Monday, March 30, 2009

Time Magazine - Apr 6 Issue

There was a hodgepodge of insightful stuff from the latest issue of Time Magazine... some grouped together and some that might call for further reading.

In the grouped together category, two different commentaries had interesting views of President Barack Obama. In his "Obamathon: Is the President Overexposed?" piece, Time media writer James Poniewozik examined the recent flurry of media appearances by Obama... and resulting questions about whether it was too much.

The conclusion drawn (which is both logical and insightful) is that it's not excessive given the fragmented media culture in which we live and people's propensity to get their news information in snippets and soundbites. Obama is simply communicating to people how they want to be communicated with... meaning you gotta take all different approaches to reach all different people.

Also about President Obama, Joe Klein's "In the Arena" column discusses in detail a recent book titled "Power Rules" from former president of the Council of Foreign Relations Leslie H. Gelb. The title Gelb held doesn't mean much to me, but the book and it's views of power and diplomacy (a balancing act to be sure that we all hope Obama can master) sound fascinating.

Now that the stories with similar topics have been covered, it's on the two other stories I found of note from this issue (both of which follow Klein's example and make me interested in further reading)...

It's a fairly long piece, but the cover story by historian Kurt Andersen titled "The End of Excess: Is This Crisis Good for America?" is a compelling read that looks at America in each of the last few decades and how things led up to the economic collapse of the past six months. Beyond this, the piece examines the path forward and the positives that can be taken from this experience. Excellent writing contained within and it made me interested in Andersen's critically acclaimed historical novel "Heyday" about mid-19th century America.

The fourth story from this issue of Time that struck me was a short work titled "A Primer for Pessimists" by Alice Park. There's nothing earth-shattering in it, but it does contain the oft-stated notion that optimism can lead to greater success... and can be developed. Contained with the article is reference to two different books (both of which sound interesting) by Harvard Professor Tal Ben-Shahar... "Happier" and "The Pursuit of Perfect".

So... lots of stuff from this issue of Time, but it wouldn't be that hard to attach a story arc to it all. There's a crisis (Andersen), but we can come out of it (Andersen and Park). While we're doing that, we have to keep the world safe (Klein) and make sure people support how we're doing it (Poniewozik).

Geesh, couple of things to take care of there. Can't wait to see what Obama is going to do after lunch... ;)