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Becoming Michelle Obama

FutureLearn US
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  • written by Michelle Obama (pub. 2018), 415 pp.

Becoming Michelle Obama

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What I learned from this book

Actually, I was shocked at how much of the book was apolitical.  I thought going in it would be much more concentrated on White House events, but, much to my relief, there were many more life experiences in the overall mix.  My expectations were for 80% politics and 20% personal.  In fact, it was more like 90% personal!  It is much less a book about living in America’s equivalent of a “Royal Palace,” and much more about one woman’s “journey in its totality.”  It is about identity, the struggle, self-doubts and the dream.  It is about perseverance.  It is also about letting go when you need to let go. But, most of all, it is about family, good friends and, most importantly, always standing firmly alongside the ones you love the most – warts and all!!

What I liked about this book

I’ve read hundreds (if not thousands) of books in my lifetime.  However, rarely have I run across an autobiography that is this honest and forthright.  Seriously, one would think that autobiographies are meant to be the most candid, but, for the most part, most fall dreadfully short of this goal.  I know it sounds cliché, but Michelle Obama really knows how to “put the reader in her shoes.” She understands how to make the reader feel the way she felt in a specific moment, to hurt in her personal moments of real pain, and to feel joy when she was uplifted in one of her finer moments.  She is a real person, a “one-of-a-kind” – and that is a rare find!  (And I’m a poet and didn’t know it!)

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**NOW: The Undoing Project – by Michael Lewis

FutureLearn US

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe Undoing Projectby Michael Lewis

Sneak Peek: The best-selling author of Liar’s Poker, The Blind Side and Moneyball shares a unique and winning relationship between two amazing thinkers who changed the way WE think…

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The Undoing Project – by Michael Lewis, published 2017, ~352 pages

What I learned from this book

I learned that once we are conditioned from childhood to go with the first thing we figure out, it’s almost as if our brain’s memory drive “wipes clean” and we subconsciously disregard any further thoughts and tend to stick with the first answer (remember the old adage: ‘go with what first comes to mind?’  It is still pretty sage advice, BUT, we must also remember that we are capable of more – capable of critical thinking and reasoning that may IMPROVE our original answer(s).

What I liked about this book

I liked the way Lewis used the real life examples of how professional athletes are “misjudged” by agents and scouting team members.  He used the case of Marc Gasol, NBA center.  He explained that Gasol was overlooked by scouts and bad-mouthed for having “man boobs” – as opposed to the Adonis-like structures of his competitive pool.  However, upon someone taking a shot (no pun intended) with Gasol, he in fact became a fine NBA center sans Playgirl cover opportunity!  This is similar to what Lewis showed in Moneyball; whereby the so-called “expert scouts” were shown to have biases that didn’t in fact translate into team results in the end.  Sometimes, the shiny apple not only may have a rotten core, but also may not help the overall team.

Also, I liked the symbiotic relationship the two researchers had in this book.  Amos Tversky was brash and accomplished, while Daniel Kahneman was reserved and introspective.  Together, they were dynamite! They didn’t care what anybody thought about the closeness of their relationship – only that they worked well together and the results of their combined efforts proved its value. That value was to provide proof that the human mind is inherently flawed and often makes errors in judgment.  The problems worsen when those errors go undetected due to our neglect. This is important because occasionally we all are guilty of misjudging or prejudging others.  It becomes critical when we do this in make or break situations (professional, scholastic, etc.)  The point is that none of us have all of the answers to each and every situation!

What I disliked about this book

It was very unfortunate that the friendship ultimately ended.  Like many we have all experienced since youth, the closest ones are the most volatile and/or vulnerable. Old insecurities rise up and we do and/or say things that can be hurtful and destructive.  It’s human nature.

However, it was nice to see that the author was able to extract information from Amos Tversky’s relative (who happened to be one of his students at UC Berkeley) – to clarify many dangling issues after Amos’ passing.

Whom would I recommend to read this book

This book is a fine read for almost all ages. Also, I recommend it for any students working in the areas of either psychology and/or behavioral economics. Of course, being a backer of Michael Lewis’ writing style, I admit I am a bit “biased.”

Any thoughts?

A.N.

 

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