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Archive for the ‘book’ Category

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

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This is the first good book I enjoyed reading recently. The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Even I started to reread some parts from the beginning. I love how Mr. Mitch Albom put the words in composition. Honestly, when I started to read, I didn’t fully understand the story. I began to notice several parts when I got lost in it, but I just left it in the sensethat perhaps it’s only a matter of vocabulary shortcomings and time discontinuity. I read it mostly during train commute. Finally, I realized that the story was indeed fragmented into pieces that will link and make a nice big picture at the ending. I was really like reading puzzles, so that was fun and exciting once I got the meaning of each part. That’s why I decided to reread, this time with better insight.

The book starts with a title “The End” instead of “The Beginning” or some “Introduction”. The first paragraph has already caught my attention. “This is a story about a man named Eddie and it begins at the end, with Eddie dying in the sun. It might seem strange to start a story with an ending. But all endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.” At first I was a bit disappointed at the name, Eddie. It wasn’t for me projecting a handsome or nice image of a male character, which is sometimes becoming the top reason why  I read a story/novel/book. I fond of fairy tales story. But in the end, I figured it out a nick name of Edward. I love Edward, it is the leading male character in Twilight (trilogy). I didn’t read the later books in such delight as this one, though.

Ah, back to the topic. The first paragraph besides unusual, it also implies a deep meaning about life. I love this quote: ” But all endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.” This is exactly what I have learnt from my experiences and shortages and all endurances. There must have been a reason, at least, behind all these happening. It’s just I didn’t or don’t see yet. This is so breath-taking when my understanding gives me assurance that those things are not beyond control. What the Bible says are in line with this. It gives me more calmness and quiteness. I’ve been tasted a glimps of heaven through this book.

In the following lines mentioned Ruby Pier, the name of the place, the main place where all those happenings started in. This name also didn’t impress me much, even forgettable at its very moment. It didn’t, never, occur in my mind that the name would be important and holding particular meaning. Again, I had no interest in the name. Ruby? Pier? It sounds like a cheap, very common name of an undesired place in the village area. Well, surely the settings is not in the downtown where names have to bear the classy image. That’s why I put it aside in the memory. And then the image of an amusement park is always exciting yet dangerous at the same time. Children can lost their family. People can lost their money on a legal or illegal way. Dark is the big theme, because in the dark, lighting and the mysterious atmosphere are best expressed. In noon time, amusement park is dead or less appealing. I hate being in the crowd with darkness covering when I can’t even tell my left hand from the right.  So, I passed quickly the first page.

Positive or negative sentiment override

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The title tells me a lot about relationship and gives me insight about partner’s point of view on relationship. I’ve never been married, but I have been living together several times with first own family, then female friends like I am doing now. Interesting point about viewing one’s relationship is that it is unlikely to change one’s own point of view once it’s started to decline to the negative emotion. It is hard to change one’s own emotion from negative to positive once it reaches the bottom line. Even after several attempts of repair. This idea is explained clearly in the book of Malcolm Gladwell, Blink, 2005. He’s particularly pointing to the marriage life. The relationship between spouses. An observation by Gottman says that a relationship between two people has a fist: a distinctive signature that arises naturally and automatically. ” …because some key part of human activity … has an identifiable and stable pattern.”

 Positive (not negative) sentiment override is like a buffer. It reduces the shock or harmful effect caused by the negative emotion in order to lessen the adverse effect. “…where positive emotion overrides irritability.” By contrast, the negative sentiment override would “even a relatively neutral thing that a partner say gets perceived as negative. ” I think many of us are likely to go through these situations countless time not only in marriage life and working life, but also in friendship and in society. This is supposed to be different from positive thinking attitude which is dealing with one’s perception of an outcome or expectation to raise hope and support the action. The positive sentiment override is practically a cure to the negative emotion at a thin-sliced moment toward peer.

Below is some important part of summary in wikipedia about the book that is useful for more applicable situations.

Gladwell explains how an expert’s ability to “thin slice” or make a snap judgment can be corrupted by their likes and dislikes, prejudices and stereotypes (even unconscious ones), and how they can be overloaded by too much information. “Thin-slicing” is using limited information to come to our conclusion. In what Gladwell contends is an age of information overload, he finds that experts often make better decisions with snap judgments than they do with volumes of analysis. He also mentions that sometimes having too much information can interfere with the accuracy of a judgment, or a doctor’s diagnosis. This is commonly called “analysis paralysis.” the challenge is to sift through and focus on only the most critical information to make a decision. The other information may be irrelevant and confusing to the decision maker. Collecting more and more information, in most cases, just reinforces our judgment but does not help to make it more accurate, the collection of information is commonly interpreted as confirming a person’s initial belief or bias. He explains that better judgments can be executed from simplicity and frugality of information.

Another advantage

In his book, Gladwell says that the observation by John Gottman about marriage through thin-slicing reveals the facts of how they view their relationship and helps to evaluate the relationship between spouses.

Well, I kinda feeling of discernment from reading the book and the summary or review. What the book is trying to reveal is what ordinary people would just experience daily and it is not so surprising or interesting unless one put more or careful attention on the effect it may cause. For example, I’m beginning to understand why my mom is always knowing when I dislike someone, particularly the opposite sex. At a glance she just observes that I dislike a particular person even though I never said a word about it. At first I wonder how she knows that, or perhaps because she’s my mother, she must have been knowing me ever since I become her daughter. But now I change my analysis, I think she’s been thin-slicing me. I often do that as well to many people. I do that as often as I have chance to meet someone at the first time, but it gives me unnecessary judgment that keeps me from interacting with people instead of giving me benefit.

Yet, one criticism about this book came from Richard Posner, a professor at the University of Chicago and a judge on the  United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, who argues that Gladwell in ‘Blink’ fails to follow his own recommendations regarding thin-slicing, and makes a variety of unsupported assumptions and mistakes in his characterizations of the evidence for his thesis.

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