Living in More Than One World

The Blog of Bruce Rosenstein

Listening for Self-Help

Beth Farrell of Library Journal has an extensive survey of self-help audiobooks in Mind, Body & Soul. Although the article is aimed at librarians, anyone interested in this genre will find it useful and informative. Referencing an article from Forbes earlier this year, she notes the billions spent in recent years on these types of books, CDs and related products and services. She also calls attention to LJ’s most recent ranking of most-borrowed audiobooks, in which 15 of 20 were in the self-help category. And not all the audiobooks that libraries offer come only in the traditional CD format; others are available through web-based digital downloads from companies such as Overdrive or Ingram Digital, and in the preloaded digital Playaway format (a new one to me).…

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Fairport Convention’s Festival Came Around Again

The past weekend was not only notable as the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. It was also the weekend that one of my favorite bands, Fairport Convention, held its annual Fairport’s Cropredy Convention festival, in Britain. The long-running event regularly draws around 20,000 people. Besides the band itself – which has had countless members over the years — it attracts an eclectic lineup of performers, including former members of Fairport, especially Richard Thompson. For more background, see this Reuters blog posting. I’ve never been to the festival, but I’d love to attend one day. Fairport traditionally does a three hour closing set on the final evening, and this year their special guest during the set was Yusuf [Islam], formerly Cat Stevens.…

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You’ll See It When You Believe It

Guardian.co.uk continues to produce useful, thought-provoking content in easy-to-digest formats. The latest example I’ve discovered is How to Believe. So far, this series of blogs by expert commentators is mainly centered on philosophy, with some religion. Mark Vernon, a multi-talented author, journalist, teacher, broadcaster and former priest in the Church of England is doing a series of eight blogs on Plato; two so far with the next due tomorrow. His next book, Plato’s Podcasts: The Ancients’ Guide to Modern Living, will be published in the UK in October. He does a nice job of setting Plato in context in the two blogs so far, demonstrating his importance in the middle of the linked chain of philosophers between Socrates and Aristotle.…

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How a Novelist Culls and Saves Her Books

Although her posting ran nearly a month ago, check out Michelle Richmond’s I can’t bear to part with… on sfgate.com, the San Francisco Chronicle’s website. She explains that she is culling her bookshelves, but that some books not only couldn’t go, but “beg to be read again and again.” Some of the ten books on the list are new to me, such as The Palace of Dreams, by Ismail Kadare and The Death of a Beekeeper, by Lars Gustafsson. What initially drew me to her post was the inclusion of one of my all-time favorite books, Ficciones, by Jorge Luis Borges, as well as A Mathematician’s Apology, by G.H.…

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Willy DeVille: Another Punk Icon Gone

I haven’t thought much in recent years about the rock singer Willy DeVille and his band Mink DeVille, names out of my music writing/selling days in the ‘70s and ‘80s. But I was still surprised and saddened to read of his death, at 58, of pancreatic cancer. As with so many rock passings, it came after years of living on the edge. But a little bit of your heart breaks when even a small part of your past goes away. DeVille was one of the pioneers of the New York ’70s punk rock scene, playing the legendary, now-defunct CBGB in the same era as bands that became considerably more popular, such as Blondie, Talking Heads and The Ramones.…

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Higher, Wired Education

As someone who teaches grad school (if only one semester a year), I was quite interested to read about the array of online ventures that are trying to provide new models for higher education in Anya Kamenetz’s September 2009 Fast Company feature, How Web-Savvy Edupunks Are Transforming American Higher Education. While some of the innovations revolve around major universities putting their content online for the outside world (besides online learning initiatives available to their own students), the article demonstrates that there is not one particular model that is winning out for how people who are not on a campus will take advantage of online learning.

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Joseph Rotman, Creativity and the Arts

Gordon Pitts of The Globe and Mail in Toronto has a fascinating Q&A today, Why Joseph Rotman hates the ‘do-gooder’ label,  with businessman/philanthropist/volunteer/educator Joseph Rotman, who seems to embody the idea of living in more than one world. The Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto is named after him. He is highly educated himself and recognizes the value of education not just to individuals, but to all of society. One theme I took away from the interview was that working with and strengthening nonprofit organizations and the arts was in everyone’s interest. They are part of the pillars of making a better life for everyone in a community, or an entire country.…

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Attorneys and Infinite Jest: Summer Reading Continued

In my previous post I wrote about extending the summer through summer/beach reading lists. Another intriguing one is Michael P. Maslanka’s Summer 2009 Beach Reads for GCs, from law.com/Texas Lawyer. Maslanka is a Dallas-based attorney and writer, and though this is aimed at corporate attorneys, it is thoughtful and broad-based enough to appeal to a wider readership. He includes recent business books, such as Alan Webber’s Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business Without Losing Your Self, though the list gets particularly interesting when Maslanka goes beyond business. “Books that help us do not need to be self-help books,” he observes.

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Extending the Summer with Reading Lists

The only thing better than reading books during the summer is reading the summer/beach reading lists and articles. And I particularly enjoy the British ones. Genevieve Fox, on Telegraph.co.uk, presents some considerations beyond the strictly literary in her entertaining article It’s the summer holidays, but what on earth should you read? For instance, think about whether the books you’re packing are going to put you over airline weight limits. One of her interviewees says he will take both a hardback and paperback copy of the same Nick Hornby book: the former for his hotel room and the latter for the messier beach.…

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Never Too Late for First Monday

The week is moving fast. It’s already Wednesday. But if you haven’t already done so, check out USA TODAY’s handy First Monday: New in business TV, DVDs, magazines, books. This runs on the first Monday of each month, and it’s a fun and informative feature to look at either in print (where it takes up the entire third page) or online, with the added value of links. I always enjoyed when I got the opportunity to write for this page when I worked at USA TODAY. It provides readers with quick and useful scans of upcoming things that should be on the radar screens of business people.…

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