Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Two Patron Reviews, Same Low Price

Eleanor Roosevelt - PBS Home Video

This was a wonderfully captivating, stimulating and engaging video about the life of a woman who was hands down, the most extraordinary first lady we have ever had. Regardless of where on the political spectrum the viewer sits, or whether or not you agree with the policies she supported, you cannot help but be awed by Eleanor's dedication, energy, caring and intelligence.

Through news and original footage from her life, excerpts from journals, and interviews with her living relatives, and historians, this DVD takes you on a remarkable journey that left me feeling like I actually knew Eleanor. Beginning with her dysfunctional early childhood, and becoming orphaned after her father drinks himself to death and her mother dies suddenly of Diptheria, you come to understand her and gain insight into the time period as well. An average human living her early life, might have spent the rest of their life in therapy trying to overcome their demons -- the fact that she managed to extract so much value from the opportunities she did have, and then do her best to give back to others is inspiring beyond words. Then to see how she was betrayed by some of those closest to her -- yet never succumbed to bitterness or revenge make her a very important role model for all of us. Eleanor Roosevelt's life is something I will always be able to look to for inspiration and to see the very best of what humanity can be.

I have been so moved by the experience of watching of this video, and think that it was so well done, I hope that everyone can view this. Eleanor Roosevelt sits alongside, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Fredrick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln Albert Schweitzer, and Lucretia Mott as one of the most extraordinary, gifted and compassionate humans who ever lived. We all get pulled up a notch just by learning about the life of someone like this.

Watch this video for your own benefit, then share it with your children, grandchildren and friends for their enrichment as well.

The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doige

People often lament, that as we struggle with how to create the best life that we can, it's too bad that we don't come with some sort of operating instructions. Well, this book, may in fact be the best "operating instructions" for how to make the most of our brain that I have yet seen.

Using a variety of stories about real people with particular challenges, the author makes this material very interesting and easy to read. The value of the book however, is how he weaves into his narrative, the latest discoveries of neuroscience, and shows you their direct applications, to every single one of us. Whether you are a student hoping to up your test scores, a parent wanting to be a better mentor for your children, or to help a learning disabled child, or an aging person, wanting to maintain or improve your mental functionality, this book is packed with provocative, cutting edge, and immediately usable information. I especially loved the explanations about how the brain actually rewires iteslf in response to our daily activities and choices -- and the implications of this for ourselves and our culture as a whole in light of the increased use of electronic devices. I hope that teachers everywhere, are shown this information about this cutting edge research and e xplain it to their students -- who may already be reforming their brains in ways that make them more vulnerable to things like addictive gaming, violence and porn.

The only thing that I really did not like about this book, is the author's obvious bias in favor of vivisection. He seems to go out of his way, to try to influence the reader to share his belief that without animal testing, we would not have been able to learn what we now know, and many more people would have been worse off. Yet I could not help but notice, that his own dialogue, clearly demonstrates that these same advances were in fact confirmed by real-life attempts to help stroke victims, and people born with specific brain impairments. It was very apparent to me, that simply by attempting to help people with disabilities, we are capable of making exactly the same discoveries, and how much nicer it is to help others while still being able to exemplify the best of humanity instead of the worst.

JoAnn F

1 comment:

Tricia K. said...

I am very intrigued by your recommendation of "The brain that changes itself". Will definitely put it on my 'to read list'.