Choosing Civility

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct

by P.M. Forni

Choosing Civility is about counteracting the “coarsening of America.”  It was published in 2002, but is more relevant than ever.

“Being civil means being constantly aware of others and weaving restraint, respect, and consideration into the fabric of this awareness… When we approach others assuming that they are good, honest, and sensitive, we often encourage them to be just that.”

“Every act of kindness is, first of all, an act of attention… When we relate to the world as if we were on automatic pilot, we can hardly be at our best in our encounters with our fellow human beings.”

“Restraint is our inner designated driver. We all have it, and we all can learn to summon it whenever we need it… Restraint is an infusion of thinking—and thoughtfulness—into everything we do.”

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The Decision Makeover

The Decision Makeover: An Intentional Approach to Living the Life You Want

by Mike Whitaker

The Decision Makeover is about replacing haphazard decision making with a mindful approach based on advancing our priorities. “Trial and error does not focus upon why each of our options makes sense in the big picture. The question should be: Does this choice best support my personal definition of success? … It takes discipline to ignore the noise and focus on only a few key goals. When we focus, things get done.”

Whitaker says that that we gain success momentum from a series of interdependent decisions. He describes the success formula waterfall: awareness, prime goals, decisions, dividends, momentum, success. “Good decision making allows you to pick up speed and make faster progress.”

Each year we make thousands of minor decisions, dozens of medium decisions, and perhaps one big decision. “Medium decisions are best illustrated as ‘course corrections’—like a boat captain. Since the boat’s destination is one of our big decisions… These medium decisions assure progress toward our success.” Continue reading

The Death of Expertise

The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters

by Tom Nichols

This book is about the erosion of respect for facts, logical analysis, and critical thinking. Uninformed opinions carry the same weight as expert opinions. There is no vetting of dubious sources from credible sources. Beliefs are conflated with facts. It is in this climate that hoaxes, conspiracy theories, fake news, propaganda, and all manner of bullshit thrive. Tom Nichols, professor of national security at US Naval War College, examines this phenomenon and some of the causes, including higher education, technology, and the news media. Continue reading

The 3rd Way

the-3rd-way

The 3rd Way: Building Inclusive Capitalism through Employee Ownership

by Upendra Chivukula and Veny W. Musum

The subject of The 3rd Way sounds intriguing: addressing income inequality by expanding incentives for Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and reforming the corporate tax code. While I think the authors have good intentions, their thesis is flawed. Continue reading

Einstein’s Dreams

einsteins-dreams

Einstein’s Dreams

by Alan P. Lightman

Einstein’s Dreams is historical fiction based on Albert Einstein’s study of the relativity of time, or time dilation.  The book is formatted like a journal of Einstein’s dreams about 30 imaginary worlds where time functions differently. The book was written by Alan Lightman, a physicist and humanities professor at MIT. The author embeds observations on human behavior in  these stories. Continue reading