i’ve put in a lot of airmiles on this trip thus far, and beside some lousy inflight movies, a few hilarious episodes of 30 Rock, and some cramped calf muscles, i’ve read a few good books:

A Whole New Mind: Why Right- Brainers Will Rule the Future, Daniel H. Pink.

There’s a lot of reasons to like this book.  Among them is the handy list of practical activities or exercise to flex the right brain.  Pink looks at why the Right brain and high touch skills are needed, and just how we got to this point in the West.  He emphasizes Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, Meaning – six essential abilities necessary to thriving today.  And you have Abundance, Automation, and Asia to thank for that, people.

Flickering Pixels, Shane Hipps.

I like the premise of the book and was really interested in Hipps’ examination of how media has changed over time and how it has, in turn, shaped culture, the way we think, and even how our brains work.  He depends a lot – almost exclusively – on Marshall McLuhan, the famous Canadian most known in pop-culture for his “medium is the message.”  I tracked with Hipps and especially appreciated his inclusion of a certain Mennonite denominations conflict-resolution commitment, their process of how to disagree in love.  Ultimately, Hipps is making the point that as the church we are a main medium God uses to communicate his love to the world, and therefore who we are, what we do, and what we look like is the message.  Where I feel a bit fuzzy (and I don’t think it’s for a lack of reading carefully) and ultimately not convinced, is with Hipps’ argument that the message of the Gospel, though unchanging, changes and evolves (which as an argument logically parallels his examination of media). The lone example Hipps uses to flesh out his point is the evolution of the focus of grace in the OT to pronouncement of judgment by the prophets in Israel’s history, something I consider to be the double edged sword of the Gospel.  [If anyone out there has read this book and disagrees or not, I’d love to hear your thoughts and to further discuss the book… am I missing something?]

A Most Wanted Man, John le Carre.

My first experience reading le Carre (and not my last A) because I enjoyed the book and B) my nephew Pierson bought me The Mission Song for my birthday (which is waiting on my shelf at home to read).  I’ve gotta say, it’s nice to read a thriller now and then, something I rarely do.  Nice to read a book to have a romp of a story.  And this one was engaging.  A story about an illegal immigrant caught up in the anxious and complicated world of post-9/11 espiocracy.  The book was like the action-adventure version of Robert Baer’s See No Evil, the book about espionage and the mid-East the movie Syriana was based on. And it leaves you to feel that way at the end, asking questions about who the bad guy really are and if true justice is possible when it’s left in the hands of faulted men with their own agendas (hmm… did I just answer my own question?)