nojo

Rumspringa for Elites

Look what Yale did for George Bush.Title: “Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life”

Author: William Deresiewicz

Rank: 38

Blurb: “Excellent Sheep takes a sharp look at the high-pressure conveyor belt that begins with parents and counselors who demand perfect grades and culminates in the skewed applications Deresiewicz saw firsthand as a member of Yale’s admissions committee. As schools shift focus from the humanities to ‘practical’ subjects like economics and computer science, students are losing the ability to think in innovative ways. Deresiewicz explains how college should be a time for self-discovery, when students can establish their own values and measures of success, so they can forge their own path.”

Review: “Although a liberal arts education, as he advocates, may provide tools for developing a ‘meaningful life’ so will reading, work experience, marriage, parenting, travel, volunteering in one’s community, and other significant life experiences. Personal traits such as curiosity, confidence, honesty, determination, and open-mindedness — if nurtured in childhood and maintained through life — are at least as important as knowledge and skills.”

Customers Also Bought: “SpongeBath Food Safe Biodegradable Antimicrobial Sponge Cleaner”

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Blandception

Grey garden.Title: “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”

Author: Carol Dweck

Rank: 80

Blurb: “Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success — but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset.”

Review: “The irony of Dweck’s book is that if the reader understands and believes what she’s saying, then after the first chapter that reader has no reason to keep reading.”

Customers Also Bought: Inevitably, something by Malcolm Gladwell.

Footnote: Our mindset prevents us from accepting poorly expressed ideas like “fixed” and “growth”, as well as notions of “success” that require measurement.

Mindset [Amazon]

Buy or Die [Stinque@Amazon Kickback Link]

Talk is Not Cheap

Just you shut your mouth.Title: “The Art of Public Speaking”

Author: Stephen Lucas

Rank: 60

Price: $128.86

No, that’s not a typo: $128.86. For a paperback.

Blurb: “Utilizing the full suite of resources, students learn to internalize the principles of public speaking, build confidence through speech practice, and prepare for success in the classroom and beyond.”

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Don Pardo, 1918-2014

pardo

Don Pardo, Longtime Saturday Night Live Announcer, Dead at 96 [TVLine]

Hung Like an Elephant

Oh God! Oh God! Oh God!Title: “Instinct: The Power to Unleash Your Inborn Drive”

Author: T. D. Jakes

Rank: 92

Blurb: “Modern life can seem like being lost in a jungle. With distractions and dangers emerging from every direction, it’s easy to lose focus. Over time, we lose touch with one of our most powerful, purposeful, God-given attributes — the desire to be fruitful and multiply, what Bishop T. D. Jakes calls our ‘instinct for increase.’”

Review: “First I need to clarify two things. One — I am not an Oprah fan at all.”

Customers Also Bought: “The Lady, Her Lover, and Her Lord” by T. D. Jakes

Footnote: While the book itself appears to be a meditation on “trust your instincts”, we’re drawn to the call for Righteous Shagging.

Instinct [Amazon]

Buy or Die [Stinque@Amazon Kickback Link]

Robin Williams, 1951-2014

rwilliams

Robin Williams dead at 63 [Entertainment Weekly]

Tile M for Murder

Words with frenemies.Title: “The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary”

“Corporate Author”: Merriam-Webster

Rank: 16

Blurb: “Updated to include new vocabulary such as fracking, hashtag, and selfie.”

Review: “This was sent to a state prison and they love it.”

Jeremiad: “Of course, what is urgently needed is a book that claims 75000 (or whatever the number turns out to be) REAL Scrabble words, in accordance with the pre-1976 rules that made the game wildly popular; in accordance with those rules, such a book would be based entirely on 21st-century dictionaries. It’s overwhelming likely that you do in fact play with the classic rules. The 1976 changes were implemented by a group of New York City ‘experts’, predecessors of today’s North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA), who invented a game unpopular even with New Yorkers (the second-largest bridge club on Manhattan has more members than NASPA does throughout the continent, even though all polls show Scrabble to be slightly more popular than bridge!). In coming weeks, I’ll modify this review to show just what the impact of the degraded rules has had on the game.”

Customers Also Bought: “Oregon 54-026 Chain Saw Bar And Chain Oil”

Footnote: Chillax, dude.

The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary [Amazon]

Buy or Die [Stinque@Amazon Kickback Link]