Rob Holden is a Marketing and Publicity Assistant for Gotham and Avery. If he could be anyone on earth, it would be the Dos Equis man. Or Anthony Bourdain. Or maybe, in a distant third, Bruce Wayne. Books are as much a part of him as true southern barbecue. And if he remembers correctly, it was Proust who once wrote (in his native French, of course) “what peanut butter can’t make better, cheese can.” No, wait – that was Rob himself.
You often hear die-hard fans refer to sports as “religion” or “a way of life.” Having played baseball my whole life and being from the land of SEC football, I totally get this. So too does NYU President John Sexton. Invoking great thinkers both within and outside of baseball, he shows us how baseball and religion go hand-in-hand, and how America’s pastime can (and does) lead to a higher plane of being. If Gehrig’s heart-wrenching speech doesn’t stir you, if Gibson’s game one heroics (my personal favorite moment in baseball history) don’t give you chills, then you may well have no soul with which to contemplate the God Sexton speaks of.
Ted Williams knew a thing or two about hitting a baseball, and he famously said it was the hardest thing to do in sports. Science, basic physics, would support that theory. And if you need more proof, take my baseball career as empirical evidence in the affirmative. But what is it that allows some players to hit the ball with such ease, while others flounder at the plate? Mike Stadler dives into the psychology behind what makes some players so good – from anticipation and intuition, to countless tidbits of knowledge and experience acquired. Baseball is a thinking man’s game, and Stadler beautifully proves it. Which is probably why my meteoric rise to the Major Leagues never quite happened.
Nothing in a person’s life should be more personal, more individually crafted, than his or her religious or spiritual beliefs. Thomas Moore advocates a sort of theoretical approach to religion – bringing together facets of multiple faiths and adopting various principles from across the religious plane. I think he’s on to something – I’ve always felt religion should be about acceptance and personal growth. Now I’ve got Tom to back me up. A profoundly humbling and enlightening read.
It’s funny to think of our most famed and revered literary characters as having come from anywhere but the grand imaginations of our most famous authors. But, as Thomas Goetz makes obvious, such is not always the case (thank goodness). Were it not for the seemingly sloppy science behind the discovery and treatment of the tuberculosis bacteria, one Sherlock Holmes may never have entered the literary cannon. And then Robert Downey, Jr. (whom I also want to be) would never have gotten to play him in those awesome movies – and we’d all be a little bit less complete because of it.
We’ve all been there – faced with a question you don’t know the answer to, you feign knowledge and familiarity. Sometimes I feel like I got a degree in that – I got really good at sounding smart by saying pretty much nothing as an undergrad. We’re scared to not know things, scared we might look incompetent or stupid. In this short volume, Leah Cohen explains why we’re afraid of the things we don’t know and in turn shows us why we shouldn’t be. Being able to say “I don’t know” can be incredibly liberating and empowering. After all, doesn’t the unknown lie at the heart of all discovery?
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