Ever since I lived in Montreal, I've been a fan of Leonard Cohen. His lyrics celebrate our uniqueness and sameness, the political issues that pull us, the sexuality that entices us, and the relationships that inspire and haunt us. He has a way of merging melancholy with joy. For example, his poem, "Song," does just that: "I almost went to bed/without remembering the four white violets/I put in the button-hole/of your green sweater/and how I kissed you then/and you kissed me/ shy as though I'd/never been your lover"
Perhaps, our similar Montreal Jewish heritage is what made his work resonate with me so much, or maybe it's our mutual lust for life, despite all odds. I was fortunate enough to see him on his 80th birthday tour and witness his deep passion for songwriting, and I so admired the way he still performed with such strong and youthful vigor.
Cohen's book was gifted to me om my birthday. I had not heard of it before, and even though it's not a new collection, it's one that I deeply treasure. It includes lyrics, poems and some short essays. Highly recommended!
This book is one of those surprises that I stumbled on at the airport after having left the book I was reading at home. While people say that you can't judge a book by it's cover, it can certainly lure a reader in, like this one did. Just hearing the term, "non-conformists" was intriguing to me. I believe that in many ways, artists are all non-conformists, because to create you need to do something different to get attention.
The chapter titles are very revealing: "Creative destruction," "Blind Inventors and One-Eyed Investors," "Out on a Limb,", "Fools Rush In,"Goldilocks and the Trojan Horse," and "Rebel Without a Cause," to name a few.
I learned so much about so many things in this book. As a Wharton graduate and esteemed teacher, Grant has a way of simplifying what could be tough ideas. The book's tone is entertaining and informative, and Grant says many things we know, but need to be reminded of, such as, "To be original, you need to take radical risks." (p. 14) He writes about many of our celebrated heroes who did just that-Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Sally Ride, and Neil Armstrong to name a few. Highly recommended and a great gift idea!