Blurbs for the Brain

RIP Robert Fogel, Nobel Prize winner and revered professor at my grad school alma mater University of Chicago. In his most recent book published last year, Explaining Long-Term Trends in Health and Longevity, Fogel writes that the “abstention from caloric gluttony” increased the Japanese life expectancy by 13 years, whereas the “more gluttonous Americans” increased their life expectancy by only 7 years.

Study finds that consolidating your bank accounts leads to move savings.

There is building evidence that extreme sports (i.e., endurance running) are bad for you. An article in the WSJ states, “…recent studies suggest the significant mortality benefits of running may diminish or disappear at mileage exceeding 30 miles a week…yet sports-medicine specialists are sharply divided over whether any warning sign is warranted. For every American who exercises to extreme after all, there are thousands who don’t exercise at all.”

Interesting fact: Patty Hearst was a student at UC Berkeley when she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974.

According to a Kiplinger survey, SF is one of the most expensive U.S. cities. Ummm, no duh. Memphis is one of the least expensive. Never been. Should we all retire in Memphis?

Book Reviews: 3 for the Price of 1

No, I have not stopped reading. I still read a ton, but didn’t feel the urgent need to review my last 3 books since I can’t say I wholeheartedly recommend them.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson

This is the true story of William Dodd, an American Professor at the University of Chicago (shout out to my alma mater!) and chair of the history department, who becomes the ambassador to Germany during Hitler’s reign. He moves to Berlin with his wife, his grown son, and his daughter Martha in her mid-twenties who is a big time slut. Not sure how she got away with all of her affairs, being the daughter of a government official.

Larsen is a genius because he makes nonfiction read like thrilling fiction. The author scoured diaries, research papers, memoirs, letters, articles, you name it, to write his book. In fact, the last 50 pages is a list of his references and sources.

I enjoyed the beginning, then I got half-way through it and couldn’t pick it back up. I was also annoyed. The politicians knew what what was happening, but chose to ignore it. It was one big spooked society with no one brave enough to speak up.

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

This wasn’t bad. I liked some parts of it, other parts not so much. It’s about an orphan raised in Valparaiso Chile by a well-off family. She falls in love, gets pregnant, then boards a ship bound for San Francisco in search for her lover. Since Oprah picked this as one of her book club selections, you know there’s some kind of deeper meaning here. That deeper meaning centers around independence and female power bullshit. Call me a cynic, but I personally don’t feel you need to travel half-way across the world and put your life at risk to “find yourself” and have true meaning in life. Remaining where you are, being loyal to your family, taking care of your responsibilities (instead of putting yourself in a situation where your baby dies) sounds more like a true feminist to me!

Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant by Daniel Tammet

This guy is so genius that I can’t relate. Here’s an excerpt: When multiplying, I see the two numbers as distinct shapes. The image changes and a third emerges—the correct answer. The process takes a matter of seconds and happens spontaneously. It’s like doing math without having to think.

His stories just aren’t exciting and it’s one long detailed account of his life. I gave up after the first couple chapters, which I have to admit, I skimmed.

Warm Memories: Chicago GSB

A friend of mine (Life of the Party Gaurav) tagged me in an album of pictures Chicago Booth – Good Ol’ GSB Days. I’m only in one picture, but during this time of national grieving, going through each of his pictures filled me with such warmth.

No one seems to recall where we are or which event we’re enjoying. Goes to show how many parties we went to in business school. It ought to be considered a sin—having as much fun as we did. Do you ever hear people exclaim, “I had the best time of my life in law school,” or “OMIGOD, medical school was amazing!”

But that’s how it was at Chicago GSB. What irony because we are supposed to be the ultimate geeks. Look at this diverse group of hotties!

The above two pictures are Gaurav’s. Below are my own pictures I rummaged through and found on Shutterfly.

The Play Proof: Now Playing in SF

I’ve already tweeted this twice, but for those of you who don’t have Twitter, you must go see this play if you’re local.

The playwright is David Auburn, a University of Chicago grad, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2001 for the play. The same year, Proof won the Tony with the entire original Broadway cast earning Tony nominations. Mary-Louse Parker won for the main role.

We watched the play at a very small theater (maybe no more than 50 seats) located on the ground floor of a live-work building in Potrero Hill. The play is beautiful. The characters are touching and passionate. It’s must-see theater. I urge everyone to support local theater and watch this now. It’s playing for another couple weeks.

I can’t believe I paid only $28 to see such amazing theater. It doesn’t seem fair, which compels me to get the word out.

Info on the play Proof playing in SF


Power to the Middle Class

With all the ballyhoo going on with the Occupy movement, I honed in on an article in the University of Chicago magazine about the significant improvement in the lifestyle of the middle class and how that trend has been improving since the 1980s and that it continues its upward trajectory. You wouldn’t know it from all the negative press we’ve been reading.

Bruce Meyer, a professor at the Harris School of Public Policy, has proven the naysayers wrong. “The middle class is much better off than they were ten years ago, much better off than they were 30 years ago. That’s a message you don’t always hear.” According to his research, wages and consumption are both up over 50% between 1980 and 2009. That’s pretty impressive.

He adds, “We should be doing less hand wringing about the country falling apart. We should always be worried about our kids, but it doesn’t look like we’re going to leave them declining or worse living standards. We may leave them other problems, but this doesn’t look like it’s one of them.”

That’s something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving given that the price of turkey is up. Gobble, gobble.