The French Art of Not Trying Too Hard

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The French Art of Not Trying Too Hard

The French Art of Not Trying Too Hard

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This book came about as the result of a conversation with my publisher and friend, Elsa Lafon. It’s important to specify “friend” because we weren’t working at the time, we were just having dinner. It wasn’t a professional discussion; I wasn’t there to outline a project or negotiate a contract. It was just a conversation for conversation’s sake, over a simple family meal and a good bottle of wine. In fact, I can’t even remember what we were talking about – maybe about the children, who were still running around and should have been in bed. What effort we expended – to no avail – trying to get them to do what we wanted! Maybe it would have been best just to ignore them and wait for them to tire themselves out. Sooner or later they’d go to sleep. After all, that night was slightly special: there was no school the next day. What greater pleasure, for a child, than to end up falling asleep on the sofa, lulled by the adults’ conversation? Late to bed, happy to bed – it makes for sweet memories. “How right you are,” Elsa said. “Why struggle? Let’s have another glass of wine.”

We’ve always been told to think before we speak. But thinking too much and trying to get the right words to describe our thoughts often leaves us paralysed. When I read Alain’s example – “I discover what I want to say when I open my mouth”, I was overjoyed. That is me written all over it Amanda Holden and Ashley Roberts put on vibrant displays in bright outfits as they refuse to let the rain dampen their spirits while leaving Heart FMThe three voyages that he undertook in search of this elusive ‘north-east passage’ are the subject of Andrea Pitzer’s gripping book. We can see it in their laissez-faireparenting, chicstyle, haute cuisine,and enviable home cooking: They barely seem to be trying, yet the results are world-famous--thanks to a certain je ne sais quoithat is the key to a more creative, fulfilling, and productive life. The people who gathered in Montparnasse formed a sort of foreign legion, though the only crime they had on their conscience was that of being far from home, far from their own milieu . . . Paris had handed over this small corner to us . . . This place for the displaced was as Parisian as Notre-Dame and the Eiffel Tower. And when, like a firework, genius erupted out of this small crowd, it was still the Parisian sky that received its reflected glory. The most profound aspect of the book is how it starts, with the famous quote and ultimate take away of the work: "The whole doctrine of action can be expressed in two chapters, each of which contains a single word. Chapter one, continue. Chapter two, start. The other which people find surprising, es

The most profound aspect of the book is how it starts, with the famous quote and ultimate take away of the work: "The whole doctrine of action can be expressed in two chapters, each of which contains a single word. Chapter one, continue. Chapter two, start. The other which people find surprising, espresso almost the whole idea" (Alain). Grace Dent's brutal comments slamming I'm A Celebrity as 'puerile televised constipation' resurface after she quits the reality showMy favourite part of the book, Stop Thinking, walks through hypnosis, yoga, non-thinking, archery and modern rationalism to distinguish between thought and action - “Take a path you don’t know, to reach an unknown place, to do something you’re incapable of doing” David Epstein, in The Sports Gene, puts his finger on this detail (which is more than a mere detail), and suggests we consider chess. Chess is different from the violin. Since players are ranked according to a system of international points—“Elo points” (named after the system’s creator)—one can know the exact level of a chess player, and follow their progression precisely. In 2007, psychologists Guillermo Campitelli and Fernand Gobet conducted a study of 104 players of different levels. An average player has around 1,200 Elo points. A master has between 2,200 and 2,400. A grand master has over 2,500. They saw that to reach the threshold of 2,200 points and become a professional took an average of 11,053 hours. A bit more than the 10,000 hours for musicians. Where it gets complicated is that according to individuals, the number of hours they have spent varies from 3,000 to 23,000. Twenty thousand hours’ difference, or twenty years of “purposeful practice”! Some people need to train for eight times longer than others to reach the same level. There are also players who tot up 25,000 hours without reaching master level. And there is no guarantee they will ever reach it.



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