It’s time for another book review. This one has been a long time coming and one I almost didn’t get through. To this day, the only book I have started but not finished is Tommyknockers by Stephen King which managed to bore the crap out of me by about 50 pages in. As another worthless tidbit, the only book I ever Cliffed in my academic career was Moby Dick because I had little interest in wasting my time reading about revenge on a sperm whale. Summary, it takes a lot for me to actually give up on a book but halfway through this particular effort and I was beginning to regret picking it up at night. This actually reads a little harsher that it really is meant to be, but it is somewhat amplified by the fact I have read many of Malcolm Gladwell’s book and for the most part, they have been good reads. The last one fell below expectations (see Outliers), so I was hoping for a rebound of such with this latest offering. What the Dog Saw is really a collection of articles written for the New Yorker over the last 10 years or so. Collections like this are generally ideal for my nighttime reading since I can consume the topic and not have to carry thoughts or plots over to the next time I get a chance to pick it up. There is one key point to that concept.. the topic needs to provide some return on time investment be it something that expands my knowledge, provides an interesting perspective on a known topic or at least keeps me entertained – take for example the similarly crafted book from AJ Jacobs (see Experiment). Unfortunately, many of these articles fell outside this scope. On the positive side, the discussion on investing significant money to improve the life of the homeless to reduce their drain on society was interesting as well as the discussion on interviewing concepts (a topic that has always interested me), the wolf cries that led up to tragic events and for some strange reason the story on ketchup dominance held my interest until the end. These highlights were overshadowed, however, by the discussion of Cesar Milan and the completely worthless entry on plagiarism. I’ve given Malcolm a good deal of my valuable time invested in reading his books. I think I’ve come to a point where I’ll concentrate on other authors for awhile.
It’s good to get the first book of the year out of the way, but it was a sobering experience to head out to Walgreens on my birthday to purchase some reading glasses. I am just thankful I went with LASIK to eliminate the need to invest in bifocals (shudder). Here’s to a new year of reading!
Hit the jump to read my takeaways