Thursday, February 15, 2007

No Pictures, I Promise

Finished reading Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point this afternoon. I can recommend it to nearly everyone, assuming you have an attention span. I have several issues with Gladwell (and his sources) claiming causation where only correllation is clear, but it's certainly a compelling read. With an edit or two, I might not have any objections. Of course, I'm sure Malcolm is going to get right on gaining my my complete acceptance. Probably at the top of his list.

Frankly, I'd like to see how some of his ideas can be put to a purely selfish use. As a musician, I'm certain that I'd like to be on the good side of Gladwell's Mavens and Connectors in my own industry. Would a pointed effort at identifying said individuals and associating with same improve my own efforts at a career, much less just paying the rent?

Don't misunderstand me, this book isn't about the classical music world. In fact, Gladwell's book is about social epidemics, large and small. Of course, he delves into viral epidemics as well, but they're really just payloads of social forces at work.

Couple of recent books:
Haruka Murakami's Dance, Dance, Dance - Er...Can't really describe this one in terms of plot. The narrator is quite a vivid character, as are the immediate circle of characters surrounding him. However, as we move away from him, everyone becomes horrible obscurred in several ways. Frankly, it's a fantastic book and I'll get another one of his soon, I'm sure.

Also read the collected letters of Richard Feynman. I'm much too lazy to wander over to the bookshelf to find the title, but I'm sure you'll get over it. Frankly, I'd start with the plethora of Feynman biographies and memoirs out there (Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman and its sequals were highly amusing for a middle schooler.). These letters give a little more insight into the man, but they're not all that compelling if you've not got prior knowledge of the lovable wacko. Whether you're a physicist or just a weirdo like me, anyone with a sense of humor and a rudimentary knowledge of physics should get to know this guy.

The Musical World According to Janos Starker by Janos himself. I'm pretty sure that's the correct title, but my laziness again precludes me from checking to make sure. The stories of his life during WWII are particularly interesting. I was amazed at the several times that Starker would head off to a new country or city in the hope that there might be musical work for him. Oy...I can imagine my family's response if I said "Yo whities, I'm gonna catch a plane to Budapest 'cause I heard the freelance scene is really kickin'." (Yes, I do frequently refer to several members of my family as "whitey." I also frequently need the use of apostrophe's to stand in for the loss of letters in my speech.) I never should have told them the Shanghai kidnapping story.


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