Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Review of Jonah Berger's Book, Contagious

Contagious by Jonah Berger attempts to explain the science of why things go viral.

Berger's work takes up where Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point leaves off.

Gladwell's book is an overview of how ideas and social behavior go viral, while Berger's work takes an in-depth look at the common characteristics of things that become contagious. Gladwell's and Berger's books compliment each other, and provide helpful tips for getting a product or idea to spread.

Contagious outlines six principals that prompt people to share content, opinions and ideas. They can be one or more phenomenon including include social currency, triggers, emotion, and practical value. I was impressed with how easily Berger was able to explain his theory.

I listened to Contagious as an audiobook. I enjoyed the narration by Keith Nobbs who has a long list of audio credits to his name http://www.recordedbooks.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=rb.show_narr&narr_id=4533

I awarded Contagious by Jonah Berger four stars on my Goodreads Page

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Fiction from Kenneth Weene

A Note from Adele:  This story was submitted to my blog by Kenneth Weene, an educator, psychologist, minister and author of several books.  I became associated with Kenneth through his work as a co-host on It Matters Radio http://www.blogtalkradio.com/itmattersradio 
Kenneth will be soon be releasing another book called "Times to Try the Soul."  In the meantime, enjoy this piece of "flash fiction."

The Terrier and the Bull
By Kenneth Weene

As he had every Sunday afternoon for fifteen years, Travers Dunworthy searched the Internet for any references to the Blessed Sacredbody Church or the town of Sacredbody, Utah. As leader of the community and bishop of the flock, it was his self-appointed responsibility to make sure no slur would go unanswered, no slight unmet. Fifteen years and not once had there been cause for concern—indeed not even a mention of church or town. Travers had seen to it; the church and the town his grandfather had founded remained an unremarked speck on the map of life.

Thundering from the pulpit, his face flushed red and his spittle flying, the bishop had made God’s expectations clear. The wages of sin were death, and if the exorcism of depravity from his flock left him often on the brink of apoplexy, why then the wages of purity may well be a stroke. “Blood pressure be hanged,” Travers told his physician, he would keep his community pure.

For fifteen years he had bellowed, cajoled, threatened. For fifteen years, his efforts had borne the fruit of communal piety. And now…

“How extraordinary,” Travers bellowed—his face crimson, his lips frothing; “you must see this.”

Becka scurried into her husband’s study. A small terrier of a woman, she always came at her husband’s call, always scurrying, always worried that Travers would be annoyed. How often had he condemned her to hell everlasting? Fortunately, Travers was a forgiving soul who would lift those oaths of condemnation and anathema after a few days of tears and pleading. Still, it was a fearful thing to know that during those days, should something happen, some accident or foul play, eternity would be spent in pain and sulfur.

“What, Dear?” she asked—her voice tremulous.

“This!” He glowered at her as he pointed at the computer’s monitor. “This! How do you explain it?”

Becka moved closer, lifting the reading glasses which hung from her neck, perching them on her nose, and peering at the offending screen. “The Essence of the Body in Sacredbody” was the title; Francine Bushwick the author. “Bad enough,” she knew instantly, but the accompanying photograph was far worse. There they were, the town’s womenfolk, at least those under thirty, in—gasp and geez almighty—two-piece bathing suits.

“Blasphemy,” Travers shouted. “Where were their fathers, their husbands, their fianc├ęs?”

At first it had not registered. It could not be conceived. But there she was, their own daughter, Rosalie, in the second row, third from the right.

“And where were you?” Travers demanded; switching—as he so often and easily did when it came to their daughter—the onus to his wife.

“Who is this Francine Bushwick?” Becka asked. Better to deflect her husband’s wrath than to face it.

“Some stranger,” he bellowed. “Some harlot corrupting our children. But where and how?” A last word rising to a howl of outrage. “How?!” His eyes bulged.

“You must preach about this. This very Sunday,” Becka said. “Travers, I’m sure you will make the town see the error of its ways before these, these costumes find their way from the computer to the new pool.”

The new pool, just installed in the middle of the community park, would be opening in two weeks. How scandalous such attire would be. They would be the laughingstock of Utah. Unthinkable.

“You are right, Wife,” Travers said. “A sermon about modesty. And Rosalie will be there; must be there.”

“Of course, Travers. I’ll leave you to it.”

Becka tiptoed from the room quietly closing the door behind her. In the kitchen she slipped her new computer, a gift from their daughter, from its hiding place under the cleaning supplies.

“Sunday’s sermon should be a barnburner. Undoubtedly, we are all going to hell.” Becka emailed to her women’s group; signing the missive: Francine B.

Kenneth Weene is a novelist, essayist, and poet whose work is permeated by his weird sense of humor and awareness of the foibles of humankind. Find his books here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Review of Jen Sincero's book, You are a Badass

They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but with a title like You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero, I couldn't resist pronouncing it as my kind of book before I had even read a single sentence.

I read a lot of spiritual and self help books, enjoying the different ways authors basically say the same thing. I agree with the premise that our thoughts form our perceptions which in turn form our reality. If you have negative thoughts, you subconsciously call negative people and situations into your life. Some people call this the Law of Attraction.

While Jen Sincero doesn't really break any new ground in You are a Badass, she provides something that is typically lacking in self-help books: humor. Since I truly believe laughter is the best medicine, this book really worked for me.

One of the other things that Sincero does is expel the myth that money is bad and everyone who want a lot of it is greedy. We live in an abundant world so feeling guilty about money doesn't do anything but make us miserly miserable.

If you're in the mood for a hip, funny and informative read, I'd recommend You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. To learn more about the author, visit her website: http://www.jensincero.com

I awarded You are a Badass 4 stars on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4673038.Adele_Park

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Weight Loss Challenge

Too bad loosing weight isn't as much fun as gaining it! As is my custom, I went “Hog Wild” over the holiday season. Part of this is due to my insistence on making homemade sweets for practically everyone on the planet. I have a friend who calls this well intentioned gesture bing a “Pusher,” but that's a topic that needs to be explored in a future article. For now, suffice to say I made and ate an alarming number of sugary confections.

2016 brought with it an estimated seven to eight pound weight gain. Gasp! That's a hell of a lot of extra junk in the trunk!

There are a plethora of diets out there, but at the end of the day, losing weight boils down to eating less and exercising more. Some people can be extremely disciplined when it comes to food. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them. On the flip side, I'm great about exercising (I have an adrenalin addiction which requires a daily fix).

I have a strange habit of feeling depressingly deprived when I don't allow myself to eat the foods I love. For me, the best way to lose weight is to implement portion control. Like a lot of people, I can starve myself for a few days to drop some emergency pounds, but that never works over the long haul.

As I was preparing to start a new year, an article was brought to my attention that offered a simple solution to shedding unwanted blubber. A life coach suggested that people who want to lose weight should concentrate on just dropping one pound a week. While that doesn't seem like a very lofty goal, if maintained, a person could lose almost 50 pounds a year!

I decided to try this pound a week method to see how it works. After all, losing just one pound in seven days should be easy if I cut back a little on what I'm already eating. In fact, I can probably breeze through losing a pound a week for two or three weeks simply by making minor adjustments in my eating habits. I suspect the hard part will come around week four when cutting back on certain foods isn't enough to maintain the weight already lost while continuing to drop one pound every seven days.

If I stick with my experiment for two months, I hypothesis that at some point I'll have to make some actual behavioral changes in order for this to work. And that is the ingenious part of this approach: I don't have to make a bunch of radical changes all at once. I can make gradual changes, easing myself into better eating habits. I have no idea if I will be successful, but I've decided that if I make myself be accountable by writing a post every week, I'll increase my chances of decreasing my waistline. Stay tuned to see how it all shakes out, or off, as I hope the case will be!