Tuesday, June 05, 2007

New Book Outlines: Brazen Careerist, Happiness, Simpleology

On my recent vacation in Maui, I polished off a number of books that I had been meaning to read. As usual, I've added my notes to the Book Outline Wiki.

Brazen Careerist
This book by the redoubtable Penelope Trunk is the first to provide useful career management advice for a new generation and a new workplace. Penelope is passionate about how Xers and Millenials need a new career model, and about helping them achieve success on their terms. She's also unafraid of controversy, including advising people to avoid long hours, and to use sexual harassment to advance their careers. Well worth a read.

Happiness - Lessons From A New Science
Yet another in my long line of happiness books. What sets "Happiness" apart is Layard's willingness to advocate specific governmental policies to improve happiness. These include some difficult-to-swallow but thought-provoking suggestions like keeping income taxes high to take into account the externalities of the envy provoked by high earnings. He ends with a quote from Jeremy Bentham, his favorite philosopher, which I'll reprint here:

"Create all the happiness you are able to create: remove all the misery you are able to remove. Every day will allow you to add something to the pleasure of others, or to diminish something of their pains. And for every grain of enjoyment you sow in the bosom of another, you shall find a harvest in your own bosom; while every sorrow which you pluck out from the thoughts and feelings of a fellow creature shall be replaced by beautiful peace and joy in the sanctuary of your soul."
--Jeremy Bentham

The latest from online marketing guru Mark Joyner, Simpleology is a radical departure from previous bestsellers like "The Irresistable Offer." Simpleology is nothing less than a book about how to live one's life. The first section of the book outlines the various fallacies and frames that distort our thinking, while the last section explains Joyner's theory of Simpleology--common sense principles that most of us fail to follow. This is a very personal book that is clearly a labor of love. It is thought-provoking and an easy read. At the least, you'll never look at your beliefs the same way again.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

59 1/2: Takeru, You're Next

Forget about Barry Bonds' pursuit of Hank Aaron-- real sports fans know that the hottest ticket in town this summer will be July 4th's Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

That's where 6-time winner Takeru Kobayashi, the Michael Jordan of competitive eating, will face his stiffest challenge yet: Joey Chestnut of San Jose, California.

Chestnut just smashed Takeru's record of 53 3/4 hot dogs by downing a remarkable 59 1/2 Nathan's franks, complete with buns.

Will the sport's greatest champion rise to the occasion? Or will he simply prove once again that no dynasty lasts forever? I know what I'll be watching on July 4th this year. And it won't be the fireworks.