Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success was a very quick read.
I was not thrilled to read this book but decided to read it only after a friend loaned it to me.
I would rank the quality Gladwell’s books in the same order they were published: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, and way behind is Outliers: The Story of Success.
Outliers just seemed so contrived.
While each story was interesting, they didn’t seem to quite fit into a coherent argument. It felt like Gladwell was trying to turn what should have been a simple article for the New York Times (not even an article for the New York Times Magazine) into a bestselling book.
Also, some of the stories — particularly the one about the health of residents of Roseto, PA — are well known to the public, which made it seem like Gladwell was trying even harder to make a book out of a simple essay.
So while I think that folks should read The Tipping Point and maybe even Blink for the educational value, I highly recommend that you not bother with Outliers.
I went to the library the other day and picked up a copy of Stephen Baker’s The Numerati, which I first wrote about here.
The book is organized into seven chapters which describe ways that data is being analyzed in mass quantities: Worker, Shopper, Voter, Blogger, Terrorist, Patient, and Lover.
You’d think that Lover would be the most interesting but it had the least substance; Voter (about Josh Gotbaum of Spotlight Analysis) was by far the most interesting chapter.
The Numerati was such a quick read that I finished it in just a few short disappointing hours.
I felt Baker was stretching to fill out his book with examples of how mathematicians are dangerously invading our privacy by quantifying and analyzing our lives.
Still, it was entertaining; just keep your expectations low.
Last Friday I read Dr. Bruce Goldberg’s classic book supporting reincarnation, Past Lives, Future Lives. Goldberg is a dentist who also has a hypnotherapy practice, specializing in simple age regressions (childhood, etc), past life regressions, and future life regressions.
Sounds a bit nutty, huh?
While I do believe in reincarnation and have an interest in learning about my past lives and how I have previously interacted with the people I know in this life, I’m not totally convinced about the truth of this book.
Still, it’s fun to read. And it contradicts the most common argument against reincarnation that I’ve heard — that reincarnation can’t possibly be real because people always claim to have been someone famous in a previous life (there isn’t one case of someone claiming to have been a famous / historical figure in a past life in this book).
And if you always wanted to hear yet another theory on how the pyramids of Egypt were built, look no further! (Human workers using special magic ropes brought by aliens and under supervision by aliens.) Also, there are a few predictions about the future — sometime before 2060 giant earthquakes will completely destroy New York City (renamed New City), Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Yup.
Anyway, here’s the table of contents in case you want to learn more…
1 The Past Lives of a TV Talk Show Host 1
2 What Is Hypnosis? 12
3 What Is Karma? Historical Foundations and Popular Concepts 25
4 Documented Proof of Reincarnation 47
5 On a Clear Day You Can See Yesterday: Age Regression with Hypnosis 57
6 Didn’t We Meet in a Past Life? 70
7 Bob and the “Light People” 81
8 Hubert Meets Aliens in Ancient Egypt 88
9 The Baby That Was 200 Years Overdue 94
10 Hysterical Blindness and a Past Life in the London Slums 100
11 Odontiatrophobia and the Blacksmith 107
12 The 800-Year-Old Synchronicity 112
13 Anorexia Nervosa: Self-Punishment for Her Last Life 126
14 On a Clear Day You Can See Tomorrow: Future Life Progression with Hypnosis 133
15 The Future Lives of Our TV Personality 137
16 Time Travel via the Airwaves 150
17 Marsha: A Career Woman of the Future 158
18 From Soothsayer to Keeper of Knowledge 167
19 Zeku: A Case of Genetic Engineering 182
20 From Greece to Moonan 190
21 A Future Life Under Glass 203
22 A Contaminated Future Life 215
23 Past Life Therapy in the Twenty-second Century 237
24 What Is It Like to Die? 257
25 Karma: When Does It All End? 264
26 Questions and Answers about Past and Future Lives Hypnotherapy 267