My Summer Reading

Some of my summer reading included these three books.  I share them with you here with my thoughts.

True Compass by Ted Kennedy
Losing Mum and Pup by Christopher Buckley  (A note:  As with listening to Christopher’s father, William Buckley, I desired a built-in dictionary! My those Buckley’s can run sentences into architectural constructions.)
It was worthwhile to listen to both of these autobiographical stories within a short space of one another.  The contrasts of growing up as a member of a large family compared to that of being an only child, along with the varied political and social views of each are intriguing.  The similar pleasures that sailing brought to their lives illustrated a common bond with nature; we are perhaps more alike when out of mind and into nature?   Their membership within an elite mix of intellectuals, revealing how they view themselves and others, how they treat family and friends, how they remember and eulogize those they know, what they value, what they want to leave as a legacy…  well, there are some surprises.
I recommend both.

The Servant Leadership Training Course by James C. Hunter.  Excellent for roles and relationships of all kinds — work (managers, business owners, teachers, librarians) and for our roles as family, partners, friends.  Great spiritual insights, unusually mystical for mainstream Christian teachings. (My opinion 🙂 )
I would have liked to have had this training in management in college or in my graduate program.
I highly recommend this book or any others written on the topic of servant leadership.   It gets my highest rating so far this year.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.  Story is okay, but a bit gruesome; and that part was tiring. But the fun was in the description of the architecture of the District of Columbia, the stories of the U.S. forefathers, the Masons,  and related American history, documents, ideals.     The book also explores a little bit of new physics and noetic sciences.   I was not fond of the plot, but I liked the history and the spiritual stuff.

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Todd Gilbert.  Don’t bother unless you really, really love to learn about psychological and medical studies.  The bottom line is:  We human beings are unable to predict truly how we will like any future situation objectively or subjectively, how we will act, think, or feel, about any of our decisions once they are made — regardless of having the most wonderful quality of imagination.  Our predictions about what we think we would like to be, or do, where we would like to live and with whom, and what we want for ourselves… are never free from our current state of thinking.  We cannot really, actually, imagine something not somehow affected by our current brain state and our current feeling state — although we think we can, etc. —  and numbers of studies are described in tedious detail (with a sprinkle of humor) proving the point. Okay, okay.  Science shows we really are pretty daft about predicting our happiness, or choosing our happiness… as far as future planning.  Luck and stumbling into it are about as good as it gets.
Well, I decided that since our current state of mind is so very determinant to our future, then one should spend most one’s time being in the now, the present moment, and allowing that contentment to carry forward into any decision one makes to the best of one’s poorly prognostic though very imaginative mind.

Currently reading (yes I still actually read a book now and then)
Why is it Always About You? The seven deadly sins of narcissism by Sandy Hotchkiss.   Important information for living and working in today’s culture, and help for things not gotten or understood in the tender years.

I’ve just begun to listen to The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby. (Also occasionally wish I had a built-in dictionary.)   The author is concerned that a lack of sincere exploration of ideas, listening to opposing views, stretching one’s perspectives, and so on, impinges upon our capacity to live within a vibrantly open and democratic society.  I’ve just begun this CD set, and expect it to be a rewarding book, worth the effort to listen to all those big words! 🙂


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