Friday, January 5, 2018

Ideas Junkies & their Gurus

America is fascinated with ideas - just take a look at the non-fiction bestseller lists across the country and then review the careers of people like Malcolm Gladwell, David Brooks, Daniel Pink, Thomas Friedman, and others. We love to read and think about cool stuff. As a self-diagnosed "ideas junkie," I have been thinking a lot about my list of favorite thinkers and ideas-writers. I got to thinking about this when I recently read a review of Daniel Mendelsohn's new book An Odyssey: a Father, a Son, and an Epic. 



Looking in to Mendelsohn's work, I discovered him to be a thoughtful and erudite literary and social critic. His website led me to other works of criticism, and I just disappeared down the Amazon.com rabbit-hole of more and more books. Literally, I (and many others) just can't get enough of writers who so smoothly introduce the general populace to ideas and information that we would probably never encounter on our own. Perhaps no one has done this so effectively - and to such success - as former journalist Malcolm Gladwell who taught us about The Tipping Point and people known as Outliers

So, who do you like to read?  Here are some people I like to call "Ideas Gurus" who catch my attention regularly with the cool stuff they've been reading and thinking about:

Thomas Friedman

David Brooks

Daniel Pink

Daniel Khaneman

Stephen Levitt




Thursday, January 4, 2018

"I am What I am" - Poem, 2018

Art, more art. That is what I regularly tell myself ... and others. Being a creator more than being a consumer, seeing the world as an artist does - these are my goals for 2018. So, to begin this new year in pursuit of art, I offer this poem that I just ran across in an old folder at school and that I apparently wrote years ago, though I can't recall when.

I am what I am; 
Teacher, husband, father,
I am what I am.
More conservative than most people expect,
More liberal than I might admit,
I am what I am.
A traditionalist who likes to push the envelope; 
a painfully shy extrovert,
I am what I am.
Smart enough to know better, foolish enough to
make the same mistake twice,
or three times.
I am what I am.
Fiercely loyal to those I know well,
strongly suspicious of too many others;
I am cautious and carefree, and while 
I am always learning and usually willing
to listen, I figured it all out a long
time ago.
I am what I am.
Madly in love with my wife, amazed with,
inspired by, devoted to, and enamored of
my children, I live for my family,
and I can't get enough of them.
I am what I am.
In perpetual pursuit of the truth, constantly
refining my craft, fascinated by the whole
world, desirous of everything
at once, I am completely satisfied, but
always questing for more.
I am maniacally, cautiously
at peace with my life.
I am what I am.