I’m on a non-fiction kick with my reading. Don’t know why; some glitch in my brain or something.

Anyway, I read The Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell (my new writer crush –wow!); that book about Chernobyl, a book about a woman who was in a Turkish prison because she bought some antique relic (redundant?) from a street vendor, and I’m working on a book about the hunt for Eichmann. I have Sarah Palin’s book waiting in the wings, which looks quite boring to me, but we’ll see.

This is what I’ve learned:

Gladwell:

1. IQ isn’t as important as heredity, the date of your birth, and the region of the country you’re from. Heredity, nurture, and the region of the country you’re from can contribute to having a high EQ (emotional quotient–or “play well with others” which allows you to navigate socially—and can instill a work ethic needed to succeed.

2. The Chinese aren’t necessarily better at math, numbers are easier and quicker to say in their language which makes computation easier.

3. Also, most Chinese immigrants are from the south of China, so more are rice farmers, who are the hardest working people on the planet.

4. Year round school is better for poor kids. Poor kids do just as well as rich kids in school, but during summer vacation, they aren’t as intellectually stimulated as rich kids who have more opportunities and more ambitious parents.

5. Language and cultural differences have contributed to a lot of airplane crashes.

6. Many people who say they are self-made aren’t actually self made at all; they’ve been fortunate in choosing good mentors, working their tails off, and having a good ancestral pool.

American woman in Turkish prison:

1. Don’t buy ANYTHING from anybody in Turkey

2. The American dollar (at least then) is worth a lot in Turkish money

3. Turkish women prisons are more lenient than American prisons; they don’t usually beat people up or force sexual favors on you.

4. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, if you can’t get along with people, you will be voted off the island. (I would have been thrown off the island in the first half hour)

Chernobyl:

1. The people who still live in Chernobyl live better than many Russians, even though they’re radioactive and might die earlier.

2. Life continues and thrives in a radioactive environment

3. Russians are resilient (maybe they can’t be killed)

4. Radiation is everywhere

So far, I’ve learned that Eichmann was born in Palestine and that the allies missed a lot of opportunities to hang him. And Sarah Palin has really good taste in eyewear.