The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

The Wise Man’s Fear is the second book of the Kingkiller Chronicles, a trilogy that is probably never going to see its final book published. I don’t understand the hype. It took me three months to finish The Wise Man’s Fear, and towards the end, I was only reading for the accomplishment of having finished that 1,347 page book. Overall I had the same feeling as I did with The Name of the Wind—the books didn’t feel like their own stories; they were obviously written to be part of a series. That said, I don’t feel too invested in the trilogy, and I think I will survive if the third book simply never comes out. (However, if the third book does get published by some miracle, I would still read it.)

Let’s talk about The Wise Man’s Fear more. Although I finished The Name of the Wind in a significantly shorter amount of time than I did The Wise Man’s Fear, I enjoyed the events in the second book more. Although the first book introduced us to this interesting new world, I liked that Kvothe was more established in the second book. His interactions with his friends were fun to read, and his adventures had more consequences to them. He now had some things (bar money) to lose, and he needed to take more calculated risks. However, similarly to the first book, some events dragged out. While the events at the university were interesting, I found myself asking when the rest of the story would unfold. I also felt his conquests in the Fae dragged out, but I did enjoy reading about his training with the Adem. It’s always interesting to learn about different worlds and cultures.

Despite the number of pages I’d read, I still don’t like Kvothe. There’s something off about his personality that, while I am impressed by his accomplishments, I simply don’t find myself rooting for him. I did love his interactions with people—Wil, Sim, Devi, and Tempi were all interesting characters (Tempi is probably my favorite supporting character, but Devi is an obvious favorite, too), but I didn’t particularly like Kvothe’s arrogant air and dramatic flair. (This is one of the reasons why I couldn’t get too invested in the trilogy.) So let’s see. If a third book does get published, I’ll read it and see if I still feel the same way about Kvothe. If not, meh, oh well.

Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore

Crossing the Chasm resonated with me as I work at a tech startup. Although I am not in a marketing role, the book gave me an appreciation for things I’d always taken for granted, such as the whole product, since, as an early majority consumer (yup, let’s be real—I’m not an early adopter), I’d never been able to pinpoint what exactly I look for in tech products. This was an easy and entertaining read on tech marketing. There was no or minimal jargon tossed around, and I found the industry-specific examples helpful.

However, if you’d taken even a basic marketing class in college, the first half of the book will be very familiar to you. There were some extra notes on each stage of the technology life cycle, but nothing major major, that I worried for a bit that the rest of the book would be the same. Thankfully, the second half took a more interesting turn—Moore set the stage during the first half and drilled down basic concepts. Of course, if you’d taken up marketing as your college major, which I didn’t, the second half would have probably been very familiar to you still.

Overall, the book is well crafted. Every chapter made sense—none wasted—and all of the concepts tied in seamlessly. The writing is approachable, which made for easy reading. I’d recommend this book for non-marketing specialists interested in high tech and go-to-market strategies. Otherwise, this book is a little too specific to be appreciated by the general public and might be too simple to be appreciated by professional marketers.

Educated by Tara Westover

As it turns out, I still know how to read, but I have been reading at an (exceptionally) slower pace. Case in point Educated by Tara Westover: I loved the book, but it took me more than a month to finish reading it. To be fair, it was not the lightest read. At first, I thought it was a little similar to Hillbilly Elegy, but it is very different—the Westovers were completely different.

As I read through the first half of the book, I found myself frequently putting the book down and thinking “I can’t believe this really happened to her.” But believe it. People be crazy at times.

Here’s what I’m talking about: In Educated, Tara Westover wrote about the domestic abuse she received from her own older brother. I don’t know about you, but my brothers are protective of me. As a fellow woman, I couldn’t stand reading what Tara Westover experienced, and I’m enraged that most men get away with abusive behavior. And people have the gall to blame victim blame women as if they had it coming. For your reference, Tara Westover was raised a conservative woman, so please, she clearly did not ask for the abuse.

These were also hard to swallow: the mental health issues that were never truly addressed. Sudden mood swings, extreme violence, animal cruelty—these are clear signs of low mental health. But no one ever wants to seek help—even Tara Westover herself was in denial about her own well-being for a while. I’m glad she eventually got counseling, but mental health is so taboo, we need to change things up especially since most of us are down in the dumps because of the quarantine situation.

Of course, the book wouldn’t be called Educated if it didn’t actually talk about Tara Westover’s education. I’m so glad people saw her potential and pushed her to believe in herself. It’s interesting to see how perspectives change once you get to know more about the world. Clichéd, I know, but education opened new doors (and closed old dilapidated ones) for Tara Westover, and I hope this woman is doing well for herself right now because she has gone through so much.

As I was writing this entry, Taylor Swift’s The Man came to mind. One reason why Tara Westover had a particularly difficult experience was because she was a woman. From childhood, she was taught that women were meant to submit to men’s will. It was particularly hard for her to get past that brainwash. Taylor Swift’s rings very true, and I hope to God that people stop trying to put women in their place because they are intimidated by strong women.

Verdict: I wholeheartedly recommend this book. Although some parts were disturbing, the book was, overall, quite inspiring.