Category Archives: Book Reviews

Current Reading I

For as long as I can remember, I’ve kept several books going at one time on my reading list.  Actually, it’s not really a list, it’s more like a pile or several piles stacked here and there around my house.  At any given time, there might be three or four stacked on the back of my toilet.  Several on my night stand, a handful in my briefcase, and a few even on the kitchen counter.  Here’s what I seem to have going right now:

  • Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner (2008).  His five minds are the disciplined mind, the synthesizing mind, the creating mind, the respectful mind, and the ethical mind. Continue reading →

Empire of Illusion

Review of Chris Hedges, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (Nation Books, 2009).

This book is not a happy read.  I did know the job was dangerous when I took it; Empire of Illusion is not a positive-sounding title.  It speaks of something wrong.  It doesn’t praise, it warns.   The gist of Hedges’s message is that Americans have been largely diverted from literacy by what he calls spectacle: the replacement of words and ideas by images and mirages. In the previous literate society, people kept informed by reading books, newspapers, and magazines–that is, words–and they were not as easily influenced by images and spectacle. “Looks” didn’t mean so much, words and deeds were what mattered most. That reality, one of the great progressive developments of the modern era, is now endangered by the decline of literacy. Continue reading →