March 23, 2015

Non-Fiction That Helps Us Understand Our Society & Times

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 Inspiration

By Shannon McCarthy

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ELEPHANTOMS

by Lyall Watson

In a reductionist climate, science can become so heady that it loses its heart. Lyall Watson was an Oxford trained zoologist who retained the magic of his South African childhood. With Elephantoms, he wove the supernatural into elephant anatomy and little known behavioral facts while telling the long story of a harried herd. This story and science lesson walk the strange and deep trails of the African elephant, and will make you marvel both at what we know of nature, and what we have yet to know.

 

 

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INTEGRAL PSYCHOLOGY

by Ken Wilber

Why are there so many nuts in the world? Why is it that a person can seemingly act in accordance with their conscience and yet be so wrong from another perspective? As one of the geniuses of our time, Ken Wilber synthesizes the developmental psychology studies of our modern age to create a unified system: Integral Theory. It somewhat wonderfully chips away at a classic human questions: What are we all doing here?

 

 

 

 

Outliers by Malcom Gladwell

OUTLIERS

by Malcolm Gladwell

That superstar has a backstory. Malcolm Gladwell is a storyteller, an anecdotal evidence detective. Outliers is a rolling tale that illuminates the well-timed paths of cultural giants like the Beatles and Steve Jobs. The Outliers are gifted (clearly) yet also in the right place at the right time. They completed the necessary 10,000 hours of practice that Gladwell posits as a requirement for mastery in any discipline. What’s it take to be on top? Well, this book has a few ideas. Outliers is no statistical showcase, but it did make me rethink what preparation and luck look like.

 

 

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A WORLD LIT ONLY BY FIRE: THE MEDIEVAL MIND AND RENAISSANCE

by William Manchester

Behold, the European world before bathing, indoor plumbing, law and order, and modern morals. Now, this book is lambasted (quite fairly) by historians. Yet for those like me with a casual curiosity around the night of our modern culture, it is an ecstatic smelly journey into the medieval past. I recommend it for its sordid tales, and because after reading about everyday medieval life, I have yet to look at my modern life in the same way. However uninspired I am by the cupboards, I think, “Well, at least we don’t have to eat clay or boil leather.” Good for one’s sense of perspective- like travel.

 

 

walking-book-cover

WALKING

by Henry David Thoreau

In his short life, Thoreau infused the American mind with nature-based insights and the joys of a meditative way of living. I love this little book for his observations and stories of his walks. It shines with his love of people and all that lives. Read Thoreau so his peace can rub off on you. His is a gentle wisdom, and I think of this book as his most accessible.

 

 


Shannon-McCarthy-150x150Shannon McCarthy is cofounder of ClearPoint Retreat Center, and an artist specializing in devotional icons.  She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children.

Her paintings can be viewed by visiting www.shannonmccarthy.com.

The comments +

  1. Pat Keown says:

    That’s my Buddy….making a difference in the world. Lifting us all up through her words and insights, and of course, her beautiful art.

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