The Curious Autodidact

November 17, 2014

Madoff: Too Big to Fail?

Filed under: book related,media related — Honilima @ 11:26 am


The inside story of Bernie Madoff and his $65 billion Ponzi scheme, with surprising and shocking new details from Madoff himself.

Perhaps the cooling off period has passed long enough ago you can read about Bernie Madoff without throwing down the periodical in utter disgust. I sought out a book to read about this after all the media coverage had died down, hoping enough time had passed that there would be a definitive look at this scandal.

My curiosity was again peeked when I read of Ruth and Bernie Madoff’s second son’s recent death from cancer. Their other son took his life. You no doubt know the outlines of this story of a $65M Ponzi scheme but not all the details nor how many people put all their eggs in ┬áthe Madoff basket and lost it all, wealthy people, not so wealthy people, charities, endowments, names your know many you do not. It is certainly a cautionary tale of how essential diversification is and how easy it is for people to fall under the spell of someone who seems so successful and sought after. I have since heard similar local stories including one from a fellow I met when trying to buy a dresser off Craig’s List, his parents and siblings had lost over 250K of their life savings investing with a guy he lead them too who was also running a shell game. It is everywhere.

I chose this book Wizard of Lies as it was well-lauded and written by NYT writer Diana Henriques. One thing that always fascinates me is the fall out on the family and friends when someone goes so off course when following their moral compass. What Ruth’s life is like now, with both of her offspring dead and her husband in jail? This is something most cannot feel empathy for but it must be a lonely life having fallen so far and viewed as a pariah by so many. How does one rebuild being in she shade of such lies and deception? What is Bernie’s life like knowing he will breath his last breath behind bars. Food for thought indeed.

November 6, 2014

Gone Feral: Tracking my Dad Through the Wild

Filed under: book related,media related,women heroes — Honilima @ 11:50 pm

To say that Novella Carpenter has had an unconventional life would be an understatement. She is an urban farmer in Oakland California and is quite the talented writer. Her book Gone Feral is about her search to find her father and to try to piece together why he had been so illusive in their lives and what that means to her as a woman hoping to begin her own family. She has a great writing style and her father loss is apparent as does her need to try to understand what would lead a man to abandon his wife and two young daughters.

Listen to her interview on KQED’s program Forum and then read her book and perhaps like me you will want to read her book about her urban farming.

May 10, 2014

Noble Laureate Wisdom

Filed under: helpful hints,Word Related — Honilima @ 1:57 pm

Molly the dog enjoying some rare spring sunshine

I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.

-Albert Schweitzer, philosopher, physician, musician, Nobel laureate (1875-1965)

March 10, 2014

Hawthorne on the Power of Words

Filed under: Word Related — Honilima @ 10:05 am

Watermark Handbound Books

Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.

-Nathaniel Hawthorne, writer (1804-1864)

February 10, 2014

The Wisdom of Edward Everett Hal

Filed under: helpful hints,Word Related — Honilima @ 1:56 pm

Calla Lillies

I am only one, / But still I am one. / I cannot do everything, / But still I can do something; / And because I cannot do everything, / I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

-Edward Everett Hale, author (1822-1909)

January 10, 2014

Wisdom of Arthur Schopenhauer

Filed under: Word Related — Honilima @ 2:48 pm

Arches at Lake Las Vegas, NV

Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.

Arthur Schopenhauer
German philosopher (1788 – 1860)

December 10, 2013

Changed Perspectives: Considering Points of View

Filed under: Word Related — Honilima @ 1:59 pm

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. -Harper Lee, writer (b. 1926)


Einstein’s Words Live On…

Filed under: end of life,helpful hints,Word Related — Honilima @ 10:08 am


Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life.

~Albert Einstein

November 10, 2013

Samuel Johnson’s Wisdom

Filed under: Uncategorized — Honilima @ 1:58 pm

Always, Sir, set a high value on spontaneous kindness.
He whose inclination prompts him to cultivate your friendship of his own accord,
will love you more than one whom you have been at pains to attach to you.

-Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784)


October 10, 2013

A Wise William James Quotation

Filed under: helpful hints,Word Related — Honilima @ 1:57 pm

Our lives are like islands in the sea, or like trees in the forest. The maple and the pine may whisper to each other with their leaves … But the trees also commingle their roots in the darkness underground, and the islands also hang together through the ocean’s bottom.

-William James, psychologist and philosopher (1842-1910)

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