity if his best reasoning tells him that the weight of the evidence is against it. That is not the point at which Faith comes in. But supposing a man’s reason once decides that the weight of the evidence is for it. I can tell that man what is going to happen to him in the next few weeks. There will come a moment when there is bad news, or he is in trouble, or is living among a lot of other people who do not believe it, and all at once his emotions will rise up and carry out a sort of a blitz on this belief. Or else there will come a moment when he wants a woman, or wants to tell a lie, or feels very pleased with himself, or sees a chance of making a little money in some way that is not perfectly fair: some moment, in fact, at which it would be very convenient if Christianity were not true. And once again his wishes and desires will carry out a blitz. I am not talking of moments at which any real new reasons against Christianity turn up. Those have to be faced and that is a different matter. I am talking about moments where a mere mood rises up against it. Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. (p. 123).
One of the dangers of having a lot of money is that you may be quite satisfied with the kinds of happiness money can give and so fail to realize your need for God. If everything seems to come simply by signing checks, you may forget that you are at every moment totally dependent on God. Now quite plainly, natural gifts carry with them a similar danger. If you have sound nerves and intelligence and health and popularity and a good upbringing, you are likely to be quite satisfied with your character as it is. “Why drag God into it?” you may ask. A certain level of good conduct comes fairly easily to you. You are not one of those wretched creatures who are always being tripped up by sex, or dipsomania, or nervousness, or bad temper. Everyone says you are a nice chap and (between ourselves). You agree with them. You are quite likely to believe that all this niceness is your own doing: and you may easily not feel the need for any better kind of goodness. Often people who have these natural kinds of goodness cannot be brought to recognise their need for Christ at all until, one day, the natural goodness lets them down and their self-satisfaction is shattered. In other words, it is hard for those who are “rich” tin this sense to enter the Kingdom. (p. 181)....more
A book all about the benefits to solving problems by getting diverse, yet independent input from as large of gro**spoiler alert** My notes and quotes:
A book all about the benefits to solving problems by getting diverse, yet independent input from as large of group as possible.
*** He divides the book based on the types of problems groups solve: 1. cognition - problems that have definitive solutions, ie probability; 2. coordination - how to coordinate behavior, etc. most efficiently e.g., traffic, trading, etc.; 3. cooperation - getting self-interested, distrustful people to work together (e.g., taxes, environment, etc.).
*** His first example to show the benefits of a crowd was the sinking of the U.S. Scorpion sub in 1968. There was no way to tell where it ended up on the ocean floor, so the navy assembled all kinds of experts in a wide range of fields to all make estimations of where it would be. It then took their average estimate (i.e., used Bayes theorem) and the ship was 220 yards from the point they picked. *** Another example of collective wisdom figuring out things before a small group of experts is the Challenger explosion. Although it took several months for the experts to figure out that the company that made the O-rings was responsible for the explosion, if you looked at the market the same day as the explosion, shares of the company that made the O-rings went down tremendously. Even though there was no evidence of inside trading, enough people were trying to figure out who was responsible for the crash (and consequently whose stock would go down) that they arrived at the correct company.
*** "Worldly wisdom teachers that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally." - John Maynard Keynes; explains why things like mutual funds don't consistently do that well over time because all the managers follow the herd so they pay attention to what others are doing rather than capitalizing on the unique information only they have access to.
*** Cool exercise in how similar people across a given culture think; imagine you have to meet a complete stranger in NYC, where would you meet if you were unable to communicate beforehand? also add in at what time would you meet?
*** Mentions Milgram and his study on social norms or societal rules we all agree upon: what happens when you ask someone for their seat on the subway? Also went to lines at ticket counters and cut in front of people - 50% of the time people let them, 10% physically removed them from line, 25% verbal protests, 15% hostile looks, etc., but only from people behind the point in line, people in front of the linebreaker didn't care.
*** "Ideas are meant to triumph not because of who is (or who is not) advocating them but because of their inherent value, because they seem to explain the data better than any of the others. This is perhaps just an illusion. But it's a valuable one." p. 172.
*** He explains some of the problems within corporations and lack of productivity because of the motivational structure that is established (which requires you to set low expectations so you'll be sure to meet them). He compares that with the way the market works where you are rewarded for what you do, not what you are expected to do. So that means in the market people want to uncover whatever unique and valuable information they can do get ahead, whereas in a company it is not always to your advantage to do so. Stock options are an example of corporations finally trying to align the individual's interests with the company. An even better route would be to give much wider decision making power to individuals instead of having it all go through a rigid hierarchy of people who knew less than the overall group below them (i.e., give workers more control/ choice over their environment).
*** Baiting crowds example of how individuals take cues from crowds; specific example of Seattle woman baited into jumping off a Seattle Memorial Bridge in August of 2001.
*** Overall a great book that examines a number of societal problems from the perspective of how to best use the power of the wisdom of the crowd to solve them. The key is that individuals have to be free to contribute their independent knowledge and when systems have two directions (e.g., the market) it is best when equal number of people are trying to profit from both directions (some people are predicting it will do worse, some think it will do better). ...more
The problem of evil has bedeviled many religions since their birth. If God is all good and all powerful, either**spoiler alert** My notes and quotes:
The problem of evil has bedeviled many religions since their birth. If God is all good and all powerful, either he allows evil to flourish (which means he is not all good), or else he struggles against evil (which means he is not all powerful). Religions have generally chosen one of three resolutions of this paradox. One solution is straight dualism: There exists a good force and an evil force, they are equal and opposite, and they fight eternally. Human beings are part of the battleground. We were created part good, part evil, and we must choose which side we will be on. This view is clearest in religions emanating from Persia and Babylonia, such as Zoroastrianism, and the view influenced Christianity as a long-lived doctrine called Manichaeism. A second resolution is straight monism: There is one God; he created the world as it needs to be, and evil is an illusion, a view that dominated religions that developed in India. These religions hold that the entire world – or, at least, its emotional grip upon us – is an illusion, and that enlightenment consists of breaking out of the illusion. The third approach, taken by Christianity, blends monism and dualism in a way that ultimately reconciles the goodness and power of God with the existence of Satan. This argument is so complicated that I cannot understand it. (p. 72-73).
“When heaven is about to confer a great responsibility on any man, it will exercise his mind with suffering, subject his sinews and bones to hard work, expose his body to hunger, put him to poverty, place obstacles in the paths of his deeds, so as to stimulate his mind, harden his nature, and improve wherever he is incompetent.” – Meng Tzu, China, 3rd century BC (p. 135)....more
**spoiler alert** My summary and notes from the book: ***The author goes through several examples of how water is treated in different parts of the wor**spoiler alert** My summary and notes from the book: ***The author goes through several examples of how water is treated in different parts of the world, different cities, and in difference situations. Overall, he argues that our water supply is in such danger in so many places because people take water for granted. They don’t even think about it despite it being one of our most basic needs. This leads us to waste it, mismanage it, and fail to put resources into maintaining our water supply for the future. Only once crisis hits to we finally start to pay attention to how we use water and where it comes from.
***Chapter topics: In “Dolphins in the Desert”, Fishman covers the evolution of water policy in Las Vegas. Despite being in the middle of the desert and full of water extravagance, it has developed some of the most sophisticated water reusing systems in the world. - In “Water Under Water”, Fishman explains the complexity of making water supplies disaster proof as he profiles Galveston, TX, after Hurricane Ike. - In “The Money in the Pipes” he profiles several large companies that are at the forefront of water conservation and reuse because they use it in such a large scale. – In “The Yuck Factor” he profiles how important changing attitudes toward water can be when trying to implement new water reuse methods. One city in Australia nearly ran out of water because its citizens couldn’t accept the idea of reusing treated sewer water. – In “Who Stopped the Rain” he talks about Australia, which has been going through a great drought in the last decade or so. This has precipitated several water crises from farming to urban supply. The primary problem is overuse of its rivers and planning based on high-water years instead of the contemporary average. – In “Where Water is Worshipped, but Gets no Respect” he talks about India and how atrocious their water situation is for nearly everyone, rich and poor. Very few cities have 24/7 water supplies, even for well-off people, and the majority of the country suffers from huge productivity and education losses because so much time is spent hand-carrying water for daily needs. He also goes into the major health problems that result from contaminated water and ink-black rivers. E.g., There is so much dangerous bacteria and pollution that one eye-dropper of water from the Yamuna or Ganges River put into six bathtubs full of water would be enough to make it unsafe to sit in. – In “It’s Water. Of Course It’s Free” he summarizes the problem with most attitudes toward water. Unless we start to recognize it as a real resource that requires respect and serious attention, we will continue to stumble into major shortages and conflicts over water. Water is not a global problem in the sense that you can influence water problems across the world, but it is the combination of a million different local problems regarding water that makes it a global concern.
***The 300,000 gallons of water used during a space shuttle launch is not for cooling, but for sound dampening. Otherwise the sound shock waves would tear the shuttle apart.
***The biggest use of water in the home is toilet flushing. We flush on average around 5 times a day which is about 18.5 gallons
***The fundamental problem with water is that it cannot be used up, but it is not equally available in all locations. How and where it is available in usable form varies dramatically and can be very unpredictable. So what this means is that all water problems are local in the sense that saving water in your home isn't going to directly help water-started villages in India. This is very different from many other environmental issues, like carbon footprints or gasoline use.
***Patricia Mulroy (the Las Vegas water czar) suggested to Obama a huge public works program to create a series of canals to capture and divert Mississippi floodwaters so it would both reduce natural disasters and send excess water to places that need it.
***At IBM Burlington, they create what is known as "ultra-pure water" which is hundreds of times cleaner than distilled or purified water. They use complex filtration systems to remove every molecule from water so that the pure water can pull microscopic particles from microchips. The smaller the chip, the more pure the water must be. It is very expensive to create, and in fact, would be dangerous to drink in large quantities. Water is such a good solvent, its molecules are filled with all kinds of minerals, etc. If you remove the minerals, etc. it will try to pull molecules out of anything it comes in contact with, including the nutrients in our body.
***Celebrity Cruise ships have a huge ice expense to create enough ice to cool all of the food/beverages on a typical cruise. One way they have reduced the cost is to no longer use ice, but to cool rocks that retain temperature well enough to cool the food.
***The author details an economic model for water designed by Mike Young to better allocate water resources. In the shape of a water glass, each layer of water is designated for a particular purpose. The first layer is “maintenance water” that is just enough necessary to maintain the environmental system. This is already a problem in many rivers where dams have to be built to keep ocean water from heading back up dry river beds. The second layer of water is “critical human needs” such as drinking, bathing, and basic water services. These two layers are guaranteed, but the next two layers are determined by economics. The first is the high security layer, which demands a high premium cost, and the second is low security, which costs less. Then it becomes a risk calculation process about how much you want to invest in water and whether you want to take the risk that your water layer might run out. If water runs low, the low security customers lose it first, then high security. ...more
**spoiler alert** MY SUMMARY AND NOTES: The authors replicated Mischel’s marshmallow study and taught some participants to use distraction and distanc**spoiler alert** MY SUMMARY AND NOTES: The authors replicated Mischel’s marshmallow study and taught some participants to use distraction and distance techniques and showed that self regulation scores changed tremendously. They have footage of their experiments on changeanything.com/exclusive website.
***The authors argue that there are six sources of influence: 1. Personal motivation – interrupt your impulses by connecting actions to goals during crucial moments. 2. Personal ability – learn new skills to change persistent and resistant habits 3. Social motivation – if those around us model and encourage bad habits we are likely to maintain them; turn accomplices into friends 4. Social ability – deeply entrenched habits require real support from others (e.g., a coach). 5. Structural motivation – Make use of things; directly link short-term rewards and punishments to new habits 6. Structural ability – small changes in your environment can have a surprising effect on your choices; add a few visual cues that help you focus on your goals
***Social science of personal change: 1. Identify crucial moments – focus on the handful of moments when you’re most at risk; where do you face the most temptation 2. Create vital behaviors – create rules to follow when temptation pays you a visit (e.g., implementation intentions and contingencies for when you fail). 3. Engage all six sources of influence 4. Turn bad days into good data – use failure as a learning experience – note what happens when you fail and adjust methods accordingly (START TAKING NOTES).
***The authors mention the benefit of a “motivational interview” asking a person the future he/she would like to live, how they were going to get there, and so forth. This requires the person to create the default (where you’ll end up if you keep going this way) and desired futures.
***1. Personal/motivation: Visit your default future (how you will end up if you continue in this direction 1. Tell the whole vivid story - be descriptive about where you will end up so it sticks in your head 2. Use value words - connect your goal with a really important "why" for what standard you are adhering to 3. Make it a game - set up a time frame or small milestones or make it a competition 4. Create a personal motivation statement - during crucial moments reconnect with your motivation through your statement that incorporates all of the previous parts of your personal motivation
***2. Personal/ability: Do what you can't: 1. Start with a skill scan – figure out what skills you do have, and if you have the ones necessary to complete your plan 2. Employ deliberate practice – what are the component parts of the skill you are learning; break them down and practice each deliberately 3. Learn the will skill – determine your tempting scenarios and discover how to avoid them and practice withstanding them.
***Another famous obedience study: Orne & Evans (1965) JPSP – social control in the psychological experiment
***3.&4. Social motivation/ability: Summary of turning accomplices into friends: 1. Be aware of who is going to help encourage vs. discourage you towards your goals. 2. Redefine "normal" to fit with your new goals. 3. Hold a transformation conversation with close others about your new goals. 4. Add new friends, 5. and distance yourself from the unwilling.
***On loss aversion - study done by authors on iPhone - if you just bought one, it would take $1218 more than purchase price to sell, but if they hadn't bought one yet, they would only pay $97 more than purchase price in order to make sure they got one.
***When creating rewards for yourself when working towards a goal, make sure the rewards come during the pursuit (after achievement of small goals) rather than a reward for your final goal.
***5. Structural/motivation: invert the economy: 1. Use carrots and the threat of losing carrots, 2. use incentives in moderation and in combination (so you aren't doing it solely for the rewards), 3. and reward small wins (i.e., don't just have a reward for at the end of the goal, they are much more effective is used throughout).
***6. Structural/ability: control your space: 1. Build fences - set rules to keep you acting in healthy ways. Don't use fences as sole source for change or you will relapse when they are gone. 2. Manage distance - remove bad things from your immediate environment and keep good things closer. Your physical space determines a lot of how you behave. 3. Change cues - reminders for things you want to be doing and remove reminders of bad behaviors. Especially important where you crucial moments take place. 4. Engage your autopilot so the positive path is the path of least resistance (ie, it would take more effort not to follow the path). 5. Use tools like electronic reminders, etc. to help you stick to your goals. ...more
**spoiler alert** Foer is a journalist who covers the U.S. and world memory championships and consequently spends a year training to compete in the ev**spoiler alert** Foer is a journalist who covers the U.S. and world memory championships and consequently spends a year training to compete in the event himself. The book covers many of the basic memory techniques these “super-memorizers” use, along with giving a brief overview of the history of memorization and unusual cases of extreme memory. In the end, Foer ends up winning the U.S. championship and placing 13th in the world competition (Europeans dominate the world championship).
***The primary memorizing method comes from an ancient Greek poet named Simonides, and it’s called the “memory palace”. It requires that you turn anything you want to memorize into a physical and spatial representation. Specifically, you can use physical locations to place each item in memory (e.g., imagine a walk through the house you grew up in). Then, each item gets placed in a room (while doing uniquely memorable activities) so to recall the list all you have to do is stroll through the house/palace and you can see everything happen in order. This takes advantage of our brain’s superior spatial memory instead of trying to memorize arbitrary lists/names/digits by rote. There is an upfront cost of turning objects/lists into unique characters and memorizing various palaces, but once you do it, you can increase your memory exponentially.
*** One of the most common methods for memorizing numbers is the “Major system” invented by Johann Winkelmann in 1648. It is a simple code to convert numbers into phonetic sounds. The sounds can then be turned into words, which can become images for a memory palace. The code is: 0 = S, 1 = T or D, 2 = N, 3 = M, 4 = R, 5 = L, 6 = Sh or Ch, 7 = K or G, 8 = F or V, 9 = P or B. The number 32, for example, would translate into MN. To make the consonants meaningful, you’re allowed to freely intersperse vowels, so MN could be ‘MAN’. This system isn’t complex enough for memorizing competitions, but works well for less extreme memorization.
*** He has a section on competitive training as well, specifically when he reaches his “OK plateau” in training. That means that he has improved his memory a great deal, but he hits a wall where he doesn’t get any better. This happens with any kind of practice because all of the parts of the process become automatic. Once they become automatic (because you have become competent at the basic task/sport), then you no longer use your conscious mind to improve your performance (this is why most people don’t improve their typing speed after they reach their plateau). This is where deliberate practice comes in. In order to continue to improve, you have to turn training back over to your conscious mind. You can do this by putting yourself in more difficult situations or focusing on more difficult routines, etc. The author does this by forcing himself to memorize at a rate faster than he is comfortable with. Deliberate practice, by definitions, must be hard. This is also the difference between experts and amateurs in any given field. Disciplines with the best experts are going to be the ones who receive the greatest amount of feedback. This is why doctors who do mammograms don’t get better with time (too long of delay before they get feedback) and surgeons get better with time (immediate feedback).
*** On why knowledge (or basic memory) is so important for increasing one’s understanding of the world: “The more tightly any new piece of information can be embedded into the web of information we already know, the more likely it is to be remembered. People who have more associations to hang their memories on are more likely to remember new things, which in turn means they will know more, and be able to learn more. The more we remember, the better we are at processing the world. And the better we are at processing the world, the more we can remember about it.” P209.
*** Throughout the book, the author covers several unusual cases of memory. Some examples: HM, who could not develop new long-term memories (and EP, who is even more severe than HM, but who lost his brain structures to a virus instead of surgery like HM). The journalist “S” who in 1928 was shown to have an astounding memory for everything he experienced (he had synesthesia so he automatically turned letters, numbers, etc. into visual objects, and thus, had nearly perfect memory as a result). He also covers expertise and automatic processing through examples like “chicken sexers” who go through years of training to be able to detect the sex of a baby chick. He works with K. Anders Ericsson, who is a researcher on memory, for much of his scientific knowledge about memory. He also interview Tony Buzan, the self-help memory and mind-map guru who started the memory championships and markets his memory systems all over the world. He also covers savants like Kim Peek, who typically have a major neurological disorder (like autism), often in their left hemisphere. In fact, using the magnetic manipulation of the brain, people have been made to become more creative when their right hemispheres are suppressed. One exception is Daniel Tammet who does not suffer major social or physical disorders (although he used to have more severe Aspergers when he was younger). The author implies that many of Tammet’s feats could be done through training, and that he might not really be a savant. There is a documentary called “Brainman” about Tammet. ...more
They identify the high flying achievers, the stayers, the seekers, and the returners within rural schools. M**spoiler alert** Notes and quotes for me:
They identify the high flying achievers, the stayers, the seekers, and the returners within rural schools. Most of the resources go to the achievers in order to help them get out of the town, which ends up damaging the town in the future because of lack of qualified professionals.
*** The seekers are the middle-of-the-road students who lack the resources to go to top colleges so they often join the military in order to leave the state. They often become returners after they see some of the world and marry the stayers who never left in the first place. The achievers are usually groomed for adapting to the big city so well that once they get there they seldom want to go back to the small town. The exceptions are people who end up wanting their kids to grow up in a rural environment, but they have to accept lower pay and fewer professional opportunities as a result.
*** Featured a real place in northeast Iowa (fictionally named "Ellis"). The "best kids" are the high-achieving, most-likely-to-succeed students destined for highly regarded colleges, a group we have termed the Achievers. Their families, teachers, neighbors, and coaches have raised them with a sense of manifest destiny about how their lives will unfold. What makes the college-bound Achievers distinct from other Iowans who leave is that they generally do not come home except for Thanksgiving or to celebrate the occasional wedding. The longer they're gone, the harder it is to readjust because they become accustomed to another life, often one with tempting options such as diverse cuisine and more varied shopping. They start locking their front doors and forgetting to greet people on the street with a warm hello, and their ability to follow the rules of a small town evaporates, becoming just another habit from childhood they put aside. After significant time away, they can't recall how they ever lived out in the middle of nowhere. Worst of all, they may start to Ellis the way outsiders do: parochial and just a little redneck." p.29...more
I would say this is an interesting (and possibly life-changing) book, but as with many books with a strong message, it is highly divisive. While the mI would say this is an interesting (and possibly life-changing) book, but as with many books with a strong message, it is highly divisive. While the majority of people who have read it seem to respond favorably, it is far from the definitive work proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that veganism is the only path to good health. I think that the most important (and entirely accurate) message the average American could get from this book is to eat less animal protein and move towards more of a plant-based, whole foods diet. I really don't know how people can reasonably argue against that.
The more difficult questions to answer, however, are: 1. How little animal protein should we eat? and 2. Is the level of animal protein in one's diet really the most important nutritional predictor of whether cancer or heart disease will develop? Although the author offers a reasonable amount of scientific evidence to support his answers (which are 0% and 'yes'), I think the data are still incomplete. The human body is far too complex to pin a staunch theoretical position on primarily correlational research (on humans). Further (non-partisan) research is certainly needed. In the meantime, however, I will certainly do my best to move towards the plant-based, whole foods diet, but there are no guarantees that you'll be seeing an enthusiastic vegan by this time next year. ...more
This is a great book for anyone who has driven a car, especially for those of us who consider ourselves above-average drivers (i.e., everyone). I checThis is a great book for anyone who has driven a car, especially for those of us who consider ourselves above-average drivers (i.e., everyone). I checked out this book with the intention of just skimming over it a bit and returning it to the library, but every single section I skimmed was riveting. Psychology, economics, urban planning, engineering, business - every page is filled with all of these topics and more, all tied to traffic issues and our automotive culture and history. I even copied chapter 3 to use in teaching my psych classes. I was especially impressed with the "Drivecam" company that basically Tivos your dangerous driving behaviors. I would recommend this book to everyone, especially if you are interested in psychology. It is well written and provides tons of anecdotes/ facts that you can't help but share with everyone you know....more
This book earned a 4-star rating from me solely based on the chapter "Dreams, part 2". A great story of unbelievable success and heartrending collapseThis book earned a 4-star rating from me solely based on the chapter "Dreams, part 2". A great story of unbelievable success and heartrending collapse. Of course I'm a little biased as an avid Veggie Tales fan, not to mention my little girl is big-time Bob groupie right at the moment so this book came at just the right time for me. I would recommend this to anyone interested in business, theology, or just plain fun. ...more
This is a great book on the application of social psychology for influencing people on every level. It's peppered with examples of individuals, companThis is a great book on the application of social psychology for influencing people on every level. It's peppered with examples of individuals, companies, and even countries using various methods of social influence to change "vital behaviors" (behaviors that determine the majority of behavior)in order to solve organizational and behavioral problems. The cool thing is that most of the examples are for positive behavior change (eradicating the Guinea worm from Africa) rather than increasing consumer behavior. It's a great read for social psychologists because it reminds us that what we study really can change things if it's put to good use. ...more
As a social psychologist, the content of this book is not really my area of expertise, but I would still say that this is a great book on Cognitive BeAs a social psychologist, the content of this book is not really my area of expertise, but I would still say that this is a great book on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (perhaps THE book on CBT). What makes it so great is that it is written for the user, not for the instructor. That means any person dealing with dysfunction in his or her life can use this as a powerful tool for changing irrational thoughts. Specifically, the book addresses everything from depression to procrastination to perfectionism with a whole section thrown in to cover prescription medication for mental health problems. I would definitely recommend this book to nearly everyone I know, and found many useful sections that apply to my own life....more
I really enjoyed reading this book for a number of reasons, but primarily because it seems to fit the level of many of the conversations I've had withI really enjoyed reading this book for a number of reasons, but primarily because it seems to fit the level of many of the conversations I've had with non-Christians. Although it is obviously written at a somewhat general level because it covers so many topics, I find it much more useful than books like Strobel's "Case for Christ" because it does a better job of acknowledging competing worldviews and philosophical viewpoints. That being said, this book is definitely not for everyone. Keller's congregation consists of many well-educated young urbanites who probably know a reasonable amount about philosophy without being experts in the subject. If you are an expert, this book is going to seem to gloss over too many important distinctions, or if you haven't read any philosophy and C.S. Lewis doesn't appeal to you in the slightest, then skip this one. But as I said, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to nearly all of my Christian and non-Christian friends.
My notes and quotes:
Keller points out that both skepticism and religion are on the rise (so neither side is disappearing any time soon).
*** He reminds believers that faith without doubt is like a body without any antibodies in it. Without practice and experience handling doubt, any severe crisis could completely destroy one's faith.
*** He begins by addressing the idea of there not being one true religion (i.e., it is close-minded to say so). He points out that outlawing, condemning, or privatizing religion would all fail to solve this problem because relativism is still a religion. It statest that no other religion is correct, so it is up to everyone to choose the best religious set of beliefs.
*** The next question he addresses concerns how God allows suffering. He points out that the question is even harder for nonbelievers because they have to answer why we perceive "just" and "unjust" in the first place. If there is no God, these seem to be innate moral arguments that have no basis in an atheistic world. He also points out the very nature of suffering, which is separation from God (which explains why Jesus suffered so much, when he died he was separated from God for the first time). He also points out how because of Jesus' sacrifice, none of our suffering is in vain, we will all be restored to perfection in heaven and turn every agony into a glory.
*** His next point concerns Christianity being a "straightjacket" that prevents us from living life. First he points out that Christianity is incredibly culturally flexible. It has taken many forms over time with the same confessions at the heart of it. It doesn't make everyone conform to the same culture, but rather tries to restore everyone's relationship with God. He also points out that arguments for increased freedom fail because all positive human experiences (like love) require that we give up freedom in order to experience them. So to settle for nothing less than true freedom is more of a prison than any religion. He also points out that no community can be completely inclusive because it will have to exclude people that exclude others. He points out that we do not live for God in a one-sided relationship, but rather God has already given an incredible amount to change for us by sending his son to die for us.
*** He next addresses how so many atrocities have been perpetrated by the church and by Christians. He addresses many aspects of historical events, but it can be summed up by understanding that the church is "Not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners." He also points out that violence and bloodshed occurs with or without Christianity.
*** His next chapter is on the issue of God sending people to hell. First he points out the fact that our idea of a God of love accepting everyone regardless of behavior is culturally bound. We immediately accept a God of forgiveness, but not of punishment because of our cultural ideas. He also points out that God's anger is at the cancer of sin, just as we get angry when our children engage in some behavior that is going to harm themselves or others. He also describes hell as a place we create for ourselves by focusing more and more on the self until we are unable to experiencing anything more than complete self absorbtion. *** His next two chapters on are science and faith (he is a theistic evolutionist) and on taking the Bible literally. He argues for the historical Christ and the reasonableness of believing in the historical accounts.
*** His second section of the book concerns "clues for God", which is his way of saying that we can't prove God, but there are many points of evidence that favor His existence. In this section he addresses evolutionary psychology.
###Quotes from book: "But you cannot go on "explaining away" for ever: you will find that you have explained explanation itself away. You cannot go on "seeing through" things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. It is good that the window should be transparent, because the street or garden beyond it is opaque. How if you saw through the garden too? ... a wholly transparent world is an invisible world. To "see through" all things is the same as not to see." - C.S. Lewis
*** "Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. - C.S. Lewis
*** "One has only the choice between God and idolatry. If one denies God . . . one is worhsiping some things of this world in the belief that one sees them only as such, but in fact, though unknown to oneself imagining the attributes of Divinity in them." - Simone Weil
*** If I was saved by my good works then there would be a limit to what God could ask of me or put me through. I would be like a taxpayer with "rights" - I would have done my duty and now I would deserve a certain quality of life. But if I am a sinner saved by sheer grace - then there's nothing he cannot ask of me. - woman at Keller's church...more