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Newsletter Number 11 • September 14, 2005


One of the best, yet least used features on our website is the “gifts” section. Many years ago my wife, Dena, came up with the ideal baby gift—books! When we wanted to send a baby gift Dena would go to our local bookstore, pick out a number of books, buy and package them and mail them. Using Dena’s expertise we have created a series of children’s book packages to fit everyone’s budget and tastes. Books are “one size that fits all” and “the gift that keeps giving” and parents and child can share some precious time of bonding and growth. The next time you want to send the perfect gift for a newborn please go to our gift section and choose the perfect “Baby’s first library”.

Brian Greene’s The Fabric of the Cosmos: space, time, and the texture of reality, is the best book I have ever read explaining in a very readable and understandable style the mind-boggling research done by theoretical physicists, mathematicians, and cosmologists about the fundamental nature of our universe. For many years I have recommended that people interested in these topics read The Dancing Wu Li Masters, by Gary Zukav. Greene’s book is flat out better and now, in my opinion, is clearly the one to read for us non-scientists who want to grasp the nature of space-time, which is the weird, wild, and wonderful space we human beings inhabit. This book is very exciting and will really stimulate the mind and the imagination. It is clearly in my category of “Must Read!”

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, fascinated and enchanted me. It is a classic of “out of the box” thinking. Although I disagree with some of the author’s premises and conclusions, and I doubt if I would like him if I met him, and in some respects his style is a little too pedantic, it is a book that I think everyone should read. This book is a very interesting treatment of success and failure and how much of it may be attributed to pure randomness or “luck” rather than genius and/or skill. Taleb has some fantastic insights that should not be missed, and has a very unique mind and a unique angle of approach in analyzing events and markets. My life is richer having been exposed to it.

The Wisdom of Crowds, by James Surowiecki is an interesting foil to Taleb’s book on randomness. I love to be surprised and I am happy when my logic and beliefs are turned upside down. This is a book that shattered some of my illusions and provided some very interesting insights into history, human behavior and the nature of collective wisdom.

In the last couple of months I have read five books that deal with business, psychology, markets, and/or human nature. They are Blink, The Tipping Point, Freakonomics, Fooled by Randomness, and The Wisdom of Crowds. I enjoyed and found useful all five. If I had to rank them in order so as to recommend them if someone was not intending to read all five, I would suggest that Fooled by Randomness is the one that cannot be missed, since it is the most unique. Freakonomics is so fascinating and enjoyable it is a book everyone would enjoy. Blink charmed the heck out of me. Finally, if you liked those 3, you would probably also enjoy The Tipping Point, and The Wisdom of Crowds.

I hope everyone enjoys either a fantastic Indian Summer (oops perhaps I should say “Native American Summer”) or wonderful Fall season. Go Hawkeyes, Red Sox, and A’s!! Now let’s hear from Tony.


After reading or perusing many books on “awakening” it seems once again that nothing is at it seems.

Long ago I had a seed idea of what the awakened state would be.

I remember after having just begun to meditate, while going to do my laundry thinking to myself: “What a drudgery!” Then the next thought came allowing me to relax . “Well after a few years of my meditation practice this menial stuff will become a thing of the past.” My thinking process continued in an upward excitable stream. “I would also become a very popular guy, probably making the cover of What Is Enlightenment magazine and my teeth would be as white as they can be.”

Now I see the process a bit like: I am at a beach... It is cloudy and the wind is strong... I lay on my blanket feeling cold, uncomfortable, and a child runs by and accidentally flips sand into my face. I begin to feel irritated.. Slowly the clouds disperse and the sun slowly begins to warm my body. At first I do not notice a discernable difference... and soon a warmth permeates my being that grows...

I begin to feel a pleasurable comfort and as the warmth grows the wind, which before was an enemy, becomes a nurturing friend… I begin to hear the waves and find a peace in listening to their song. A child runs by screaming and I laugh and feel a quiet happiness inside. I get up and the warmth permeates me. I walk over to the food shack, get a soda, and put a quarter into the juke box and the Beatles “ Good Day Sunshine “ spills out and all feels right with world.

I drive home and the warmth stays with me... My wife yells at me to pick up my dirty clothes... I yell back but the drama has left… the warmth has the priority now.

I throw my beach clothes into the washing machine and feel a quiet joy with my life.

Required reading for the fall semester...

ACCEPTANCE OF WHAT IS, by Wayne Liqourman
AS IT IS, by Tony Parsons
ODYSSEY OF ENLIGHTENMENT, by Berthold Madhukar Thompson

PS Former Fairfield resident Mark Spragg’s latest novel UNFINISHED LIFE has just been released into paperback format. The movie based on Mark’s novel will be released in theatres in September and will be starring Robert Redford. The book is everything you would desire in a novel.. Good story , beautiful writing and characters that stay with you long after you have finished the book. I highly recommend it.

Stay Warm

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