I got back to reading Bellow’s Herzog, which I had started last year.
I’ve only met few people who’ve heard of Bellow, in spite of the fact that he’s won numerous prizes, Nobel included. I’ve loved him for a decade, love his style mixing streetwise and cultured perspectives along with the depiction of Jewish American life. His heroes (mostly representations of Bellow himself) are never great, they never succeed but almost never fail either.
For the classic American novel I’d suggest The Adventures of Augie March.
Finally finished the third Dune book. It has been a bit of a slog, but enjoyable at times. I continue to see the influence these books had on sci-fi classics like Star Wars, Blade Runner, and the Matrix (and Avatar, which I wouldn’t consider a classic). It was good enough that I would keep going if I had the next one.
Haven’t found the fourth one in a used bookstore, though, so it looks like a little Terry Pratchett for now and I’ve been saving Godel Escher Bach for hotel quarantine…
There was just one problem with that conclusion, as Mischel himself explained to Alix Spiegel, in an episode of the podcastInvisibilia called “The Personality Myth.” He told her: “That iconic story is upside-down wrong — that your future is in a marshmallow — because it isn’t.”
So why does this myth seem to persist?
Well, it seems one crucial detail was left out of conversation. Some kids were given strategies to help them resist the tempting treat, such as closing their eyes, while others were not. And, it was the kids who were best at deploying these strategies who had greater success in later life.
“People can use their wonderful brains to think differently about situations, to reframe them, to reconstrue them, to even reconstrue themselves,” Mischel said.
Nearly fifty years after the publication of his early iconic work, Mischel was still on the forefront of correcting the entrenched orthodoxy of static personalities, as well as the psych myth that his famous study had become. In 2014, he wrote The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control.
Q:What worries you?
The damage to the environment through unrestrained building has been massive. And like all industrial societies, there’s a huge amount of corruption. But I think [Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s] adherence to the Paris climate accords is genuine, and they’re sincere in their desire to work toward a more environmentally friendly future.
And the Beeb will be allowed back in to shoot another round of Chinagood next year.