012: Dog Walks Into a Bar with Chris Gloninger

True story with author John Steinbeck on other end of the leash. TV meteorologist Chris Gloninger talks about his uncle’s bar in Sag Harbor, NY; growing up there before it was chic, and how his love of air, land and sea shapes so much of what he reads.

Full Podcast Transcript

[00:00:11] [00:00:11] Recorded live from the Sweet Tea Studios in Wellesley Massachusetts. You’re listening to the podcast, Why I Read Nonfiction. Hosted by broadcaster and author of The Perfect Catch and Follow the Dog Home. Here’s Kevin Walsh.

[00:00:30] (Kevin) Hello and Welcome to Why I read Nonfiction where we take a deep dive into the reading habits of dedicated readers: what moves them, how they go about making a book choice, their reading habits, their quirks, who they recommend books to, where they get book recommendations from, it’s a dive into the personal library of readers. To receive the show automatically be sure to hit the subscribe button on your listening directory.  It’s easy and it’s free. Share the podcast with a friend and that is how we grow. Thank you to Nirvana on beautiful Cape Cod for sponsoring, an incredible getaway for spring, summer and fall.  Great fishing, great swimming, the best place for a personal vacation for you and your family. Our guest today is Chris Gloninger, TV meteorologist for NBC 10 Boston.

[00:01:17] What’s going on Chris?  (Chris) You know Kev, it snowed this morning and it’s spring so I’m a little bit bummed by that.

[00:01:24] (Kevin), Hope springs eternal and I know you’re going to have to get in and explain the weather to people later today. I love that you love to read. I didn’t know the struggle behind it all so you could read effectively.

[00:01:39] (Chris) You know and I think it started off in as early as elementary school and then middle school and we had required reading and there was this resistance that didn’t really want to read. I didn’t like it. In fact at times I hated it. And then I realized it took me such a long time to get through a page in a book.  And it was because I had to keep rereading the sentences because, I believe I’m a self diagnosed dyslexic. I would cross the words. And that’s what would take so long for me to read a page. But then when I found books that I really enjoyed reading, it kind of went away.

[00:02:18] I’m not the fastest reader, but I absolutely love it now, especially when they’re books I and I enjoy to read.

[00:02:26] (Kevin) Well how long does it take you to get through a book?  Or does it just depend on what the book is?  (Chris) It took me a little while and I know we talked a little bit about The Boys in the Boat, and that was the the sculling team that went to the Nazi Olympics in Germany.  (Kevin) 1936 in Berlin, just before Hitler unleashed his his dogma and his idealism on the world.

[00:02:47] (Chris) And it was their propaganda of how Nazi Germany was this great idea. And you know that took a while it took a while to read that book but I really enjoyed it. I stuck with it, and that was probably my most recent book that was a little bit of a struggle that took me I’d say a couple of months to get through and that would be reading a couple of hours every day that book.

[00:03:10] So that puts things into perspective. But there are other books that flow a little bit faster and I have an easier time reading that I can get done in just a couple of weeks. (Kevin) But reading is a huge part of your life.

[00:03:22] (Chris) It absolutely is. (Kevin) It’s fulfilling to you on many different levels.

[00:03:25] (Chris) It is. And you know I think that that’s a reason why you know people have transitioned over to e readers, reading online. I still enjoy holding that book, flipping the pages, because it’s a sense of accomplishment when I get through that book and especially if I enjoy reading that book. And it since it was a struggle for such a large part of my life, now that I enjoy doing it, every book that I pick up, read and finish is an accomplishment.

[00:03:54] (Kevin) I like that that’s a challenge. That’s a period at the end of a sentence.  That’s fulfilling. And then in the end because you know how you struggle with the words on the page, and they’re moving around, to complete the task and then to have those thoughts and those memories forever is is a big thing. (Chris) Absolutely. (Chris) And reading has has helped you recently in many different ways. You just recovered from surgery what what was going on?

[00:04:20] (Chris) So everyone has sinuses in your head, I had one of my lower back, it’s just basically an empty void. And it kept getting infected, so we knew that I needed surgery and the build up was one one month of antibiotics. Once I finished the course went into surgery, it was about a month off of work.  And everyone was saying what shows you’re going to binge watch?  I did watch TV, but I’m not the type of person to sit down and watch a series in two days. I feel lazy. I don’t feel any fulfillment in that. And I started reading a couple of new books, including a book on the Great Lakes. You and I both enjoy fishing and we enjoy being out on the water. Those are the books I tend to gravitate towards. And I’m in the middle of the death and the life of the Great Lakes by an author from the Milwaukee Sentinel.

[00:05:16] So yeah.  (Kevin) So if you didn’t have reading you could have watched TV, but I look at that as, it’s it’s there and it’s gone. It’s not something… you’re not banking away capital. You’re not banking away credit. So it’s not time well spent. Do you look at reading with the attitude this is always time well spent? (Chris) Yes. (Kevin) Whatever it is that I’m reading? (Chris) Every book I’ve read I’ve learned something from.

[00:05:43] And, you know, I am from the school of thought where, if you don’t like the book and how it’s reading, I don’t think you should stick it out.

[00:05:55] (Chris) It’s interesting that you say that because I have other guests that are the opposite way. (Chris) I’m sure most people are. (Kevin) Well I’m I think I’m coming closer onto your side but I used to stick it out and I guess part of it was because I don’t like to quit on things. But at the same time, if I’m not liking something why should I pay myself for the aggravation?  Why not bail on it? There is nothing wrong with that. And the nice thing about reading now as opposed to when we had to read for school is, it’s our choice. We could do whatever we want. We can pick the books, we can stay with them as long as we want, or we can bail on them; or we could recommend them to people, we could do whatever we want with them.

[00:06:35] Where are you from?  (Chris) New York, Long Island, actually.  Grew up on the water. My grandfather was a bayman. Lived through two hurricanes by the time I was in the second grade, and that’s the draw to the water, that’s the draw to weather that I developed at a young age, and when I started picking up those books that are you know about the water, about the weather.  That’s what, again, sparked my interest in reading. (Chris) What part of Long Island? (Chris) The Twin Forks, Sag Harbor. So what used to be just a small fishing hamlet surrounded by potato fields that went right out to the ocean is now the Hamptons.

[00:07:11] (Kevin) So it’s a little bit different. Growing the vision that the outside world has of the Hamptons your experience living there is very different. (Chris) It is.  (Kevin) This is when people work the land, and work the sea, and they were working people instead of the New York elites that go out and rediscover and summer in the Hamptons.

[00:07:30] They make a verb out of this season! (Chris) And, and you know that’s also kind of a verb to you know to showcase your your wealth is oh, you know, you go to the Hamptons. It’s a thing to do and back even in the 1980s when I was growing up there were cornfields and potato fields woman right to the ocean and my mom, being a local, remembered when her aunt and uncle owned the Black Buoy.  Which it’s funny when the city folk hear that term they said, “Oh that’s a terrible name.’  Well their last name was Black and they were on the water. So it’s a buoy, they put the two together, so there is nothing weird or strange about it. And it was a bar that actually John Steinbeck frequented did with his dog, Charlie, and they allowed Charlie into the bar to sit with John as he threw a few back religiously.  And they got to develop a pretty close relationship with John Steinbeck.

[00:08:24] (Kevin) Well like the John Steinbeck connection. I like the dog thing as well. Do you think dogs should be allowed in bars in general? Or maybe that’s not a good policy?

[00:08:33] (Chris) That’s funny because somebody complained that Charlie went into the bar. So my great uncle put up a sign that said No Dogs Allowed, and he saw John and Charlie walking down the sidewalk, they walked up to the door saw the sign turned around walked back. John came back 15 minutes later and said “You know Mr. Black, I don’t understand.

[00:08:53] Charlie’s always been a gentleman.”  So my great uncle said you know what?

[00:08:59] So he walked up to the front door, ripped up the sign, and Charlie was allowed back in.

[00:09:05] (Kevin) I love that. I love that.  Dogs are an important part in my life, as you know, and Beverly our German shepherd who greeted you when I came to the door she was happy to see you. (Chris) Perfect dog.  (Kevin) Happy to see everybody and she’s actually sat in on a couple of different podcasts.  Our guest today is Chris glomming Jr.. He is a meteorologist with NBC 10 Boston. Why I read non-fiction is brought to you by Nirvana on beautiful Cape Cod a stunning beach house that was newly redone  with beach and aquatic themes on a private freshwater kettle pond loaded with fish perfect for swimming, fly fishing, not just for summer, spring and fall on Cape Cod are stunning too. Spring is when the trout really come alive. For more information on Nirvana and the books that we talk about here check out our Web site: Why I Read Nonfiction dot.com So I have to thank you Chris, because, you are two for two. You’re batting a thousand with the book recommendations that you’ve given to me.  Into the Raging Sea: 33 Mariners One Mega Storm and the sinking of the El Faro, which of course was a cargo ship which was sailing from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico in 2015, and sailed right into the middle of Hurricane Joaquin. What was it about that book that drew you to it, and why did you recommend it to me?

[00:10:25] (Chris) You know I mean that story has been told so many times. Ship goes out. Hits bad weather.

[00:10:33] Ship sinks, and it’s usually a tragic ending.

[00:10:36] But this story was different. And you know I think what attracted me to it, there were other themes throughout the book. Climate change. Is it a concern? What about it is a concern?  Shipping regulations. And you yourself, you spent time early on in your career in the islands.

[00:10:55] (Kevin) I lived in Guam, and I lived in Hawaii, and for people that live in faraway places that are surrounded by water, there’s really only one way that the products and everything you need come in. And that’s on a ship. So there’s pressure from the people that are in those places that that ships got to get there. There are costs involved with bringing it.  And anybody that’s ever lived on an island knows that it’s very expensive, because sometimes half if not more of the price of the product is the shipping cost of getting it. So these were all the factors that were surrounding the El Faro as it sailed out. I guess the reasonable question to ask is why wouldn’t why wouldn’t you sail around the storm?  Why wouldn’t you wait a little bit longer?

[00:11:39] You want to get into that?  (Chris) Time is money and there’s actually a division, a sector in meteorology, that tries to find the ocean roadways that don’t have a lot of resistance and you can get from point A to Point B the quickest.  But there’s also an ego in boat captains that’s seen so many times in history, that “I’ve done this for 50 years! I can get through anything!” (Kevin) And they’re going to let the young crew know this is nothing.   You haven’t made your bones until you’ve really gotten knocked around in a storm correct?

[00:12:17] (Chris) Until it is.  Until it’s that storm, until it’s the storm that ends your career and ends your life.

[00:12:23] And fortunately I think that that is from fishing boat captains to thousand foot freighters, they all have that mentality that they lived through a big storm they can live through anything. But it also goes into the regulations, and because it’s so critical to get goods from point A to Point B in the quickest amount of time, there are some shortcuts.

[00:12:49] And the book looks at that.  And it looks at the shortcuts to make it cheaper for boats to operate, these freighters to operate.  And in doing so it kind of jeopardizes the safety of the crew, and the contents onboard that freighter. So it’s fascinating and I think that that time is always the underlying problem when it comes to avoiding these catastrophes even in The Perfect Storm, right?  Even in The Perfect Storm they didn’t have a good catch. They didn’t, they wanted it, they wanted to push it and see if they could get in to a good fishing nook, and see if they could make their payday and steam back to shore.

[00:13:29] (Kevin) And if the Andrea Gail what you’re talking about with the Perfect Storm written by Sebastian Junger, it made a critical mistake heading into warmer water instead of colder water which is more dense. So the raging sea would not have been as bad at that point, but these, these are the pressures of it all and sometimes we look at these huge ocean freighters and think they’re unsinkable. But there’s another book that we’ve both read The Wave by Susan Casey which says about 100 ships are lost every year at sea, some of which we never even know about because it could be a foreign vessel, and it’s, it’s not always because of a storm that the ship is in the middle of.

[00:14:09] It could be a rogue wave that comes out of nowhere, because he ships go down so quickly without any distress warning.  (Chris) And it’s so critical because of the cargo placement and that there are now models on how to place cargo in the hull of the in the hull of the ship.

[00:14:29] (Kevin) You got to pack it right because if it’s a little too heavy in the right front, or whatever, that’s gonna make the boat list toward the front and go down the ocean when the waves are bigger. What I really liked was, it almost reminded me that I was investigating a plane crash later because they recovered the data recorders which had the voice recordings from the bridge of the ship, in which people were talking.  Not just Captain to shipmates, but equals to equals, and they were saying, you know, this just doesn’t feel good. This just doesn’t look good. And then people at home with the benefit of cell phone technology, they’re seeing the weather reports on major networks and they know where the El Faro is going and it’s going into nowhere but trouble.  And nobody really has the guts, or the wherewithal to stop the ship or at least to divert it away. (Chris) Yeah you don’t want to question the captain.  (Kevin) Because it comes down to the seniority of things.   Into the Raging Sea by Rachel Slade. Highly recommended, I highly recommend it. Another one that you recommended to me, Chris,  A Speck in the Sea: A Story of Survival and Rescue by John Aldridge and Anthony Sosinski.  This hits close home for you because this is a ship that sailed out of a port not far away from where you grew up, right?

[00:15:45] (Chris) My grandfather’s boat was docked, The Chewy, out of Montauk and that was, you know, the area that he covered, And I think it’s that tight relationship, which again you go back to the Hamptons and what it is now compared to what it is, you know, what it was. It’s sad cause here really isn’t that type bond, but it still exists out in Montauk. There’s still a fishing fleet, there’s still that tight community between the residents, the bar owners, the Coast Guard and you know when (Kevin) The real people who have been there from the beginning.

[00:16:21] (Chris) Exactly. (Kevin) Do you have a name for the outsiders? I grew up, I spent a lot of summers at the Jersey Shore. And folks like me who were from suburban Philadelphia that went down to the shore, the locals looked at us with a little bit of derision. Actually a lot of derision and they refer to us as shoobies.  And it was not a compliment to be called a shoobie.  And what it originates from is once the rail lines were built from Philadelphia to the Jersey shore so you could get there quickly, the Philadelphia folks were going down for the day, and they were packing their lunches and snacks in shoeboxes. So they were going and using the locals beaches and everything else, weren’t spending any money, and then they were getting the heck out of there. Is there a similar attitude on Montauk?

[00:17:03] (Chris) Yeah, I mean, all from Sag Harbor to Montauk there is there’s that attitude that, uh, we call them, you know, city dwellers we call them Manhattanites. And, I don’t mean to go back, but it’s kind of funny when you mention the not spending of the money. We had a pretty catastrophic fire in our downtown village of Sag Harbor and it wiped out the historic movie theater that I have a neon sign that said Sag Harbor. It was the icon of downtown since the 60s. There are enough millionaires and billionaires that summer there, and they were looking for it was a total of a million dollars. And I think that’s my wife who said, “It would just take one check.” It took them I’d say nine months to raise a million dollars to restore the movie theater. (Kevin) I look at it this way.  If you’re not living there permanently, you’re a guest.

[00:17:50] (Chris) Yes. (Kevin) Be a good guest. It’s not hard. Contribute financially, contribute civically. Do it other ways. Chris Gloninger our guest, he is a meteorologist on NBC 10 Boston. So John Aldridge and Anthony Sosinski are childhood friends, true, fishermen they go out on a sail. What happens?

[00:18:11] (Chris) So other crew members can usually take a break, right? I mean it’s a grind. When you’re out there, it’s not an eight hour workday. You’re not working 9:00 to 5:00, you’re working around the clock, so you can try to get rest is as much as you can. So when you’re, you know, setting lines tragedy can strike. And that’s what happened so.

[00:18:32] (Kevin) So they’re sailing out, the the boat’s on autopilot. Anthony is down below, and John is getting the traps ready on top. (Chris) Exactly.  (Kevin_ What happens? (Chris) Gets hooked, flies overboard. (Kevin) All of a sudden he’s a speck in the ocean. (Chris) That’s right.

[00:18:47] (Kevin) What’s going through his head?  (Chris) You know, when you’re, if you’ve ever flown over the ocean and you look down it, it’s hard to see a boat, right?  Let alone an individual that is floating out there.

[00:19:00] I mean you must think, you must fill with doom thinking it’s not going to end well.

[00:19:07] (Kevin) Here’s here’s what he said. I’m going to take a quote right from this. “I am floating in the middle of the night. Nobody in the world even knows I am missing. Nobody is looking for me. You can’t get more alone than that. You can’t be more lost. So Anthony’s down below having a snooze. And here he is floating in the ocean. He sees the boat going away. He’s yelling at it, and he knows he’s in big trouble. But what did he do? Do

[00:19:31] you remember what he did to to get himself right in the water because you can’t tread water. He was rescued after 13 hours.

[00:19:38] (Chris) No, but you know your water.  You know the water that you work and you know that there are buoys around and other crews and buoys from other crews, right?  Might not even be your your marker out there.

[00:19:51] (Kevin) No, he recognizes the buoys and he knows that’s somebody else. And that’s… (Chris) And they’re going to be through, they’re gonna be through that area working the water.  (Kevin) So he can see buoys and he’s like, if I can just get there, then maybe I can get rescued. (Chris) Right. (Kevin) But then comes the struggle to get there. But more than anything to stay afloat, do you remember what he did with his boots?

[00:20:11] (Chris) Put them under his arms, turned them upside down and used them as, I mean, fishermen don’t wear PFD’s, personal flotation devices. (Kevin) I know, which is ridiculous isn’t it?  (Chris) It is. And I mean yes. But they’re so low profile I don’t know why they they they don’t.

[00:20:28] But that was smart.

[00:20:31] It was a smart thing to do was working with what you had you know when he when you’re dealing with the prospect that you’re not going to make it through this. I think your brain kind of kicks into overdrive and you think of creative ways to keep herself alive.

[00:20:43] (Kevin) It did, and what, so just to give everybody the visual, he put his work boots under his armpits and they acted almost like, you know the feeling if you’ve ever been on crutches there’s a pushing up. So it’s almost like when you take a bucket of water, you turn it upside down, and try and pull down in the water, but it just won’t, there’s that resistance that’s exactly what happened to him. And in the end he was rescued, but it was it was a beautiful story, I thought, about his will to live, and he was not going to give in to the ocean, but he knew it was going to be a fight. But just how the community of Montauk and then the Coast Guard out of Cape Cod came to get him, and it all ended happily. But the thing that you said about the personal flotation devices, or life jackets, as I think about, as I’m thinking about this, reading about John’s story, I’m thinking about other stories that I’ve covered in the news.  I remember there were three fishermen in Guam, who went out, their engines stalled, and they started drifting, and it took about three or four days to find them.  And if they had of had an EPERB, you know what an EPERB is? (Chris) Yeah, absolutely. (Kevin) What is an EPERB?  Describe it to people.  (Chris) You know you can attach them to your, your life jacket, and that’s where they should be so you can pull it.  And with technology of GPS and satellites they can basically find, the title of that book A Speck in the Sea, which is you floating there if you need if you need help.  Without that technology,  it’s a needle in the haystack trying to find you.  (Kevin) You’re a speck in the sea. If you have this EPERB I could jump overboard in the middle of the ocean, and the Coast Guard would find me, and find me quickly.  (Chris) Quickly.  (Kevin) But there is also some stigmas with fishermen ‘Oh I don’t need that.  If I have that that means I’m going to create a problem, so I’m just not going to let the problems happen.  There’s the macho factor that gets in the way. Our guest is Chris Gloninger, a meteorologist with NBC 10 Boston.  For links to what he’s reading, and I’m reading, what we’re talking about here, log on to our Web site at Why I Read Nonfiction dot.com. Many thanks to our sponsor Nirvana on beautiful Cape Cod. Have you ever been to the Cape? If you’re looking for a great spring, summer or fall getaway, check out Nirvana.  Not just a good band in Seattle, huh, huh, huh, it’s a good place to visit on Cape Cod. Get some swimming in, and get some good fishing done as well. I want to go, you mentioned it at the beginning: The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan.  The Great Lakes, what a lot of people don’t know is, it was a huge commercial fishing industry, but then demands on shipping and other things changed all of it.

[00:23:14] What happened?

[00:23:16] (Chris) There’s a lot of iron ore, there’s a lot of mining around the periphery of the Great Lakes, salt mines especially in Ontario, Canada. And they thought, meaning the government, and state government, that they could open the lakes as the new seacoast of the United States. What a great idea.  You could attach cities like Chicago to places like London, areas in South Africa. You could get this product shipped anywhere in the world through the St. Lawrence Seaway.

[00:23:50] So they opened up the Great Lakes, the world’s largest surface freshwater supply.  They opened it up to the ocean through the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Erie Canal, which were two engineering marvels. Don’t get me wrong.

[00:24:06] What they did was huge.  (Kevin) But with good intentions sometimes come unintended consequences. (Chris) Right. (Kevin) What happened?

[00:24:14] (Chris) Invasive species that killed out everything from the native perch, to the walleye, gone.

[00:24:24] (Kevin) What were the invasive species?  Zebra mussels, is that the biggest one?

[00:24:29] (Chris) That’s the most recent one.

[00:24:30] But what I didn’t know were fish, that, when these freighters would enter into the St. Lawrence Seaway, or the Erie Canal, to keep them stabilized they would fill the bilges with, with seawater, with ocean water. And then they do a huge release once they got into the canal system.

[00:24:54] (Kevin) So you’re taking one water source and putting it in a new place, and with it come all the crap? (Chris) Yes. (Kevin) And all the bad things. (Chris) So much so that, (Kevin) it hitchhikes,  well, that way is a different way, but sometimes invasive species can hitchhike on the bottoms of boats as well. (Chris) Right.

[00:25:11] And that’s how they believe the mussels may have came in and they eat the photo plankton, the plankton ends up, you know, and the water clarity looks fantastic. Looks like you’re in the Caribbean now, but the zebra mussels clear all that up. But fish need that plankton to eat and the plankton doesn’t exist anymore. It was so bad that basically river Herring ended up being ocean herring that couldn’t survive in the lakes. They basically die of kidney failure because they’d starve. So you have hundreds of millions possibly billions of fish. And there was this engineer who is flying

[00:25:55] In the 50s, 40s or 50s, and he looked down and he saw this silver film over the lake for hundreds of miles.

[00:26:05] He said what is that?  And he did another flyby and there was some kind of kill off. And later on that summer, this Herring, ended up on the beaches of Chicago.  Up to 10 feet high. (Kevin) Oh my gosh.

[00:26:21] (Chris) In the middle of a hot summer stretch.  (Kevin) Can you imagine the smell of that? I  can’t.  (Kevin) That aside from it being a tragedy and a terrible thing, I think that’s the value of good writing in that, a good writer will create the visuals. (Chris) Yes. (Kevin) And a really good writer will touch the senses in other ways. And there is nothing in my opinion better than if you can introduce smell. Something about smell.

[00:26:47] You go visit an old friend’s house and you walk in, and the smell hits you, right?  (Chris) Absolutely. (Kevin) Sometimes it’s a good smell. Sometimes it’s not a good smell. But smells just burn into your memory more than anything.  Almost as much as sex,

[00:27:01] by the way.  (Chris) Right?

[00:27:05] (Kevin) Hey! Just just lettin’ you know.  Just lettin’ you know here. But you love all things water. (Chris) I do. (Kevin) I mean it’s a big part of who you are. Could you could you imagine not living near water?  Do you kind of feel a need to be close to water?

[00:27:19] (Chris) I do, and I think moving to the Great Lakes I worried about not being near the ocean.  But I did develop such an appreciation for what really is an inland sea; the expanse, the ability to stand there at the shore and not see the other side, to hear the waves. They really are amazing and a lot of people I think of the East Coast don’t even realize that they exist and what they’re really like.

[00:27:43] (Kevin) One of my favorite things about the Great Lakes. I saw a documentary on surfing at the Great Lakes.  Which in Lake Superior, now the conditions have to be absolutely perfect. And they don’t last that long. But I’ve seen twelve foot waves in Lake Superior and guys surfing them. And if I didn’t tell you as a lake, you would think it was in the ocean. (Chris) Yeah absolutely.

[00:28:05] I had family that came out and visited.  Before Boston I was in Milwaukee where I met my wife.  And they came out to visit and they said ‘Oh my. There are boats out here?’ Of course they’re miles wide.

[00:28:20] (Kevin) Well you see how we are sometimes with growing up near the ocean and you were you were right on the ocean, I wasn’t on the ocean, but I always felt the need to be close to it. And maybe that’s just because we look at the ocean as something that gives us life and gives purpose to life in so many different ways. All right let’s take a break from the water for a second. MALCOLM GLADWELL The Tipping Point How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.

You didn’t read it? You listened to it on audio book?

[00:28:47] I did. And, (laughter) I generally, again that sense of accomplishment when I pick up and read a book and, at the time I was working in Albany, New York I lived in Saratoga Springs.  I’m not sure if you’re familiar with.  (Kevin)  Horse racing, right?  (Chris) Horse racing capital of New York State.

[00:29:07] Ok there’s the Belmont. I would drive 55 minutes to an hour to work each way.  And I didn’t like living in Albany.  I liked Saratoga Springs so, you know, I need something to pass the time and I don’t want to listen to music and do car ride or carpool karaoke by myself. So, I decided to get the book on tape and that was one of a few that I did.

[00:29:32] (Kevin) What did you like about it? I read it and it’s the power of a few.

[00:29:37] And it’s like, if you have a small idea and you want to make it big, a product or something, or if you want to, if you want to organize people it’s, it’s about how you go about to doing that with proper marketing. And instead of alerting a lot of people about a product you might have, I did it for the first couple of books that I read and wrote.  A I changed my marketing approach to them in which, instead of trying to get books to a lot of people, get them to a fewer number of people, but more influential people, because those influential people can do far greater lifting than the masses.

[00:30:13] Was that your take away from it?

[00:30:14] (Chris) It was, it was.  You know the other real world examples that he,.

[00:30:19] he used too, were particularly interesting.

[00:30:27] I mean it was a really long time ago. I don’t know when you when he read it, but for me… (Kevin) It was probably seven or eight years.

[00:30:34] I think the book came out in 2010. (Chris) Was it? (Kevin) Was it? OK. Maybe it was. I didn’t get around to it… I know I was a little late to the party right.

[00:30:43] (Chris) So for me was a longer time ago that that I read it.

[00:30:48] (Kevin) Do you believe in in that the power of the few? Fewer people to do things? Because he had specific examples in the book. There was there was an attack on a woman in New York, which was witnessed by many people, and there was unbelievable outrage that there were so many people that saw it, yet no one got involved, but that was precisely the reason why nobody did.  Because they thought somebody else would get involved, whereas if the attack had been witnessed by a couple of people there would have been the internal pressure “I have to do something!”  (Chris) Right.  (Kevin) Instead of somebody else having to do something.

[00:31:22] (Chris) And that’s a problem, you know, as a former first responder, as a firefighter, a lot of people assume that when they see a car crash on the side of the road how many people pass that crash. You know, if it’s on 128, maybe they don’t have a cell phone, maybe they don’t have a way to call, maybe they’re not even conscious, to make a call. And you absolutely assume that someone else will.

[00:31:43] “I don’t need to because someone else just pick up their phone.  (Kevin) Do the right thing.  Well my take away from it is get involved all the time. (Chris) Absolutely.  (Kevin) If you, if you feel someone should get involved, you are the person that should get involved. (Chris) Yep, yep.  (Kevin) Have you read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell? (Kevin) No, I have not. (Kevin) That’s your next one. (Chris) OK. (Kevin) That is why successful people are successful. And it talks about cultural things, which are almost taboo to talk about in today’s world, it’s why are certain segments of the population good at math?

[00:32:09] Why are others good at certain sports? And he gets into it, he’s a social scientist, and he’s an interesting guy, just the culture in which he brought up, and he can bring a lot of things to life, and the one thing that sticks out more than anything is to be an expert at something– 10,000 hours. Have you heard that one before?  (Chris) No, but oh I believe it.  (Kevin) And he uses the examples of the Beatles. We know the Beatles were very good and, really, the product of the Beatles being so good, aside from being very talented, an unbelievable amount of practice that many of us never saw. Because we just saw the North American tours, and we just saw what they did in Europe. But the roots of the Beatles success–

[00:32:51] Hamburg, Germany.

[00:32:52] And just playing over and over and over again. (Chris) Wow.

[00:32:56] And also the development of Microsoft, and just how computers were built and the expertise– so that’s your reading assignment. (Chris)  All right, done.  (Kevin) Chris always good to talk to you about books, always good to talk to you about life.  (Chris) You too Kev.  (Kevin) Am I going to see you later today?  (Chris) I’ll be there, I’ll be there.

[00:33:14] (Kevin) Yeah we’ll be there.  For more information about the books that we talked about with Chris, Logon to our Web site at Why I Read Nonfiction dot.com. There’s information about upcoming episodes, you can visit our bookstore, and join the nonfiction network, an exclusive private online community for listeners to keep the conversation going. And thank you to Nirvana, the perfect spring, summer and fall getaway with world class trout and bass fishing on Cape Cod. Subscribe to the podcast, it’s easy and it’s free. Do me a favor share the podcast with a friend. For Chris Gloninger I’m Kevin Walsh. We’ll see you again next time on Why I Read Nonfiction.

 

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