Bookstores, Priorities, Parenthood & Rushdie

25 Jan
  • 5. If someone comes in and asks for a recommendation and you ask for the name of a book that they liked and they can’t think of one, the person is not really a reader. Recommend Nicholas Sparks…
    25. No matter how many books you’ve read in the past, you will feel woefully un-well read within a week of opening the store. You will also feel wise at having found such a good way to spend your days.

    tags: bookstore salon books wp

  • Prioritizing requires reflection, reflection takes time, and many of the executives I meet are so busy racing just to keep up they don’t believe they have time to stop and think about much of anything.
    Too often — and masochistically — they default to “yes.” Saying yes to requests feels safer, avoids conflict and takes less time than pausing to decide whether or not the request is truly important.
    Truth be told, there’s also an adrenaline rush in saying yes. Many of us have become addicted, unwittingly, to the speed of our lives — the adrenalin high of constant busyness. We mistake activity for productivity, more for better, and we ask ourselves “What’s next?” far more often than we do “Why this?” But as Gandhi put it, “A ‘no’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”
    Saying no, thoughtfully, may be the most undervalued capacity of our times. In a world of relentless demands and infinite options, it behooves us to prioritize the tasks that add the most value. That also means deciding what to do less of, or to stop doing altogether.
    Making these choices requires that we regularly step back from the madding crowd. It’s only when we pause — when we say no to the next urgent demand or seductive source of instant gratification — that we give ourselves the space to reflect on, metabolize, assess, and make sense of what we’ve just experienced.
    Taking time also allows us to collect ourselves, refuel and renew, and make conscious course corrections that ultimately save us time when we plunge back into the fray.

    tags: life hbr priorities practices slow

  • Ever since I watched that documentary, I’m afraid for my son. All parents are concerned for their children at some level. But I now feel this overwhelming sense of fear and the need to control my son’s actions. Ironically, this fear is what I feared for a long time. I want to be the dad who understands risks, makes his child aware of those risks but places an implicit trust in his child’s ability and judgment. Now, I find those beliefs shaken by an irrational need to cloister him against the world.
    I know despite my apprehensions, I will not stand in the way of his legitimate pursuits but I don’t want to live the rest of my life battling what-ifs. It’s a pathetic existence and many times, unfair on your child who will start to notice the signs as he/she grows older.
    How can I beat this? How can I pit my protective parental instincts against an innate need to see my children succeed? For starters, I know from personal experience that a sheltered existence benefits no one, least of all the person being sheltered. I know he needs to try, fall, get hurt, try again and figure it out for himself. It will start with the time-tested tradition of teaching him how to ride a bicycle and using that visual as a cliched metaphor for every other challenge in his life. Hey, I’m not selling insurance. I tell myself that my faith and maturity are stronger than having to rely on such tropes for guidance. But that gnawing insecurity….

    tags: senna fear parenthood parenting friends wp

  • The Hindu : Opinion / Lead : Salman Rushdie & India’s new theocracy
    the word of god grows best in fields watered by the state’s pelf, and ploughed by the state’s swords.
    Salman Rushdie’s censoring-out from the ongoing literary festival in Jaipur will be remembered as a milestone that marked the slow motion disintegration of India’s secular state…
    Few Indians understand the extent to which the state underwrites the practice of their faith. The case of the Maha Kumbh Mela, held every 12 years at Haridwar, Allahabad, Ujjain and Nashik, is a case in point…
    Last year, the Uttar Pradesh police sought a staggering Rs.2.66 billion to pay for the swathe of electronic technologies, helicopters and 30,000 personnel which will be needed to guard the next Mela in 2013. There are no publicly available figures on precisely how much the government will spend on other infrastructure — but it is instructive to note that an encephalitis epidemic that has claimed over 500 children’s lives this winter drew a Central aid of just Rs.0.28 billion.
    The State’s subsidies to the Kumbh Mela, sadly, aren’t an exception. Muslims wishing to make the Haj pilgrimage receive state support; so, too, do Sikhs travelling to Gurdwaras of historic importance in Pakistan. Hindus receive identical kinds of largesse, in larger amounts. The state helps underwrite dozens of pilgrimages, from Amarnath to Kailash Mansarovar. Early in the last decade, higher education funds were committed to teaching pseudo-sciences like astrology; in 2001, the Gujarat government even began paying salaries to temple priests…
    It doesn’t end there: the state regulates, on god’s behalf, what we may eat or drink — witness the proliferation of bans on beef, and proscriptions on alcohol use in so-called holy cities. It ensures children pray in morning assemblies funded by public taxes, provides endowments for denomination schools and funds religious functions. It pays for prayers before state functions, and promotes pseudo-sciences like astrology. And, yes: it censors heretics, like M.F. Husain or Mr. Rushdie…
    the real costs of India’s failure to secularise: among them, the perpetuation of caste and gender inequities, the stunting of reason and critical facilities needed for economic and social progress; the corrosive growth of religious nationalism.
    India cannot undo this harm until god and god’s will are ejected from our public life…
    In a 1927 essay, philosopher Bertrand Russell observed that theist arguments boiled down to a single, vain claim: “Look at me: I am such a splendid product that there must be design in the universe.”
    The time has come for Indian secular-democrats to assert the case for a better universe: a universe built around citizenship and rights, not the pernicious identity politics the state and its holy allies encourage.tags: india censorship religion faith atheism secularism salman_rushdie JLF wp

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in Links


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