Friday, September 14, 2007

NEVER HAVE YOUR DOG STUFFED by Alan Alda (A Book Review)

Stuck in yet another airport and complaining to my wife on the cell, she wisely recommended that I go buy something to read to pass the time. Staring at a thousand titles, I saw Alan Alda plaintively looking back at me and couldn't resist. Unfortunately I had time to read the whole thing before I hit the runway back home.

Celebrities are so often a fascinating mix of ambition and insecurity, and Alda obliges. His stories had me laughing so hard I had to move away from the guy sitting next to me in gate E31 whose seat I kept shaking. His second glare sent me to a more remote location. Alda is a great storyteller, setting the scene, getting to the funny part quickly, and moving on. He doesn't dish any dirt and you feel like he left a lot out, but it's a great way to pass a few hours. There are laughs and lessons but he doesn't beat you over the head or ask too much.

My biggest takeaway was this: The following night I was in class and we did an exercise identifying things that fill our tanks and things that drain our tanks. I listed four or five things in each column--for example, reading something interesting fills my tank, listening to blowhards or sitting in airports drains it. The point of the exercise was to start recognizing when something is draining your tank and turn your attention to something that will fill it. My wife had applied the lesson for me before I even encountered it, and now I will know what to do the next time they start posting travel delays. Sometimes it takes someone else to point out the obvious.

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