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Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit

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Natalie Babbit has written an eventual classic, which to me stand for something.  Often nowadays, people will label something as an instant classic, which I am afraid is used too loosely and to broad.  In fact, I think that instant classic, in itself is an oxymoron.  To be a classic, the thing pointed to must stand the test of time.

The wonderful and relatively short-story (although it isn’t labelled a formal short story) there are so many things that Natalie Babbit does to get a foot into the door of your mind.  Winifred, Milo, Jesse and the Tuck’s along with the man in the yellow suit pose not just an engaging story of discovery and fantasy, but moreso of ideals as far as ethics, virtues and abilities. 

Questions like:

Should anybody live in this life forever?

When is it okay to push the limits of parental control?

When do we trust others?

Are there times when the “law of the land” doesn’t impose fairness and what can you do about it?

In Tuck Everlasting, tens and hundreds of questions are posed in the minds of the ready to determine where the footing of the reader is.  Where do you stand when considering the right and wrong of the given situation.

Clearly, the the story of Winifred, it isn’t difficult to understand where she views and does what she does, dispite the gray area she may drift into in making good moral decisions.  This book, though simple and great for young readers as well as adults, should penetrate deeper into the considerations of the mind. 

The crowning lesson for me personally is that life is intended to be temporary and because of that, life can be rich and valued – even in the good or bad times.  Life does end (this life) and your legacy can enrich those who will be bequithed your influence.

Watch the movie too – a bit different in the exact following of the book’s reading, but the story is told from end to end.

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A Single Bomb

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A bit sobering today, despite the photographs being taken 65 years ago, to view newly revealed Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb photographs.

Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Aftermath

Being a part of United States history, despite living or not living during the events, understanding the impact is crucial to better understand history in general and US history especially.  It is awesome, not the trendy definition, but in the formal.  The impact of a single bomb in the pictures is absolutely astonishing and I quickly get the feeling that no person or group of people should have such power to inflict such devistation. 

Obviously unalble to share the pics on my blog I will only link to them for you.

Watch and Learn

Written by ebookwisdom

August 6, 2010 at 5:35 pm

A New STARR Report

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Kenneth Starr is in the news yet again, but this time he is not the bulldog and authoritative and appointed resource we all should listen to.  Instead, he balances on a new point of contention, a possible ponzi scheme.

Nobody is immune from the temptation to pull a Bernie Madoff, no matter how much in in the spot light you are, greed

Kenneth Starr

and pressures to perform come crushing in and the option to pay to some clients with other clients investment seems okay.  After all, you will be able to make up that money and nobody will know, right?

Well, as the news breaks and as the pieces unfold Ken Starr will have some answering to do.  The suspected ponzi program appears to have grown to $30 million according to Zach Lowe of Law.com.

My question is, how will investors ever be able to know if their investment is legitimate.  The free market is prone to mischief.  It is great to catch the thief, but there is little or no relief to the victim when the only justice is their money back in their bank accounts.

Let’s see how another potential schemer plays out!

Written by ebookwisdom

June 8, 2010 at 5:17 pm

4-Hour Work Week

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Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss has done so well promoting his philosophy and after reading his book The Four Hour Work Week, belief that you could actually have a 4 hour work week had more definition.  Read my initial thoughts here.

Tim has extended his book or revised it with new information, however today’s comments only address the four hours discussed in the book.  Four hours to make a living seem somewhat improbable.  Really, can you support yourself, let alone a family by putting in four hours, mostly spent outsourcing to others?

Certainly the feasibility is a rare opportunity, however there is an unstated principle that Tim talks about and it glaring to the reader who is paying attention.  The four hours of work, is the time you must spend working, doing thing that you must do and probably don’t want to.  It is the paper pushing, the phone calls, the organization, the number crunching,

Four Hour Work Week Expanded and Updated

whatever it is that you don’t really like to do.  This is the work that you must put in, even if you aren’t enjoying it.

The remainder of the time you spend creating the necessary income is not really work.  Most professional athletes will comment on how lucky they really are to “play” for money.  They are grateful for their opportunities and recognize that they are the uncommon.  This does not mean that they don’t spend time and significant effort doing what makes them money.  They may spend four hours a week working at the parts of their job they prefer not to do, but he remainder of the time that makes money is doing what they love and thoroughly enjoy.

That is the answers – the four hour work week is not a week where you spend four hours working and could sit on the couch the rest of the time doing nothing!  No.  The four hours are the hours you must spend doing and outsourcing the stuff you don’t like.  The rest of your time is spent doing the stuff your really do like!

Find what you love to spend your time doing, making money in the process of doing that or those things, and the effort become enjoyable.  You no longer work 40 or 50 hours a week doing stuff you could really care less doing.  You spend 4 hours of that stuff and the other time is spend enjoying your time doing what you like.

Put that in you smoke and pipe it!

Written by ebookwisdom

May 11, 2010 at 4:51 pm

A Library In Your Hand|iPAD

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Okay, the iPad.  I know the hype and people will avoid the hype just because it is hype, but for the book-lover, the iPad is a dream.  It is untouchable and it will force all of the Nooks, SonyReaders, Kindle’s and the tens of other knock-offs, to become better, quicker, lighter, more compatible.

Sony Reader

I have a SonyReader which I think is rather amazing on it’s own.  I like the clarity, I enjoy the capacity.  There are a few problems with the reader that hit at the heard of what I love about the iPad.  The SonyReader’s battery life is mediocre.  The page turning is okay – it functions, but is okay.  And relatively speaking, the SonyReader to the iPad, well, it is simply slow!

Sony is a strong designer, but they are not the innovator they used to be.  Apple is the innovator and the approach to pushing change and improvement is at the center of why this company is growing on me.  Apple as a whole still has their own hills to climb in order to compete with a Windows flexibility, at least as the end user is concerned, but with the entire “Apps” platform growing, they are showing promise.

The iPad is fast, clear, has tremendous capacity and expansive flexibility.  The computing world is being turned on its ear with the change and approach.  It can’t be seen as just a tablet.  It is not a cumbersome laptop with a touchscreen – not even close.  It is light, simply and powerful with a touchscreen . . . a huge difference.  When looking from the book lover’s perspective, the library that the iPad can be is mind boggling.  Literally, I think that there could be a bigger issue in

Apple iPad

knowing how to find books in a hand held library that can hold tens, if not hundreds of thousands of books.  Wow.  The iPad is not just a library though.

Accessories like a stylus, a docking station, a VGA connector and bluetooth wireless keyboards that are compatible with the iPad really make this a workstation.  Now, not all is solved with Apple’s new little prize.  There aren’t any optical drives and there aren’t ways to load just any program on the iPad, however for the 80 to 90% of work that is done on a computer, the iPad can do that.  Wordprocessing, spreadsheets, presentations, surfing, email, music, blogging, designing (minimal), photo editing and several more.

I love my iPad and would recommend it over and over and over again.  I just wish I had Apple stock before they announce it.

Written by ebookwisdom

April 30, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Rituals | Source of Energy Renewal

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During the 2010 Winter Olympics, I was glued to watching athletes compete each night.  To me, these events aren’t ever as exciting as the Summer Olympics, although, the more events I watched this year, the more I enjoyed the historical significance of the Olympic games.

Book: The Power of Full Engagement

At one specific point during the an event there was a delay to the actual competition and in interviewing a top competitor for this specific event the athlete said that he was just trying to remain calm and focused while waiting.  After training for the past four years for these games, he was hoping to time his performance so that he would peak at the right moment.

Peaking has everything to do with energy and focus and mastering your energy and focus is an additional topic I would like to hit on regarding The Power of Full Engagement.  (see previous article here)  Loehr and Shwartz build their book up to one of several points, all of which point at our use and recovery of energy.

Life, in all phases that I can think of, deals with some sort of energy exertion.  If we recognize this principle, it does a lot for recognizing our moments of being exhausted or simply out of energy.  Loehr and Shwartz attempt to educate us on how to maximize our energy by frequently recovering it during our exerting it.

Positive rituals become a means of accomplishing this.  After careful observation, Loehr and Schwartz identify how top performing athletes in the professional sports leagues complete so effectively by have very short recovery periods, frequently.  In some cases, the recovery was a ten to fifteen second period, where a positive ritual was observed and thus the energy tanks were capped off again.

The downtime that positive rituals gives is the first stage for energy recovery, however it does not touch the surface of what is needed in order to recover.  Seconds doe not do what a good nights sleep can do, however, but following a routine of positive influence on your body and mind enables the significant recovery.

Positive Rituals

Just as when a top free-throw shooter maintains a routine for recovery so she can focus on her shot, the energy required to focus intensely come just before the shot.  Everyone has seen this and understand the concept.  Bouncing the ball three times, visualizing the ball falling through the net and hitting the net, taking a couple deep detoxifying breathes, bending the knees, and flowing through the shot.  This may be your routine and it may have been the highest free-throw percentage shooter in the NBA’s routine.  Regardless, any and all routines will be unique to the person.

To work effectively in a job that makes you sit in front of a computer all day may be completely draining after a couple hours of work and the performance begins to drop off.  Effective energy recovery becomes the solution.  Holding positive energy renewals like walking to the drinking fountain and back, listening to a rejuvenating song,  closing your eyes and taking ten deep breaths.  There are several ways to create a repeatable, positive, ritual that can become a routine for rejuvenation.

The refilling of your energy tank will lead to not just peaking once or a couple times each day, but will enable a cycle of continual peaking throughout the day.

Consider the benefits of excelling throughout the day.  What would you accomplish?  What would you become?

Start your ritual today.

Emotions and Logic

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Jonah Lehrer’s,  How We Decide, is an intriguing look into way the brain and mind work to utilize all the known experience they have to come to an answers.  When I say “they”, what I really mean is “us”.  How we work seems to have an never ending pull on our want for self discovery.

How We Decide

The historical view of our decisions builds off of what is rational and what is instinctive.  What is logic and can be constrained, directed and organized in order to build a “right” answer, then there is the emotional mind that is quick and powerful but without controls and potentially runs amiss without any forcible leverage.  These parts, as Lehrer introduces, where processes of thought from Plato to the twenty-first century.  Ideals and beliefs that have lasted an incredible amount of time and therefore must have truth and validity to them.

Well, maybe to a degree.

When considering any split second decision or a choice that must be made under a short time period, what do we pull from in order to make the best decision?  We have this great desire to know that we have made the best decision, however there are times when we are building off of a feeling, an emotion.  As Lehrer reviewed cases where these type of situations took place, he identifies that “feeling” that the person has or at least can recall.

Jonah Lehrer

The common thread is not the feeling though.  The common thread is that it is unexplainable to the person, why they did what they did.  They cannot readily explain their thought process they had or the cause for the choice.  They can only explain the feeling, good or bad, depending on the situation.  That emotional response that the brain pointed the mind to lead to the choice.

Responding this way does not excuse the choice to emotions alone, but to the cause for choosing what they chose.  The emotional response instigated or pushed the logic part of the brain to try and use that information as best they could.  Those that often used the emotional prod, found that right or best decision.

Why would this be so?  How could emotions possibly know better than logic and be utilized in a constrained environment to produce a result that is accurate?

In How We Decide, Lehrer argues the point that the emotional brain is not to be controlled by logic at all, but rather how do we use emotions in improve our logical response to questions, situation, etc?

Very interesting read.  Although the cover was almost a deterrent for me, I found the content extremely interesting.  For those that enjoy psychology and the human nature of choice and how to learn from that to improve how you work and response, this book  is worth the time.

Written by ebookwisdom

April 19, 2010 at 5:54 pm