links for 2010-09-23

23 Sep
  • In a way, the world is a great liar. It shows you it worships and admires money, but at the end of the day it doesn't. It says it adores fame and celebrity, but it doesn't, not really. The world admires, and wants to hold on to, and not lose, goodness. It admires virtue. At the end it gives its greatest tributes to generosity, honesty, courage, mercy, talents well used, talents that, brought into the world, make it better. That's what it really admires. That's what we talk about in eulogies, because that's what's important. We don't say, "The thing about Joe was he was rich." We say, if we can, "The thing about Joe was he took care of people."
  • In a sense, I paid my debt, and in the end, I feel I met all his wishes, though I imagine he would have read my novels with greater pleasure. My mother lived ten more years, so she knew that I wrote many other books, and that I was invited to lecture by foreign universities. She was very sick, but she was happy, though I don’t think she quite realized what was happening. And you know, a mother is proud of her own son, even if the son is completely stupid…
    I have no anxieties…Before I sit down to write, I am deeply happy…
    What benefits have knowledge and culture afforded you in your lifetime?
    An illiterate person who dies, let us say at my age, has lived one life, whereas I have lived the lives of Napoleon, Caesar, d’Artagnan. So I always encourage young people to read books, because it’s an ideal way to develop a great memory and a ravenous multiple personality. And then at the end of your life you have lived countless lives, which is a fabulous privilege.
  • Cancellation still appears unlikely….India has sunk between $3 billion and $10 billion on the event. With national prestige riding on a successful outcome, it would take a catastrophe — say a major terrorist attack or flooding on the streets of Delhi — for the government to throw in the towel…few countries would risk a diplomatic row with India by pulling out over the state of athletes' apartments and amorphous fears of terrorism.
    Nonetheless, the controversy over the games highlights the gulf between India's lofty ambitions and its often messy reality. Over the last 20 years…even as the private sector booms…the quality of governance remains abysmal. Neither the courts nor the electorate punish public servants for amassing private fortunes. In parts of the country, the political and criminal classes are hard to tell apart…
    The Indian middle class…needs to demand a greater say in the country's governance.
  • there used to be a psychological contract: It used to be, we'll take care of you. Now it's more like: Take care of yourself and maybe we'll help if we're in a good mood. People criticize young people for having no loyalty…But why do they owe anybody loyalty? They and their parents have been treated like shit…
    You hear a lot of slogans about how companies need "talent." But in the real world, it's hard to believe companies are thinking about talent right now…At any one time, an organization must do three things: Make money…innovate, and keep and maintain talent. They don't always do those three things all at one time…
    if you are one of the people with a bad job and a bad boss, the best thing to do is learn the fine art of emotional detachment and not giving a shit at the low moments of your life. That's humbling but it can be pretty constructive. You have to learn not to give a shit about company politics. It's the art of not letting it touch your soul.
  • Far from disappearing, I think paper books will be around for a very long time. I even think they will continue to have the majority market share. Readers will buy ebook readers and ebooks for vacations or business travel, or, if they are like my sister, because they live in a small apartment and have no room for a lot of books, and eventually perhaps students will have e-textbooks, but I don’t think the paper book is on its way out…
    you don’t have to worry about a book you bought in 1980 no longer being readable in 2010 or 2020 or 2050. Now think about all that stuff you saved onto a floppy disk back in the day. I suspect today’s ebook formats are tomorrow’s floppy disks. I’m not willing to put my entire library on my Kindle today and not be able to read any of it in 10 years. Long live paper books!
  • Next time you read a book by a favorite author or poet, look closely at that page where "previous works" are listed. Sometimes you'll discover a pleasant surprise, especially if you have kids or work with them: a book for children. Some of these have become classics in their own right.
    This post is a continuation of Part 1, a necessarily incomplete list of good books for children by celebrated authors of adult fiction, including James Joyce, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, and Amy Tan. Again, the publishers and pub dates listed aren't the only ones, and the age ranges are based on my own judgment or the publisher's.
  • Want to expose your children to first-rate reading? Barack Obama's new book, Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, a picture book aimed at children ages 3 and older (to be released November 16), is only one of many examples of children's books written by famous authors of adult works.
    I started collecting these kinds of real literature for kids when my own kids were young. By choosing such books by celebrated writers, you know at the outset that they'll (generally) be written well. These authors have learned the knack of not talking down to their audience. In fact, like all good children's literature, the books described in this and the next two posts can also be stimulating for older readers.
    More good reasons to track down the books listed here: They're a fine way for your child to get to know prominent authors early, in an accessible way. And later, when your child reads the adult works of such authors as Tolstoy, Clifton, and Hawthorne, they'll seem a little like old friends.
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Posted by on September 23, 2010 in Uncategorized


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