Author • Speaker Summer 2008 Newsletter

Summer 2008 Newsletter

Hello Friends,

Have a wonderful summer! I’m just hanging out, doing more yoga, reading broadly, thinking less intensely, and eating more garden veggies. I have no big plans until fall when we fly to southern France to live on a canal boat for ten days. Talk about a simple way to travel. To read about canal trips throughout Europe, go to

Best Inspirational Films
Do you love Netflix as much as I do? I’ve even purchased stock in the company.
Once: A street musician in Dublin, Ireland, strikes up a friendship with a beautiful and feisty keyboardist. Over the course of one electric week, they compose, rehearse and record a series of songs that mirror the duo's burgeoning romance. The actors wrote the tunes and won an Oscar for best song.
Vitus: Young Vitus is a virtual genius and a prodigy at the piano. From an early age, his parents push him to succeed and live up to their ambitions for him. But as Vitus grows older, he decides on a different path, one that leads to an ordinary childhood. This film won the Swiss Film Prize for Best Film of 2007.
Transformation: The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard. In a rare in-depth interview, billionaire personal-growth mogul Werner Erhard reflects on the impact and controversies surrounding the “est” program. Vintage footage transports you inside the seminars. I once heard Werner say, “People say I’m against suffering. That’s not true. I’m against long suffering, I like short suffering.”

Best Mind-Expanding, Non-Fiction Books
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner. Many authors have attempted to describe what happiness is, but fewer have shown us where it is, why some places seem to be happier than others, and how changing your location can change your mood. Weiner travels to Holland, Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar, Iceland, Moldova, Thailand, Great Britain, and India in search of happiness. A hilarious and profound book.
The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow. A magnificent exploration of the role that chance plays in our lives. Smart and funny, this book challenges everything we think we know about how the world works.
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely. “This is going to be the most influential, talked-about book in years. It’s so full of dazzling insights that once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down,” said Daniel McFadden, 2000 Nobel Laureate in Economics, University of California at Berkeley.
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace, One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Relin. Dangerously ill, after he finished his unsuccessful climb of K2, the world’s second tallest mountain, Mortenson was sheltered for seven weeks by the small Pakistani village of Korphe. In return, he promised to build the impoverished town’s first school, a project that grew into the Central Asia Institute, which has since constructed more than 50 schools across rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. The authors say, “Education can overcome the despot leaders, dictators and clergy who use illiteracy to control poor societies.” My friend Theo says, “It’s the most inspirational book I’ve ever read.” My cousin Jan wrote: “Educating children, hungry for information, is the key to peaceful solutions to the world’s crises. We must act. Buy three copies of the book, donate one to a local library and send others on to friends.”

Should you try alternative healing folks and gizmos?
As someone who is simply making her best effort to be a rational human being,
I’m slow to endorse alternative healing remedies—and so are these guys:
Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine by Edzard Ernst, based at the University of Exeter, is the UK’s first professor of complementary medicine. “Many alternative practitioners develop an excellent relationship with their patients, and this helps maximize the placebo effect of otherwise useless treatments,” says Ernst.
Snake Oil Science: The Truth about Complementary and Alternative Medicine by R. Barker Bausell. A biostatistician and Senior Research Methodologist at the University of Maryland, Bausell looks at the alternative methods used by more than 36 percent of Americans to treat pain and illness. An overview.

The Scoop on Cow Poop
Meet the world’s top destroyer of the environment. It’s not the car, or the plane, or even George Bush: it’s the cow. Yikes, the emissions involved in cow production cause 1/5 of greenhouse gases. Japanese researchers found that raising one calf adds more than 10,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide to the atmosphere—the same amount as a road trip from Miami to Anchorage and back. And that’s before the meat gets transported from the ranch to your plate.

6 Tips for Creating Calmer Rooms
• Change loud primary colors into soft, dusty pastels and neutrals.
• Display large art objects and furniture pieces. No itsy-bitsy stuff.
• Remove over-stimulating images. How does your wall-art make you feel?
• Select curvy shapes over straight lines and pointy edges.
• Box-up memory-jogging knickknacks. Create a memory-free zone.
• Play soothing music CDs, like Enya and Deva Premal.

How often do you rethink your passions? Do you want to keep doing what you love to do and do well? Can expertise become a trap? Are there things you might enjoy doing but don’t because you’re too busy with the familiar, with doing what comes naturally, with basking in the warmth and coziness of your comfort zone? I’m rethinking my passions.

Cris Evatt

P.S. In summers past, my family spent two weeks at Dinkey Creek, located ten miles east of Shaver Lake in central California. I have many fond memories of this swimming hole, a short walk from our campground. I loved hiking across the huge, flat granite rocks. In the top photo, I'm watching a man carve a piece of tree bark while my brother Eric stands nearby, on the right. I'd like to visit this spot again someday.

Dinkey Creek, Sequoia National Park

Dinkey Creek, Sequoia National Park



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