books – Perspectives & Possibilities

Tag: books

Title: Ghost Cell / Antoine Delacharlery (FR) | Author: Antoine Delacharlery | Source: Ars Electronica | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Care, Connect, Contribute

In 1938, Sir Nicholas Winton started rescuing children from certain death in the Nazi concentration camps. He singlehandedly brought 669 children from Czechoslovakia to Britain and connected them with families there. Most of their families perished in Auschwitz. He never told a soul about his efforts and kept it a secret for 50 years until his wife found a notebook with the names and pictures of all the children he had saved. Sir Winton cared Read More

Credt: David Gabriel Fischer | www.thezendiary.com | License: CC BY-NC-ND

The Sacred and the Significant

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.” —Joseph Campbell

In her role as a Pretend Princess dressed in her frilly yellow gown complete with a crown on her head, my 5 year old granddaughter imperiously issued a solemn proclamation to her constituency: “Be kind, be truthful, and stay alive.”

Credit: goldbug | License: CC0

The Rudder and the Soul

The executive function represents the highest level of mental competence. It is the ability to plan ahead, anticipate consequences, derive abstract meaning, and arrive at appropriate judgments.

Read my assessment of the various competencies necessary for strong leadership and find out how Donald Trump’s skills stack up against my criteria.

Golden Lady Justice, Bruges, Belgium

Turning 90: Like a Fox

My wife and I have been in a book group for 33 years. The co-founder is turning 90 on March 7. When we joined the group, all of us were in our 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s. Now we are in our 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. We have been through a lot together – diseases, deaths, disasters, and disagreements as well as celebrations, joys, and shared experiences. We have a deep and abiding respect for each Read More

"Isaac Newton vs. Rube Goldberg" http://www.2dhouse.com/rubegoldbergmachines.php

Fear, Fantasy, Faith, and Facts

In the face of fear, most people either substitute fantasy for reality, cling more tightly to their faith, or distort the facts. It appears to me like a chain reaction: fear leads to fantasy that is then expressed in faith which creates its own convoluted “truth” or faux facts. With fear levels at unprecedented heights, we need to explore the components of this reaction more closely.

"Bell telephone magazine" (1922) | Source: Internet Archives | License: No known copyright restrictions

Assessing Leadership Potential

We are currently in a dark period resulting from dark forces (Trump himself, Comey, Putin, racism, sexism, homophobia, white supremacy, and ignorance).

In the midst of this darkness, we all need to take responsibility for growing whatever light we can find within ourselves and in the people we love.

Title: trust issues | Credit: Yumi Krum

Presence and Presents

“We convince by our presence.” —Walt Whitman

You can’t fake being present in the long term…and other thoughts on how presents can’t stack up to the gift of presence.

Animal Locomotion; Eadweard J. Muybridge (American, born England, 1830 - 1904); 1887; Collotype; 17.8 x 39.4 cm (7 x 15 1/2 in.); 84.XM.628.49. Courtesy of The Getty Museum

Thinking about Thinking

My wife often asks me, “What were you thinking?!!!” My response is usually, “I have no idea!”

But thinking about the way we think is a crucial part of making our lives, and the world around us, better.

"Basalt Columns of Giant's Causeway" Credit: pictruer / 一元 马 | License: CC BY 2.0

Fast-Slow-Stop-Look-Listen

My nickname growing up was Rapid Rick. I always got things done quickly. Not always accurately or perfectly, but fast. After 70 years of taking pride in this reputation, I finally realized that slower is better. Ouch!

Yes, there were some advantages to my “now is good” approach to life…but now I wonder at what price.

Image from page 295 of "Bell telephone magazine" (1922) | Source: Internet Archive

Pain and Empathy

Pain may not be your friend, but it may be your partner. And pain may be the path to empathy.

"Lego Wars," Credit: FFCU on Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/free_for_commercial_use/ (License: CC BY-SA 2.0)

Letting Go and Letting In

It seems like we always have to let go of stuff. As babies, at some point, we have to give up our pacifiers or security blankets. As young adults, we have to let go of our dependence on parents and become independent. As we grow older, we need to let go of our defensiveness in order to let in constructive feedback. Over the course of our lives, our security blankets and dependencies change, but we Read More

Photograph of Rick and Bobbitt

Three Types of Trust

I’ve been married to the same woman for 46 years, and I can say unequivocally that I totally trust her. I trust her to do the right thing, I trust her to not throw me the under the bus (even though I have given her many opportunities), and I trust her to stand up for people in need of special help. When she makes a statement, I know it is based on sound research; she Read More

Health, Helping and Healing

As I get older, I realize that most problems and opportunities are multi-dimensional. There are many sides to every issue and many layers to every person. Things seem more complex, nuanced, and grey these days…

Title: November 24, 2015 | Author: David Gabriel Fischer | www.thezendiary.com

Truth, Honor, Integrity, and Sensitivity (THIS)

My dad was a man of honor. If he said he was going to do something, you could bank on it getting done. He was also a very talented man. He constructed two family houses pretty much by himself. He built me a small car from scratch. He invented aluminum two-by-fours for houses. I never saw him treat anyone with anything but decency and respect. Most importantly, he stood by his principles, and his word was gold.

Fear and Freedom

“The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.” —Aung San Suu Kui Raising children and having grandchildren gave me an intimate understanding of fear and freedom. I wanted my kids to have the freedom to explore the external world and to discover who they were, but I lived in constant fear of lurking dangers. I always leaned toward freeing them, but tried to establish boundaries that would keep Read More

Title: Stevie Wonder & Muhammad Ali 1963 | Credit: RV1864

Sense and Sensitivity

March, 1968. I arrive in Saigon during the Tet offensive. I’m scared shitless. Having grown up in a rural, middle-class, Midwestern, small town, I’m not exactly used to hearing bullets whistling over my head. How in hell did I get into this hell and what am I supposed to be doing here?

Sagrada Família nave roof detail by Flickr user SBA73 https://www.flickr.com/people/7455207@N05

Endings and Beginnings

In 1984, we formed a book group in Basking Ridge, NJ with 6 other couples. Our first book was George Orwell’s 1984. We met monthly (with few exceptions) for the next 32 years discussing a diverse mixture of books: fiction and non-fiction, simple and complex, light and heavy, funny and sad, uplifting and depressing. Each book gave us an opportunity to share our thoughts and feelings and to get to know each other on a Read More

Title: Suburbia | Author: Caribb

Immigration and Imagination

In his book, Tortilla Curtain, published in 1995, T.C. Boyle enters deeply into the frames of reference of both immigrants and the gated community. He puts you squarely into the hearts and minds of people struggling desperately at enormous risks to establish a new life for themselves as well as people who are fighting mightily to protect the lifestyles they have established through hard work and white privilege.

"New Technology" by Flickr user Byron Stormweather

Machines, Money, and Meaning

“And every sand becomes a Gem reflected in the beam divine” -William Blake In 1909, E. M. Forster published a series of short stories in his book The Eternal Moment. The first story is entitled “The Machine Stops.” This chilling masterpiece concerns the role of technology in our lives. Written over 100 years ago, when technology was in its infancy, it is more relevant today than it was then. With an uncanny prescience, Forster wrote about Read More

"Generative Art - Drawing Machine" by Amber Case

The Many Sides of Extremism

I just finished two books that shed new light on service and sacrifice and put them in perspective. The first, Strangers Drowning, discusses multiple examples of moral extremism; the second, When Breath Becomes Air, describes the experience of a 37-year-old Stanford neurosurgeon who died of cancer the year he finished his residency and was about to embark on a stellar career. In Strangers Drowning, Larissa MacFarquhar shares the stories of people who broke all norms and Read More

Photo by Sérgio Rola, http://unsplash.com/sergio_rola

Wonder and Wondering

In 1968, I met Stephen Williams at Fort Holabird, Maryland, where we were both enrolled in Army Spy School.

Title: Friedrich Nietzsche | Author: Antonio Marín Segovia

Predators, Panderers, and Peacemakers

I’m a bit of a movie nut. I try to see at least one movie per week. Of the dozens I saw in 2015, there were four films that graphically illustrated the prevalence of plunderers and predators and reinforced my movie habit because they were so powerful, poignant, and provocative. Since I’m posting this article on Christmas Day, I thought it would be appropriate to balance the dark views of society portrayed in these films Read More

Photograph of starry sky | Author: Michael Hull (License: CC0)

The Dance

“At the still point of the turning world, there the dance is—and there is only the dance. Yet the enchainment of past and future, woven in the weakness of the changing body, protects mankind from heaven and damnation which flesh cannot endure. Time past and time future—allow but a little consciousness.” –T.S. Elliot Lynnda Pallio vividly describes those wondrous still points in poetic prose in her multiple-award-winning new book, Trusting the Currents. Trusting the Currents Read More