Archive for December, 2013

You’ve Got to Read This Book: 55 People Tell the Story of the Book That Changed Their Life – Jack Canfield and Gay Hendricks, with Carol Kline

An intriguing title. It immediately made me wonder how many of the books these people valued I had read. It turns out, not so many. Four, to be exact, along with a bit of dabbling in a few other titles. This isn’t too surprising, as almost half of the books listed were self-help/self-discovery type books. And that was also no surprise, in that almost half of the people telling their stories were self-help/self-discovery writers and speakers.

I suppose that was to be expected, given the authors of the book and, as noted in the introduction, the genesis of the book during a meeting of such people at the author’s (Jack Canfield) home. I must admit that I have developed a bit of distaste for the continual repackaging of the same old self-help stuff. I’ve read plenty and been helped by little. But that’s just me.

I was hoping for stories from more business and hard science people than are represented in the book. There are some, as well as a few sports figures, writers, actors and artists. Most of the people I had never heard of, which somewhat lessened the impact of the stories on me.

There were, however, at least a dozen good stories that moved me. Of the four books I have read, Space Cadet, by Robert Heinlein, was the book used in the story by Nancy Pearl, an apparently well known librarian – and was a story to which I could relate. Not being religiously inclined, the stories devoted to religious book were wasted on me but could be useful to others. In the end, I actually ordered one book mentioned, more because I think it might be useful for my son rather than to me, but I’ll read it before I give it to him.

Of course, in the end, writing books is about making money and I suppose the authors have achieved that goal. Indeed, they appear to be making the most of the opportunity by offering a “book club” of sorts for people who might want to read some of the books mentioned in the stores. More power to them.

As a side note, I do wonder how people can put their names on a book as the authors when all they have done is write a very short introduction. All the individual stories were written by the individuals telling the stories, or at least that’s the impression given. Seems to me that instead of authors, they should be noted as editors, but who am I to say?

If you are a self-help type person you will probably get more out of this book than I did. Having said that, though, I did find it worthwhile to read the whole book and thought several of the stories were excellent.

(Finished 12/29/13)

kindle vs. paperback

I was looking for a book on Amazon.com just now. In particular, I was looking for the Kindle version of the book for a friend because she thought she might like to read it on her laptop. However, with a brand new paperback version of the book available for $6.00, she saw no sense in spending $9.78 for the Kindle version, and neither do I.

I get it that the Kindle can be handy, particularly if you are traveling and don’t want to haul a stack of books around with you. Or maybe you don’t like to clutter your house with books, though to me that’s sacrilegious. Or maybe you are physically handicapped and find it difficult or impossible to hold a book. Maybe there are some people who really have a good reason to pay more for a Kindle version of a book than for a physical copy, but that’s not me.

It’s a mystery to me how they can charge more for an electronic version of a book than for the paperback version. There’s no paper, no ink, no printing, no shipping . . . no nothing but electronic bits going through the ether. Sure, the publisher, author and distributor need to get paid, but why do they get paid more for the Kindle version than the paperback?

Sometimes things just don’t make sense.

tonsorial trials

What are the words you hate to hear from your doctor, or dentist, or . . . barber? “I’m retiring.” Sigh.

You have built up a relationship with that professional over many years and now you are going to have to start from scratch again. The odds of this happening increase exponentially as you get older, mainly because you are getting to retirement age yourself.

I am not a monthly haircut kind of guy. Mostly I don’t like to pay for a haircut every month – I have plenty of monthly payments already. But I also don’t like the hassle of going to the barber every month, so I find that once every three or four months works out just fine, except for special occasions. So it was with great disappointment that I went into my barber’s shop the week before Thanksgiving and found not only a full house of guys waiting for haircuts, but a new barber as well. I turned around and said I would be back later. I wasn’t.

I hoped that the new barber was just a vacation replacement for my regular barber (it’s a one-barber shop), but the week after Thanksgiving I pulled up in front of the barber shop and I could see that it was the same new barber and that there were several fellows waiting for haircuts – hopefully not since before Thanksgiving. I drove on.

Today I decided to bite the bullet and get that sorely needed haircut. Walking in, I see that it is the new barber still, with one guy in the chair and three more ahead of me. Ok, I don’t have anywhere to be, so I’ll wait. Looking around, I see that the old place has been cleaned up and refreshed. Listening to the barber talk to the guy in the chair I learn that he has indeed purchased the business.

Twenty minutes later, he has finished with the guy in the chair. Now, I don’t know how long that man had been in the barber’s chair before I came in, but twenty minutes since I came in? Sheesh. The next guy takes his turn in the chair and the barber starts. This barber likes to talk. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you keep cutting while you are talking. Hard to do when you talk with your hands.

Five minutes into the haircut, I can see that this is going to be at least another twenty minute haircut, and this guy has a simple, close cropped style. The two guys still waiting ahead of me will take a bit longer. I see probably another hour of waiting ahead of me, at least theoretically. “Theoretically,” because I’m up out of my seat saying, “I’ll be back another day.” I won’t be.

So now I have to find another barber. I hate that. It’s just not easy to find a barber that cuts your hair right, quickly, and with the proper amount of conversation. I hope I find someone soon, because it’s getting to the point where I’m going to have to either shave my head or tie my hair in a ponytail, and I really don’t go for that aging hippie look.

Oh well. Another challenge in life. There are worse.