Media

Recommended books and media

Here is a list of the books and media I’ve read over the years that I have either (a) enjoyed the most or (b) learned the most from. Within each category, authors are listed alphabetically. Where more than one book is listed for an author, I’ve listed the books in order of preference. Fiction/Literature/Literary Nonfiction: Dante Alighieri, Inferno Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine; Fahrenheit 451Willa Cather, O Pioneers!; My Antonia Albert Camus, The Stranger

Discussing the Libya War on 'Russia Today'

I appeared on Russia Today (RT) yesterday to discuss the U.S./NATO intervention in Libya as well as the situation in Syria - feel free to check it out if you are interested:

My related article, “Rolling the Dice in Libya,” appeared on Antiwar.com yesterday. Another, unrelated op-ed of mine appeared yesterday as well in the Michigan Education Report: “National standards will stifle innovation.” In it, I argue that “strict standards risk forcing students and teachers alike into a curricular straitjacket, alienating creative teachers and sapping the motivation of students.

Excerpts from Benedict Anderson, Gottfried Benn, and Bob Altemeyer

Happy Thanksgiving weekend! I am spending it in Boulder, CO, one of the most beautiful cities in America. From “Static Poems” Deafness to imperatives is profundity in the wise man, children and grandchildren don’t bother him, don’t alarm him. To represent a particular outlook, to act, to travel hither and yon are all signs of a world that doesn’t see clearly. –Gottfried Benn (in Poetry, 11⁄09.) Adult authoritarians tend to be highly ethnocentric and heavy users of the “consensual validation pill” (Newcomb, 1961).

Should we finish the books we begin? It depends.

In an article published in Friday’s Washington Times, economist Tyler Cowen makes several interesting and provocative arguments about reading and books. 1. “What should you do when, 20, 50 or 100 pages in, you realize you just don’t like a book?” Cowen says: “Give up.” 2. “We should treat books a little more like we treat TV channels,” (Cowen) argues. No one has trouble flipping away from a boring series.”

Mark C. Taylor on 'reforming higher education'

Mark C. Taylor, contrarian philosopher and chair of Columbia University’s Department of Religion, caused a firestorm in the academic community with his op-ed, “End the University as We Know It,” in yesterday’s New York Times. The op-ed remains at the top of the NYT’s most-emailed list. There are few better places to have a debate about the philosophy of education than the University of Chicago, where the Core Curriculum and the school’s historical emphasis on liberal education and distaste for vocational education permeates everything.

The science of happiness

Excerpts from Richard Layard’s Happiness: Lessons from a New Science: The extra happiness provided by extra income is greatest when you are poor, and declines steadily as you get richer. … “Required income” varies strongly with the actual income that an individual currently experiences. A dollar rise in experienced income causes a rise of at least a forty cents in “required income.” So when I earn an extra dollar this year, it makes me happier, but next year I shall measure my income from a benchmark that is forty cents higher.