10 March 2022

Atlas of the Heart Quotes

 Quotes from Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown:

For children, it’s easy for everything to become a source of shame when nothing is normalized. You assume that if no one is talking about it, it must be just you.
 I understood that there were very few people who could handle being held accountable for causing hurt without rationalizing, blaming, or shutting down.
When people are hateful or cruel or just being assholes, they’re showing us exactly what they’re afraid of. Understanding their motivation doesn’t make their behavior less difficult to bear, but it does give us choices. And subjecting ourselves to that behavior by choice doesn’t make us tough—it’s a sign of our own lack of self-worth.
I think back to a quote from the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein that I came across in college: “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”
I found this really interesting because I always assumed that my emotions responded to my body freaking out. But really, my emotions are responding to my “thinking” assessment of how well I can handle something.
In her book The Dance of Fear, Dr. Harriet Lerner writes, “It is not fear that stops you from doing the brave and true thing in your daily life. Rather, the problem is avoidance. You want to feel comfortable, so you avoid doing or saying the thing that will evoke fear and other difficult emotions. Avoidance will make you feel less vulnerable in the short run, but it will never make you less afraid.”
Similar sensations are labeled “anxiety” when we perceive them negatively and “excitement” when we perceive them positively.
In fact, this is one of the biggest myths of vulnerability. We’ve found that across cultures, most of us were raised to believe that being vulnerable is being weak. This sets up an unresolvable tension for most of us, because we were also raised to be brave. There is no courage without vulnerability. Courage requires the willingness to lean into uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.
Comparison is the crush of conformity from one side and competition from the other—it’s trying to simultaneously fit in and stand out. Comparison says, “Be like everyone else, but better.”
laughed so hard when he told me that due to the physics of how grass grows, when we peer over our fence at our neighbor’s grass, it actually does look greener, even if it is truly the same lushness as our own grass.
Communicating our expectations is brave and vulnerable. And it builds meaningful connection and often leads to having a partner or friend who we can reality-check with.
When someone shares their hopes and dreams with us, we are witnessing deep courage and vulnerability.
There are too many people in the world today who decide to live disappointed rather than risk feeling disappointment.
So here’s something I know to be true, although it’s a little corny, and I don’t quite know what to do with it: What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness. Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded…sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.
I love how researchers Ulrich Weger and Johannes Wagemann explain it. They write, “Wonder inspires the wish to understand; awe inspires the wish to let shine, to acknowledge and to unite.” When feeling awe, we tend to simply stand back and observe, “to provide a stage for the phenomenon to shine.”
The concept of optimal confusion is key to understanding why confusion is good for us and why it’s categorized as an epistemic emotion—an emotion critical to knowledge acquisition and learning. It turns out that confusion, like many uncomfortable things in life, is vital for learning. According to research, confusion has the potential to motivate, lead to deep learning, and trigger problem solving.
Sidney D’Mello found that when we’re trying to work through our confusion, we need to stop and think, engage in careful deliberation, develop a solution, and revise how we approach the next problem.
Choosing to be curious is choosing to be vulnerable because it requires us to surrender to uncertainty. We have to ask questions, admit to not knowing, risk being told that we shouldn’t be asking, and, sometimes, make discoveries that lead to discomfort.
And multiple experiments have shown that when experts express doubt, they become more persuasive. When someone knowledgeable admits uncertainty, it surprises people, and they end up paying more attention to the substance of the argument.
As Adam Grant writes, “Intelligence is traditionally viewed as the ability to think and learn. Yet in a turbulent world, there’s another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn.”
Vulnerability is the first thing we look for in other people, and the last thing we want to show them about ourselves.
Vulnerability is courage in you and inadequacy in me.
I was raised in a family where sarcasm was confused with intellectual ability and craft.
Their findings totally align with the hundred-thousand-plus comments from our community: We like to be moved. We like to feel connected to what it means to be human, to be reminded of our inextricable connection to one another. Sadness moves the individual “us” toward the collective “us.”
Their study revealed a “highly significant positive correlation between sadness and enjoyment.” However, this association is sequential. Sadness leads to feeling moved, which in turn leads to enjoyment. “Hence sadness primarily functions as a contributor to and intensifier of the emotional state of being moved.”
“When a person adapts to a loss grief is not over.” It doesn’t mean that we’re sad the rest of our lives, it means that “grief finds a place” in our lives. Imagine a world in which we honor that place in ourselves and others rather than hiding it, ignoring it, or pretending it doesn’t exist because of fear or shame.
The near enemy of compassion is pity. Instead of feeling the openness of compassion, pity says, “Oh, that poor person. I feel sorry for people like that.” Pity sees them as different from ourselves. It sets up a separation between ourselves and others, a sense of distance and remoteness from the suffering of others that is affirming and gratifying to the self. Compassion, on the other hand, recognizes the suffering of another as a reflection of our own pain: “I understand this; I suffer in the same way.” It is empathetic, a mutual connection with the pain and sorrow of life. Compassion is shared suffering. 
This is one reason we need to dispel the myth that empathy is “walking in someone else’s shoes.” Rather than walking in your shoes, I need to learn how to listen to the story you tell about what it’s like in your shoes and believe you even when it doesn’t match my experiences.
In our leadership research, we’ve learned that achieving mastery requires curiosity and viewing mistakes and failures as opportunities for learning. Perfectionism kills curiosity by telling us that we have to know everything or we risk looking “less than.” Perfectionism tells us that our mistakes and failures are personal defects, so we either avoid trying new things or we barely recover every time we inevitably fall short.
Healthy striving is self-focused—How can I improve? Perfectionism is other-focused—What will they think?
“Never allow anyone to be humiliated in your presence.”
Together we fight to create change within ourselves and our communities because, as my favorite quote says, “Quisieron enterrarnos, pero no sabían que éramos semillas”…“They wanted to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.”
He explains, “To grow into an adulthood for a social species, including humans, is not to become autonomous and solitary, it’s to become the one on whom others can depend.
The brokenhearted are the bravest among us—they dared to love.
Integrity: You choose courage over comfort. You choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. And you choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them.
Generosity: You extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others.
This research also helped me realize that it wasn’t just Steve who was getting overwhelmed. I get overwhelmed too. The difference is our strategies. He shuts down; I lash out.
I’m not sure there’s a braver sentence in the human catalog of brave sentences than “My feelings are hurt.” It’s simple, vulnerable, and honest. But we don’t say it very often.
One last note about hurt feelings: Researchers Mark Leary and Carrie Springer have interesting thoughts on the language of hurt feelings. Unlike most other emotions, the expression “hurt feelings” lacks obvious synonyms.
Robertson compares this to the Greek word for joy, which is chairo. Chairo was described by the ancient Greeks as the “culmination of being” and the “good mood of the soul.” Robertson writes, “Chairo is something, the ancient Greeks tell us, that is found only in God and comes with virtue and wisdom.
When I think about calm people, I think about people who can bring perspective to complicated situations and experience their feelings without reacting to heightened emotions.
As someone who has to work on calm as a practice rather than a trait, I’ve shortened this to two quick questions I ask myself when I feel fear, panic, or anxiety rising: Do I have enough information to freak out? The answer is normally no. Will freaking out help? The answer is always no.
The phrase “adapting to goodness” reminds me of a quote I’ve seen all over social media: “Remember the day you prayed for the things you have now.”
When we lose our tolerance for vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding. No emotion is more frightening than joy, because we believe if we allow ourselves to feel joy, we are inviting disaster. We start dress-rehearsing tragedy in the best moments of our lives in order to stop vulnerability from beating us to the punch.
But also, a person feeling contempt often wants or needs to feel better about themselves, and they do so by diminishing the person who is the object of their contempt. It’s no wonder that “research has shown that the contemptuous person is likely to experience feelings of low self-esteem, inadequacy, and shame.”
The researchers found that the average Republican and the average Democrat today suffer from a level of motive attribution asymmetry that is comparable with that of Palestinians and Israelis. Each side thinks it is driven by benevolence, while the other is evil and motivated by hatred—and is therefore an enemy with whom one cannot negotiate or compromise.
Contempt makes political compromise and progress impossible. It also makes us unhappy as people. According to the American Psychological Association, the feeling of rejection, so often experienced after being treated with contempt, increases anxiety, depression and sadness. It also damages the contemptuous person by stimulating two stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline.
Dehumanizing always starts with language, often followed by images. We see this throughout history. During the Holocaust, Nazis described Jews as Untermenschen—subhuman. They called Jews rats and depicted them as disease-carrying rodents in everything from military pamphlets to children’s books. Hutus involved in the Rwanda genocide called Tutsis cockroaches. Indigenous people are often referred to as savages.
What’s really fascinating is that hate is actually fueled by our need for connection. I call this common enemy intimacy. I may not know anything about you, but we hate the same people and that creates a counterfeit bond and a sense of belonging. I say “counterfeit” because the bond and belonging are not real, they hinge on my agreeing with you and not challenging the ideas that connect us.
I can sum up humility with one sentence that emerged from the research that informed Dare to Lead: I’m here to get it right, not to be right.

No Cure for Being Human Quotes

 Quotes from No Cure for Being Human by Kate Bowler:

I am a professor of history, so I know this in my bones: nothing is inevitable. History is made by people who stared, blinking, into the uncertain future. Their paths were not lit before them by sacred meteors. For most of us, this sounds like good news. We choose and choose and choose again.
Before when I was earnest and clever and ignorant, I thought, life is a series of choices. I curated my own life until, one day, I couldn’t. I had accepted the burden of limitless choices only to find that I had few to make. I was stuck in this body, this house, this life.
I feel a spark of horror each time I remember it: we come undone. This is what happens to all of us. We fall ill. We get old. We can’t have that baby or keep that relationship. We missed our chance to go to this school or take that job. Our parents die before we know them, and our kids forget our love. We lose people before we can learn to live without them.
“This will be a hard journey,” he says. “Is there anything you can set down?”
Everybody pretends that you only die once. But that’s not true. You can die to a thousand possible futures in the course of a single, stupid life.
The terrible gift of a terrible illness is that it has, in fact, taught me to live in the moment. Nothing but this day matters: the warmth of this crib, the sound of his hysterical giggling. And when I look closely at my life, I realize that I’m not just learning to seize the day. In my finite life, the mundane has begun to sparkle. The things I love—the things I should love—become clearer, brighter.
The truth of the pandemic is the truth of all suffering: that it is unjustly distributed.
We try to outsmart our limitations and our bad, bad luck, but here we are, shouting the truth into the abyss. There is no cure for being human.
These are such small decisions, really. But aren’t they all? Trying again. Getting back up. Trusting someone new. Loving extravagantly inside these numbered days.
Time really is a circle; I can see that now. We are trapped between a past we can’t return to and a future that is uncertain. And it takes guts to live here, in the hard space between anticipation and realization.

09 February 2022

The Obstacle is the Way Quotes

"The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way."

02 February 2022

What Made Maddy Run Quotes by Kate Fagan

"Boyd delivered this sermon, “The Fine Art of Being Imperfect,” in 1996. Apparently the Irish pastor never wrote out his sermons, but rather scribbled down a few notes and extrapolated on the ideas as he stood before his flock.

To make his point about the varying human responses to imperfection, Boyd uses three examples: Waterford crystal, pottery, and oriental rugs. At Waterford, Boyd explains, each piece of crystal is meticulously inspected, held up to the light, each surface appraised for the slightest crack or deformity. If any is spotted, the piece is immediately shattered. Boyd allows this imagery to sink in, allows the listener to picture the beautiful crystal being smashed against a hard object, the pieces swept away, punishment for a defect nearly invisible to the human eye. Then Boyd urges us to consider the slight space between these two wildly different outcomes. He says, “Notice how close perfection is to despair.”

Then he moves on to pottery. As a potter’s hands move over clay, shaping the malleable form, occasionally a mistake is made, an unwanted alteration to the vision. But usually the potter will not throw away the clay; she will attempt to reshape the piece around the mistake, as if it had never happened. Then Boyd turns to the weavers who create the world’s most beautiful rugs. They spend hours creating designs by hand, and during this painstaking process the shapes and angles often become lopsided, asymmetrical. However, this is its uniqueness. This rug is unlike any other, and that is what makes it a coveted work. Boyd’s message asks a single question of his listeners: In which way do we view imperfection?"

24 January 2022

Boomtown Quotes

 Selected quotes from Boomtown by Sam Anderson:


"Because the Land Run was, even by the standards of America, absurd. It was a very bad idea, executed very badly. Something like one hundred thousand settlers showed up to wait for the starting gun—roughly the entire population, at the time, of Indianapolis. It was far too many people for the amount of good land available, but from the very start, Oklahoma was an idea that far exceeded its reality."

"The Process is for people who trust time. Boom is for people who don’t."

19 January 2022

Lands of Lost Borders by Kate Harris Quotes

"The point of life, by our mutual measure, was to give it all we had. The only way we knew how to go was too far."

"Wasn’t that the most meaningful outcome of any kind of exploration? To reveal the old world—and ourselves—anew?"

"Most aspects of Oxford—from the twisting cobbled streets to Corsi’s lectures—encouraged digression, which is, after all, just a sideways method for stumbling on connection."

"After being on an achievement bender most of my life, the prospect of withdrawal, of doing anything without external approval, or better yet acclamation, kept me obediently between lines I couldn’t even recognize as lines. Isn’t that the final, most forceful triumph of borders? The way they make us accept as real and substantial what we can’t actually see?"

"...suggesting that borders are little more than collective myths—fictions that a certain number of people, for a certain period of time, believe are fact."

"We long our whole lives for things we’ve never known, places we’ve never been, abstractions that come alive to us in unexpected ways."

"The wildness of a place or experience isn’t in the place or experience, necessarily, but in you—your capacity to see it, feel it. In that sense, biking the Silk Road is an exercise in calibration. Anyone can recognize wildness on the Tibetan Plateau; the challenge is perceiving it in a roadside picnic area in Azerbaijan."

"I wondered whether we’re most alive in our moments of longing, the act of launching for a place we’re not certain to land."

"...the way Neil Armstrong said he could blot out the Earth from the moon with his thumb. “Did that make you feel really big?” someone asked him upon his return. “No,” the first moonwalker confessed in a rare candid moment. “It made me feel really, really small.”"

"He also included a photograph of someone climbing a jagged spire in the Alps.

“If the recipients recognize the silhouetted human figure, they may guess that it was both difficult and seemingly pointless to scale this rock needle. The only point would be the accomplishment of doing it. If this message is communicated, it will tell extraterrestrials something very important about us.”"

"And why not err on the side of audacity when it comes to this one and only life?"

"But exploration, more than anything, is like falling in love: the experience feels singular, unprecedented, and revolutionary, despite the fact that others have been there before."

"More cold gusts stripped the poplars of the few leaves they had left, the wind more alive than the branches it moved, and so big it could only be the mountains breathing."

13 December 2018

Start With Why by Simon Sinek - Notes

Define values as verbs rather than action
-> Not Integrity, but Always do the right thing / Not Innovation, but Look for new ways to do things

Have a clear sense of purpose and amazing discipline (Apple)

If you are competing against everyone, nobody will help you. If you are competing against yourself, everyone will help you.

17 July 2015

The Brothers Karamazov Quotes

The following are selected quotes from The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

- "Fyodor Pavolovitch was drunk when he heard of his wife's death, and the story is that he ran out into the street and began shouting with joy, raising his hands to Heaven: "Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace," but others say he wept without restraint like a little child, so much so that people were sorry for him, in spite of the revulsion he inspired. It is quite possible that both versions were true, that he rejoiced at his release, and at the same time wept for her who released him. As a general rule, people, even the wicked, are much more naive and simple-hearted than we suppose. And we ourselves are, too." (5)

- "In his childhood and youth he was by no means expansive, and talked little indeed, but not from shyness or a sullen insociability; quite the contrary, from something different, from a sort of inner preoccupation entirely personal and unconcerned with other people, but so important to him that he seemed, as it were, to forget others on account of it." (14)

- "It is not miracles that dispose realists to belief. The genuine realist, if he is an unbeliever, will always find strength and ability to disbelieve in the miraculous, and if he is confronted with a miracle as an irrefutable fact he would rather disbelieve his own senses than admit the fact. Even if he admits it, he admits it as a fact of nature till then unrecognized by him. Faith does not, in the realist, spring from the miracle but the miracle from faith." (20)

- "'It's just the same story as a doctor once told me,' observed the elder. 'He was a young man getting on in years, and undoubtedly clever. He spoke as frankly as you, though in jest, in bitter jest. 'I love humanity,' he said, 'but I wonder at myself. The more I love humanity in general, the less I love man in particular.'" (49)

- "I am sorry I can say nothing more consoling to you, for love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with love in dreams. Love in dreams is greedy for immediate action, rapidly performed and in the sight of all. Men will even give their lives if only the ordeal does not last long but is soon over, with all looking on and applauding as though on stage. But active love is labor and fortitude, and for some people too, perhaps, a complete science. But I predict that just when you see with horror that in spite of all your efforts you are getting further from your goal instead of nearer to it - at that very moment I predict you will reach it and behold clearly the miraculous power of the Lord who has been all the time loving and mysteriously guiding you," (50)

- "I understand too well, Ivan. One long to love with one's inside, with one's stomach. You said that so well and I am awfully glad that you have such a longing for life,' cried Alyosha. 'I think everyone should love life above everything in the world.'
'Love life more than the meaning of it?'
' Certainly, love it, regardless of logic as you say, it must be regardless of logic, and it's only then one will understand the meaning of it. I have thought so a long time. Half your work is done, Ivan, you love life, now you've only to try to do the second half and you are saved.'" (213)

03 November 2014

The Places in Between Quotes

The following are selected quotes from The Places In Between by Rory Stewart.

- "I offered Asad money but he was horrified. It seemed a six-hour round trip through a freezing storm and chest deep snow was the least he could do for a guest. I did not want to insult him but I was keen to repay him in some way. I insisted, feeling foolish. He refused five times but finally accepted out of politeness and gave the money to his companion.Then he wished me luck and turned up the hill into the face of the snowstorm." (221)

- "Babur writes upon his arrival:
'The people of Yakawlang, who had heard of us as we descended, carried us to their warm houses, brought out fat sheep for us, a superfluity of grain and hay for our horse, with abundance of wood and dried dung to kindle our fires. To pass from cold and snow into such a village and its warm houses, on escaping from want and suffering, to find such plenty of good bread and fat sheep as we did, is an enjoyment that can be conceived only by such as have suffered similar hardships or endured such heavy distress." (223)

- "Blair's handling and discussion of the Koran would have struck Ali as highly eccentric. In Ali's view, Blair could not have red the Koran because Blair could not read Arabic. Since the Koran, unlike the Bible, is the verbatim word of God, spoken through Muhammad in Arabic, a translation is not considered to be the Koran. At times, it has been considered blasphemous to translate it at all." (236)

- "Blair's confidently casual handling of the text was not supposed to be patronizing or presumptuous, but to display his sensitivity to Islamic culture. He seemed to assume the Koran resembled the Protestant Bible, which can be translated without problem; easily understood; freed of apocrypha; opened to interpretation by laypeople; and physically handled much like any other book. This assumption may be shared by other Christian commentators such as Bush. In November 2001, a photograph showed Bush casually dragging a Koran across the table with his unclean left hand, while the mullah who presented the book struggled to smile." (237)

Winterdance Quotes

The following are selected quotes from Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod by Gary Paulsen.

- "There came a time of almost unbroken, back-breaking effort. God, it was staggering - all that had to be done.
With the realization that I knew nothing came the need to learn, and the best way to learn about running dogs - other than begging information - was to run dogs." (114)

- "She was beautiful in a way that only wild things can be beautiful."

28 May 2014

"The Hobbit" Quotes

Here are selected quotes from the book The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

- "The Hobby was a very well-to-do hobbit, and his name was Baggins. The Bagginses had lived in the neighborhood of The Hill for time out of mind, and people considered them very respectable, not only because most of them were rich, but also because they never had any adventures or did anything unexpected; you could tell what a Baggins would say on any question without the bother of asking him."

- "Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a good deal of telling anyway."

- "There is nothing like looking, if you want to finding (or so Thorin said to the young dwarves). You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after."

- "It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterwards were as nothing compared to it. He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait."

26 June 2013

"This Love Is Not For Cowards" Quotes

Here are selected quotes from the book This Love Is Not For Cowards: Salvation and Soccer in Ciudad Juárez by Robert Andrew Powell.

- "'When I was young, I wanted to travel abroad,' he tells me. 'I wanted to see more of the world. My mother gave me a card. It had a picture on the front and in the picture there was a desert. Nothing but sand. Except for this one flower growing. Where God places you, that's where you must do your work.'" (37)

- "The owner concludes with a line cribbed from Mike, of all people. The El Kartel captain has printed the phrase on those t-shirts he sells outside the stadium before every home game: Este Amor No Es Para Cobardes. The line is El Kartel's rallying cry, a testament to the strength of their bond with the Indios. It's Francisco Ibarra's rallying cry now, too, a statement that clearly speaks to a struggle that has nothing to do with soccer, and to a commitment to more than just a sports team." (70)

- "I'm often struck by the fluidity of the border. Radio signals flow freely in both directions. If I'm driving around Juarez at midday, I'm in the jungle with Jim Rome. In the morning and late afternoons I'm usually following Washington politics on NPR. Most nights, even when I'm in El Paso, I like to listen to Orbita radio out of Juarez, the most eclectic radio station in the world, home to a playlist that bounces from a French torch singer to Ozzy Osbourne to an Appalacian folk song. Juarenses ask for 'sodas' when they order a soft drink, using the English word although everyone else in Mexico says 'refrescos.'

Yet the border is so concrete. The woman who cuts my hair in Juarez has never set foot in El Paso despite living along La Frontera for thirty-six years, her entire life. When I'm surfing the Web at the burrito stand near my apartment, I can't watch clips of The Daily Show over the internet, because they are available only to people physically in the United States. Ken-tokey is unable to visit his girlfriend, Sofia, at her house in El Paso. To him and to hundreds of thousands of other Juarenses, the border is as impregnable as the Indios' defense against Cruz Azul. How impregnable? The U.S. government will kill to secure it." (113)

- "I find Paco's life story pretty interesting, even if he's young. His grandfather is passionately Mexican, yet we're speaking English in the car, a language Paco says he learned from watching television; his parents don't speak it. He's a Mexican, yet he's also an American, more and more so. He's a young man in both cultures in the Fussion sense, but he's also an unwitting pioneer. The rich and connected of Juarez are all setting up shop in El Paso these days. Even Paco's high school, the most elite prep school in Mexico, is opening its first American branch in El Paso." (133)

- "There is a toxic energy in Juarez. It flows underground, vibrating to the surface in scenes like this, scenes I witness in some form almost every day. Living here is like living in that Shirley Jackson short story. We accept that a few of us will be chosen for the daily killing ritual, that the likelihood of being chosen is very small, and that the killing is a cost of residency. We try to to wipe the violence from our minds, to "go about living as best we can." But it takes a toll, this game of chance. It flavors every aspect of our lives. A poison leaches into everything." (146)

- "It was a nice day and I wasn't in any particular hurry, so we talked for a while longer. She invited me over for dinner with her family whenever I'm free. She told me the violence is making her crazy, but she can't leave.
Our young people, they don't watch what they're doing, so we send them to El Paso. But we're all going to stay. We have a mission here. When our mission is up, then we'll go up.'
She pointed not north, to Franklin Mountain, but straight up, to the sky. What is her mission?
'To love people. To help people.'" (153)

- "The longer I've lived in Juarez, the more I feel the city's problems have little to do with gender. Girls are not being snatched off the street by serial killers or kidnapped and killed by U.S. Border Patrol officers making snuff films or whatever it was Gaspar de Alba conjured up for her mystery novel. The problem is that life itself in Juarez, across the board, has been devalued. Murder is effectively legal. You can kill almost anyone you want." (191)

03 March 2013

Book Review: "A March to Madness" by John Feinstein

This is a review of A March to Madness: A View from the Floor in the Atlantic Coast Conference by John Feinstein. It is one of the best college basketball books that I have ever read.

This is a book in which John Feinstein followed around the ACC teams for a season and talks about what happened, what they did, how they did it, etc.

It was a very interesting book that I really recommend reading, especially in conjunction with The Last Amateurs: Playing for Glory and Honor in Division I College Basketball, another book by Feinstein.. The differences and similarities really showcase the difference between low-major college basketball and perhaps the most powerful conference in the NCAA.

One obvious difference and part that I loved was seeing the differences in the conference tournaments. In the Patriot League Tournament he detailed, it was do-or-die every game, because there were no at-large bids. In the ACC Tournament, there were probably 2 teams that were really playing in games that they saw as "must-win." Quite a difference, obviously.

Another difference was a lot of the players themselves. In The Last Amateurs, the academic lives of the players were frequently discussed. In this book, there were far less references to any type of academics, and more to attitude problems of a lot of the players. Not say that Feinstein cast them into a bad light, because he didn't, but the differences between big-time and small-time college basketball were evident.

Overall, one of the most interesting books I've read, and definitely one of the best college basketball books I've read. If you get a chance, I definitely recommend you take a gander at it.

18 February 2013

Book Review: The Extra 2% by Jonah Keri

I got the chance to read The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First by Jonah Keri and thought this it was a fantastic book.

The book begins by talking about the early parts of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays franchise - how they came to be, and how they first ran things under the initial owner and general manager. It was a period marked by futility, alternating strategies, and a lot of losing. Fans lost interest, and the D-Rays were a joke of an MLB franchise.

Around the mid 2000s, they were sold to a buyer that had a history on Wall Street. The people he hired to run the team also had extensive experience on Wall Street, which is where the title of the book comes from. It talks about some of the areas where the Rays looked for inefficiencies in the market to build the baseball team, since they knew they would not have the financial resources to compete against teams like the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox.

The book's most obvious comparison is Moneyball by Michael Lewis. It wants to be like that, and reaches out for the same fans that liked Moneyball. It is not that good - the detail into what makes the Rays successful is not shown in nearly as much detail as Lewis' famous book, but it is a great look into an MLB franchise. I would recommend it to baseball fans.

08 January 2013

"Your Money or Your Life" Quotes

Here are selected quotes from Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, one of the best personal finance books ever written.

- "For many of us, however, 'growing up' has meant outgrowing our dreams. The aspiration to write a great book has shrunk to writing advertising copy. The dream of being an inspiring preacher has evolved into being an administrator and mediator between the factions of the congregation. Instead of really knowing who their patients are, how the patients live or the challenges in their lives, doctors today are plagued with back-to-back fifteen minute patient visits and malpractice suits. The dream of traveling around the world becomes two weeks a year of hitting the tourist traps. Living a fulfilling and meaningful life seems almost impossible, given the requirements of simply meeting day-to-day needs and problems. Yet, at one time or another practically every one of us has had a dream of what we wanted our lives to be.

Wherever you are, take a few moments now to reflect upon your dreams. So many of us have spent so many hours, days and years of our lives devoted to someone else's agenda that it may be hard to get in touch with our dreams. So many of us have whittled away at our uniqueness so that we could be square pegs in square holes that it seems slightly self-indulgent to wonder what kind of hole we would be inclined to carve for ourselves. Indulge yourself now. Stare out a window. Shut your eyes. And envision what would be a truly fulfilling life for you. To help you get started on your journey, ask yourself the following questions:

- What did you want to be when you grew up?
- What have you always wanted to do that you haven't done yet?
- What have you done in your life that you are really proud of?
- If you knew you were going to die within a year, how would you spend that year?
- What brings you the most fulfillment - and how is that related to money?
- If you didn't have to work for a living, what would you do with your time?" (109-110)

- “If you live for having it all, what you have is never enough.”

- “Waste lies not in the number of possessions but in the failure to enjoy them.”

- “Americans used to be 'citizens.' Now we are 'consumers.”