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Mindfire: Big Ideas for Curious Minds Paperback – October 26, 2011
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"You are smart enough to buy books for better reasons than a famous person you don't know saying you should. And if you're not, you will be after you read this" - Scott Berkun
About the Author
Scott Berkun is the bestselling author of Making Things Happen, The Myths of Innovation and Confessions of a Public Speaker. His work has appeared on CNBC, MSNBC, NPR and in The New York Times, Forbes, The Economist, The Washington Post, Wired, and other media. His famous lectures and popular blog can be found for free online at scottberkun.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
I enjoyed the first section best and thought it did the most to challenge my habits of thought, not with new insights, really, but with a fresh call to put those insights into action. [Favorite: "How to be a free thinker"] The second section opened similarly but then meandered a bit with essays that mused more and inspired less. I enjoyed the essays, but the call to action was weaker. [Favorite: "My surprise inspiration: Death"] The third section felt most prescriptive and the essays were generally longer. Each was great individually, but after the wonderful first section, this third section seemed to lecture more and enlighten less. [Favorite: "Creative thinking hacks"]
To be clear -- these are the relative strengths and weaknesses of an overall excellent book of essays. I highlighted dozens of passages throughout and every essay had at least something interesting or fun to take away. Sometime just a turn of phrase was enough to make me smile inside. My favorite quote came near the end: "Integrity is the proximity of your beliefs to your actions". Indeed. Thank you, Scott, for sharing your beliefs with us.
In all fairness, Scott Berkun has talent. He writes very well and has a very good explanatory style. With a different subject, I imagine that he would be absolutely brilliant.
However, the only thing he explains in this volume is how he is smarter than everyone else. The first few essays are cute; the style is a little refreshing. The second few essays start to be irritating; this guy really thinks he is brilliant. By the 10th essay, I was bored - with only 20 more to read.
My biggest disappointment with this book was that it wasn't at all useful. The idea behind reading BIG IDEAS is that they will be useful. These ideas were not exactly big and were not at all useful. Well, not unless you wanted to worship at the altar of Berkun's intellect.
I'd recommend watching this author (he's a good writer), but I don't recommend this book.
If you have followed Scott's blog, you won't find a lot of new ground covered here, but it has been nicely re-packaged - it is tighter, it has been "pruned and polished." Scott is smart, self-effacing, honest and authentic in his writing style which invites deeper thinking and discussion of topical issues. His essays are persuasive and fun to read. This book is hard to put down. It does take you on a quest for personal discovery, inspiring you to think and at times act differently.
I was torn between rating the book a 3 (wanting deeper exploration of fewer topics; no new ground covered for a follower of his blog) to a 5 (a number of "aha" moments; 5* thinking, writing and energy) so I landed on a 4.
Here is an excerpt from one of my favorite essays: Can You Be Great With Grace? (Essay #20).."I've read many biographies about people who qualify, and it turns out being driven often makes people hard to like...Perhaps true greatness, or a truly great person, is someone who does the right things for the right reasons without expecting grand rewards. They don't do things 'to be the best' or 'to be famous' or 'to be a legend.' Instead they sacrifice those ambitions in favor of simply what people around them need. They want to be great only through being useful to those they care most about, regardless of how little acclaim they get from the whole wide world for it....It might be that the dedicated policeman, the passionate history teacher, the devoted great mom/dad, the wonderful uncle, are the people who are truly great, because they add value to the world for its own reason. While anyone can make a billion dollars, they know only they can raise this child, teach that student, support this community, or help that friend in times of need. And unlike the worldly kind of greatness, spread wide and thin across thousands of people, it might only be humble greatness that runs deep into people's hearts and memories, to inspire them for the better, forever."
The 30 Essay topics include:
Part 1) Gasoline: (1) The cult of busy; (2) Wants vs. Beliefs; (3) How to be a free thinker; (4) How to detect bulls***; (5) Should you be Popular or Good?; (6) There are two kinds of people: complexifiers and simplifiers; (7) Are you indifferent?; (8) Does transparency matter?; (9) How I found my passion; (10) How to be passionate
Part 2) Sparks: (11) On God and Integrity; (12) Hating vs Loving; (13) The surprise inspiration of death + Bonus: Your quota of worry and how to shrink it; (14) How to make a difference; (15) Why you must lead or follow; (16) Why the world is a mess: a theory; (17) The size of ideas; (18) Book Smarts vs. Street Smarts; (19) Why does faith matter?; (20) Can you be great, with grace?
Part 3) Fire: (21) How to give and receive criticism; (22) How to learn from your mistakes; (23) How to keep your mouth shut; (24) Creative thinking hacks; (25) Dr. Seuss and wicked constraints; (26) Why smart people defend bad ideas; (27) Why you are not an artist; (28) How to convince anyone of anything; (29) Attention and Sex; (30) A strawman for everything
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A must read for anyone looking to "de-clutter" their lives of much of the...Read more