Summary of “Gandhi for the Post-Truth Age”

Nelson Mandela claimed that Gandhi’s tactics offered “The best hope for future race relations”; Martin Luther King, Jr., held Gandhi up as a model; decades before that, black activists such as Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., and Benjamin Mays were enthralled by the phenomenon of an Indian leading people of color in the campaign against British colonialism in India.
In “The Doctor and the Saint,” Arundhati Roy indicts Gandhi for his failure to unequivocally condemn the Hindu caste system, calling him a “Saint of the Status-Quo.” The Marxist critic Perry Anderson, in his scathing account of Indian nationalism, “The Indian Ideology”, charges that Gandhi’s “Intellectual development” was “Arrested by intense religious belief.”
The origins of Gandhi’s world view in Europe’s fin-de-siècle culture are also becoming clearer: Leela Gandhi persuasively links her great-grandfather’s outlook to an antimaterialist tradition that flourished in late-nineteenth-century Britain.
A day before he was murdered, Guha writes, Gandhi asserted that “The Congress should be disbanded,” since it had “Outlived its use.” Far-right Hindu supremacists had always scorned Gandhi for his rejection of conventional politics; they conspired to assassinate him just as he was trying to calm murderous passions partly incited by them.
Guha’s previous volume maintained, in the face of much accumulating evidence, that Gandhi, in his years in South Africa, was “Among apartheid’s first opponents.” It would have been more accurate to say that the young and callow Gandhi failed to recognize the necessity of a broader struggle against racial-ethnic supremacism; in 1906, he volunteered as a stretcher-bearer with British forces as they savagely crushed a Zulu uprising.
Satyagraha, literally translated as “Holding fast to truth,” obliged protesters to “Always keep an open mind and be ever ready to find that what we believed to be truth was, after all, untruth.” Gandhi recognized early on that societies with diverse populations inhabit a post-truth age.
People in the West, Gandhi argued, merely “Imagine they have a voice in their own government”; instead, they were “Being exploited by the ruling class or caste under the sacred name of democracy.” Moreover, a regime in which “The weakest go to the wall” and a “Few capitalist owners” thrive “Cannot be sustained except by violence, veiled if not open.” This is why, Gandhi predicted, even “The states that are today nominally democratic” are likely to “Become frankly totalitarian.”
Living in South Africa, Gandhi corresponded with Tolstoy, who called him his “Spiritual heir.” Guha described in his first volume how the Catholic writer G. K. Chesterton helped inspire Gandhi’s main contribution to political theory, “Hind Swaraj”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Bookish Life by Joseph Epstein”

By the bookish life, I mean a life in which the reading of books has a central, even a dominating, place.
The first question is “How can one tell which books qualify as good, beautiful, important?” In an essay of 1978 called “On Reading Books: A Barbarian’s Cogitations,” Alexander ­Gerschenkron, a Harvard economist of wide learning, set out three criteria: A good book must be interesting, memorable, and rereadable.
Some of the best of all books are those one loved when young and finds even better in later life.
Reading may not be the same as conversation, but reading the right books, the best books, puts us in the company of men and women more intelligent than ourselves.
A precondition for reading good books is not reading bad ones: for life is short.
I’ve twice before made a run at Burton’s book, but it now begins to look as if I may have to finish finishing it in the next life.
In The Guermantes Way volume of his great novel, Proust has his narrator note a time when he knew “More books than people and literature better than life.” The best arrangement, like that between the head and the heart, is one of balance between life and reading.
You can get along without reading serious books-many extraordinary, large-hearted, highly intelligent people have-but why, given the chance, would you want to? Books make life so much richer, grander, more splendid.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Craft A Life You Don’t Need to Escape From”

Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.
The point of the quote is rather than only enjoying our life while on vacation, holiday, or weekend, we should strive to make our lives the ones we want to be living-every day of the week.
Rather than seeing vacation as your annual opportunity to escape life craft a life you don’t need to escape from.
In those cases, there is still opportunity to craft a life you do not need to escape from.
What matters at the end of our life is not the house we lived in, the car we drove, or the possessions we purchased.
Those who are most satisfied with life are those who appreciate the current season of life they are in and learn to make the most of it.
Given the nature of their constant existence, how can we learn to appreciate the life we have in the midst of these trials? First, we embrace the reality of their existence.
If you want to craft a life you do not need to escape from, you can do so.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Prophetic Pragmatism of Frederick Douglass”

Frederick Douglass, who has been called the greatest American of the nineteenth century, grew up as a slave named Frederick Bailey, and the story of how he named himself in freedom shows how complicated his life, and his world, always was.
Frederick’s father, as David W. Blight shows in his extraordinary new biography, “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom”, was almost certainly white, as Douglass knew early on, and there is something almost cruelly parodic in the grand name the child slave was given: Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey.
In 1845, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,” was written as a straightforward abolitionist horror story, albeit an exceptionally humane and potent one.
Douglass passed from slave to celebrity in about a year and remained one for the rest of his life.
Why did Douglass think it so important to battle? It was because Douglass saw culture and civilization almost entirely in what we now call Eurocentric terms.
At the second Inauguration, Lincoln greeted Douglass at the White House reception not as “Mr. Douglass” but as “My friend.”
Stauffer’s “Giants” showed us how much Douglass’s prophetic force poked and prodded Lincoln toward righteousness, but Douglass himself was deeply affected by Lincoln’s example of the power of liberal party politics to make real change happen.
For Douglass identified himself as a Christian throughout his life, and his gesture reminds us that slaves absorbed and reimagined the religion of their oppressors in their own morally original terms, as a permanent bulwark against persecution.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How I Quit Drinking in a World That Wants Me Drunk”

On October 1, 2016, my 23rd birthday, I made the decision to do the impossible: I quit drinking.
I’ve made a concerted effort to post about it openly on social media because drinking culture is so pervasive, and I want to let people know there’s a way out.
We live in a culture that celebrates brunch cocktails and wine moms and happy hours-a world where adults casually urge their colleagues and friends to “Have a drink or three” to numb the pain of a rough day-so no one really bats at an eye at binge-drinking.
At a time when the public debate over a Supreme Court nomination has gone off on bizarre tangents about blackouts and drinking games, it’s remarkable how few people are condemning a culture that regards teenagers getting shitfaced as normal, or even cool.
It showed me a world where alcohol was no big deal; drinking it often was a sign of maturity and refinement.
In the months leading up to my 23rd birthday, my drinking was spiraling out of control.
The next morning I woke up extremely groggy and hungover, and knew that if I didn’t quit drinking I would literally die.
When I was drinking, I constantly found myself in perilous situations-blacking out, getting in cars with strangers I didn’t trust, hooking up with guys I didn’t want to have sex with because I was too drunk and indifferent about my wellbeing to slur the word “No.” After I quit drinking, I discovered that I was less afraid of the world because I wasn’t making bad decisions that led to my encounters with the scummiest subsection of the population.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Decide What to Do With Your Life”

The question burns in your mind - you want to figure out what to do with your life.
Paradoxically, continuing to think about what to do with your life without, you know, actually doing anything, wastes time too.
I’ve been fortunate enough to more or less figure out what I want to do with my life at least for the near future.
It’s easy to think about a new path you want to take in your life.
You can’t really decide what to do with your life prior to acting.
The beginning steps to figuring out what to do with your life are simple.
You’ll Never “Figure Out” What to do With Your LifeYour life isn’t a multiple choice test.
Your problem isn’t figuring out what to do with your life.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Tyranny of the Perfect Life”

I didn’t know it then, but I was also subjecting myself to the tyranny of the perfect life.
The Quest for Uniformity - At All CostsSimilar to Sweet’s pursuit of the perfect day, the pursuit of the perfect life can mean imposing an artificial, rigid, uniformity on your life that does more harm than good.
To pursue the perfect life is to assume that you have knowledge of who you are, what you want, and how you might get there.
Pregnant Nuns In AtlantisSo far, I’ve suggested several things - that pursuing the perfect life imposes an artificial rigidity; that personal projects can backfire and do great harm; and that, because our values constantly shift, the perfect life will never be quite as satisfying as we imagine.
My main point is to suggest that the very idea of the perfect life is incoherent.
The word utopia, in its original form, meant “No place,” and no place is, I think, the only place where the perfect life can be found.
It’s not that you haven’t found the right vocation, right life partner, right morning ritual, or right dietary supplement that will “Tip the scales” towards a life of perfect harmony.
The perfect life is always just around the corner but, if you stop for long enough and breathe, you may find that the minimally-decent life is here already, just under your feet.

The orginal article.

Summary of “16 Mental Shifts for Living a Happier, Wealthier, More Successful Life”

Part of the reason these things are difficult for us to achieve is that we never really define what our purpose is in life.
Here are 16 life changing ways you can attain success, wealth and happiness and live your best life.1.
Ask yourself, are you building your life in a way that will make you happy? And if you aren’t, why not? What is holding you back? It’s time to take responsibility for your life.
Choose a handful of things that you value most and you want to be the focal point of your life.
What do you really care about? What commitments are most important to you? You need to develop a clear vision for what your big life goals are, what you’re hoping to achieve, and then focus on the things that will get you there.
We must train ourselves to embrace delayed gratification in order to achieve the things that we really want in life.
You’re never going to become successful, rich and happy living a boring, dull, uninspired life.
Happiness and satisfaction comes from living a life that have meaning to you, each step of the way.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Everything You Fight Has Power Over you. Everything You Accept Doesn’t.”

Everything you accept loses its problem it never gets solved? But when you finally let it go, somehow it gets sorted out.
When we surrender to the circumstances we’ve been fighting, they lose all of their power over us.
When we honor the past and take the most valuable lessons from it, and the power it has over us dissolves.
When you let go of the resentment you feel towards a person who hurt you and forgive them or make peace with a difficult experience from your past, it loses its power over your and more importantly over your future.
While you don’t have to burn everything from your past in a blazing inferno, you want the environment to be representative of who you’re becoming, your next chapter, not your previous one.
For the first time in my life, I’m being forced to accept that kids might not be in my future.
We are effectively trying to turn the past into the present.
Every failure, every heartbreak, everything that I went after so, you know, vigorously that didn’t turn out, thank God.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Kate Atkinson’s Spy Novel Makes the Genre New”

The protagonist of “Transcription” is Juliet Armstrong, who was orphaned as a schoolgirl shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War.
The death of her mother, an invalid, strips Juliet of her roles as caretaker, as family hope, as a person who thrives in the light of someone else’s love: “Juliet had stopped going to that school, stopped preparing for that bright future, so that she could care for her mother-there had always been only the two of them-and had not returned after her mother’s death. It seemed impossible somehow…. That girl, transmuted by bereavement, had gone. And, as far as Juliet could tell, she had never really come back.”
The details of Iris’s personal life-she has a Scottish fiancé named Ian who is a lieutenant on H.M.S. Hood-are scripted by Perry, though he does give Juliet room to improvise as she sees fit.
Of course, the people determining that context, from moment to moment, are men-principally, in Juliet’s case, Perry.
Other men in the novel-in particular Godfrey Toby, who, as Juliet discovers, is not the spy he appears to be-have no such authentic self; Toby is simply whoever the demands of the moment make him.
Juliet goes to work for “That other great national monolith” the BBC; she produces educational radio programs for its “Schools” department, including a series called, with billboard-scale irony, “Past Lives.” Like many of her fellow-citizens, she has left the wartime version of herself behind and is glad to have done so-until the day she receives an unsigned note at work saying, “You will pay for what you did.” Out of the past, Juliet’s “Real” self is finally called to account for the actions of the fake ones.
Like her Juliet, she has been handed a script of sorts by her seniors, and, like Juliet, she invents brilliantly and idiosyncratically from there.
History should always have a plot, Juliet thought…. How else could you make sense of it? .

The orginal article.