I guess it’s because I’m a Communication student, or maybe just because my brain is very sensitive to “TRY THIS” vibes from various sources, but I’m easily convinced to check out movies and books and products when people mention them.
It doesn’t matter whether I know the person. As long as they’re not Lindsay Lohan or Oprah, they could tell me that hookah bars give you paranormal sensitivity, or that Coca-Cola’s new vomit-flavor variety is really delicious, I’ll probably give it a try. If it becomes a hit, I want to say I was the first on board.
That’s why I read “How We Decide” by Jonah Lehrer this summer. The radio DJ John Tesh (“Music and intelligence for your life!” — after 12 AM) told me to check it out.
And it was really amazing. Lehrer is not a psychologist, so you don’t get lost in a bunch of jargon. He’s a surprisingly young journalist, trained at Columbia and Oxford (I’m jealous, for sure). He’s good at telling you only what you need to know to understand the technical stuff, and then making it relevant to the way you make choices.
I have to confess I took notes from his book, like a good academic, and the main conclusions I took from it I apply regularly:
- Go with your first instinct.
- Stick with your decisions, and don’t doubt yourself because of new factors or what your critics say.
- If you’re too emotional about something to believe you can make a good decision, lay it out in writing — pros and cons, rewards and consequences. Add it up, and go with the best.
- Do focus on your past bad decisions, with the goal of figuring out how you could have chosen better. This will actually help you be a better decider.
Now, at the recommendation/referral of the Wall Street Journal, I’m reading Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Yes, let’s laugh at the goofy, trying-to-be-epic title, and then once you read it you can laugh at her snooty attitude at everything and at her blatant, shameless stereotyping. Plus the cover is ugly and trying way too hard.
I’m not a parent, though I plan to be one some day. What I’m getting out of it is a better understanding of my own parents — yeah, I know, a scary thought. But I read somewhere that people love to read about a female blogger’s relationship with her mother. Maybe we’ll break into that adventure some time. Stay tuned.