Friday, July 6, 2012

recent listening and reading

Every now and then, I need a repainting spiritually.  So, recently I listened to "The Higher Self" by Deepak Chopra for about the 5th time.  Some good ideas, some good language, good accent.  Then, I listened again to his "The Book of Secrets".  Again, some parts good, some not so good.  Among spiritual teachers, Eckhart Tolle stands out because he goes out of his way to present ideas and conceptions that can be of use to anyone of any religion.  His best known work is "The Power of Now".  For a shorter version of his ideas, I like his "Stillness Speaks" and I listened to it again.  All three of these works are on an iPod and can be dialed up easily.  

Tolle is well-known worldwide for several things, not least of which are his television sessions with Oprah, a free course in some spiritual concepts and tools.  

On a different note, Lynn and I read aloud "Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents" by Elisabeth Eaves.  I am not sure how we picked that work up.  It may have been a sale item that sounded pretty good.  When we took our second group of students to Europe in 1998, we were given an article that explained that some college students get a deep wanderlust and keep on traveling until their 30's.  That sort of thing seems to have seized Eaves.  Her travels were mostly in the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

Right now, we are reading "How It All Began" by Penelope Lively (now age 79).  Good look into interior lives of several people living in today's Britain.  

I am now listening to Randall Bartlett's course "How to Think Like an Economist".  I am not sure I want to think like an economist but the man does have some interesting things to say.  Economists are always talking about incentives and how to structure them to benefit the most people the most completely.  One of the striking things he said was that the Alaskan halibut season was at one time restricted to just three days of fishing since overfishing and possible extinction was a looming problem.  Then, a re-structuring of the idea of how to regulate the fishing was put in place and the season was extended to 8 months.  

Finally, I am nearing the end of "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese.  1170 customers gave it nearly 4.5 stars.  Lynn read it for her book club and told me it was very good.  A present day Ethiopian grows up in a medical family and becomes a physician himself.  I am reading it and it is as good or better than I was led to believe.  I had never heard of Verghese but when I looked him up, I was struck by his credentials: physician, professor of medicine at Stanford, graduate of famous Iowa Writer's Workshop, author of prize-winning books.

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