Galaxy of Thoughts

Mental journies shuttling between utopia, dystopia and bordering paranoia.

28 Feb 2020

February Reading List

February has been an interesting month, it was the month of the palindrome date 02/20/2020, full blown worry about probable emminent epidemic corona virus named covId-19 among other global phenomena.

My reading list for the month was intriging mainly taking through the journey of discrimination, racism, facism and global geography.

I was able to read 3 books namely:

No. Book Author
1. To Kill a mocking bird Harper Lee
2. Prisoners of Geography Tim Marshall
3. The tattooist of Auschwitz Heather Morris
4. Never Split the Difference Christopher Voss

1. To Kill a mocking bird

Setting of Killing the mocking bird is 1930’s down south America, small town in Alabama. Normal rumblings of typical small towns back then, struggling families former larger land owners, third generation slave owners. New settlements of new people around the area from different parts of the world.

Narration from a young sort of rebel girl’s view point of the town, different social dynamics cutting around. Jen’s Attiksons father is of a different breed of town folks, very liberal in both thoughts and raising his kids a lone having been widowed for a while. Mr. Attikson being a lawyer also adds up to his very opinionated laid back and very thoughtful. The author takes time to showcase the different divides within white household families and also the divide between the races. Both from a social and economical point of view.

Which leads to the main story, conviction of a black man accused of raping a white lady. This tears down the Attiksons with the towns folks who are thirsty for blood of Mr. Thompson. The case proceedings in court seemed to favor Mr. Thompson the accused with all evidence pointing to his acquital only for the jury to find him guilty and given a jail term. Eventually this leds to his suicide, this changes the Attiksons family the towns people and the narrator herself Jen. Coincidentally February is black history month. Very intriging read, nice narrative flow perfect and easy to understand.

2. Prisoners of Geography

Geography’s impact on current world order plays considerably crucial place. Focus on ten main geographical landmass others made up of a single country and others continents.

  • Russia
  • China
  • United States
  • Western Europe
  • United Kingdom
  • Africa
  • The middle east
  • India and Pakistan
  • Korea and Japan
  • Latin America
  • Arctic

Geography affects relations of countries and region, exacerbated by resources for wealth creation and further more for defense and war. Be it you are behind a massive natural wall like the Himalayas separating the China and India or you are divided at the upper stream of a non navigable water way that impedes trade and commerce.

Interests are being safe guarded, trade routes protected, future allies are being created while past history is still the proverbial thorn in the flesh for most countries. Super powers are realigning now more than ever security and threat is being hightened all over, with more millitary installments being done in other countries far from mother country. Overtly shifts are happening, more movement increased tensions, alliegience realignment. New territorial disputes for example in the artic which was not a sour thump few centuries ago. Resource being exploited and traded globally determines your control of the world market for example russian powering most nordic and extreme eastern europe countries makes them have somewhat symbiotic understanding.

Dynamism in international diplomacy relations doesn’t make it easy to predict but for sure we are able to hypothesis.

Technological disruption is breaking barriers that geography imposed, were it would take days crossing seas and oceans now is taking hours using aircraft. Wars that needed foot soldiers now only require drones being operated by joysticks thousands of kilo meters away.

3. The tattooist of Auschwitz

Touching read from one of the worst past human history in the 20th century, during the period of 1940 and 1944. When the Nazis started rounding up Jews from across most of eastern Europe taking them to concentration camps.

To be honest when I first got the book I thought it would be the likes of the much reclaimed movie Escape from Sobibor. Shock on me yes it had the sorry state of affairs in the concentration camps but the book had a story of love of hope and belief. The tryst forcing all manner of mischievous events ubiquitously cannot go unnoticed.

This is a biography with a sweet, bitter, sad twist of love and fate. As shared to the author the first account of the victim who happened to be in the concentration camp himself a prisoner.

Being multilingual and shrewd he was able to secure himself at least some meaningful nontrecherous hard labor work like the rest of the prisoners. Though not really any better he was in the front line receiving new prisoners and inking them their new identification a number tattooed to the hand. Thus losing all their identity and only now being known by their number.

Within this process he meets new female prisoner and falls head over heels. Though in sordid conditions, he strives to make best to make his lover comfortable despite the appalling situation. Going through the ravenous, murderous scorn of camp guards and officials. A tale of perseverance determination and hope for a better future the strive and will to live.

4. Never Split the Difference

Former FBI lead negogiator takes us through the nitty grittys of what it takes to be a good negotiator. Encouraging everyone that it is not to be afraid but to be enjoyed and experienced. Mentioning that you value what you negotiated for rather than one you did not. As per the title his emphasis is never take divided(split) the difference between your proposed amount and the other parties sides amount. It is a game that we need to play and should not lead to a win win situation for both of you but a win for you.

He shares insights accrued from the years in the FBI from a street beat cop, to discourse and engagements he has had with technocrats professors from the ivy league universities. His approach is from experience rather than theoretical rhetorics. He mentions the various hostage, terrorist and hijackings he has had to handle. Not the one to shy away from his failures in equal measure to the successes he managed. He draws critical lessons from both.

Negotiating is happening everywhere all the time. Key takeouts we should strive to get the subtle non verbal cues being shared, understand the underlying cultural personal influences of the other parties. Take your time always there is not rush when negotiating it buys you time to understand the other party. Earning you leverage. Mirroring whatever question or response that is given, makes the other party either correct their position or feel you understand them. Question always where is is not clear with words like “How am I going to achieve that”, “How will that be even be possible”. This makes the other party rethink for you.

This is one of the reads that should not be read once but repeated severally. All this methods cannot be practiced immediately but you can use one and adopt the other. You get to learn the Black Swan strategy.