This is a book that you probably don’t want to see. Yet, plenty have, as it has become a New York Times best-seller since its initial distribution in October, 2014. Even today, it remains at #39 on the Amazon.com best-seller list.
Marie Kondo wrote The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Ten Speed Press). This is actually her third book on organizing.
Who is Marie Kondo? The London Times described her as “Japan’s preeminent guru of tidiness, a warrior princess in the war on clutter.” Her actual business is as a consultant in Tokyo, assisting clients to change the look and feel of their homes and offices.
How many books on clutter have you seen become a television drama? It happened for this one on Japanese television. Articles have appeared about her in the Wall Street Journal, Red, You, New York Times, USA Today, NPR’s Here & Now, Slate, and Family Circle. Her method of organizing is known as the KonMari method, and consists of gathering together everything you own and then keeping only those things which “spark joy”, and choosing a place for everything from then on.
These are the key five tips from her book that appear in today’s Wall Street Journal. You can read the entire article by clicking here. These tips are called “How to Kondo.”
- Tidy by category: Clothes first, then books, papers, miscellany and sentimental items.
- Don’t foist your unwanted stuff on family members who might take it out of guilt. Give it to charity.
- There is nothing more annoying than papers.’ Throw them all away, unless they are absolutely necessary.
- Forget fancy storage containers. Drawers and shoeboxes often suffice.
- Avoid piles. Tip items up on their sides and store them next to each other, rather than stacking them. (p. D2)
You can rest assured we won’t present this one at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas. The guilt might be overwhelming. I read this response from Mrs. Paul Iverson online: “It’s sad to think that we need a book to tell us it’s okay to be neat, clean and tidy. To discard stuff that we don’t need, never should have bought in the first place, or is broken! I guess this is good for anyone that didn’t learn it at a young age!”
I just finished this wonderful book by Kati Marton. Marton was an NPR and ABC news correspondent, who was widowed twice. Her first marriage was to ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, with whom she had two children. Her second was to Richard Holbrooke, who at the time of his death was the Obama administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. I was turned on to this book when I read her newest one entitled Paris: A Love Story (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012).
This book centers upon Budapest, Hungary, which is her native country. She dedicates it to her parents, who were both journalists in the World Wars and beyond.
The nine Jews the book features are:
four scientists – Edward Teller, John von Neumann, Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner
two motion picture directors and producers – Michael Curtiz, Alexandra Korda
two photographers – Robert Capa, Andre Kertesz
one writer – Arthur Koestler
The stories of all nine are brought to life as I have previously never experienced it. The book is non-fiction, of course, but it is almost novel-like in its appearance and presentation. For example, Capa was known as the greatest war photographer of all time. He was the first photographer to go ashore at D-Day in Normandy. Curtiz directed Casablanca, which Marton says “is still the most popular, the most familiar,. the most discused, and the most dissected romantic film in history” (p. 145). Koestler wrote Darkness at Noon, which “is the story of the first half of the century, in which the old institutions – social, economic, and spiritual – have broken down” (p. 135), and was the most important anticommunist novel ever written. All four scientists discussed in the book were heavily involved in either advances toward the computer age or the nuclear age, where progress in both were deeply entrenched in politics and personal and professional jealousies.
We can’t do this one at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas. It is too old, and it is not an exclusive business book. So, it does not fit our current context. But that shouldn’t stop you from reading it.
First, however, you have to find it. Unfortunately, the book is out of print. To obtain it, you must visit secondary sellers. But, if you look hard enough, you will find it and be rewarded with an amazingly readable and exciting work.
I waited all weekend for it, and it finally came on Sunday morning. It was my most vivid Daniel Schorr memory.
Though he started his broadcast career when I was two years old, and I knew of his CBS career (especially the moment when he discovered, and read aloud in the midst of a broadcast, his own name on Richard Nixon’s enemies list), and I knew something of the controversy during his CNN says, I knew him most in his later years on NPR. His death was sad… there is simply no one else anywhere who brought the decades long context to his news reporting.
But it was one segment that I most vividly remember. It aired in some very dark days of job loss in July, 2008. The report included this paragraph:
Hard times may not be the most obvious topic for a joyous Independence Day Weekend. But with payrolls down another 62,000 in June and President Bush going to Japan to brood about economic conditions with others of the G-8 industrial powers, I have found myself reflecting on the recession – no, Depression, that I experienced in my youth.
At the end of the segment, he sang two verses of the depression-era song “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime.”
SCHORR: There’s one song over this three-quarters of a century that I can still remember from memory.
LIANE HANSEN: Really?
HANSEN: Which one?
Once I built a railroad, I made it run, made it race against time.
Once I built a railroad; now it’s done. Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once I built a tower, up to the sun, brick, and rivet, and lime;
Once I built a tower, now it’s done. Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum,
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell,
And I was the kid with the drum!
Say, don’t you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time.
Why don’t you remember, I’m your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?
Liane Hanson re-played the segment on Sunday morning, in one of many remembrances of Daniel Schorr over the weekend on NPR. It captures the anxiety of that era, and this, so vividly….
Daniel Pink, author of Free Agent Nation (which I have read and presented), A Whole New Mind (which I have read) and his new book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (which I am reading, and will present), is speaking in Dallas tonight. I plan to attend, so I thought I would read up a little on him.
Here are two items, unrelated to each other, from his blog:
Item #1: A credo from Harrison Ford (from an interview in Parade):
“When I was a carpenter, I once worked with this Russian lady architect. I would tell her, ‘Look, I’m terribly sorry, but I want to change that a half inch,’ and she would say, ‘No limit for better.’ I think that is a worthy credo. You keep on going until you get it as close to being right as the time and patience of others will allow.”
No limit for better. Good advice for a Monday.
Item #2: And a reminder of the great value of conversations on NPR (including our local Think host, Krys Boyd):
The way ideas spread is pretty simple: Conversation by conversation. One engaged person talks with another engaged person — and out of that daisy chain of human interactions come new ways to navigate our lives.
One of the best and most enduring forums for conversation is public radio. And in the past week, I’ve had the good fortune to talk about the ideas in Drive with several National Public Radio journalists. Here’s a sampler:
1. Morning Edition. A talk with Madeline Brand.
2. Talk of the Nation. Host Neal Conan invited listeners to tell their stories about motivation at work — which brought forth examples of the very good and the very bad.
3. Local programs. Some of the best journalism in this country goes on at the local level. Visiting with hosts like Washington’s Kojo Nnamdi, Philadelphia’s Marty Moss-Coane, Dallas’s Krys Boyd, and the Twin Cities’ Kerri Miller, I learned a lot about both the possibilities and limits of these ideas.
If, er, you’d like to join the conversation, please do…’
Daniel Pink – a name to add to your “ I should read his books” list. And now, now that I’ve discovered it, I have to add his blog to my reading list. So many books; so many blogs; so little time…