Imperfectly Natural Woman: the pocket book

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His father, who had an impressive high school sports career of his own, repeatedly spun the boy around and pushed him back to playgrounds full of taunting schoolmates.

Book review: ‘An Improbable Life’ by Jim Abbott and Tim Brown

It was on those playgrounds that Abbott would prove himself just as able — and often more capable — than the others. The story of his life, from sandlot oddity to gold-medal Olympian to Major League sensation after being drafted by the Angels, is told against the backdrop of a no-hitter Abbott threw for the Yankees in Details of his upbringing and ensuing career are sandwiched between chapters on the Yankee Stadium triumph.

This is not the first time such a device has been used.

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Few things in life build with the ghostly drama of a no-hitter, the fans and teammates rallying around the Man of the Moment, each pitch more important than the last. That missing hand — the thing that tormented him as a child, the thing he tucked in a pocket so that he looked like everyone else — becomes part of his arsenal as well.

And, like me, they had parents nearby, parents who willed themselves to believe that this accident of circumstance or nature was not a life sentence, and that the spirits inside these tiny bodies were greater than the sums of their hands and feet. Where this book really sings is in these moments, when the kids think Abbott is inspiring them when it is often the other way around, all of it deftly handled by co-writer Brown, whose storytelling skills are evident throughout. In reverse of a no-hitter, where success builds, each failure of a declining player seems to beget another failure.

Free of major injury, Abbott sees his fastball desert him, and it is as if the strapping pitcher has been cursed all over again. Did too many cutters take their toll on his arm? Did too much time in the weight room rob it of its natural snap? Still, her cast of characters usefully illustrates the geographic, racial, religious, and socioeconomic range of the suffrage movement. Ultimately, though, the diversity of the voting-rights advocates is less shocking than the diversity of voting rights themselves.

The first is from , when Wyoming was the only state that allowed women to vote. The second is from , when, after four decades, just three other states had enfranchised women: Colorado, Idaho, and Utah.

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The last, from , shows a complicated patchwork of the various voting rights held by women around the country. By then, fifteen states had passed constitutional amendments allowing full female suffrage; others had partial suffrage, allowing women to vote in school or local elections.

Anthony Amendment was passed by both houses of Congress and sent to the forty-eight state capitals for consideration. The slogan was an exhortation not only for women who lacked the right to vote, but also for those who already had it, since ratification depended on a national coalition, drawing resources from suffrage strongholds and dispatching them to the expanding flanks of the movement. By the summer of , suffragists had won thirty-five of the thirty-six states they needed in order to achieve the two-thirds majority required for amending the Constitution.

They decided against trying in Vermont or Connecticut, where recalcitrant governors were refusing to call special sessions, or trying again in Virginia, Delaware, or Maryland, where the amendment had already been rejected, and they had given up entirely on much of the South.


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That left them with only one option: Tennessee. Once the battle came down to a single state, activists and lobbyists from around the country descended on Nashville, where they met old enemies, and older arguments. Amblin is developing a series, with Hillary Clinton serving as an executive producer. The book grippingly recounts the twists and reversals that took place in the weeks leading up to the suffrage victory, but it is even more thrilling in its presentation of ideas—both those of the suffragists and those of the people who opposed them. Some argued that most women did not even want the right to vote, others that the expanded electorate would be an expensive burden on municipalities.

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Still others raised the paradoxical objections that women would vote the way their husbands did, thus doubling their votes, or not vote the way their husbands did, thus cancelling them out, making the whole thing a waste of time. As state after state allowed women to vote, the suffragists acquired more anecdotes and data that they could share in order to assuage the concerns of those who were not yet decided, and even change the minds of some who were.

But, while the sexist arguments that they faced often united suffragists around their cause, arguments about race divided them. Some of the very suffragists who worked to dispel ideas about their intellectual inferiority as women advanced similar ideas about the ostensibly lesser intelligence of people of color, and argued openly that only white women should be allowed to vote.

A few, acting on grudges that had lingered for decades following the exclusion of women from the Reconstruction amendments, even posited that they deserved the right more than the black men who had already been enfranchised. Anthony had advocated for universal suffrage, and they were outraged when the Fourteenth Amendment specified that only men qualified for its protections.

Never before in the history of the world have men made former slaves the political masters of their former mistresses. Other suffragists expressed pragmatic concerns that any federal enfranchisement would be seen by Southern states as an effort to undermine Jim Crow, the appallingly successful new strategy for preventing black men from exercising their rights. Suffs, as the women called themselves, had long disagreed about whether to pursue a national or a state-by-state strategy, in part because of the racism of some of their own white members, who opposed voting rights for African-Americans—not to mention Native Americans and, later, Asian-Americans—and so wanted individual states to determine for themselves who would, or, rather, would not, have the right to vote.

But the friction was also because, in states like Tennessee, even those who believed in racial equality were not always willing to defend it at the cost of gender equality. In Tennessee, the opposition was led by Josephine Pearson, who was drafted by her dying mother and emboldened by the certainty that her heavenly Father wanted women to focus on causes more noble than politics.

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More surprising, perhaps, were some of her fellow-travellers. The founder of Barnard College, Annie Nathan Meyer, a sister of the suffragist Maud Nathan, believed it was disingenuous to suggest that women could ever purify the political realm with their votes; in trying to do so, Meyer insisted, they forfeited their apolitical powers of persuasion.

It gives me the opportunity to work through my thoughts and goals for the day to ensure I make every day a meaningful and productive one. The routine provides me with discipline that radiates throughout all aspects of my professional life. Far from dogmas, principles, or ideologies, the objective of this book is to give readers the information that they need to win.

On the one hand, it's a great manual for managers that advises leaders on humbleness, integrity, and an inflexible fairness. On the other, it provides the keys to intelligence, observation, and analysis for various cases so that leaders can act in a timely, composed manner.

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During my entrepreneurial life [this book] has always been a reliable source for me to look to during countless situations. It's a must-read. This book cites the stories of the rapid rise of great companies of Facebook, Netflix, and Airbnb. The tools to support successful 'Blitzscaling' are the right business model, right hiring and managing practice, evolving culture, and marriage of responsibility and velocity for the greater good. Both of the authors have immense experience and share it in a straightforward and honest read. While the book did not impact my personal life, it certainly provided me with a wealth of knowledge that has enabled more successful negotiations and better commercial outcomes.

I would highly recommend it. William Levine, chief scientific officer of CannRx, a company developing scientifically-based cannabis technologies and products, and founder of Izun Pharmaceuticals, a company specializing in botanical medicine with an IP portfolio of over 65 patents. The author illustrates through many examples how the power of interest, passion, and perseverance move people and ideas forward.

I can really identify with this book's message: 'believe in your passion, identify a goal, and persevere through grit.

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In the book: 'To be gritty is to fall down seven times and rise eight. A couple times not even sure I would be able to get up again. But I always seem to, and most times move forward after the knockdown with a better understanding of what I have to do to succeed. To me, this is really the essence of being gritty.

Paul MacKoul, co-founder of The Center for Innovative GYN Care, a surgical practice with five practice locations in four states, treating complex gynecologic conditions with trademarked, minimally invasive surgical techniques. I think everyone, myself specifically, could use a reminder that asking dumb questions, reframing old ideas, and, in turn, trying to create a bit of magic, can lead to unexpected solutions for some of our most difficult problems. Alchemy was a reminder of that and then some.

The main concept, as told by Sinek, is that 'People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.