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wisdom in six words

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 by kate

I never would have put so much weight on so few words. But in this memoir, six words house the story of love or loss. Six-Word Memoirs on Love & Heartbreak is a pocket-sized book with 500 different authors, including some famous folk like Dr. Drew. Contributors share their story of love or heartbreak in just 6 simple words. Some are profound. Some are funny. And some don’t really make much sense at all:

I wish that life gave mulligans

Married wrong woman. Divorce is sin.

We would have named her Grace

Despite our decade, he's a stranger

Feet touch in bed; we're okay.

This book (and the website that gave birth to it) is very similar to a challenge once given to Ernest Hemingway, who was asked to write a story in six words. He came up with “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

Smith Magazine isn’t just obsessed with matters of the heart, the site also shines the spotlight on motherhood (I really miss seeing my feet), the environment (I recycle my neighbor's trash), life (Officer, "Ma'am, it's about your son...") and food (Sushi and Snickerdoodles. A Balanced Diet).

At $10 a pop, this is a great gift for that significant other on Valentines Day, or just a sappy friend.

Of course now I have to have a go at this:
He’s neat, my clutter is cluttered.

What's your six-word memoir?

Previous Post: Slackonomics

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a time of creative destruction

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 by kate

Slackonomics: Generation X in the Age of Creative Destruction is a smartly written book that doesn’t go over your head. With references to Alex P. Keaten and Melrose Place, Lisa Chamberlain deftly defines a post-boomer generation driven by economic insecurity and the flood of human potential unleashed by new technology.

“Slackonomics is not an academic white paper; it is written for people who … understand family dynamics from watching Married With Children and The Simpsons. It is written for women who got in touch with their post-feminist rage through riot grrrl music and Thelma and Louise. It is written for people who might have dabbled in Corporate America, but found themselves working at one time or another in an entirely new arena or as free agents without having exactly planned for it. It is written for people who, regardless of whether they have taken a traditional route to marriage, parenthood, and homeownership, still don’t exactly fell (or look or act) like ‘grown-ups.’”

“After spending years in the shadow of baby-boomers only to find themselves facing the prospects of economic ruin and environmental meltdown, Xers are realizing the time may finally have arrived for them to be in charge.”

This book is not just economic babble. Chamberlain sprinkles chapters with the stories of real Xers: “from artists unwilling to starve to MBAs unwilling to be corporate tools, economic instability inadvertently created an entire generation of practical risk-takers.”

She also cites many noted economists, studies, news reports and relevant pop culture references, including Oprah, Reality Bites, Seinfeld, Donnie Darko, Beck and Guns ‘N Roses.

“… one definition of happiness for Gen X is the ability to translate creative freedom into market share.”

Chamberlain talks about love, money, McMansions, suburbia and why marriage isn’t the household staple it used to be. More women are waiting to have kids, Chamberlain says, and men are more involved in child rearing. Gender neutrality is a growing theme.

Everything Chamberlain discusses seems so familiar, but she takes it further into an analytical state, giving more meaning to what is happening in the world today.

“Yes, markets are self-correcting – eventually. But how devastating the correction will have to be is, like it or not, up to us: a generation that started young adulthood as outliers and losers, but has since bridged the analog and digital worlds, created alternatives to Corporate America, endured the dot-com and real estate bubbles, adapted to and even pioneered the technological revolution and globalization without much in the way of security (i.e., universal health insurance, pensions, etc.), transformed long-standing institutions such as married and parenthood – and all the while maintaining our sense of humor. We’re going to need it.”

Rarely do you find a fluid and entertaining book of great intellectual value. You’ll feel comforted, enlightened and validated when you pick up Slackonomics (and don’t let the title distract you).

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navigate the new you in '09

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 by kate

It’s a new year, a new chapter in your life and it’s time to turn the page. I’ve picked a few books that should help you along the way, or at least show you what to strive for.

Becoming Enlightened
by the Dalai Lama
Drawing from traditional Buddhist meditative practices, using modern-day examples, the Dalai Lama presents exercises designed to cultivate spiritual growth. You’ll also learn more about the Dalai Lama himself, with personal anecdotes and intimate accounts of his experiences as a student, political leader and Nobel Laureate.

Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan
by Suze Orman
Find out what to do, when to do it, and how to do it from financial expert Suze Orman. Topics include credit, retirement, savings, spending, real estate and paying for college.

You Being Beautiful
by Michael F. Roizen
Discover the scientific standards of beauty and how it’s really all about your health and happiness. Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz take a scientific, yet entertaining, look at the three levels of beauty: Looking Beautiful, Feeling Beautiful and Being Beautiful.

Eat This Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide
by David Zinczenko
Find out what to skip at Stop & Shop and what to keep in your cart. This book contains nutrition secrets that lead to fast and permanent weight loss while decoding nutritional information and busting myths.

For example, did you know Rice Krispies Treats have half the sugars and calories as Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars?

I Can Make You Thin: The Revolutionary System Used by More Than 3 Million People
by Paul McKenna
McKenna, a hypnotist from the UK, uses new psychological techniques to change the way you think about food.

Organize Now!: A Week by Week Guide to Simplify Your Space and Your Life!
by Jennifer Ford Berry
Get simple and effective tools to organize every aspect of your life. If it feels overwhelming, don’t worry, this book breaks it all down to one topic a week.

50/50: Secrets I Learned From Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days - and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance!
by Dean Karnazes
In 2006, Dean Karnazes ran 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days and wrote a book about it. Dean also shares running tips on what to do when you hit a wall and the best diet and exercise tips to improve your own best time. Even if you’re not a runner, you can still enjoy this story of incredible accomplishment. It might even spur you to lace up those running shoes … or at least try to name all 50 states.

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