I’ve been encouraged by several people to do an update on my summer reading list. Here it is!
Conundrum by David Owen. This was a bit tedious for me to read. BUT a truly interesting approach to the topic of our world environmental challenges. David Owen is contrary in his thinking and challenges much of what we think we’re doing to help the environment. Think of these possibilities. Does greater energy efficiency entice us to use more energy? If we have energy efficient cars do we ‘allow’ ourselves to drive even more miles? If we produce lighter, cheaper cans for beverages, will the public buy MORE beverages and thereby increase the negative impact on the environment? Here’s the one that got to me. I’m a foodie. I try hard to by local, organic, antibiotic, and hormone free food (at least). I’m at the farmer’s market on Saturday and my grocery shopping usually means visiting 3 or more stores. Does that help the environment? The organic process may be better, and the hormone free, for the environment. But then all of those farmers drive stuff to the market (inefficient use of energy?) and I drive all over to buy in. Hope it’s healthy; I’m thinking I’m not making a net gain on green. What would David Owen like us to do? He’d like us to live closer together and hold up New York City as a model. Dense, restricted living spaces, public transportation that is convenient, and car ownership that is low. He says governments should embrace strategies that force reduced consumption of the planet’s natural resources. It truly is a conundrum. And a book worth reading.
Beyond the Hole in the Wall by Sugata Mitra. So sorry…still haven’t read this one. Working on it!
One Piece of Paper by Mike Figliuolo. I’m about half way through this book. Here’s what I can tell you so far. It is a book designed as a catalyst for introspection. If you’ve arrived at a point in your career…your life…where you sense personal clarification or change would make a real difference in what’s next, this could be the book. It’s not easy work. I remember reading True North by Bill George with a learning cohort, and being exhausted at the end of the exercises and discussions. Learning who we really are is a challenge. One Piece of Paper is challenging as well! The author writes with an engaging, readable style. However, the questions he challenges the reader to answer are NOT easy. I like this book. I’ll finish it and I’ll reference it. I won’t likely lend it to anyone. I’ve written all over the pages as I’ve attempted to capture my own thoughts about the person I want to be.
Coming Apart by Charles Murray. I LOVED THIS BOOK! The author hooked me in the opening pages comparing the assassination of John F. Kennedy to the end of World War II in historic significance. After all, I’m a ‘child of the 60’s’. But more than that, as I delved into the pages, it became clear to me I was reading something so significant, it would change my perspective forever. Woven in the paragraphs between the many graphs and tables is a tapestry of human examples and real stories that give voice to the numbers and draw us into the picture of what our society is becoming. That is, how we’re coming apart. And we are. Have and have not. Vastly different political views. Less education versus more education. Two views of America; two expectations of life. Only if we begin to recognize what is growing the divide and how we each contribute to that can we begin to consider ‘reunification’ around a common set of values as a country. We will continue to ‘come apart’. More wealthy…less wealthy. Farther right…farther left. Less regard for education…higher education levels at all ages. The chasm will widen creating two countries within our borders. This is an important book to read.