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thu - The Tools posted: Thu 2018-05-24 05:02:50 tags: books, unfinished
Goodreads tracks my Kindle activity and emails me when I finish a book. Hint: they want you to submit free content, aka a review, on their site. Turns out the email is personally useful to me though, because I do want to say something about Stutz + Michels's "The Tools" (here, not on Goodreads) and procrastinating on that is last thing between me and Inbox Zero this morning.

NYT: The Tools as it applies to writers
Take-aways: Joseph Campbell, Robert McKee’s "Story" and Twyla Tharp’s "Creative Habit" are "rare essential works on the [screen]writer's bookshelf". The NYT writer seems miffed that Stutz+Michels didn't focus more titghtly on writer's block, but alas, they deemed their Tools useful to a wider audience so now they get ridiculed

Self-help books can have a denouement and anticlimax too. "The Tools" devolves toward the end into an eerily earnest manifesto about living out the techniques as spiritual values. Where it attempts to be accessible by not shying away from vulgarity, it comes across instead as naive and maybe a bit obtuse. But The Tools themselves each and collectively make some kind of sense, and sincerely invite us to apply them. As Paul (kind of) said, "test all things and hold fast to what works". If you read between the lines of that eerily earnest narrative you may get the sense that the authors discarded any "data" (in "quotes" because the plural of "anecdote" is not "that") that didn't fit the narrative, but in the end it's down-to-earth enough that we come away feeling like - through thoughtful application, I could probably troubleshoot any understated cracks in their foundation. So why not give The Tools a try?

The Tools in short
In their experience as shrinks, the authors developed 5 cognitive practices, mental katas if you will, to overcome common self-defeatist problems. "Reversal of desire" combats ingrained reluctance to face hurdles and tackle gruntwork head-on. "Active love" _. "Inner authority" combats self-doubt and paralysis-by-overanalysis. "Grateful flow" _. "Jeopardy" uses the knowledge of mortality to enhance drive through a sense of meaning, importance and urgency.

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The movie du jour was "I Am Another You", which starts out as a movie about a charismatic drifter but unfolds into a glimpse of what this particular case of schizophrenia is like from the sufferer's perspective. Dylan on one hand acknowledges these things he hears, that no one else can hear, aren't "real" - but on the other, he states a belief that he and people like him are specially "attuned" to mystic phenomena in the "ether". So he attributes neural chatter to some objective, external reality. And of course he does, if it was so easy to identify it as a product of his own brain, then the brain would be well on its way to tuning it out.