Sunday, January 6, 2013

Books 2012

It’s time for my 2012 book summary. This is always a fun exercise; it’s like viewing photos from your vacation. “Yea, that was a real cool place”, or “It wasn’t what I expected”, or whatever. (I really wouldn’t have a “this was a dump” memory because I would probably have never started such a book and I certainly wouldn’t have finished it.). As the title indicates, this list reflects books that I have finished this past year. As usual, I have done a lot of reading on-line, which I now track on my Twitter feed or in Readability. These are wonderful tools for tracking and sharing reading. In addition, Abbas introduced me to Goodreads. It's a program for tracking your lifetime reading, planned, in progress, and completed. I recommend it. But enough musing and on the list. I will list books in no special order. Most of them I’ve written about before, so I’ll cite my own reviews. Others, because of my delinquencies, I’ve reviewed in this blog, so I’ll mark it for a future blog. I’ll list my favorites at the end. 

Charles C. Mann, 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created (audio)


John Horgan,  Rational Mysticism


John Lewis Gaddis, George Kennan: An American Life 


Michael Erard, Babel No More: The Serach for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners


Doug McGuff, M.D. and John Little, Body by Science


Garry Wills, The Font of Life: Ambrose, Augustine & the Mystery of Baptism


Jonathan Haidt, Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics & Religion


William J. Broad, The Science of Yoga


Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast & Slow (audio)


Robert Caro, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson (audio)


Rick Perlstein, Nixonland: The Rise of a President & the Fracturing of America (audio)


Tim Ferris, The 4-Hour Work Week (audio)


Robert Parker, The Professional (A Spenser Novel)


Eric Ambler, Background to Danger


Iain McGilchrist, The Divided Brain & the Search for Meaning


F.L. Lucas, Style: The Art of Writing Well


Pico Iyer, The Man Inside My Head


Alexander McCall Smith, Friends, Lovers, Chocolate (An Isabel Dalhousie Novel)


Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


Garr Reynolds, Presentation Zen


Joe Jaworski, The Source: The Inner Path of Knowledge Creation


Tony Hiss, In Motion: The Experience of Travel (review forthcoming)


Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature : Why Violence Has Declined (audio) (review forthcoming)


Okay, drumroll please, while I select the favorites . . . .the judge is now ready to pronounce his decision. The favorites are: 


Caro, The Passage of Power


McCall Smith, Friends, Lovers, Chocolate


Pirsig, Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


Perlstein, Nixonland


Haidt, Righteous Mind


Gaddis, George Kennan


Mann, 1493


Well, another fine year, but lots more to go. I’m off to a good start in 2013, and I’m looking forward to the summary for next year. Until then, Happy Reading! 


N.B. I've also read a great deal about India from diverse sources, including the internet (NYT, The Economist, etc.), daily papers published here in India, and many books, but I haven't finished a good number of books that I've dipped into, so expect to see a flood of India books in the list for next year.




















Source: The Inner Path of Knowledge Creation by Joe Jaworski

The business book section of your local bookstore is always an interesting place. A lot of the titles are variations on how to become rich, while others focus on the latest management techniques or reports on successful enterprises. I suppose in the end its like most sections of the store: many titles with only a few worthwhile. But in this business section, we do sometimes come across some interesting ideas. After all, one thing that contemporary business aims for is a competitive advantage, and to that end some authors can dig very deeply for worthwhile answers, or a least suggestions. They tend to be long on practical application, but they take the basis research and theory seriously, as well they should. Given that most of us spend the majority of our days and lives in various business ventures, as owners, employees, or even as householders, we should indeed consider these issues very carefully. All of this is a lead in to my recent completion of this book:

Source: The Inner Path of Knowledge Creation (Bk Business) 
The Source: The Inner Path of Knowledge Creation by Joe Jaworski (2011). This title takes up Jaworski's very interesting and personal story where it left off in his book Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership (1997). Jaworski, the son of Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski, and a very successful lawyer in his own right, finds himself pulled or called (both intentionally provocative words to which I don't think that he would object) to leaving his practice and entering the realm of business through a sense of intrigue about leadership and how we can enhance and improve our world. 

In The Source, Jaworski reports his pursuit of ideas and interests that were ignited by his acquinatance, both personal and intellectual, with physicist David Bohm. Bohm's ideas about the nature of reality, the "implicate order" capture Jaworski's imagination, and even after Bohm's death, Jaworski continues to pursue Bohm's line of thinking and related topics. He goes into consulting and works with persons such as Peter Senge and Otto Sharmer, both of MIT Sloan Business School, to develop ideas about personal and organizational development that are on the edge; indeed, some would suggest the work "fringe" might prove more apt. But Jaworski presses on with his quest for understanding and insight. He comes to two major beliefs: first, there is a "source" or "implicate order" or whatever, that if we tap into it, enhances our abilities as human beings. Second, based on work by scientists such as Robert Jahn at Princeton and William Tiller at Stanford, as well as numerous others, we can enhance our ability to tap into this Source to enhance our individual and collective well-being. Jaworski gives examples of qi gong, yoga, and nature quests as avenues of enhancing our ability to tap into the Source. 

Nonsense? Well, for most of human history, what Jaworski says would be considered a  matter of common sense, which certainly doesn't vouch for its truthfulness or usefulness in our world, but it should help us to avoid dismissing what he says out-of-hand. As someone who's obviously quite intelligent and capable, and as someone who left a what appears to have been a very successful career as a lawyer to pursue a whole new set of endeavors, I have to give his search some credibility. The issue becomes, of course, of whether we can replicate his findings and incorporate them into our lives and world.