What I’ve been reading: January, 2024

  • Zonal Marking: From Ajax to Zidane, the Making of Modern Soccer

    Great book for someone looking to understand soccer if you didn’t grow up in Europe and weren’t taught how it should be played or coached. Better than Inverting the Pyramid.
    (tags: soccer coaching sports strategy tactics world-cup european-football catenaccio tactical-periodisation )

  • A Fine Line: Searching for Balance Among Mountains
    Inspiring book, relevant quotes:
    • Page 12: "As it crashes out of high peaks, it also draws a line of demarcation between the two highest mountain ranges on the planet – the Himalaya to the south and the Karakoram to the north. In find them to be the most imposing and splendid results of the natural processes taking place on planet Earth. In a life in which I have never, in the traditional sense, found God, these are places that, for me, represent the holy."
    • Page 63: "Kaj explained that, for years, he had been operating under what he described as the 100 year plan. The idea was that any decision made in the mountains was placed against his overarching goal to live to be a centenarian."

    (tags: mountaineering exploration adventure mindfulness perseverance personal-growth alpinism )

  • The Anthropocene Reviewed
    Recommended by Clayton from work. Sounded fun.. and was fun. Apparently John Green is big with the kids these days because of his YouTube work, this book of essays was easy to digest and made me think. Quotes:
    • Page 110: On the Penguins of Madagascar movie: ".. I also love it because it captures, and makes the gentlest possible fun of, something about myself I find deeply troubling. Like the adult penguin who stays in line and announces, "I question nothing,", I mostly follow the rules. I mostly try to act like everyone else is acting, even as we all approach the precipice. We imagine other animals as being without consciousness, mindlessly following the leader to they-know-not-where, but in that construction, we sometimes forget that we are also animals."
    • Page 128: On news: "The word news tells a secret on itself, though: what’s news isn’t primarily what is noteworthy or important, but what is new. So much of what actually changes in human life isn’t driven by events, but instead by processes, which often aren’t considered news. We don’t see much about climate change on CNN, unless a new report is published, nor do we see regular coverage of ongoing crises, like child mortality or poverty."
    • Page 132: on CNN: "Good journalism seeks to correct for those biases, to help us toward a deeper understanding of the universe and our place in it. But when we can’t read the writing on the plywood but still think we know what it says, we are spreading ignorance and bigotry, not the peach and friendship Turner promised."
    • Page 176: "There are so many problems with Monopoly, but maybe the reason the game has persisted for so long – it has been one of the world’s bestselling board games for over eighty years – is that it’s problems are our problems. Like life, Monopoly unfolds very slowly at first, and then becomes distressingly fast at the end. Like life, people find meaning in its outcomes even though the game is rigged toward the rich and the privileged, an insofar as it isn’t rigged, it’s random. And like life, your friends get mad if you take their money, and then no matter how rich you are, there’s an ever expanding void inside of you that money can never fill, but gripped by the madness of unregulated enterprise, you nonetheless believe that if you just get a couple more hotels or take from your friends their few remaining dollars, you will at least feel complete."
    • Page 264, on history and time: "And so, for me, it’s a picture about knowing and not knowing. You know you’re on your way to a dance, but don’t know you’re on your way to a war. The picture is a reminder that you never know what will happen to you, to your friends, to your nation. Philip Roth called history ‘the relentless unforeseen.’ He said that history is where ‘everything unexpected in its own time is chronicled on the page as inevitable.’ In the faces of these young farmers, we glimpse how profoundly unexpected the coming horror was. And that reminds us there is also a horizon that we cannot see past."

    (tags: history technology science culture society humanity non-fiction )

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