Hardcover Æ Travels MOBI Ò

Travels At first when I started this I was like wtf? He's talking about being in med school and I thought 'Oh no This is going to be boarding as hell'This turned out to be a really great bookThis isn't your standard memoir Each part where Crichton tells about a trip he toke it is written like a really great short story I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to everyone I was actually sad when I finished with it He published this right before publishing Jurassic Park I really wish he would have written a fallow up to this about the latter part of his life Book Audiobook Usually I avoid the most popular books but because of a high recommendation I decided to read up on Michael Crichton the author of books like Jurassic Park and CongoThe book begins with Michael the medical student figuring out how to use a chainsaw to cut the head of a cadaver in half First I thought that he was a de Vinci doing some research for a book However he did attend medical school supported by his “side job” of writing books In the end he just didn’t fit the philosophy and society of being a doctor and began travelingHe traveled the world when he realized that his knowledge was largely centered only in Western – American and European history What about Africa? Asia? South America? Australia? He climbed mountain ranges scuba dived through sharks and lived with mountain gorillas However his real travels were in perceptions written with a candid and self effacing prose I especially love the chapter entitled “They”The seeds were planted in the doubts of his medical school training How much of disease is because of mental attitude – not how is the mental attitude an effect of a disease? He would try psychics healers spend days talking to a cactus and then goes traveling to an astral planeThis is a wonderful book Take a journey with him and you will go him places you never dreamed of I found it appalling that Michael Crichton so calmly depicts waiting outside a brothel in Asia while his host has sex with children I suppose we're supposed to think he's a good guy for not indulging himself but the fact that he is having a conversation with someone while they wait and never objecting or contacting authorities is shocking to me As Edmund Burke said all that's necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing After reading this book I don't know that I'd even be able to think of Crichton as a good manThe rest of the stories are ok but a lot of his travels are metaphysical which is not what I was expecting Somehow even ignoring the child sex slavery incident he managed to portray himself as pretty much of a jerk I haven't read all of his books but a few were on my list to get to latter After reading Travels I think I'll just cross them off There are lots of good reasons not to like or to outright dislike Michael Crichton's TravelsHe shares very directly his understanding about how women differ from men during the 1980s compared to his experiences in the 60s and 70s He studies things like psychic powers and auras and spoon bending He gets married again and again He might be at his most sympathetic while talking to a cactus The chapter on Sean Connery felt too much like name dropping though I liked Connery's advice always tell the truth That makes it their problemAt times I felt like Crichton learned the same lessons over and over and over without realizing that he was dealing with the same problem throughout his lifeThe account ends with an essay criticizing the scientific community for its skepticism of psychic phenomena rather than the introspective conclusion I'd been expecting throughout the bookBasically it would be easy to dismiss the whole of this book using any one or two parts of itThe only exception might be his descriptions of med school which are raw and vividly described I was impressed and sometimes shocked by these moments I was also struck by how many doctors he met who felt powerless to help peopleBut at all times in this memoir I found myself thinking something like here's a Harvard trained physician speaking candidly about auras and psychic powers and what he thinks about just about everything And I also recalled the scene at the end of Pulp Fiction when Jules explains that a dog is dirty but it has personality So it's not filthy This book has personality so I'm not inclined to dismiss itAnd let's not forget this advice from David Brooks which goes something like our character is defined by our attempts to wrestle with our personal flaws Brooks does not mention our victory lap after defeating or solving our flaws Our personal flaws from what I can tell are our personal flaws and we should do our best to recognize and manage them perenniallyCrichton could have self censored and didn't It takes guts to do that and sometimes that goes a long way ‘ the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time’ TS EliotI believe that if you have truly travelled you will no longer be the same person you started out as So for me travel automatically also includes inner change be it intellectual emotional spiritual social or personal I'm also slowly learning the significance of events that change you as a person; things that may not necessarily be immediately significant but add up to make you the person you are To that end I loved this book because Crichton talks about his experiences and observations how he looks at them retrospectively how they have affected him over a period of time what he learnt his self discoveries his self explorations his open minded trysts with psychic phenomena and his clinical attempts at understanding them scientificallyMost critiues about the book seem to have had the wrong expectations from it It's not a travelogue in spite of what the title may convey It's rather a memoir of sorts with the first third of the book about his time as a medical student at Harvard from 1965 69 where he offers an astonishingly honest view of life as a medical student and where he also starts thinking and uestioning his philosophies and breadth of knowledge a second third of the book about his travel experiences climbing Kilimanjaro visiting Baltistan and Shangri La scuba diving with sharks visiting mountain gorillas etc and another third of the book about his experiences with the metaphysical meditations talking to a cactus bending spoons spending time with psychics and healers salt baths auras etc You can actually see Crichton's discerning and open minded approach to life further develop as he uestions analyzes and deeply introspects along with youSomewhere especially in the parts on psychic phenomena I felt it was actually me who was in there and for a non fiction book that is startlingly good If nothing else I have to confess rethinking my outright dismissive attitudes to a few and their effects because Crichton has already asked most of the uestions I would have if I was personally attempting to verify those phenomena Crichton would like any of us have an opinion about a subject such as say auras until someone suggests otherwise which through long analytical monologues disturbs him to the point that he wants to confirm it either way His doubtful analytical mind would then grapple with his personal experiences which seem to be proving otherwise and his attempts at scientifically dissecting them in order to understand are a treat to read In the end I was vigorously nodding my head at his thoughts on whether in science we are forming theories based upon data or are actually letting our pre conceived notions determine which data we let ourselves seeA fantastic book it informed entertained challenged and engaged me as a reader and as a person Travels is one of my favorite books I've read it at least three times in my life It is Michael Crichton's autobiography detailing his life in medical school but most of all his travels around the world Each chapter is a new adventure and Dr Crichton makes you feel as if you are right there with him I definitely recommend this book to anyone that likes to travel or just wants a fun entertaining read Update 151117I don't know why I was being coy in this review Michael Crichton describes waiting for a mutual friend to come back from molesting a child then listens to the man's description of what happened without comment or criticism But Crichton does complain a page later when the locals started laughing about his height What a fucking asshole Is anyone surprised that Hollywood is still full of fucking assholes?This was a profoundly unpleasant self centered non practicing doctor who paid a psychologist high rates to tell him he didn't like himself enough Only read the first 20 pages or so but pay special attention to his strong complaints when people laugh at him for being tall versus what happens 2 pages earlier Hollywood must have loved him Medical student writer film director modern day adventurer Michael Crichton now gives his fans an extraordinarily candid and revealing account of his most enthralling and important journeys physical emotional and psychic during the past two decades in a book every bit as riveting as his bestselling novels I was 12 years old the summer that Jurassic Park hit theaters Considering how ubiuitous CGI has become it's easy to forget how revolutionary that movie was at the time Using computers to animate photorealistic animals and insert them into a scene with real actors was unprecedented Spielberg Co had to invent new technology as they went along to make the movie possible So I saw the movie read the book and then got obsessed with Michael Crichton for the rest of my adolescence I read his books over and over I wrote him a fan letter and the dude replied I got a signed Jurassic Park postcard saying Best wishes Michael Crichton That was niceI read Travels for the first time when I was 14 or 15 The book truly expanded my world It was my introduction to places like Bhutan and Jakarta that I had never heard of before and to new age physic phenomena like auras and spoon bending which I would later come to regard with rigid skepticism I'm currently reading The Brothers Karamazov It's not uite the dense slog I expected it to be I'm enjoying it and yet I wanted something easy to read concurrently So I picked up my old creased paperback copy of Travels and gave it a go Why Travels? I think it's because I wanted to see how much I've changed since I was a teenager Now I know where Afghanistan is I know where Mount Kilimanjaro is I know who James Randi is How would this affect my perception of the book that my former self loved?It is not easy to cut through a human head with a hacksaw I remembered the opening line verbatim 20 years after reading it I remembered a lot I was surprised by how many incidents from this book have stayed with me Being pushed up Kilimanjaro Hushing the British tourists while waiting in an elephant blind Getting on an airplane with a sense of anxiety because you don't have any books to read or music to listen to Taping the desk drawers of your London hotel room Talking to a cactus These are things that I have thought about many times over the last 20 years apparentlySo what additional perspective do I have on the book 20 years later? I still liked it But with asterisks By the standards of the modern era Crichton comes across as slightly sexist and arguably xenophobic However he also seems to be genuinely grappling with his sexism and biases in a way that was rare and forward thinking for the time He examined his thoughts and motives and made a good faith effort to change in a way that I found redeeming By the standards of any era he comes across as insecure Even though he has a chapter where his psychologist tells him he's insecure I didn't really notice this at the time Perhaps because I read it as an insecure 15 year old I couldn't see the forest through the trees He lays his insecurities and phobias and limitations on the table which is brave but it also makes it difficult to like him at times As I suspected it was rewarding to read the book with an improved sense of geography Knowing what I do now a better title would have been Vacations rather than Travels Crichton was not an explorer or a trail blazer in any sense He paid money to go on guided secure trips to exotic locales It was adventure tourism And despite the fact that he was being coddled he nevertheless approached each trip with hand wringing anxiety But that's what I found admirable here's a guy whose temperament was best suited to sitting at a typewriter and daydreaming He had difficulty relating to other people in a genuine way bore physic scars from his troubled childhood and lived with a lot of fear and insecurity Despite all that he forced himself to travel outside of his comfort zone to see the world to challenge himself to grow Someone with less courage would have simply stayed homeI found myself disagreeing with him than I did as a teenager We cause our diseases We are directly responsible for any illness that happens to us Nope Sorry no way This is at best 10% true Yes there are psychosomatic symptoms and we know that a person's outlook can affect their immune system Depressed people get colds for instance And yes some illnesses like type 2 diabetes or lung cancer can be the result of bad decisions But is it your fault if you're born with a cleft palate? Or dyslexia? If you are allergic to cats is that the result of your thoughts? Many illnesses are determined or influenced by genes Are genetic defects your fault? What about if someone breaks your arm and sends you to the emergency room? It's all the an astonishing claim for Crichton to make considering that he died of cancer in 2008 I've had friends who've died of cancer It's terrible and sad In no way whatsoever would I entertain the notion that they caused their own death It's not a matter of responsibility It's winning the world's shittiest lottery I'd be curious to know how much responsibility Crichton felt for his illness in his last days Now for my thoughts on the new age stuff When I first read the book as a teenager I had never heard of spoon bending auras chakras or such It seemed plausible I tried to bend a spoon It didn't work I tried to see auras It didn't work I talked to a tree Never heard back Still I kept an open mind I remember giving my high school psychology teacher my copy of the book and asking him to read a few chapters He returned the book to me the next day in class and said I don't buy it We talked about it for a while He basically said Believe what you want to believe but be careful going down that path Don't believe this stuff on one guy's word alone That was really good advice Thanks Mr SchmidtSo I don't think Crichton is lying or making things up There are some things he writes that seem genuinely inexplicable HOWEVER I believe that if this stuff were true then it would have been confirmed in a laboratory setting by now Crichton anticipates this objection in his post script He writes that there are a number of phenomena that depend on altered states of consciousness which are difficult to replicate in a laboratory setting such as sexual intercourse or creativity Um I'm not sure if the set of a porno counts as a laboratory setting but humans are fully capable of having sex while surrounded by bright lights cameras and an audience And creativity is a pretty broad term I agree it would be harder to write or compose with a bunch of lab coated nerds breathing down your neck but not impossible WhateverSir Arthur Conan Doyle convinced himself that fairies were real Crichton convinced himself that auras were real I'll just agree with what he wrote in his post script if it's true it will eventually be born out by science After reading this book I realized that I never want to meet Michael Crichton Ever

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