The main message of this book is find out what your values are, and lead your life according to those values. Much of the information covered has made it into mainstream culture and many other books (7 Habits was first published in 1989), and while much of the information was familiar to me it was still a great way to go in depth with the topics. First 3 Habits; moving from dependence to independence Habit 1: Be Proactive Take responsibility for your own life and your choices. Take the initiative based on the values and principles you want to base your life on. Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind Know what goals you have for life, and what you want for each of your roles and relationships and keep these things in mind with your daily actions. Put First Things First Building on habit number 2, make sure that your daily and weekly tasks are prioritized according to what is most important to you, rather than what is most urgent. Next 3 Habits; moving from independence to interdependence Habit 4: Think Win-Win Fully understand that mutual beneficial solutions are ultimately better in the long run for everyone involved. Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood Listen emphatically, keeping an open mind, to really understand another person's point of view, before trying to explain your own point of view. Habit 6: Synergize Team work combines people's strength and allow the team to reach goals that no one could have achieved on their own. Overarching Habit: Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw Make sure you look after yourself in terms of physical, mental and emotional health so that you have the energy and ability to lead an effective lifestyle in the long-term.(less)
I normally enjoy reading classics - they are usually classics for a reason. Lately however, I have been disappointed. Les Miserableswas long-winded an...moreI normally enjoy reading classics - they are usually classics for a reason. Lately however, I have been disappointed. Les Miserables was long-winded and old-fashioned - but at least it had a beautiful story.
Last week I read On the Road by Jack Kerouac and it was such a disappointment. I had great expectations for it! Supposedly the "soul of the beat movement" (whatever that is), sounded great.
However I never got to care about any of the characters, and by the end I actually despised most of them. I know it was a different time, but no matter the time I can't stand books that minimize violence against women or the purposeful destruction of other people's property for no reason.
In my opinion, On the Road is a book about not caring at all about other people and the affect you have on their lives. Using people, their property and their money, and just do whatever you want.
I did enjoy the parts on living your own life, not the life other people want for you, and breaking with traditions, but to me that didn't make up for the bad parts.
If you have read it, what did you make of it? Quotes With that being said, there were still a few quotes I enjoyed.
But then they danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’
And I said, ‘That last thing is what you can’t get, Carlo. Nobody can get to that last thing. We keep on living in hopes of catching it once for all.’
Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk – real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious.
This is the story of America. Everybody’s doing what they think they’re supposed to do.
A pain stabbed my heart, as it did every time I saw a girl I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world.
because I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.
Book Review Over the past couple of weeks I've been reading Les Miserablesby Victor Hugo. I wanted to read it before the movie came out (11th of Janu...more Book Review Over the past couple of weeks I've been reading Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I wanted to read it before the movie came out (11th of January 2013 in Ireland), and just managed to do it. (I read the free Kindle edition).
Let me begin by saying that the story of Les Miserables is timeless, and I think everyone should get to know it one way or another.
When that is said however, I probably wouldn't recommend the book to most people. I can't speak for the French, I'm sure the original is more beautiful than the translation. However, the style or writing is very old-fashioned, and incredibly drawn out. To be honest, I skimmed through about a quarter of the book - chapter upon chapter about the battle at Waterloo - almost completely unrelated to the story at hand- was just too much for me.
There is a lot of beauty in the book though, and the story is as relevant today as ever. Movie review As for the latest edition of the movie, I enjoyed it and I really loved the music. However, there were a lot of changes, and I think the story line could be slightly confusing if you are not familiar with the story.
Obviously they had to cut out stuff, and most of the stuff I was fine with, but there were a few things that annoyed me a bit. For example, in the book it is very clearly described that Fantine's hair is "golden blond", so I think they could easily have coloured Anne Hathaway's hair (I know it's a minor thing, but I just hate it when they change something, which is very clearly stated).
Also, the love story between Marius and Cosette, becomes a bit ridiculous in the movie as they meet one day and the next they are ready to get married - in the book their courtship takes place over several months if not over a year.
Now I want to watch the 1998 edition, made by the Danish director Bille August and starring Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, Uma Thurman and Claire Danes. I watched it like 13-14 years ago, but don't properly recall it - although I suspect it might be the reason why I felt Javert looked "wrong" in the new version. Quotes
True or false, that which is said of men often occupies as important a place in their lives, and above all in their destinies, as that which they do.
M. Myriel had to undergo the fate of every newcomer in a little town, where there are many mouths which talk, and very few heads which think.
He condemned nothing in haste and without taking circumstances into account. He said, "Examine the road over which the fault has passed."
"To be a saint is the exception; to be an upright man is the rule. Err, fall, sin if you will, but be upright.
"Teach those who are ignorant as many things as possible; society is culpable, in that it does not afford instruction gratis; it is responsible for the night which it produces. This soul is full of shadow; sin is therein committed. The guilty one is not the person who has committed the sin, but the person who has created the shadow."
"The mind is a garden," said he.
The beautiful is as useful as the useful." He added after a pause, "More so, perhaps."
Did I exist before my birth? No. Shall I exist after death? No. What am I? A little dust collected in an organism. What am I to do on this earth? The choice rests with me: suffer or enjoy. Whither will suffering lead me? To nothingness; but I shall have suffered. Whither will enjoyment lead me? To nothingness; but I shall have enjoyed myself. My choice is made. One must eat or be eaten. I shall eat. It is better to be the tooth than the grass. Such is my wisdom.
If you emerge from that sad place with thoughts of hatred and of wrath against mankind, you are deserving of pity; if you emerge with thoughts of good-will and of peace, you are more worthy than any one of us."
Liberation is not deliverance. One gets free from the galleys, but not from the sentence.
With the exercise of a little care, the nettle could be made useful; it is neglected and it becomes hurtful. It is exterminated. How many men resemble the nettle!" He added, after a pause: "Remember this, my friends: there are no such things as bad plants or bad men. There are only bad cultivators."
Curiosity is a sort of gluttony. To see is to devour.
There is no limit to Paris.
To dare; that is the price of progress.
All history is nothing but wearisome repetition. One century is the plagiarist of the other.
Firm and rare natures are thus created; misery, almost always a step-mother, is sometimes a mother; destitution gives birth to might of soul and spirit; distress is the nurse of pride; unhappiness is a good milk for the magnanimous.
It is the same with wretchedness as with everything else. It ends by becoming bearable.
All the problems that the socialists proposed to themselves, cosmogonic visions, revery and mysticism being cast aside, can be reduced to two principal problems. First problem: To produce wealth. Second problem: To share it. The first problem contains the question of work. The second contains the question of salary. In the first problem the employment of forces is in question. In the second, the distribution of enjoyment. From the proper employment of forces results public power. From a good distribution of enjoyments results individual happiness. By a good distribution, not an equal but an equitable distribution must be understood. From these two things combined, the public power without, individual happiness within, results social prosperity. Social prosperity means the man happy, the citizen free, the nation great.
The tiniest worm is of importance; the great is little, the little is great; everything is balanced in necessity; alarming vision for the mind.
And then, strange to say, the first symptom of true love in a young man is timidity; in a young girl it is boldness. This is surprising, and yet nothing is more simple. It is the two sexes tending to approach each other and assuming, each the other's qualities.
The future belongs to hearts even more than it does to minds. Love, that is the only thing that can occupy and fill eternity. In the infinite, the inexhaustible is requisite.
What a grand thing it is to be loved! What a far grander thing it is to love! The heart becomes heroic, by dint of passion. It is no longer composed of anything but what is pure; it no longer rests on anything that is not elevated and great.
Are you what is called a happy man? Well! you are sad every day. Each day has its own great grief or its little care. Yesterday you were trembling for a health that is dear to you, to-day you fear for your own; to-morrow it will be anxiety about money, the day after to-morrow the diatribe of a slanderer, the day after that, the misfortune of some friend; then the prevailing weather, then something that has been broken or lost, then a pleasure with which your conscience and your vertebral column reproach you; again, the course of public affairs. This without reckoning in the pains of the heart. And so it goes on. One cloud is dispelled, another forms. There is hardly one day out of a hundred which is wholly joyous and sunny. And you belong to that small class who are happy! As for the rest of mankind, stagnating night rests upon them.
But let those who do not desire a future reflect on this matter. When they say "no" to progress, it is not the future but themselves that they are condemning. They are giving themselves a sad malady; they are inoculating themselves with the past. There is but one way of rejecting To-morrow, and that is to die.
In thought there always exists a certain amount of internal rebellion; and it irritated him to have that within him.
It is a terrible thing to be happy! How content one is! How all-sufficient one finds it! How, being in possession of the false object of life, happiness, one forgets the true object, duty!
Nature divides living beings into those who are arriving and those who are departing. Those who are departing are turned towards the shadows, those who are arriving towards the light. Hence a gulf which is fatal on the part of the old, and involuntary on the part of the young. This breach, at first insensible, increases slowly, like all separations of branches. The boughs, without becoming detached from the trunk, grow away from it. It is no fault of theirs. Youth goes where there is joy, festivals, vivid lights, love. Old age goes towards the end. They do not lose sight of each other, but there is no longer a close connection. Young people feel the cooling off of life; old people, that of the tomb. Let us not blame these poor children.
"Everything and nothing. He is a man who, to all appearances, has lost some person who is dear to him. People die of that."
"It is nothing to die; it is dreadful not to live."
Questions Have you read the book, watched any of the movies? If so, what did you make of it?(less)
Brave New Worldby Aldous Huxley is a classic for a reason, because even today, more than 80 years after it's publication, it is still relevant. Everyt...moreBrave New World by Aldous Huxley is a classic for a reason, because even today, more than 80 years after it's publication, it is still relevant. Everything still hits a little too close to home, and the future portrayed is not so unrealistic or far away. Huxley might have gotten certain details wrong, things he couldn't have imagined when he wrote the book, but overall it is uncomfortable to see how capitalism taken to the extreme could change our world.
For those not familiar, Brave New World is set some 600 years from now. That is, some 600 years from the birth of Ford, the God of capitalism. In this not-too-distant future everyone from conception has their place in society, and will have been treated differently throughout their upbringing to ensure they fit the same mold as all their sisters and brothers of the same class. This Fordian society has but one goal; for everyone to consume as much as possible. To ensure maximum consumption a stable, peaceful and passive society is necessary.
Read the book to discover how they go about achieving that, and what happens when we take away art, romance, families and anything else that evokes passion within us. And now I really want to read Brave New World Revisited, written twenty years later on the author's thoughts about the preciseness of his dystopia. Quotes
Primroses and landscapes, he pointed out, have one grave defect; they are gratuitous. A love of nature keeps no factories busy. It was decided to abolish the love of nature, at any rate among the lower classes; to abolish the love of nature, but not the tendency to consume transport. For of course it was essential that they should keep on going to the country, even though they hated it. The problem was to find an economically sounder reason for consuming transport than a mere affection for primroses and landscapes. It was duly found. 'We condition the masses to hate the country,' concluded the Director. 'But simultaneously we condition them to love all country sports. At the same time, we see to it that all country sports shall entail the use of elaborate apparatus. So that htey consume manufactured articles as well as transport. Hence those electric shocks.'
'Moral education, which ought never, in any circumstances, to be rational.'
Not so much like drops of water, though water, it is true, can wear holes in the hardest granite; rather, drops of liquid sealing-wax, drops that adhere, incrust, incorporate themselves with what they fall on, till finally the rock is all one scarlet blob. 'Till at last the child's mind is these suggestions, and the sum of these suggestions is the child's mind. And not the child's mind only. The adult's mind too - all his life long. The mind that judges and desires and decides - made up of these suggestions. But all these suggestions are our suggestions!'
'And then he spends most of his time by himself - alone.' There was horror in Fanny's voice.
'Work, play - at sixty our powers and tastes are what they were at seventeen. Old men in the bad old days used to renounce, retire, take to religion, spend their time reading, thinking - thinking!'
The mockery made him feel an outsider; and feeling an outsider he behaved like one, which increased the prejuidce against him and intensified the contempt and hostility aroused by his physical defects. Which in turn increased his sense of being alien and alone.
Bernard blushed and looked away, 'I meant, alone for talking,' he mumbled. 'Talking? But what about?' Walking and talking - that seemed a very odd way of spending an afternoon.
'I'd rather be myself,' he said. 'Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly.'
Alphas are so conditioned that they do not have to be infantile in their emotional behaviour. But that is all the more reason for their making a special effort to conform. It is their duty to be infantile, even against their inclination.
'Particularly when they're beautiful. Beauty's attractive, and we don't want people to be attracted by old thing. We want them to like new ones.'
'Because our world is not the same as Othello's world. You can't make flivvers without steels - and you can't make tragedies without social instability. The world's stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can't get. They're well off; they're safe; they're never ill; they're not afraid of death; they're blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they're plagued with no mothers or fathers; they've got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strongly about; they're so conditioned that they practically can't help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there's soma. Which you go and chuck out of the window in the name of liberty, Mr Savage. Liberty!' He laughed. 'Expecting Deltas to know what liberty is! And now expecting them to understand Othello! My good boy!'
'But that's the price we have to pay for stability. You've got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art.
The Savage shook his head. 'It all seems to me quite horrible' 'Of course it does. Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with over-compensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn't nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.'
One can't have something for nothing. Happiness has got to be paid for. You're paying for it, Mr Watson - paying because you happen to be too much interested in beauty. I was too much interested in truth; I paid too.
'You remind me of another of those old fellows called Bradley. He defined philosophy as the finding of bad reason for what one believes by instinct! One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them. Finding bad reasons for what one believes for other bad reasons - that's philosophy. People believe in God because they've been conditioned to believe in God.'
'All right, then,' said the Savage defiantly, 'I'm claiming the right to be unhappy.' 'Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.' There was a long silence. 'I claim them all,' said the Savage at last.
A book of great importance when it was published, but of no less importance today. Even now, more than 30 years after it was first published, one can...moreA book of great importance when it was published, but of no less importance today. Even now, more than 30 years after it was first published, one can easily identify with the themes and relate to the problems.(less)
After reading this book, I completely understand why it became such a classic. It powerfully deals with complex issues that are still as relevant toda...moreAfter reading this book, I completely understand why it became such a classic. It powerfully deals with complex issues that are still as relevant today as they were 40 years ago. As others have mentioned, I too were slightly disappointed by the ending. Anne was by far my favourite character, a strong modern powerful woman. In this novel Jacqueline Susann gives you food for thought long after you've stopped reading.(less)