A definitive guide to defeating the distractions of modern life.
Educational psychologist and life coach Markel (Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction, 2008,etc.) identifies eight specific “demons of distraction” (including “Technology Demon,” “Stress Demon,” and “Fatigue Demon”) and delves deeply into their causes and effects. Devoting a chapter to each, she establishes a five-step “Plan of Attack” that she applies throughout the book, giving it a consistent, parallel structure; the plan includes assessment, analysis, goal-setting, taking action, and monitoring one’s progress. In Markel’s discussion of the “Technology Demon,” for example, she writes that it “can be today’s greatest enemy of top performance and high productivity.” She then leads readers through a “Self-Check” exercise, uses a specific example to highlight the demon’s consequences, offers an assessment tool (a “Technology Journal”), and demonstrates how to set realistic goals. She goes on to talk about specific “issues and strategies” regarding technology’s negative effects, such as “The Evil Empire of E-mail” and “Gaming Addictions.” Markel closes with a summary section, “Moving from Intention to Action,” that reinforces the chapter’s content, along with a brief story about a real-lifeperson who used a “preemptive strike” to prevent the Technology Demon from taking hold. The other chapters effectively address each of the other demons in similar fashion. The final chapter, “Maintenance, Meltdowns and Peacefulness,” targets more general improvements in productivity and lifestyle. In addition to being well-organized, the book is clearly written, carefully researched, highly pertinent to readers’ lives, and thorough in its presentation. Markel includes a wealth of charts, checklists, and questionnaires throughout, as well as an extensive list of resources at the book’s conclusion. The descriptions and examples of each of the different demons make for captivating reading by themselves, but Markel’s ability to pinpoint ways to overcome them raises this book up as an invaluable resource for anyone plagued by distractions.
A comprehensive, contemporary, and highly useful survival guide for the distracted.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)