Sunday, June 27, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I don't think of books as consumables. I don't read books and then dismiss them. I like knowing they still exist on my shelf (in a tangible, physical form) for me to reference. I know that if I want to go back to a particular story in Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son, the book is there. E-readers are good for folks who might read a book once and be done with it, but I'm beginning to think that they might be good for reference too. Might not be bad, when I'm sitting down to write several pages tonight, to pull out a Kindle and reread "Car Crash While Hitchhiking." And I think they might be very good for non-fiction, for the important books that come out in hardback and make a stir but you don't necessarily need them on your bookshelf for all of eternity (I still need to get around to Nassim Taleb's Black Swan).
And what about magazines? I am definitely a magazine reader, thought I rarely seem to get through them. Wouldn't an e-reader be the best place for The New Yorker or Business Week?
So, I'm tempted.
I did put my hands on a Nook a couple of weeks ago, and I wasn't impressed. It felt clunky and the model on display at the store was stuck loading a page. The sales person had to power it off and back on to get it working again.
But then I wonder if I would be doing damage to two industries I'm fond of, publishing and bookselling. I'd rather not aid in the demise of either.
I'm not convinced that I'm buying one of these things yet, but with more reasonable pricing it is worth considering.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
From the 2006 Daniel Woodrell book, Winter's Bone, one of the best new books I've read in many years, the movie adaptation is on its way to theaters after a good showing at Sundance. Adaptations always seem to disappoint in one way or another. And, from watching this trailer, I don't remember the book being quite so frightening.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Piglet clearly suffers from generalized anxiety disorder, the authors noted. Eeyore has chronic dysthymia (mild depression) and could benefit greatly from an antidepressant. Tigger is hyperactive, impulsive and a risk-taker.
Pooh is a bundle of comorbidities that may include cognitive impairment, as he is often described as a "bear of very little brain."
From the WSJ article, Fiction Stars, Real Problems
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
This book has been on my reading list for a long time. In fact, I've started it many times, but contemplating reading through the frustrations that I knew would ensure hardly encouraged me to continue. Restarting my pleasure reading this summer, I thought it would be a good idea to get through some of the books that I have started and, for some reason, put down. (Rabbit, Run is also on this list.)
I didn't find it nearly as frustrating as all that, though. Neither did I find it terribly compelling. Kafka is good at getting to the existential frustrations of bureaucracy and paranoia, but he's short on the sort of haunting depictions I was looking for. The Trial was more similar to Dostoevsky than to The Metamorphosis. We were part of the delusions and hubris of the protagonist, but I didn't often feel the same confusions and frustrations he seemed to experience.
The Trial wasn't as difficult to get through as I expected, but it doesn't even rank among the Kafka masterpieces.
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
I appreciate creative destruction and some serious destruction was necessary in the US auto industry.
I've never really understood the real business reasons for throwing some different chrome or taillights along with a new badge on a car and calling it something else. If the manufacturer sold all of the models under one brand, without all of the changes, the efficiencies would grow and they should be cheaper to make. Instead they make redundant models that sell at different dealers. And good luck convincing someone that they should pay more for a rebranded Ford.
So, despite the sentimental attachment we may have to brands, sometimes it is just time for them to go.
Monday, June 07, 2010
Bullet Park - John Cheever
World's End and Other Stories - Paul Theroux
Henderson the Rain King - Saul Bellow
The Sonnets - William Shakespeare
Stories and Prose Poems - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
The Big Laugh - John O'Hara
Elmer Gantry - Sinclair Lewis
Letting Go - Philip Roth
The Plague - Albert Camus
A Mercy - Toni Morrison
The Cave - Robert Penn Warren
Weight - Jeanette Winterson
Goodbye, Columbus - Philip Roth
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight - Alexandra Fuller
Miramar - Naguib Mahfouz
Lucky Jim - Kingsley Amis
The Passion - Jeanette Winterson
100 Selected Poems - e.e. cummings
America America - Ethan Canin
The Emperor's Children - Claire Messud
Peace - Richard Bausch
Jean-Paul Sartre: Hated Conscience of His Century - John Gerassi
Scenes from American Life - Edited by Joyce Carol Oates
A River Runs Through It - Norman Maclean
Troubled Sleep - Jean-Paul Sartre
The Music of Chance - Paul Auster
Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs - Chuck Klosterman
Fool For Love and Other Plays - Sam Shepard
Dostoevsky - Edited by Rene Weller
Capital, Communism and Coexistence - John Kenneth Gailbraith and Stanislav Menshikov
The World Is Flat - Thomas L. Friedman
Sunday, June 06, 2010
One question asked of me yesterday was whether the MBA has changed my outlook, how I view business, capitalism. In many ways the answer is 'no.' I think I had a pretty good sense of business before, and nothing I learned changed my view of the virtues and tragic flaws of capitalism. Where the program has changed my views is in the opportunities out there. The careers, the ways to do business, the opportunities for improvement. The program has also taught me of what I am capable. The intellectual challenges, the time and project management, the reserve of energy and motivation. There was always so much to do, and more that I wanted to get done. And somehow I got most of it done, I found the energy to do what was required. We also blazed through a lot of very valuable material, things that I would have loved to study more in depth. I emerge so much smarter about some things (macroeconomics) and with interest piqued about other things (strategy).
No one has dared to but should someone ask whether it was worth it, the answer is an obvious 'yes.' Though there is no immediate, obvious financial benefit, no dramatic career change or advancement that is imminent now that the degree is in my hand (I would hardly have done it solely for these reasons), I am a better person for having done it. I am a better manager, employee, intellectual, husband, father. And now that I am finished I will have more time and energy to devote to these things.