Book Review: SWAY – The Irresistable Pull of Irrational Behavior

SWAY

SWAY – The Irresistable Pull of Irrational Behavior by Ori and Rom Brafman – Doubleday Copyright (c) 2008.

In my opinion, an socio-economic, social-psychological classic. This volume is jam-packed with keen insights about human behavior. Irrational tendencies endure like mold – they grow in the damp darkness of our existence. Ori and Rom Brafman turn the light switch on and examine the realities that are inhabiting the recesses of human perception, judgment and value-attribution. As they point out:

Once we attribute a certain value to a person or thing, it dramatically alters our perceptions of subsequent information. This power of value attribution is so potent that it affects us even when the value is assigned completely arbitrarily.” (p. 55)

They go on to illuminate what they refer to as the “diagnosis bias” or:

“our propensity to label people, ideas or things based on our initial opinions of them — and our inability to reconsider those judgments once we’ve made them. (p.70).

This work blends into the new thinking that appears to be oozing from the field of macroeconomics from sources like Shiller and Akerlof, as well as the work of Nassim Nicholas Taleb. As the Brafman’s write:

“It’s all about keeping valuations tentative instead of certain, learning to be comfortable with complex, sometimes contradictory information, and taking your time considering things from different angles before coming to a conclusion.” (p.178)

A superb contribution – providing encouragement to those charged with expanding the boundaries of what we think we know — and the appreciation we must resurrect for exploring the frontiers of the unknown.

Book Review: Between Wyomings – My God and an iPod on the Open Road

Between Wyomings

Between Wyomings – My God and an iPod on the Open Road by Ken Masfield (Thomas-Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN) Copyright (c) 2009.

I really enjoyed this story and Ken’s ability to tell it.  The writing style is very easy to consume. I hope this book is an indication of how publishers may wish to incorporate the art of story-telling and life as a disciple of Christ on this planet.

If you have an interest in the music industry, this book is for you. All the well-known artists that Ken shares his relationships with, plus his insights into the production and promotion side of the music industry — are unique and prompt the reader’s hunger for more.

The irony of what Ken refers to as “I dance between the raindrops of the dilemmas that fall down into my life” (p.61) are priceless and provide the reader with life challenges that we can all relate to.

This book is truly a journey – as we follow Ken and his wife Connie travel across the U.S. and back in their van they refer to as “Moses.”

The realistic insifgts that Ken shares in terms of his relationship with Christ are precious, as stated in the following:

“I think the big reason I love Him so much is beacuse He doesn’t always knock before He enters. He loves to just storm into my deepest parts and start turning over tables, clearing spaces, and setting things free.” (p. 61)

“I face the fact that I can never refuse God’s gentle urging when it comes time for me to move out of my comfort zone. I cannot ever allow myself to get affixed too securely to a place that is not pleasing to the wonderful plans he has for me.” (p.154).

I encourage you to enjoy the journey with Ken and Connie and a whole cast of music industry characters (the Beatles, a ton country music artists including Willie and Waylan).

A pleasant surprise. Enjoy!

Book Review: The Naked Gospel – The Truth You May Never Hear in Church

The Naked Gospel

A fresh, tender, superbly informed voice – a timely work – A well crafted message woven with the story-telling skills of a master knitter of the gospel, our lives, our Lord and what it really means to be free in Christ.

I needed to read this book. I know I have loads of company. Whether you may be exploring what it may mean to have a present-day relationship with Christ,  a desire to know Jesus more intimately, suffocating in religion or smugly comfortable in your relationship with God – READ THIS BOOK!

As author Andrew Farley points out:

“Radically, the Bible teaches that humanity’s main problemis not what we’re doing. Instead, it’s our lack of life as we do it.” p.72.

This is a book about freedomfreedom from the shackles of man-made interpretations of what is required to live life as a Christian. Scripturally sound, Farley takes us on a journey – revisiting may of the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith – reminding us of the biblical,  present day realities that many of us have unfortunately forgotten or replaced with other interpretations in our daily living as Christians .  As Farley states:

“Too often, I see the church today functioning like any other morality-focused social group. It’s time for us to wake up and realize that being born of the Spirit means we possess an amazing life within us. Because we’re already different on the inside, we can live differently on the outside.” p. 186.

Don’t misinterpret what the quote above refers to. This is NOT a book about condemning the state of the church. It is written for a broad audience with immediate, enduring practical application to our lives.Furthermore, it is superb tool to share with those considering the Christian faith. A tremendous small group study book.

This book is a rarity. Most precious gifts are. I hope you will be blessed by it as I was. It’s a book that I will revisit regularly now.

I felt somehow lighter after I finished this book. Distinctly unburdened. My prayer is that you will receive a similar gift from your reading of it.

Book Review: Cowboy Ethics – What Wall Street Can Learn From the Code of the West

Cowboy Ethics

Cowboy Ethics – What Wall Street Can Learn From The Code of the West by James P. Owen —- a tremendous book with some of the most outstanding photography (David R. Stoecklein) you will ever lay your eyes on. When you’re riding through hell — keep riding.” p. 36 — Fantastic book!!!!

A Treasure…GREAT gift book. Perfect coffee table book. Keep it by your favorite sitting place. Read a few pages at breakfast.

As the book says:

“When there’s nothing more to say, don’t be saying it.”  p. 56-57

Book Review: The Black Swan – The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

the-black-swan

Finished “The Black Swan – The Impact of the Highly Improbable” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb recently. This is a tough read. Clearly an incredibly intelligent man with some terribly worthwhile insights. However, my gut tells me that for most folk s, the majority would fall asleep before they got through a chapter. For those seeking a challenging, intellectually stimulating read, this book is a treasure. For people in a variety of disciplines his insights are vigorously important.

I adore this excerpt that basically characterizes the premise of the book:

“The Black Swan problem in its original form: How can we know the future , given knowkedge of the past; or, more generally, how can we figure out properties of the (infinite) unknown based on the (finite) known? — what can a turkeylearn about what is in store for it tomorrow from the events of yesterday? A lot, perhaps, but certainly a little less than it thinks, and it is just that “little less” that may make all the difference. The turkey problem can be generalized to any situation where the same hand that feeds you can be the one that wrings your neck” p. 40.

If one considers the explanations for the current/ongoing economic malaise in the U.S., we continue to attempt to regain our balance after having our necks wrung by hands that we had thought were nurturing prosperity.

Taleb’s boundary breaking contribution here adds to the credibility of the recent work of Yale’s Robert Shiller and UC Berkeley’s George Akerloff….there is vastly more to be learned in the field of economics its relationship to human behavior. As Taleb p0ints out:

“Cognitive scientists have studied our natural tendency to look only for corroboration; they call this vulnerability to the corroboration error the conformation bias.” p. 58.

Perhaps the conundrum of the current recession will cause practicioners, researchers and academics to garner the courage to begin to move beyond what we thought we knew in terms of economics and human behavior. Taleb says:

“Once your mind is inhabited by a certain view of the world, you will tend to only conmsider instances proving you to be right. Paradoxically, the more informastion you have, the more justified you feel in your views.” p.59.

This book encourages one to “intellectually reach” – to be emboldened to take up avenues of inquiry, in a multiplicity of disciplines, that require spanning the boundaries of what we think we know, and how we know so….to begin to question the comfort and complacency that inhabit the essence of the term self-righteous – smugly ignorant in the comfort of where we find ourselves, our professions and the community of mankind.

2nd Place -3rd Place and Honorable Mention Photos

The following are the images that wond second, third and honorable mention in the recent photography competition (Click on any photo to enlarge – All images are copyrighted (c) by Bill Dahl):

Second Place - B&W -Cats & Dogs-Domestic
Second Place - B&W -Cats & Dogs-Domestic
Second Place - B&W - Architecture
Second Place - B&W - Architecture
Third Place - Color - Central Oregon Festivals
Third Place - Color - Central Oregon Festivals
Third Place - B&W - Character Study
Third Place - B&W - Character Study
Honorable Mention - Color - Architecture
Honorable Mention - Color - Architecture
Honorable Mention - Color - Still Life
Honorable Mention - Color - Still Life
Honorable Mention - Color - Texture-Pattern
Honorable Mention - Color - Texture-Pattern
Honorable Mention - B&W - Winter Scene
Honorable Mention - B&W - Winter Scene
Honorable Mention - Color - Humor
Honorable Mention - Color - Humor
Honorable Mention - B&W - Still Life
Honorable Mention - B&W - Still Life

"How might words, images and ideas open minds, warm hearts and inspire imagination? May you find them refreshing and share them among your people."

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