6'3" Jheri reviews the book "Short: Walking Tall When You're Not Tall At All" by John Schwartz
Before you think Jheri has taken leave of her senses, let me explain:
Mr Schwartz is a science writer and legal correspondent for the NY Times. He also happens to be quite short and decided to put out a book aimed at short teenagers. He did a great job, but there is something special. In doing so he came up with something that is useful beyond teens and for anyone who might be different - or who knows anyone who is different.
He is really funny and writes in the first person. He has a good elementary section on statistics and, more importantly, a piece on how to reason and be critical of information sources. There has been a lot in the press and spread over the Internet about how good it is to be tall - money making ability, promotion, etc. These studies were widely reported. I remember reading some of them in a book for tall people and, when I read them, I found a few that weren't saying what was claimed at all - they had been reported out of context or flatly misreported. The Short book goes into flawed reporting and how to detect it.
In addition to providing tools on thinking, he talks about how being different might forge a stronger person. It doesn't matter if you are thin, heavy, short, tall, red haired, or have any one of a number of physical characteristics. You can use them and hopefully make people understand you.
There are many issues to being different. It certainly feels good hearing what seems to be good news, but it is pretty hollow to think that you are part of a group that is better than other people. Especially when you look more closely and find that may not be true. What is important is finding there are special things about individual people and maybe being different can help you become one of those special people.
When I read it I saw a lot of myself, even though I don't happen to be a small statured male. Sort of damn Jheri, you came out pretty well despite the teenage years. I really wish I had this book when I was 12.
Sometimes the best way to come to grips with your own differences is to understand there are people who happen to be very different, but not in the same way you are different. Seeing how they succeed helps you understand and learn. After all, we're all just people.
I'd recommend this book to a tall teen way before The Tall Book. The age range is 11-14, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you give it as a present, you might want to take a read yourself.
Oh yeah - Mr Schwartz was much more successful at dating in high school than I ever was.
Here is an excerpt to give you an idea of how he writes: http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/books/ems/pdfs/ShortCpt1.pdf plus a review in the New York Times.