Categories
The End of Many Books

Winning

by Tim Grover

I read Grover’s previous book, Relentless, before “The Last Dance” documentary came out during the lockdown months of ’20. I rooted for the 90’s Bulls, and for Michael Jordan in particular since I watched the 1982 NCAA championship when he played at UNC. That’s the first basketball game I remember watching on TV, and I’m wearing a UNC sweatshirt as I type this.

Anyway, Relentless had a number of stories about MJ, and Grover is interviewed a couple times in the “Dance” episodes. This new book, Winning, references more of those stories and adds much more about the mindset and commitments of the late Kobe Bryant.

I don’t remember where I heard about Winning, and I wouldn’t put this in my top ten list of necessary reads, and yet we were having some conversations at home about competition and not holding back and doing the things other people aren’t willing to do. Winning fits.

If you’re looking for a little competitive boost via basketball stories (and don’t mind some language) then this book is a win.

3 of 5 stars

Categories
The End of Many Books

The Boys in the Boat

I had heard from so many of my reading friends that this was a great book. Now that I’ve listened to it, I can also say that it is a great book.

The numerous details definitely built anticipation, but I think I could have gotten the same goosebumps with a third less details. Whatever. Many of the races brought me to joyful tears. If you enjoy sports at all, this is a true and good story.

4 of 5 stars

Categories
The End of Many Books

Range

by David Epstein

Epstein challenges the modern idol of early specialization in sports, in education, in music, in everything. I have already recommended this to a bunch of people, especially in education circles, and will be rereading it immediately with a group of guys who are aiming to start a college. Epstein doesn’t refer to the lordship of Christ in all of it, but he makes a compelling case that there is a lot of good things to learn (in Christ’s creative and sustaining domain), and even more of a case that learning about a lot of those things helps us appreciate and connect and do more good things.

4 of 5 stars

Categories
Every Thumb's Width

The Punchline

I do not really like hockey. I do not really like podcasts. (I also really do not like a couple of the words used in this episode.) But FOR REAL IF YOU LIKE SPORTS AND STORIES AT ALL YOU SHOULD REALLY LISTEN TO THIS!

The Punchline

Categories
Every Thumb's Width

The Enthusiasm Industry

I was listening to a podcast episode recently, I can’t remember which one even though I don’t actually listen to a bunch, and the hosts referred to the “enthusiasm industry.” They were talking about people who write and talk about apps (mobile, desktop, whatever). These aren’t necessarily the developers or even marketing employees of a company, these are people who make their living trying out and reviewing apps and services. They are professional buzz makers, stoking enthusiasm that sustains the creation/consumption cycle.

Some of these enthusiasts are helpful, even trustworthy over time. Many of them, though, are just making noise. How are consumers being prepped to distinguish?

It made me think of Dorothy Sayers’ warning about propaganda.

Has it ever struck you as odd, or unfortunate, that today, when the proportion of literacy throughout Western Europe is higher than it has ever been, people should have become susceptible to the influence of advertisement and mass propaganda to an extent hitherto unheard of and unimagined? (The Lost Tools of Learning)

The enthusiasm industry, including (especially?) those who promote productivity apps, may keep us distracted from doing work rather than helping us find the right tool for work.

It’s similar to this argument about why so many of us like sports: then we don’t have to think about how awful our lives are.

We are far too easily enthused. And distracted.