John Muir founded the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club headquarters is on the 2nd floor of the building I work in (85 Second Street), so I get to see allJohn Muir founded the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club headquarters is on the 2nd floor of the building I work in (85 Second Street), so I get to see all of their published books whenever someone too lazy to walk to the second floor gets on the elevator. Sometimes, when I walk up to the 7th, I hope to see someone there to talk to them about other books like this.
The Story of My Boyhood and Youth was one of the last books John Muir wrote. It was a recollection of his youth back to 5 or 6 years old in Scotland. His father moved him and his second oldest brother to Wisconsin when he was 11 to start a farm. These stories follow Muir's life like any coming of age book, but written with only the important details: how he learned much from nature.
The most interesting parts for me were his creative approach to all challenges. The way he looked at problems differently than his father and neighbors. This book could be considered a scrapbook of accomplishments: dug a 90' well in solid sandstone, invented clocks that consisted of hickory and rocks, came up with a way to hook up his clocks to mix chemicals to start a fire early in the mornings automatically (sounds like a Rube Goldberg experiement), efficient plowing techniques, waking up day after day 5 hours before the rest of your family to read and work on inventions, etc etc etc.
John Muir was an amazing person even before he started exploring California's mountains and wilderness. I had a lot of mixed feelings about things in my own life based on how they are described in this book. Perhaps it was the right time in my life to read about this stuff, but I think anyone could get enjoyment out of it....more
Timeless. I was drawn to this book after seeing the Czech film "Faust" made in the '90s. The basic outline was the same - Faust sells his soul to theTimeless. I was drawn to this book after seeing the Czech film "Faust" made in the '90s. The basic outline was the same - Faust sells his soul to the devil, etc. But the book (with translation notes) has so much more depth. There are sources from ancient texts, Shakespeare, the Bible, critics and authors of the time, text of the occult which can no longer be found. Goethe seems to write this for an audience of his time, especially an enlightened one. However, since the story is such a classic idea, it is also timeless and has lasted so long.
Faust was one of the quickest reads for such a classic I've had. I'm not implying that I understood every metaphor, but the notes in the back of my book were a great help to finding the right resources to learn more about what he was talking about.
I'd recommend everyone read this at least once in their life....more
This was my foray into negotiation. My perspective about how people get things they want and how they can look out for other people has changed dramatThis was my foray into negotiation. My perspective about how people get things they want and how they can look out for other people has changed dramatically because of this book. I see bargaining everywhere now. My attitude has changed from one of passive selfishness to active collaboration and goal attaining. I've recommended this book already to most of my friends and may continue to for weeks to come....more
Pros: Great narrative, well organized, seeming exhaustive listing of types of historical research that can and has been conducted in the Americas (whilPros: Great narrative, well organized, seeming exhaustive listing of types of historical research that can and has been conducted in the Americas (while it may not be an exhaustive list of specific events or findings) and an excellent contextualizing tool for people looking for a better line of thought than "they all came from the Bering Straight x years ago". Cons: As a journalist, Mann tries to contextualize everything. He attempts to make conclusions, even if he's relaying the conclusions made by certain researchers, instead of just presenting the information as facts.
The only con I thought of was actually a benefit to the reader. This book was easy to read because it was a story. It was a collection of stories that tell the complex, long and mostly undocumented history of the Americas in pre-Colombia times.
There are many take-a-ways from this book. The Aztec were better at permaculture than any other group of people to this day. The Aztec were at the same level of advancement in thinking about philosophy as the Ancient Greeks were. The Mayans perfected farming as laid out by the Aztec because their land was terrible. The Inca had just as brutal and interesting dynastic history as France or England of the same time. Imperialism was on their minds. None of the Indians were as dumb as we're led to believe every Thanksgiving. Nor were they as wild, as back water or as simple minded. Humans all have the same capacity to think, grow, build, learn, make mistakes, become overwhelmed with power and greed and to put each other in their places.
In some respects, studying Indian cultures is a bit like figuring out how to create more benefit from our own. Why haven't we learned how to farm sustainably? Why can't we build roads on mountains? Why haven't we figured out that corn has to be processed (and not HFCS processing) before we eat it? Why do we still have social classes? After all we've learned and adopted from the people that were here first, why haven't we learned to share or give back what is theirs. Are we that terrible of a people to take over using the hidden killer of disease as the scout when taking over this hemisphere, put the people that remained on tiny pieces of land, destroy all of the land that's not used for that, and then when it's all used up...maybe give it back? Maybe let them use it? So much for being good stewards.
The biggest take-a-way was that we're just scratching the surface of what happened before Columbus got here. There's so much more history to understand that it's almost like a more intact version of Mesopotamian prehistory.
I would recommend anyone in America to read this book. It should be your duty as a North- or South- American to read about what happened before the Spanish/English/French/Portuguese/Dutch....more
You know, the stars are probably unfair. Eggers is an excellent writer. The way he tells his stories is engaging and easy to follow (even though it juYou know, the stars are probably unfair. Eggers is an excellent writer. The way he tells his stories is engaging and easy to follow (even though it jumps different times and places a lot).
The thing I disliked about this book, is what seemingly other people dislike, and that is that it's very whiny. I understand why, but there is no significant self discovery realized by the end. The only thing we learn is that he's grown a little older. We can assume that because of increased responsibility, that he handles certain situations differently, but it doesn't seem so from this book.
That's it. The substance was lost with me on this, but it was nice to read someone else's memoir about the city I love so much....more
Slightly dated, but the main points are well communicated and thought out. Clearly, effectiveness has to be learned, and the lessons in this book coulSlightly dated, but the main points are well communicated and thought out. Clearly, effectiveness has to be learned, and the lessons in this book could help to accelerate that learning process. I've already recommended this to a few people I work with and have collaborated with in the past, and would recommend it to anyone in a leadership position - a person who makes decisions....more
I've struck up conversations about this book with other people, which speaks to the value of it. I was mainly interested in this book because it's onI've struck up conversations about this book with other people, which speaks to the value of it. I was mainly interested in this book because it's on the reading list at personalmba.com. I took the survey which told me my five talents that, if developed, could become strengths. After telling my girlfriend about what my talents are, she questioned two of them. I agreed. However, after reading more about those talents, I realized that I do posses them, but I've never used them at all. So, my first goal is to start using those talents for good instead of hiding them like I have for the last 30 years. Then, similar to Myers-Briggs, I want to see if I can peg people in my life, so I'll know how to better work with them. That's the point of work, right? How can you make other people around you shine? By enabling the success of others around you, you're ultimately enabling your success.
That said, I think that the point of this book is interesting. Focus on improving your talents instead of your weaknesses. Sure, you have to address your weaknesses, but don't spend all of your time trying to over come them. That is clearly against the "American Way", but one which makes more sense to me. Go to a college that allows you to specialize and build your talents rather than a "well rounded education". Some of the talents in this book allow you to still be a Renaissance Man/Woman, but not in the sense that you have no strong strengths to show for it.
Also, buy a new copy of this if you want to take the test. I got a used copy from Amazon on accident and had to buy another copy....more
If you are on the verge of discovering who you are or are thinking to yourself "my life needs meaning", this might be a good place to start. The bookIf you are on the verge of discovering who you are or are thinking to yourself "my life needs meaning", this might be a good place to start. The book starts describing examples of three types of purposeful lives in the business world and their type of purpose. The last half of the book discusses more details as well as how to discover your purpose. Mine is "Excellence". Now I need to apply all of my focus and effort to execute on that....more
My English professor in college recommended that I read Thomas Frank because of my recommendations for things he might like. We shared similar tastes,My English professor in college recommended that I read Thomas Frank because of my recommendations for things he might like. We shared similar tastes, which was like an oasis in Repubilcanland-Indiana. I was a bit more radical back then.
Anyway. This book is really about Kansas. Since Kansas is in the middle of the country, and basically represents middle America (politically, as well), there's been a problem with the people there over the last few decades. Why are people so adamant about ideals which slowly make their lives more miserable?
Well, Frank grew up there and tells us how it is. It's inspiring, because normally the respective bi-partisan extremes will say things like "I'm right, and they're wrong. I hate them because of how wrong they are." The problem is (and what I understood though my conservative step-father) that we're all concerned about the same things. There are several issues that we should put aside, because the basic structure is all the same. The issues I'm talking about putting aside are those which we spend more of our time fighting about. And while we're fighting, everything else is slipping away from our control. I mean, does it really matter that Josie in LA has an abortion...do you really care about that when your house was just foreclosed because you voted to lower taxes, which made people move away because your schools and police went to shit, crime went up, etc etc etc. Voting Republican will force wacky morals down America's throats, but will allow politicians and other advantage-takers to slip in and dismantle the foundation...which is what is truly important.
There's a reason Thomas Jefferson rewrote the Bible.
So, this review is off topic, but these are the things I was thinking while reading this. That, and how I can take advantage of the conservatives in Kansas for my own benefit MUUUAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA....more
This came recommended to me by the president of my company. Jacobs realigns our thinking about economics when we focus on statePlease read this book.
This came recommended to me by the president of my company. Jacobs realigns our thinking about economics when we focus on states and national economy. It was written about 20 years ago, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, before USSR became Russia + some other countries, before Yugoslavia broke up, before the EU, before NAFTA. Before globalization. I think she would have had some fun things to say about that, because economics moved in exactly the opposite direction that she says we need to focus.
Focus on urban area economics. Make sure cities are import-replacing. This means that if you see that your city is importing everything (food, clothing, tools, etc), then all of the money you earn is going somewhere else...to an import-replacing city. Our country is turning into a failing economy because we're exporting manufacturing work and replacing all of those jobs with service jobs. All of the service jobs are providing services that require goods that are not made here.
I think anyone concerned with buying local should use this in their arsenal. It's a great case for locavores, and those who are proud of the local farms and manufacturers. We need to stop focusing on why GM is leaving and start small companies in our own cities that help people within our cities first, and then people in other cities (this is how you make money...taking it from other regions). San Francisco is doing it. NYC is doing it. They both weathered the recession quite well. ...more
Recommended to me by my Aunt after talking about reading Joel Salatin. Beyond politics, animal husbandry (which the Nearings avoided) and building witRecommended to me by my Aunt after talking about reading Joel Salatin. Beyond politics, animal husbandry (which the Nearings avoided) and building with wood (Salatins) vs. stone (Nearings), Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal by Joel Salatin and Living the Good Life by the Nearings are pretty similar.
Living the Good Life is thought to have inspired a generation of back-to-the-earth types in the 60s accomplish just that. This book seemed to be used as a manual for better living through simple living.
Scott Nearing was a PhD economist who was a socialist as well. He was very outspoken during WWI which caused him to lose a professorship. He was living in NYC with his wife, Helen during the depression and in 1932 they decided to leave it all and move to Vermont.
Living the Good Life has two books. The first is about their first 20 years in Vermont. They talk about the necessity of having a cash crop and an alternate income on top of that to support you, even if you live completely off the land.
The second book, Continuing the Good Life is about their move to the coast of Maine where they switched to Blueberries as their cash crop, but lived a similar life - building houses out of field stones that they found, gardening year round by using glass houses, eating well and only working 4 hours a day. It sounded too good to be true. In fact, they spent a lot of time talking about organizing their years ahead and preparing to take 14 years to build a stone fence.
If that's the kind of reward you're into, I recommend reading this book and highlighting the lists as they appear in the text. Nearing is the easiest economist to read I've ran across, and since I was interested in the material, it made this book a breeze to read. There are quotes from plenty of centuries regarding agriculture and being a good "husband-man". There are also pictures of the stone structures they built, the gardens they had and also the Nearings as they aged for the more than 50 years they lived off the land.
Scott Nearing died 18 days after his 100th birthday because he was fasting in protest of the US government. I'm willing to bet that because of the life he lived, that he would've lived much longer than 100 had he not been so politically driven. Not that I mind, but 100 years old hardly seems like a martyr compared with younger people. But maybe I'm wrong.
I think a new goal of mine is to search out homesteads and farmers who don't follow the easy path (not the good path), but those that seek the path to better self, community and environment. People like Scott Nearing, Joel Salatin, Wendel Berry and even Michael Pollan since he has a garden, too.
This is not a book to read if you're strictly interested in historical context of 2000+ years of history in the great city of Istanbul. It is, howeverThis is not a book to read if you're strictly interested in historical context of 2000+ years of history in the great city of Istanbul. It is, however, a great reference as a tourist who wants to understand a bit more context than is provided by tour guides and placards. This book works through the entire history from Byzas to Ataturk and gives a reference to all relevant sites within the city. It was a great resource for me during my first visit to Istanbul and would recommend carrying it along with your Lonely Planet guide....more
I have this on audio book format as well, so I listened to this on my long rides to the East Bay before I got a job in the city. I'm on the last discI have this on audio book format as well, so I listened to this on my long rides to the East Bay before I got a job in the city. I'm on the last disc (of 15). It opened my eyes to the history of Oil and Religion, and I actually scoured Wikipedia for hours and hours about the roots and history of Protestantism. Something that I never learned growing up in churches. Very informative and biased, which is something that could have been left out to make the information more objective and convincing. I still liked this book for personal reasons....more
If you read one book about managing (software) projects, this might be it. It doesn't touch on the various (software specific) methodologies that peopIf you read one book about managing (software) projects, this might be it. It doesn't touch on the various (software specific) methodologies that people deal with (and become obsessed with). But it touches on all of the other stuff besides those process-y things - people, politics, getting things done. If you've already been successful, maybe you don't have to read this. But you should, just in case, because you never know when you might be doing something that is secretly working against you....more
I get it. 80% results from 20% effort. I got it before reading this book. Nothing new was shared, there's not really much more to it than that. I readI get it. 80% results from 20% effort. I got it before reading this book. Nothing new was shared, there's not really much more to it than that. I read 100 pages of un-credited examples, made up company names and far reaching generalizations. The point was made through the title alone. The table of contents added some details and ideas on where this phenomena can be found, but really, there was nothing profound here outside of 80/20 itself. I skimmed the last half of the book hoping something would catch my eye, and it did, unless I started reading the same old thing. "many people..." without credit to any sort of study. "A manufacturing company used this ...". Oh? What sort of industry? Any other contextual information you could spare here? How do I know that the numbers aren't completely fictional? 2 stars. Great title, un necessary body of text....more
Because of this book, I started taking philosophy classes in college. Also, I read On The Road and Blue Highways after this book, so those stories werBecause of this book, I started taking philosophy classes in college. Also, I read On The Road and Blue Highways after this book, so those stories were affected by the "I've driven across he country and this was my experience" type of story. While Kerouac talked about having fun with Dean Moriaty (aka David Cassidy), and that most of the great beat authors show up one way or another throughout the story, also while Moon talks about being alone in a van (Ghostrider) visiting towns which have peculiar names, and talking to locals, this book is about family and the pursuit of happiness. The one thing I learned from this book, and I hope everyone learns, is what quality means to Robert Pirsig. I use his definition like it's my own since I've come to the same conclusion. ...more
Well, I finally got to read a list of proposed actions to take regarding agro-activism. Petrini started the Slow Foods movement in 1989 in Rome. He teWell, I finally got to read a list of proposed actions to take regarding agro-activism. Petrini started the Slow Foods movement in 1989 in Rome. He tells great stories, as you can tell from his Diary entries in this book. He also has a semi unique perspective regarding food since he ran Terra Madre, has visited many many farms and parts of the country with unique food histories.
I was able to put another book on my list, think about how to proceed with my fascination of food over high technology now-a-days, and think of ideas on how to use technology to improve local food networks around the world (unlike Monsanto...more like BiRight).
If you're a foodie, or you care about what you eat, this book should help you get get you started in the right place regarding thinking about food as a gastronome rather than a glutton or dieter. This book will also help you figure out how to be more active in the communities around you regarding food. Food is a local thing, so talk to your neighbors about it.