These are some of the books that I’ve read, reading or listening to the Audio book. I used to be ashamed of admitting to audiobooks, but now I realize their great importance as I am not a fast reader and it has allowed me learn so much more. Again, they are in no specific order.
To be quite honest, I had no idea who he was, even though I had seen Awakening years ago. This is an autobiographical book that I am still listening to and sadly he just passed away. I had come across this book several times and then when they spoke to him on the Podcast Radio Lab, I thought there is a reason I keep coming across this man and have to take that as a sign.
He is a remarkable human being with many shortcomings including his excessive use of drugs in his youth, but he was inquisitive and adventurous. The book takes you through this journey quite athletically. You don’t get bored as he is a masterful writer with at times beautiful prose. He doesn’t use clinical terms to a point that you feel alienated. He comes from a very educated family and was blessed enough to be surrounded by so many highly educated people growing up, which must have added so much to his later life. He was gay in an era that did not accept this and had to even deal with harsh words from his mother that must have left him quite scarred. I am not sure if he would have been this adventurous, if he wasn’t gay as he was partially running away and looking for acceptance. Much like John Nash, who admitted that if it wasn’t for his schizophrenia, he would not have discovered the game theory as it was based on distrust.
I think it will be a great book for any young person with challenges ranging from family to self doubt and dealing with higher ups in more powerful positions that dictate your future. It teaches you to believe in yourself and sometimes take risks, even if everyone around you is against it. He was also blessed to have come across good people in his journeys or maybe that’s what a good journey does to one. Either way, I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece and I haven’t read enough autobiographies to truly judge this, but reading about the life of such a remarkable human being cannot in anyway be a waste of time.
The more I listen to Mr. Smiley, the better off for it I am. The man is a connected being and shines a light for the rest of us. I have listened to this book about three times and still feel I need to listen to it a few times more. Maya Angelou was a god sent and being touched by someone with so much experience and wisdom must have been an elixir. I don’t dwell in the past anymore, but the more I listen to it, the more I think about how I would have loved to have known her and been a part of her company. She creates peace in my life and I have to start looking up her writings more and delve deeper into her teachings.
Mr. Smiley does a superb job at explaining how his life intertwined with hers and how she challenged him to grow. She would ask him about what is more powerful, “Love or Courage” and the two discuss the merits of both. I personally have came to the conclusion that courage is the more important of the two as it takes courage to love and many a time, your own kin. Maya believe that too and the two would have these great conversations. She introduced him to so much and so lovingly and was a catalyst shaping a young man into a man of character. I feel as probably many do, there is so few people like her in our lives that address the truth without bias.
This should be standard reading at schools frankly as you can’t get more heartfelt truth about love and courage and is a beacon of light for the young to decipher a path with integrity. Integrity, a trait so important and yet discounted and removed harshly from so many as the recent African American struggles and the Islamophobia sweeping the nation and frankly the world demonstrates.
I am embarrassed to say that I had never read this before and only seen the 1960s movie. If you fall under the same scenario, let me assure you that the movie leaves much out and maybe a little too much of its time. Not the director’s fault, but there is also technology of the period that lacked in demonstrating the story with all its imagery, which I assure you will be just enough and not overblown when they finally remake this as a movie.
This is a story of our time and how technology and knowledge intertwine and controlled. How he wrote this in the 1940s is beyond me. He predicted personal listening devices that fit into the ear (Walkmans and iPod…but don’t worry they will get that small soon), he predicated flat screen wall to wall TV, he predicted live interaction with the show, he predicated, which to me is probably the worst, robots in the shape of a dog that takes care of the business of the government! But even with all this, the story and the dialogue are athletic and moves you through a world you feel sucked into. A must read.