Summary of “Sam Harris, the new atheist with a spiritual side”

Perhaps the moment that Harris became identified in the wider American public’s eye as a contentious figure was his run-in four years ago with Affleck on the satirical TV show Real Time With Bill Maher.
During a debate on Islam, the Hollywood star accused Harris of Islamophobia and racism.
Throughout his long educational and professional lacuna, he was supported by his parents, the actor Berkeley Harris and the TV producer Susan Harris, who created The Golden Girls.
At the end, there’s a rather bleak moment, when Harris asks what their hopes and fears are for the future, and what can be achieved in their children’s lifetimes.
As a longtime exponent of meditation, as well as a practitioner of the martial art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Harris has a side to his character that, by comparison with his three collaborators, makes him look less like a New Atheist than some Californian New Ager.
In the discussion he tells them that there is “a place for the sacred in our lives”, and Dawkins looks askance, as if Harris were about to get out a prayer mat.
The cause of the dispute was the fact that Harris had invited Charles Murray on to his podcast, and given him what Klein thought was a soft ride.
Intriguingly, in The Four Horsemen, during a conversation about things that might be true but should not be discussed, Harris idly cites The Bell Curve as a potential example.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Self-help author Marianne Williamson wants to be your healer in chief”

In a friend’s dining room in central Los Angeles, 27 hours before she will announce she’s running for president of the United States, I ask self-help author and motivational speaker Marianne Williamson to perform a miracle.
I didn’t know Williamson has advised Oprah Winfrey since the mid-’90s, when Winfrey reached out to Williamson for help getting over a “Betrayal,” the specifics of which, Winfrey admitted on a 2018 episode of her podcast “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations,” she no longer recalls.
Lo, Marianne Williamson has delivered a surprisingly harsh miracle: For the first time since November 2016, I’m embarrassed enough to stop feeling sorry for myself about the state of America.
Like Trump, Williamson chafes at a traditional campaign strategy and relies on her daughter, whom she brought on as an “Executive team member,” Williamson says.
As Williamson sees it, if Kamala Harris or Cory Booker or Elizabeth Warren is elected, or any of the “1,736 people who are running so far” – a joke Williamson makes approximately 1,736 times during our week together – you’re not treating the cause of our country’s disease.
So why can’t Williamson act as physician in a more modest office than president of the United States? “Any lower office than the presidency is primarily a management function,” Williamson tells me.
Friedman says, “Her spirituality is actually not a liability. [It’s] a significant opportunity for Marianne to connect with people on a plane that’s different than the political. [And] there is no knowledge gap whatsoever between Marianne and the candidates.” In office, Friedman says, Williamson would mitigate a lack of government experience the same way the similarly unproven Bloomberg did when he was elected mayor of New York in 2001, by hiring “Smart people with experience in government.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly quoted Marianne Williamson.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Does Marie Kondo’s Method Really Work?”

They were generally enthusiastic about the way Kondo’s book made them reconsider their relationship to material things, although many of them lamented the onslaught of new stuff that must always be kept at bay.
Most people I talked to carved out exceptions to or ignored certain recommendations in the process outlined in the book.
A couple of them kept more books than they thought Kondo would want them to.
Two women-one in Massachusetts, the other in Hanover, Germany-independently told me they thought it was too onerous to remove everything from their handbags each day upon returning home, as Kondo prescribes.
For some people, the project of going through every last thing they own, one by one, was too much to handle.
Mike Fu, a 33-year-old Brooklynite, estimates that he made it through about three-quarters of the KonMari method three or four years ago.
Fu says he’s since come to terms with having a bit of clutter, but he and his partner are planning to give the KonMari method another try, “At our own glacial pace.”
Jasmine Bager, who’s 35 and lives in New York City, also tried a KonMari cleanout but decided it wasn’t for her.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Toni Morrison Fostered a Generation of Black Writers”

How Toni Morrison fostered a generation of black writers.
Morrison had on a white shirt over a black leotard, black trousers, and a pair of high-heeled alligator sandals.
Morrison positioned the white world at the periphery; black life was at the center, and black females were at the center of that.
Morrison’s view of contemporary black literature transcended the limitations of the “Down with honky” school of black nationalism popularized by writers like Eldridge Cleaver and George Jackson.
Situating herself inside the black world, Morrison undermined the myth of black cohesiveness.
“I really liked that book,” one black woman told Morrison after reading “The Bluest Eye.” “But I was frustrated and angry, because I didn’t want you to expose us in our lives.” Morrison replied, “Well, how can I reach you if I don’t expose it to the world?” Others, myself included, accused her of perpetuating rather than dismantling the myth of the indomitable black woman, long-suffering and oversexed.
With the deaths of Wright and Baldwin, Morrison became both mother and father to black writers of my generation-a delicate situation.
In 1978, “Song of Solomon” won the National Book Critics Circle Award, beating out Joan Didion’s “A Book of Common Prayer” and John Cheever’s “Falconer.” It was chosen as a main selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club-the first by a black since Wright’s “Native Son.” When “Tar Baby” came out, four years later, Morrison was on the cover of Newsweek, the first black woman to appear on the cover of a national magazine since Zora Neale Hurston in 1943.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Underground Worlds of Haruki Murakami”

I’m a writer, and I’m writing, but at the same time I feel as though I were reading some exciting, interesting book.
I go deeper and deeper, as I concentrate on writing, into a kind of underground.
You’ve told the story many times about how, forty years ago, at a baseball game, you suddenly thought, I can write a novel, though you hadn’t even tried to write before that.
To write one book is not so difficult, but to keep writing for many years is very close to impossible.
Some writers try to do something completely different in every book, and some writers tend to hone the approach they’re best at.
So many writers write small, shallow things in a complicated, difficult style.
If you are a reader and I’m a writer, I don’t know you, but in the underground world of fiction there is a secret passageway between us: we can send messages to each other subconsciously.
I’m a writer, and to write in my study is my privilege.

The orginal article.

Summary of “YA Twitter Forces Rising Star Author to Self-Cancel”

Zhao matched with her agent, Park Literary’s Peter Knapp, during a Twitter pitching event for marginalized creators.
Over the course of the past year, Zhao emerged as an active and outspoken participant in the YA community – not just the author of a buzzworthy debut but an enthusiastic, effective communicator who was deeply engaged with issues of diversity and knew how to make herself heard.
A scroll through her Twitter history shows that Zhao generally followed her own advice in the year after she sold her book, boosting fellow authors and writing about the issues she faced as part of YA’s nonwhite minority.
Although LegallyPaige declined to offer proof of Zhao’s alleged screenshotting-with-intent, her thread now looks a bit like the opening salvo in a larger campaign to sabotage the debut author.
In a tweet thread that did not name or tag Zhao but was clearly about her, well-known author Ellen Oh wrote, “Dear POC writers, You are not immune to charges of racism just because you are POC.”.
It’s worth noting here that the role of Asian women within YA’s writers of color contingent has been a flashpoint for conflict before – one that led Zhao to butt heads with YA queen bee Justina Ireland in May 2018.
Amélie Wen Zhao May 12, 2018 It’s impossible to say whether this eight-month-old beef helped spark a retaliatory campaign by Ireland’s supporters, or perhaps primed critics to focus on Zhao’s alleged insensitivity to the history of African-American slavery.
Some lauded Zhao for her bravery, others derided her for cowardice, and many wondered aloud if the author had self-censored voluntarily out of fear of a mob that would hound her until publication and beyond.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Dazzling, Blocky Book Covers Designed for Amazon, Instagram”

At a time when half of all book purchases in the U.S. are made on Amazon – and many of those on mobile – the first job of a book cover, after gesturing at the content inside, is to look great in miniature.
From the leather-bound volumes of old to lurid mass-market paperbacks, book covers were never designed in a vacuum.
When you look at book covers right now, what you’ll see blaring back at you, bold and dazzling, is a highly competitive marketing landscape dominated by online retail, social media, and their curiously symbiotic rival, the resurgent independent bookstore.
Into the ’60s, the advent of the Polaroid introduced realist images to the book cover, and the ’70s brought free-form design and psychedelia.
Since 2013, two things have happened in publishing: sales of print books have increased by nearly 11 percent, and at the same time, the industry has lost about a billion dollars in revenue, thanks to Amazon’s undercutting of book prices.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf’s publisher, Riverhead Books, has an Instagram account so pristine, so archetypical of contemporary design, that you’d think its jackets were all designed explicitly to sit there and rack up likes – likes that ideally convert to sales.
In a marriage of irony and logic, a book that pops in a filtered miniature Instagram still life can declare its presence just as loudly from across the room, particularly in the boutique environment of the modern independent bookstore.
So why shouldn’t our everyday objects – and particularly our books, where we’ve always turned for escape – give us that same feeling in person? Helen Yentus, the Riverhead art director responsible for most of the covers mentioned here, says that today’s cover art needs to be ambidextrous.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Can’t Sleep? Tell Yourself It’s Not a Big Deal”

Note to publishers: in my view, there’s an unfilled gap in the “Wellness” market for a book on how sleep isn’t really that important.
In contrast to the message relentlessly promoted by lifestyle gurus these days, this book would argue that four hours a night is probably fine, that caffeine before bed is no big deal, and that even severe sleep deprivation poses no real risk of poor performance, health troubles or early death.
You know what? Unlike all those other books, this one would help people sleep.
Actually, the ironies of insomnia are even worse than that, because there’s growing evidence that thinking of yourself as an insomniac – having an “Insomnia identity”, in the coinage of the sleep researcher Kenneth Lichstein – is a major part of the problem.
It’s not just that such a self-image makes it harder to sleep, though doubtless that’s the case.
In a review of the research published last year, Lichstein concluded that “Non-complaining poor sleepers” – who sleep badly but don’t define themselves as insomniacs – don’t suffer the high blood pressure commonly associated with severe sleeplessness.
“Complaining good sleepers” – who get enough shut-eye, but are heavily invested in their alleged insomnia – were essentially as tired, anxious and depressed as those who genuinely didn’t sleep.
The root of the problem, as Sasha Stephens explains in her book The Effortless Sleep Method, is that any external crutch on which you lean – not just pills, but herbal remedies and elaborate bedtime rituals, too – risks further eroding your trust in your ability to fall asleep on your own, and it’s that lack of self-trust that is insomnia’s main cause.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Science Has Begun Taking Gluten Seriously”

They decided to devote their time and money to studying the relationship between gluten and heart disease not because it seemed that they could be plausibly related, but simply because people believe them to be.
They believe this because of a monstrously popular 2011 book called Wheat Belly, which includes the implication that eating gluten has adverse cardiovascular effects.
Though blindly avoiding gluten is not recommended by any body of cardiologists or preventive-medicine experts, the outsider status of Davis’s alarmist hypothesis was promoted as the angle that seems to have made his book enormously successful.
I’ve previously traced the modern multi-billion-dollar gluten-free obsession to Wheat Belly, which is published by Rodale, along with subsequent spinoff books in the franchise.
In all, five books to tell people to stop eating grains.
The accomplice to Wheat Belly was the comparably fictive 2012 Grain Brain, the author of which has called gluten “This generation’s tobacco,” and which also became a number-one bestseller by promising secrets that no one else was willing to tell us, namely that avoiding grains would prevent and reverse dementia.
It’s also based on the idea that gluten sensitivity causes inflammation throughout a person’s body, which has not been shown to be true.
The idea has been picked up by theorists and presented as certainty even the founder of The Ultrawellness Center and embattled doctor to the Clintons, Mark Hyman, who has written that even in the absence of celiac disease, gluten “Creates inflammation throughout the body, with wide-ranging effects across all organ systems including your brain, heart, joints, digestive tract, and more.” According to his web site, he has written ten books that were number-one bestsellers.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How an 18th-Century Philosopher Helped Solve My Midlife Crisis”

How did Hume come up with these ideas, so profoundly at odds with the Western philosophy and religion of his day? What turned the neurotic Presbyterian teenager into the great founder of the European Enlightenment?
In 1728, just before Hume began the Treatise, Desideri finished his book, the most complete and accurate European account of Buddhist philosophy to be written until the 20th century.
So Hume lived near a French Jesuit college when he wrote the Treatise.
Could anyone there have told Hume about Desideri? I couldn’t find any trace of Père Tolu, the Jesuit who had been especially interested in Desideri.
Hume writes better than any other great philosopher and, unlike many great philosophers, he is funny, humane, fair, and wise.
Twelve Jesuit fathers had been at La Flèche when Desideri visited and were still there when Hume arrived.
So Hume had lots of opportunities to learn about Desideri.
Dolu not only had been particularly interested in Desideri; he was also there for all of Hume’s stay.

The orginal article.