Catching Up

 Posted by on 23 August 2002 at 11:19 am  Uncategorized
Aug 232002

Yeah, yeah, I know that I’ve been gone from the blogging scene for far too long. I’ve been busy trying to realistically map out my projects for the next year in MS Project, preparing for the start of graduate school (in philosophy at CU Boulder), and so on. Later today, I’m flying out to Vegas for the weekend for Front Sight’s Ambassador Program.

Today, I’ve been trying to catch up with my overdue book reviews. Here are three — with more to come (hopefully) next week.

Time Management for Unmanageable People by Ann McGee-Cooper

Looking at the trees, Time Management for Unmanageable People was a jargon-laden, philosophically confused waste of time. But the forest wasn’t so bad. The basic premise, that time management advice is too often useless and even harmful when applied to creatively disorganized people, seems sound. The book primarily functions as an alternative guide to time management for the creatively disorganized, discussing both why traditional techniques fail and suggesting some alternative methods. Unfortunately, both the theory and practice of the book tended to be shallow at best. So the primary virtue of this book certainly lies in its basic approach to the subject of time management: individual people need to find methods of time management that suit their unique strengths and help them overcome their weaknesses.

A History of Freedom by J. Rufus Fears

I bought the 18 tape / 36 lecture set A History of Freedom expecting a survey of the critical ideas and moments in the history of freedom. I was more than disappointed in a number of ways. First, Fears routinely focuses on the significant political institutions and leaders in history, while ignoring the critical ideas that shaped those institutions and leaders. (So, for example, there is no discussion of either the Enlightenment or Judaism.) Although I disagree with that approach to history, it was tolerable. Second, and much more seriously, Fears’ understanding of freedom was nothing short of a bizarre conglomeration of contradictory ideas. Everything from freedom to do as one pleases, collective self-determination, positive rights to goods, and Christian freedom from this earthly life were included in his conception of freedom. (It’s as if anything ever called freedom counted as freedom for Fears.) But the strangeness did not end there. He treated Adam Smith as some sort of totalitarian, Marxism as scientific, and FDR as a great hero of freedom. Additionally, unlike Alan Kors’ tapes on the Enlightenment, Fears provided few references or facts to back up his claims, which I’m sure were often wrong. Oh, and one last dig: Fears speaks like a cross between a southern James T. Kirk and Troy McClure from The Simpsons. In short, these lectures were a waste of time and money.

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