Thank You For Being Late by Thomas Friedman ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I often read New York Times articles online, but not enough to be familiar with Thomas Friedman, NY Times Columnist and former reporter. But I am now, and I will certainly follow him. He is an optimist for our age – self-proclaimed in the title “An Optimists Guide to Thriving in the Age of Acceleration.”
This book is not for everyone. And to be very honest I don’t think I would have made it through this book if I had been reading it rather than listening to it on Audible. It can be a bit technical and also long. But I loved it. If you are a kindred spirit of mine and vote like I do you will probably embrace Friedman and his message. So what is his message? That in today’s world of dizzying acceleration we as people can survive, but it’s not going to be easy. Friedman’s is a voice of reason in a turbulent time for our country and the world – he explains in easy to understand terms and relevant stories how our increasingly fast world of changing technology, economics, immigration and nature/climate has changed “exponentially” (an oft-used term in the book) since 2007. And what does this mean to us in 2017 and the future ahead?
Sometimes funny, sometimes frightening, but always optimistic, Friedman captured my interest through his clear understanding and explanation of global communities, empathy towards humans, pluralism and toxic politics with a short-term focus. His belief that we can all live together on this planet and that being different is a good thing is right in my wheel house. The laws of fundamental decency and human capital as an asset ring throughout the book and he credits his upbringing in a small Minnesota town for much of what he believes and preaches.
As I listened to the narration of this book I kept having the image of Lego’s in my head. Lego’s, which we all have played with at one time or another in our life, are multicolored, different sizes with different angles. And yet, they all fit together with a little bit of effort and imagination. That’s what I took away from the book. Our world is full of hard corners and angles in economics, community, politics, climate change and technology. With the right effort and cooperation, a Lego masterpiece is possible. But are we willing?
Swing Time by Zadie Smith ⭐⭐⭐
I liked but didn’t love this book, despite the great reviews I have read about it. The story is of two little girls growing up in London, neither living in a “traditional” family but both dreaming of dancing stardom. Their lives go separate ways and yet their childhood escapades and family drama continues to bring them together again. The book covers several decades and locales, including London, New York and West Africa, as the main character’s life become’s involved with a world-famous singer and her philanthropic goals. But still her childhood friendship tugs at her as does her unconventional relationship with both her father and mother. Her friend’s life has spiraled out of control and her mother’s life is ending…
A topsy-turvy story of a complicated childhood, a less than perfect family, a world of wealth and fame and realizing what loyalty really is.