December 6th, 2011

planet

Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World [Lisa Bloom]

"Think" is a wonderful book. Like, truly wonderful. I am yammering on about it to everyone I see, and I think I'm going to hostile takeover my book club's 2012 list to get it on there.

The gist is:

1) There are big, often terrible, things going on in the world.
2) But we're busy reading celebrity tabloids and getting our hair done.

It opens with a line about the disturbingly large percentage of women who'd rather win "Next Top Model" than a Nobel prize, then continues on to talk about how the world could be different if we cherished our brains a little more. Really celebrated thinking. We could cure disease, save trafficked women, feed hungry kids. Every year, we as a society freak the hell out about some missing cute white child and call for CHANGE. What would happen if we looked at the problem of missing children analytically, and really did call for change? What if we cared about kids on the other side of the globe, too?

There is some celeb news in the book... Bloom goes on for several pages about Angelina Jolie, someone who's in the news, it feels like, way too much. But it turns out, she's just not in the news about the things she should be in the news for. She's donated millions to charities, has her own foundation, she's visited refugee camps in awful places, she's a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees... not an empty title! But who knows about that? The only thing every American definitely knows about Angelina is that she may or may not be fighting with Jennifer Aniston again over Brad Pitt ohh nooo!

Because in this society, it doesn't matter if you're a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. The only things that matter are:

1) Are you pregnant?
2) Are you getting married?
3) Are your boobs real?

We should be so much more insulted by the dumbing down of the America. We should be fighting it, connecting with each other. When we meet a little girl, the go-to conversation starter is always "your dress is so pretty!" Why not say, "I bet you like to read, what are you reading?"

This book isn't all about the world's problems, it's about the world's solutions, and the author's amazing family (Gloria Allred is her mother!), how to save time in your life so you can make time for deeper intellectual pursuit. I finished it feeling totally happy for the world, not to mention proud to be a smart woman who reads, writes, stays down to earth, and donates a little to charity. Plus, it gave me a lot more suggestions for my reading list, because reading is so key! There's no better way to inform yourself on a topic and get the whole story, so many things just cannot be taken down to a sound bite. People who read are healthier, happier, get more done... it just makes you a better person.

This book totally made my week, people, maybe even my year, you have to pick it up.