I finished Stopping the Noise in Your Head
. Predictably, there wasn’t the pat, this is how it all works type-ending. The ultimate suggestion was just to tell yourself to worry less, but with some good tactics to make it happen. Basically, you force yourself to do the thing that makes you anxious, accept that bad things may happen, and then practices it over and over.
Still, the encouragement to just stop worrying and try things out is probably good. What’s missing is how to recover when things go wrong. The suggestion, I guess, is to just try it again.
I like this framing from The Daily Stoic
better, and it’s shorter than a book:
By seeing each day and each situation as a kind of training exercise, the stakes suddenly become a lot lower.“
I’m learning. My sparring partner is learning too. This is practice for both of us—that’s all. I know a bit more about him or her, and from my reaction, they’re going to learn a little bit more about me too.
Everyone’s just figuring it out. (But again, it’s recovering and resilience that matter.)
Meanwhile, the opposite of all that is Fear
. I got this as an audio book and with a trip this week, I could make time to listen to it all. There’s something entertaining about reading political books like this, but I’m starting to think they’re empty calories, at least for me. I could just have easily listened to podcast coverage and summaries of the book. The ultimate points are that Trump doesn’t have much of the basic skills and knowledge for his job, can’t seem to learn them, and has a staff that sandbag.
The scope of the book is small, driven by what the sources talked to Woodward about
. There’s very little domestic coverage and most of the focus is on North Korea and trade. There’s little "policy.” The most interesting part is the beginning when Steve Bannon is still around. His outlandish character sticks out and you get a peak into whatever worldview is driving Trump-land.
The book is a series of mostly unconnected vignettes, which is fine. There’s a North Korea narrative throughout, and at the end a long narrative on Trump’s dancing around with Mueller’s investigation - all told, we have to assume, through the eyes and mouth of one of his lawyers. There’s a pretty good, solid analysis to this section: Trump a habitual lier, or, more vaguely, will just say whatever fits the moment.
The title of the book comes from a Trump comment about the trust nature of power and politics, but a more accurate title would be Incompetence, or simply Idiot.
In the not-non-fiction category, I’m still picking away at Sharp Objects
. Here’s my latest highlight: “The girl, whose face matched the pies revolving in the case behind her, didn’t seem to notice me hovering.”