August 2011

Ron’s #34: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

August 27, 2011 // 1 Comment

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall is one of the best books I’ve read this year, and I’m not even a real runner. My friend recommended this book to me two years ago, and told me that it was a story of a tribe of excellent runners in Mexico. I thought it sounded interesting, but never rushed to read it. When I was in the States this summer, Born to Run came up again and again in airports, bookstores, and my conversations. I thought it was time to read it, and I’m so glad I did. My friend was right that there is a tribe of super-runners in the book, but that is far from the whole story. The frame story of the book is the author’s experience with runner. The book begins with his visits to several doctors to find treatment for his many running injuries. He is told many times that running is bad for us, and that we all are injured. His only solution, he was told, is to quit running or get a few cortisone shots to relieve the pain. McDougall was not ready to give up on his sport, so he began a search to […]

Mark’s #39 – The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

August 25, 2011 // 0 Comments

Earlier this year I discovered and read Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, which I really enjoyed.  I have since purchased two more books by Gladwell, including this one.  As a writer, he has a way of looking at the world, digging deep into the ordinary, and drawing out some extraordinary conclusions and applications.  Like Outliers, Gladwell challenges traditional notions of how the world works, and in a compelling fashion, re-interprets the world as we know it. In short, in this book, Gladwell attempts to explain how certain things “tip” to become social epidemics. For example, how is it that Paul Revere was so effective in spreading the word about the oncoming British, whereas other riders with the exact same message were unable to do so? Answer: Revere was what Gladwell calls both a connector (someone who knew a lot of people) and a maven (someone with expert knowledge – in this case, knowledge about the British).  Or how is it that fashion trends take off? How do books become best sellers?  Why has there been a rise in school shootings?  Why is Sesame Street so effective, and why is Blues Clues even more effective? Why did crime substantially drop on New […]

Ron’s #33: Demonic by Ann Coulter

August 25, 2011 // 0 Comments

I know I’m going to catch flack for this one, but I am happy to say that I enjoy a dose of Ann Coulter once in awhile. She’s an intelligent woman who is a good writer, and she is often pretty funny. I think her jokes/insults go further than I would go at times, but it is difficult to disagree with her conclusions. Lots of folks say terrible mean things about her, but it is not about her major points in politics. In fact, when I told a friend that I was reading this, his first comment was, “She is so hateful.” I disagree with him, but it does show a persuasive opinion about her and other outspoken conservatives. I’ll be brief on this book. I really enjoyed it. Coulter’s premise is that unruly mobs control and guide liberal politics in the world, whether through violent protests, ad hominem attacks, or fear tactics to force people in “politically correct” line. She offers an excellent overview of both the American Revolution and the French Revolution. The first was led by ideas, the second was led by knives and axes. Even the most anti-Coulter folks would enjoy these summaries. She continues in […]

David’s #1 The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University By Kevin Roose

August 25, 2011 // 0 Comments

While his classmates are studying abroad, far left leaning Brown University student Kevin Roose also decides to immerse himself in a new world.  He spends a semester undercover at Liberty University, studying the mysterious evangelical Christians culture.  I expected a much harsher, judgmental perspective.  Despite his background, he goes into the journey with an open mind, and he does a pretty good job of maintaining it.  He does not hold back on his criticisms but also admittedly experiences far less hate and bigotry than he expected and much more love and compassion.  He examines and comments on all aspects of the university and the people around him, from the quality of professors and education and the school’s uber-strict rule book,  to his personal relationships and interactions, both good and bad, that he experiences.  He even spends spring break on a mission trip at Daytona beach. It was interesting to watch as his reflections on his new surroundings spur on introspection.  While his experience did not result in a world view makeover, his mind was definitely opened for the better.  At a minimum his witty writing keeps the book entertaining.  A fun, interesting read regardless of your views. Share on Facebook

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