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review 2019-01-15 20:07
Help Me! by Marianne Power
Help Me! - Marianne Power

This was an amusing and self-indulgent memoir about the author's experiment with living by the advice of a different self-help book every month. Understandably, the experiment doesn't go great and extends half a year and more than planned and causes the author to seriously question her judgement.

 

I'm not immune to the desire of wanting to get my shit together, but I've always been skeptical of self-help books. It's easy to read or hear good advice, and completely another thing to have it actually inspire you to change your life.

 

Still, the book was enjoyable and I appreciated Powers' sense of humor and her honesty in describing the pitfalls of each book she adheres to each month. I was a little baffled that she didn't follow through on the advice that was working from one month into the next, but it wasn't my artificial experiment so she was allowed to make up her own rules.

 

Oh, and btw, they apparently changed the cover since I added the book to the database. It's pink now.

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review 2019-01-15 15:44
Self help or self destruction?
Help Me! - Marianne Power Help Me! - Marianne Power
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway - Susan Jeffers
Money, A Love Story: Untangling Your Finances, Creating the Life You Really Want, and Living Your Purpose - Kate Northrup
The Secret - Rhonda Byrne
Fuck It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way - John C. Parkin
Earth Angels - Doreen Virtue
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change - Stephen R. Covey
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment - Eckhart Tolle
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead - Brené Brown
You Can Heal Your Life - Louise L. Hay

Marianne decides to explore 12 popular self-help books over 12 months at the beginning of one year and discovers that they're not always helpful.

 

If you're like me you've read a lot of self-help books and occasionally taken a few pieces of advice from them before inertia and time spent doing other things moves you away from the book.  I keep meaning to do a Kondo-esque tidy but it would require more of my energy than I'm willing to devote to it.  I do question if it sparks joy of things I'm putting away and I've removed a few things from my house as I'm asking that question.  (I also remind myself that I deserve better than the things that don't work on my skin or in my life etc.).  I also listen to the excellent By the Book Podcast and often agree with a lot of their points about the ones I've read.

 

The Books she chooses are: Feel the Fear and do it anyway; Money a love story; The Secret; F**k it: the ultimate spiritual way; Angels with Doreen Virtue; 7 Habits of Highly effective people; Power of Now; Get the Guy; Daring Greatly and You can heal your life.  She strugles with depression and becoming a bit of a self-centred ass for a while and all the time her very Irish mammy trys to steer her on a good path.

 

Like me she finds things that resonate in books and sometimes she obsesses a bit and I couldn't abandon my life for a year like she did to look inward but by the end she's less broken, mostly by connecting with the people who are real in her life.

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url 2019-01-15 10:53
Learning from Bees and Castas in India
Conscious Parenting: Mindful Living Course for Parents - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Art of 4 Elements - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Mindful Eating with Delicious Raw Vegan Recipes - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Tree of Life - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Chanting Mantras with Best Chords - Nataša Pantović Nuit
A-Ma Alchemy of Love - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Mindful Being - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Conscious Creativity: Mindfulness Meditations - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Spiritual Symbols: With their Meanings (Alchemy of love mindfulness training) (Volume 8) - Nataša Pantović Nuit

Conscious Living and Castas in IndiaSpiritualityPower of MindMindfulnessArticlesconsciousnessHealthy Living

 

Super Sisters Bees Eusociality  Evolution

by Nataša Pantović

Eusociality, from Greek εὖ eu "good", is the highest level of organization of animal sociality, found in bees and ants, and include care of offspring from society, or a division of work into reproductive and non-reproductive tasks. This division of labor within the animal world our biologists call “castes”. An interesting behavior characteristics of caste members is that a member of one caste loses the ability to perform the task of another.

Super Sisters Bees Eusociality and Castas

Honey bees, super sisters’ bees and their Eusociality has developed over the 1,000s of years of evolution and has always fascinated people with its efficiency and complexities. In haplodiploid species, bees included, females develop from fertilized eggs and males from unfertilized ones. A queen only mates during one brief period in her early life, over the course of a small number of mating flights. About 10-20 drones (males) will mate with the queen during her mating flights. 

Source: artof4elements.com/entry/238/learning-from-bees-and-castas-in-india
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review 2019-01-15 03:23
A truly magnificent book that I can't adequately express my appreciation for
The Power of the Dog - Don Winslow

The Americans take a product that literally grows on trees and turn it into a valuable commodity. Without them, cocaine and marijuana would be like oranges, and instead of making billions smuggling it, I’d be making pennies doing stoop labor in some California field, picking it.

 

And the truly funny irony is that Keller is himself another product because I make millions selling protection against him, charging the independent contractors who want to move their product through La Plaza thousands of dollars for the use of our cops, soldiers, Customs agents, Coast guard, surveillance equipment, communications . . . This is what Mexican cops appreciate that American cops don’t. We are partners, mi hermano Arturo, in the same enterprise.

 

Comrades in the War on Drugs.

 

We could not exist without each other. 

 

You ever start a book and within a few chapters you know, you just know -- the way you know about a good melon -- that this is going to be a great book? Not just a good book, an entertaining book, a rave-worthy book, but a great one? Sure, it doesn't happen often enough, but we've all been there. It's happened almost every time I've read a Winslow book, I have to say.

 

Yet there are eleven books by Winslow that I haven't read yet. Explain that to me, please.

 

It's hard to say exactly when it was that I realized that with The Power of the Dog but it happened -- and it took me by surprise for a half of a second, and then the voice in the back of my head said, "Of course." The scope, the style, the voice, the audacity of the novel -- there's no easy way to describe it. And now I have to try to talk about it? I do super-hero novels, stories about detectives who use magic -- or hunt for rare vinyl LPs, teenagers post videos of their drunken parents on Youtube or Picture Books about Die Hard -- I posted about (and loved) 2 completely unrelated Crime-Solving Comic Book Artists last year! How am I supposed to talk about this?

 

 

After a quick -- and disturbing -- look at the cost of the War on Drugs in 1997, Winslow takes us back to 1975 in the State of Sinaloa, Mexico. There we meet new DEA agent Art Keller -- a Vietnam vet, who's come to use his experience to help take on the Opium trade. Thanks in large part to those efforts, the Opium trade is devastated -- but the industry shifts to cocaine, and well -- things go from bad to worse.

 

We follow Art's career from 1975 to 2004 -- watching him try to stop the flow of drugs from Mexico into the U.S. Calling that a Quixotic effort seems to be an understatement at best -- but one particular cartel has made things personal for him and he directs most (if not all) of his efforts -- you could argue most of his life -- at disrupting their business and, hopefully, dismantling it. It's no small task, and no quick battle.

 

But this isn't just Art's story -- he disappears from the focus several times, in fact. It's also the story of a maverick Mexican priest as he struggles to minister to various drug dealers, their family members -- and their victims. We get to know some members of the Federación very well (too well, in some cases). Also, because the Federación needs customers, we meet several, ahem, NYC-based importers. Connected to all of the above is a high-class prostitute. We see these characters moving through actual history -- Iran-Contra, the Mexico City Earthquake, political shifts in Washington. It was striking reading this in 2018/2019, remembering that once upon a time the name "Giuliani" was an invocation of law and order -- a name that symbolized a change in organized crime's power (at least perceived). Watching these individual's stories weave in and out of each other's over the decades and over huge geographic areas moves this from an intricate crime story to an epic.

 

None of these criminals is wholly evil (well, you could make the case for a couple of them, maybe), there are very relatable moments for just about all of them. They love, they laugh, they nurture their kids -- they do good things in their community. The same can be said for the law enforcement characters -- they aren't wholly good, in fact, some of what they do is downright despicable. All of them, in short, are very human.

 

Winslow's skilled at weaving in seemingly disparate tales into this tapestry and eventually you can see enough of it to appreciate why they're all there. There are scenes in this book that are among the most depraved I've read. Scenes of torture, scenes of murder, scenes of heartbreak. But they're not written for thrills, they're not exploitative -- they're just horrific, and very likely based on something that actually happened. There's a sweet little love story, tucked away in the middle somewhere that I kept wondering why we were getting. It was hundreds of pages, really, before I learned why -- I enjoyed it while I could.

 

There is within this book a very heavy critique on the so-called War on Drugs in the U.S. -- at the very least, on the way it's being waged. Sometimes this comes from the narration, sometimes from a narcotraficante (see the opening quotation), sometimes from DEA agent -- it doesn't really matter whose mouth the critique comes from, it's biting and it's typically on point. It will likely make many people uncomfortable -- by design; it should make many people upset. But Winslow never browbeats you with these critiques -- unless you take the entire book as one, which it very arguably is.

 

I don't know if I have the ability to describe Winslow's writing here. Despite the scope and intricacy of the plot, it's not a difficult read. Despite the horrors depicted, it's not overwhelming. In fact, there are moments of happiness, and some pretty clever lines. Which is not to say there's a light-hand, or that he ever treats this as anything but life-and-death seriousness. It's not an easy, breezy read -- but it's very approachable.I don't know if there's a moment that reads as fiction, either -- if this was revealed to be non-fiction, I would believe it without difficulty. I will not say that he transcends his genre to be "Literature," or that he elevates his work or anything -- but I can say that Winslow demonstrates the inanity of pushing Crime Fiction into some shadowy corner as not worthy of attention of "serious" readers.

 

I think I've pretty much covered everything on my pared-down outline. I really want to keep going, but I can't imagine that many have read this far. As it is, this is at best, an inadequate job describing the book and how wonderfully constructed and written it is. Hopefully, this encourages you to seek more information, or actual reviews about it. Really, The Power of the Dog is a tremendous book and should be read by many. Be one of those.

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