Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself
Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself Author:Alan Alda On the heels of his acclaimed memoir, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, beloved actor and bestselling author Alan Alda has written Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself, an insightful and funny look at some of the impossible questions he’s asked himself over the years: What do I value? What, exactly, is the good life? (And wh... more »at does that even mean?)
Picking up where his bestselling memoir left off–having been saved by emergency surgery after nearly dying on a mountaintop in Chile–Alda finds himself not only glad to be alive but searching for a way to squeeze the most juice out of his new life. Looking for a sense of meaning that would make this extra time count, he listens in on things he’s heard himself saying in private and in public at critical points in his life–from the turbulence of the sixties, to his first Broadway show, to the birth of his children, to the ache of September 11, and beyond. Reflecting on the transitions in his life and in all our lives, he notices that “doorways are where the truth is told,” and wonders if there’s one thing–art, activism, family, money, fame–that could lead to a “life of meaning.”
In a book that is candid, wise, and as questioning as it is incisive, Alda amuses and moves us with his unique and hilarious meditations on questions great and small. Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself is another superb Alan Alda performance, as inspiring and entertaining as the man himself.« less
This book wasn't quite what I expected, having read Alda's previous book, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed. I found myself skipping over large parts of it, seeing far more narcissism and ego than I could tolerate. The story is told through speeches Alda has given to various groups, mostly commencement speeches. The book probably will appeal to some, but I thought Alda was taking himself way too seriously.
I agree with the other reviewer - this was not what I expected or hoped. I also read "Never have your dog stuffed" and hoped for more insight into Alda's life. Instead, what I got was a non-cohesive conglomeration of speeches Alda gave, tied together with some tenuous segues. Perhaps Alda's publisher was so happy with the proceeds of the first book that they sent him back to the well - and this was the best he could come up with. Disappointing.
Rather disappointing. I read his first book and enjoyed it very much. I thought this would be more of the same. Instead, it's a review of speeches he has made at various events and his thoughts about them--which, in all fairness, is exactly what the title says it is! I just didn't take the title quite so literally.
This is the most recent book by Alan Alda, published in 2007. It extracts portions of various speeches he's given over the years and includes commentary written later tying them together and adding perspective acquired since they were originally given.
Alda himself interests me. He's not religious, loves science, and knows his own limits and interests. In short, he looks like someone who's found a reasonable path through the chaos of life. But reading this book you discover that he's always been trying to find meaning in the world, and hasn't always been successful.
At the very end he has some words that sum up what he thinks the meaning of life is and isn't. They are deceptively simple, and close to my own take on things at this point. That doesn't mean they are something you can act upon, though, and how one reacts to them is inevitably a personal thing. Many would in fact disagree with him.
Beyond that bit at the end, though, this isn't a book I found thrilling. It wasn't bad, but I see no need to reread it in the future. Alda's an interesting person with an outlook on life somewhat similar to my own, but he would be the first to admit that he's no expert on much of anything beyond acting, directing, and writing entertainment, and maybe not even on all of those.
Reading this book to learn a bit about someone else's POV is a good thing, while reading it to find "The Answer" would be a mistake. I guess this is mildly recommended as a result.