Monday, January 8, 2018

Kruse's Keys: Read "Artemis" For Fast-Paced Ready for the Big Screen Action*

NOTE: I don’t typically provide the set Kruse’s Keys set of notes for books that I listen to on Audible.  It’s pretty much impossible/dangerous to take notes while driving so I instead try to jot down my overall impression.

I read author Andy Weir’s blockbuster debut novel The Martian back in 2015 (before the movie) and loved it (I also loved the movie).  So when Artemis came out I added it to my Audible queue.

Artemis is the name of the colony/city/development located on the moon at some point in the future.  The story focuses on a young smuggler/dreamer named Jazz.  As the daughter of an immigrant from Saudi Arabia, she was pretty much raised on the moon and has developed a pirat-ish code of conduct aimed at eventually moving her up in the stratified social order of life on Artemis.

Early on, Jazz is offered a deal that’s too good to be true (of course) and hijinks ensue.  The narrative moves quickly with dialogue and action but Jazz irked me--she comes across as a little bit too enamored with just how cute and clever and irreverent she is (or rather, thinks she is).  This lack of humility and maturity grated me as the story progressed--in fact it ended up distracting from the novel itself at times.

One gets the sense that Weir wrote this novel to become an eventual movie--rather than to exist on its own.  The voice that reads the Audible version, for instance, is the actress Rosario Dawson.  This likely drives the reader to envision what one hears in the realm of a movie on the big screen.  But you know what, I’d probably be doing the same thing if I possessed his drive and talent so good on him.

So Jazz’ personality aside, Weir has done what talented authors do: create a previously unknown world and open its door to readers everywhere.  Buckle up.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Kruse's Keys: Read "Hidden Christmas" to Understand the True Gravity of Christmas

Tim Keller stepped down as the senior pastor at the renowned Redeemer Church in NYC in early 2017--the church he built into 5000 strong members in one of the most unchurched areas of the United States.  Along the way, he’s published an array of books (one of them, Prodigal God, is on my yearly re-reading list) and Hidden Christmas falls in among them.

Hidden Christmas is the product of a lifetime of Keller’s Christmas sermons.  This amalgamation covers the breadth of the Christmas story beginning with its roots in the Old Testament, as the Israelites yearned for the freeing savior King promised to them.  Whether a believer (in Jesus) or not, a reader will find much of interest in this short read.  And I think that’s really the strength of this book: Keller covers so much that there’s bound to be something in it that will give you pause to consider what Jesus’ birth in a manager means.

Personally, I finished Hidden Christmas with a newfound understanding for just how significant it was that God became man (i.e., the incarnation).  The Old Testament contains volumes on the just how carefully the people of Israel had to approach even the presence of God in their temple.  There are literally pages and pages, in fact, that detail the cloth, the spacing, the colors, the time of day, the season, the sacrifices, the materials, all the prerequisites just for the Israelite priests to commune with God and atone for their people’s sins.

Then God (i.e., Jesus) becomes a baby in a manager.  Now all that has to happen for the people of Israel to approach God is to merely COME.  Come and adore a manager, as a defenseless baby.  That’s changes--that changed everything.  We take the ability to talk to, to pray to, to approach God ourselves for granted today and the Christmas story should remind us of how incredible this is.

This book is from our 2017 Reading List.

Key Takeaways:
  • God has experienced the depth of humanity: despair, death, pain and suffering.  He has come alongside us.  
  • We have more info today than Mary did because we know the Gospel story.  But her faith was amazing because she accepted her role without knowing the scope and breadth of what her son Jesus would do.  She didn’t know then that he would die on a cross, be raised again and save humanity.  How much more then should we have faith in His promises.
  • God/Jesus became man, God laid aside his glory for vulnerability instead.  Think to the Old Testament passages and all the precautions Israelites had to take just to approach God in the temple...then boom, Jesus comes and he’s lying there in a manager for all to see (48-9)
  • The Old Testament lineage and parallels are fairly significant and all point to Jesus’ coming.  It’s worthwhile to read this section of the book for how concisely Keller lays it all out (76).

Key Quotes:

  • “Such in outline, but even more purposeless, more void of meaning, is the world which science presents for our belief... That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the débris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.” (9)
  • “Christmas shows [God] knows what you’re going through.” (14)
  • “Christmas is not “Once upon a time story that happened that shows us how we should live better lives.” No!  He broke into the world to save us.  Christ the savior is born!” (39)
  • “Two questions for professing Christians: “First are you willing to obey anything the Bible clearly says to do, whether you like it or not? Second, are you willing to trust God in anything he sends into your life, whether you understand it or not.” (91).
  • “The [Bible’s] lesson is that the medium is not the message, that we must not ignore uncomfortable truths just because they come through an unimpressive messenger.” (104)
  • “Thy word is like a deep, deep mine;//and jewels rich are rare//are hidden in its mighty depths//for every searcher there.” (107)
  • “The manger at Christmas means that, if you live like Jesus, there won’t be room for you in a lot of inns.” (119)

Key References (for further study):

Key Notes:

2 We give gifts at Christmas because of the gift of Jesus to humanity
3 “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” is a good summary of the entire gospel
5 We string lights at Christmas because Jesus brought light to the world
6 Darkness = evil and ignorance
7-8 The gospel of ME forgets that man isn’t God
17 Some gifts are hard to receive--because you have to acknowledge a deficiency/shortcoming
in your help
21 Matthew opening with genealogy denotes a news story not a fairy tale
29 Matthew lists 5 maternal ancestors of Jesus--that’s unique in a patriarchal
society.  Most of the women weren’t jews and reminded readers of the failings in
Israel’s past
33 Power of Jesus comes as an equalizer between social, economic, racial groups
36 When you are not feeling love = you’re likely putting God on your own timeline
37 7th seven generation is Jesus--the 49th year was a ‘jubilee’ when all debts were
43 Power of the fact that Jesus really is God
48-9 God/Jesus became man, God laid aside his glory for vulnerability instead.  
50 Selflessness epitomizes the Christmas spirit
52 Jesus knows the pain of unanswered prayer--his prayer in the Garden of
Gethsemene to God to ‘take this cup’
53 Jesus coming as man broached the transition from fear to love
61 God needed courage:  that’s unique in all religions--and he got that courage from
67 There can only be one king in a land or a life
73 Post-salvation we are all still residual anger toward God
76 Wow, Old Testament lineage and parallels
84 Conversion can happen at different speeds for people--not always immediate,
singular event
87 One sign of faith is when you get a sense that God came and found you
90 Christianity is not “of course”--it’s a real miracle
99 We have more info today than Mary did--she accepted her role without knowing
the scope and breadth of what her son Jesus would do
105 Bible is meant to be pondered--not just read
140-1 Christian life starts just as Jesus came--humbling just by asking

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Kruse's Keys: Read "The Leader's Bookshelf" If You Aspire to Leadership in Any FIeld

Jim Staviridis’ gift to bookavores everywhere, The Leader’s Bookshelf is a difficult one on which to provide notes because it is so packed with great and essential material.  What Stavridis and former Navy PAO R. Ancell have done is put together a Top 50 reading list for military leaders--they accomplished this feat by surveying hundreds of senior military leaders.  The final list, though, only took into account the inputs of the more than 200 4-star officers surveyed.  The authors then compiled the most frequently cited titles and ranked them by frequency of citation.

I’ve only read about 12 of the 50 which lean a little too heavily toward the Civil War (5 of the 50, not including three on Lincoln).  Each of the 50 books includes a prelude on its importance written by one of the surveyed 4 star officers.

The distribution of preludes by service follows:
6 Air Force
16 Navy
9 Marine Corps
18 Army
1 Coast Guard

He also devotes a chapter to an unofficial survey of junior officers and provides a short summaries of the titles that are most often listed. One of the strengths of this book is that it provides a framework to analyze future books.  The author’s systematic approach to reading provides a useful framework for anyone desiring to better digest and use what they read.  In particular, Stavridis notes the Marine Corps methodology in setting the standard in creating tiered reading lists.

As a FAO, I enjoyed Staviridis’ analyses that repeatedly noted the need for regional expertise (across the spectrum of history and literature) to better inform national strategic decision-making.

Key Quotes:

  • “To be a good soldier you must love the army.  To be a good commander, you must be willing to order the death of the thing you love.”  -Robert E. Lee (16)
  • There are certain wicked people in the world that you can’t deal with except by force.” -John Keegan (39)
  • “The Americans have all the watches, but we have all the time.”  -Taliban saying (45)
  • “Military operations alone cannot defeat an insurgency because only economic development and political action can address most sources of disaffection.” -H.R. McMaster (48)
  • “What constitutes defeats?  The conquest of his whole territory is not always necessary, and total occupation of his territory may not be enough.” -Carl von Clausewitz (52)
  • “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower (67)
  • “In the military services...the main rewards go to him who can make other men feel toughened as well as elevated.”  -S.L.A. Marshall (71)
  • “Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability to explain why it didn’t happen.” -Winston Churchill (78)
  • “The buck stops here.” -Plaque on President Truman’s Oval Office desk (81)
  • “In a man-to-man fight, the winner is he who has one more round in his magazine.” -Erwin Rommel (83)
  • “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” -Stephen R. Covey (86)
  • “Let no officer keep to himself or his brother officers, but circulate daylong among his men.” -King Leonidas of Sparta (109)
  • If there is no work, make it up...action, on the other hand, produces the appetite for more action.”  -King Leonidas of Sparta (109)
  • “A king does not expend his substance to enslave men, but by his conduct and example makes them free.” -King Leonidas of Sparta (111)
  • “The opposite of fear is not courage--it is love [of a fellow soldier].”  -King Leonidas of Sparta (111)
  • “Molon labe”--”Come and take them.” -King Leonidas in response to Xerxes call to lay down his arms (111).
  • “My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” -Abraham Lincoln (113)
  • “My best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.” -Abraham Lincoln (116)
  • “Be with a leader when he is right, stay with him when he is still right, but leave him when he is wrong.” -Abraham Lincoln (116)
  • “Every man’s happiness is his own responsibility.”  -Abraham Lincoln (116)
  • “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” -Abraham Lincoln (117)
  • “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.” -Abraham Lincoln (117)
  • “The best to predict your future is to create it.” -Abraham Lincoln (117)
  • “Preparation equals performance.” -Admiral James Loy, USCG Commandant
  • “Outside solutions unanchored by an understanding of a given regional system are almost always doomed to fail.” -Admiral Jim Stavridis, commenting on A Peace to End all Peace.
  • “In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him.  I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves.  And then, in that very moment when I love them...I destroy them.” -Ender Wiggins in Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game (174).
  • “[Matterhorn] is a novel about a young man learning compassion in the middle of a war.” -LtCol Ralph Peters (176).
  • “Matterhorn... is the first great [novel about the Vietnam War] and I doubt it will ever be surpassed.” - Mark Bowdren, author of Blackhawk Down (177).
  • Attack rapidly, ruthlessly, viciously, without rest, however tired and hungry you may be.  The enemy will be most tired, and more hungry.  Keep punching.” -Patton (182)
  • “No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair.” -Patton (182)

Key Takeaways:

  • The best leaders are forged through practice--both heredity and environment matters (1)
  • Central value to reading lies in one’s ability to live vicariously through others’ experiences and evaluate ourselves and how we would react to their challenges (3).
  • In reading about our heroes we are able to ID their leadership traits and replicate them (4).
  • A carefully crafted daily routine is a key enabler to productivity.  Stavridis recounts his as he runs through what he reads and does over his first two cups of coffee everyday.  You’ll find the power of a routine centrally cited by productivity gurus from Tim Ferris to Cal Newport (you can read more about Newport’s amazing Deep Work here) (8)
  • Nimitz’ transformative belief in second chances is especially relevant today in a zero-defect military promotion system (59).
  • Rommel: Leaders are good observers first (85).
  • Repeat back what you hear to make sure you understand (87).
  • Creative solution-making and cultural understanding are inexorably linked (Key FAO Trait) (93).
  • Mark Twain: Leaders duty to challenge “tradition”...what are the ancient and incorrect traditions today in the Navy and FAO community? (135).
  • Leaders bring order from chaos (155).
  • [Matterhorn] is a novel about a young man learning compassion in the middle of a war.” -LtCol Ralph Peters (176).
  • I combined all the leadership principles and lessons from the various noted books below:
  1. Give offense to no one
  2. Take personal responsibility
  3. Develop real human relationships
  4. Know when to delegate
  5. Keep your enemy off balance
  6. Intelligence is vital
  7. Keys to victory
  8. Confidence as force multiplier
  9. Simplicity matters when plans are assembled
  10. Lead as servant and protector
  11. Dream
  12. Good leaders can never rest of their laurels
  13. Leaders reach for the stars
  14. Delegation is crucial
  15. Focus on the objective
  16. Leaders must be determined
  17. Be proactive
  18. Begin with the end in mind
  19. Put first things first
  20. Think win/win
  21. Seek first to understand
  22. Synergize--getting the mix right
  23. Sharpen the saw--constant improvement
  24. Do the Right Thing (integrity)
  25. Master the Situation (action)
  26. Serve the greater good (selflessness)
  27. Speak your mind (principle of candor)
  28. Lay the Groundwork (be prepared)
  29. Share knowledge (share to make others better)
  30. Choose and reward the right people (principle of fairness)
  31. Focus on the big picture (delegate at the next level, i.e., operational or tactical)
  32. Support the troops (principle of caring)
  33. Carve out time to read
  34. Find the time to think after you read
  35. Speak and write with simplicity and precision
  36. Be humble and use humor often
  37. Focus and prioritize
  38. Stay physically fit
  39. Be your own spokesperson
  40. Spend the most time on personnel matters
  41. Have a relaxing weekend routine
  42. Don’t lunge at the ball
  43. Details matter but think big thoughts
  44. Understand the process (before you criticize it)
  45. Look at the law or regulation for yourself
  46. Organize yourself
  47. Make mentorship a priority
  48. Avoid refusing to delegate
  49. Avoid losing patience with people
  50. Avoid obsessing over little things that don’t matter in the long run
  51. Avoid working to exhaustion
  52. Give the right people second chances
  53. Act with honor, hope and generosity
  54. Listen first, then speak
  55. You have a duty to challenge “tradition”
Key References (for further study):
  • Beirut known as the “Paris of the East” (91)
  • Stoic Greek philosophers (97)
  • Marshall Biography (125)
  • Middle East good book combo:  Beirut to Jerusalem and (140)
  • Balkan Ghosts: book to read for Albania and Croatia (149)
  • LeMay a 4-star at 44 years old! (165)
  • Patton and past lives--very weird (181)
  • Good book to read: Commander in Chief: FDR (203)
  • Tiered FAO Reading List (211-16)
  • U.S. Naval Institute “Young Leaders” Group  led or started by now RADM Fred Kacher  (226)
  • Generalship, Its Diseases and Their cures  (243)
  • Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon (246-7)
  • Question for Mattis: What are the great American West books that you have read (249)
  • Sailing to Ithaca Poem (264)
Key Notes:

8 Incorporate daily reading of Le Figaro into my routine:
10 Stavridis as avid consumer of poetry and Proceedings
11 Becoming a better leader requires reading books
25 Leaders must act with honor, hope and generosity--apart from circumstances
34 Lincoln’s 4 Principles:
  1. Give offense to no one
  2. Take personal responsibility
  3. Develop real human relationships
  4. Know when to delegate
38 Sun Tzu’s central lessons:
  1. Keep your enemy off balance
  2. Intelligence is vital
  3. Keys to victory
  4. Confidence as force multiplier
  5. Simplicity matters when plans are assembled
  6. Lead as servant and protector
  7. Dream
47 Logistics matter--must constantly be aware of the flow of resources
51 Leaders must cultivate the shared sense of a common objective
56-7 Clausewitz’s 5 lessons:
  1. Good leaders can never rest of their laurels
  2. Leaders reach for the stars
  3. Delegation is crucial
  4. Focus on the objective
  5. Leaders must be determined
59 Nimitz’ transformative belief in second chances
60 Japan made three mistakes at Pearl Harbor:
  1. Attacking on Sunday morning when most sailors were ashore on leave
  2. Not destroying dry docks that we used for ship repair
  3. Not attacking fuel storage tanks located five miles away
61 Nimitz: Innovate to succeed and go straight at your opponent
66 Grant’s keys: Determination to succeed, delegate, and humility
70 Eisenhower: Good leaders build teams
74 Small unit leadership is the heart of all leadership
81 Truman: Leaders don’t please everyone
81 Truman: Role of pragmatism in leadership
83 Rommel: importance of reconnaissance and boldness in war
85 Rommel: Leaders are good observers first
87-88 7 habits:
  1. Be proactive
  2. Begin with the end in mind
  3. Put first things first
  4. Think win/win
  5. Seek first to understand
  6. Synergize--getting the mix right
  7. Sharpen the saw--constant improvement
87 Repeat back what you hear to make sure you understand
89 “trust account”--built up through cooperation and bridges
89 Listen first--then speak
93 Creative solution-making and cultural understanding are inexorably linked--FAO
103 Logistics lost the battle at Dien Bien Phu
108 Lee: Build depth, don’t depend on any one subordinate too much--this was part
of Lee’s downfall
115 Lincoln used MWBA--management by wandering around (75% of time spent
meeting with people)
120 Lincoln’s excellence was in team building: “harnessing” brilliant people
127-8 Marshall: 9 principles
  1. Do the Right Thing (integrity)
  2. Master the Situation (action)
  3. Serve the greater good (selflessness)
  4. Speak your mind (principle of candor)
  5. Lay the Groundwork (be prepared)
  6. Share knowledge (share to make others better)
  7. Choose and reward the right people (principle of fairness)
  8. Focus on the big picture (delegate at the next level, i.e., operational or tactical)
  9. Support the troops (principle of caring)
135 Mark Twain: Leaders duty to challenge “tradition”
143 Bottom up solutions are the best
148 Wicked problems--sometimes requires more than just a military OR a civil-military
151 study past but don’t be imprisoned by it
155 Leaders bring order from chaos
157 Focus on 1 key objective and hammer at it relentlessly
158 360 degree relationship management
245 Every one of Mattis’ boss had a reading list for his subordinates
250 Stavridis' key lessons for senior leaders
  1. Carve out time to read
  2. Find the time to think after you read
  3. Speak and write with simplicity and precision
  4. Be humble and use humor often
  5. Focus and prioritize
  6. Stay physically fit
  7. Be your own spokesperson
  8. Spend the most time on personnel matters
  9. Have a relaxing weekend routine
  10. Don’t lunge at the ball
  11. Details matter but think big thoughts
  12. Understand the process (before you criticize it)
  13. Look at the law or regulation for yourself
  14. Organize yourself
  15. Make mentorship a priority
  16. Avoid refusing to delegate
  17. Avoid losing patience with people
  18. Avoid obsessing over little things that don’t matter in the long run
  19. Avoid working to exhaustion

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Kruse's Keys: Read "American Rust" To Feel the Decline of American Steel-Making (in your very bones)

NOTE: I listened to this novel as an audiobook during my daily commute so I don’t have as many notes as I'd like to.

I first encountered Meyer’s writing back in 2015 by way of S.C. Gwynne’s incredible Empire of the Summer Moon. His story of Quanah Parker, the offspring of a kidnapped white woman and a Comanche, who went on to become one to become one of the greatest native American warriors of all time led me to Meyer’s The Son (now an AMC mini-series).  Meyer’s well-researched piece of Texas history (well, historical fiction) has a central character that is kidnapped by Indians as a child.
All that to say, The Son was so well written that I was eager to read anything else written by Meyer.  That led me to Meyer’s first novel, American Rust,  which reads like a sorrowful swan song to the American rust belt.  The story brings to light the consequences of the steel industry’s death as the reader is drawn into the lives of several families and their struggle to love, survive, and escape.  The narrative centers in on the plight of Billy Poe, a driftless, could-have-been, washed up former high school football star, and Isaac, an unmoored genius who struggles to escape the gravity of his impoverished circumstances.  Throw in a little murder and a love triangle and you have a story you won’t soon forget.  My only critique is that I wished Meyer had wrapped up the story a little more neatly but we can leave that for the eventual movie version.

Key Quotes:
  • You ought to be able to grow up in a place and not have to get the hell out of it when you turn eighteen.”
  • “this is what it means to get old, you don’t look forward to pleasure so much as easing pain.”
  • “Same as what they taught you as a lifeguard- you have to save yourself before you can save anyone else. ”
  • “And one day...there would be no record, nothing left standing, to show that anything had ever been built in America. It was going to cause big problems, he didn't know how but he felt it. You could not have a country, not this big, that didn't make things for itself. There would be ramifications eventually.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Lee English is the one character that escapes the gravity of the town and graduates from Yale University, later marrying into a wealthy family. In commenting on her cohort of acquaintances in colleges she comments that most of them will never experience the feeling on wanting something and never getting it. She views this as a weakness but it's also seeded in the bitterness of her own background where that's the central feeling that most people experience (Chapter 5, 33:08 in the audiobook).
  • The soul and society crushing reality of losing a skilled steel-making job and no longer having something that you're good at (Chapter 14, 06:16).
  • The idea that rich people view the world the same way as someone with brain damage--they don't understand the realities of life (Chapter 20, 18:55).

Key References:
What You Do Out Here When You're Alone: short story by Philipp Meyer

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Kruse's Keys: Read "Hawaii" to Unlock the Islands Before Your Visit

In 2009, I married my beautiful bride on Poipu Beach in Kauai.  Since that visit, the Hawaiian islands have held a special place in my heart.  During idle moments, I confess to plugging the location of Kauai into job search sites and crossing my fingers for a non-engineering job to pop up.  Since 2009 we’ve returned to Kauai several times and prior to our most recent trip this past summer I decided to finally dive into Michener’s 1000 page tale Hawaii.  

First published in 1959 (the year of Hawaiian statehood), Hawaii definitely comes across a little dated in its style but Michener nonetheless proves that he can craft an engrossing tale as he spans the physical birth of the Hawaiian islands eons ago up to it fight for statehood.  Hawaii begins its narrative with the first impossible ocean-spanning voyages of men and women from Tahiti.

From there we witness the tribal fight to consolidate power throughout the islands and then see the natives first interaction with New England missionaries.  From there Michener deftly juxtaposes the lives of consecutives generations of earnest but severe missionaries with those of lusty and wayward whalers and traders.  The narrative carries on as we see the immigration of Chinese and Japanese settlers and their eventual integration into the social, economic and political life of Hawaii over the span of two World Wars and an eventual quest for statehood.  

One assumes (with even cursory research) that Michener took a multitude of historical liberties in the writing of this tome but upon finishing it I was okay with that.  Hawaii is an engrossing novel that encourages the reader to learn more about it actual history (I’ve included some links to do just that in a section below.

  • “In later years, it would become fashionable to say of the missionaries, "They came to the islands to do good, and they did right well." Others made jest of the missionary slogan, "They came to a nation in darkness; they left it in light," by pointing out: "Of course they left Hawaii lighter. They stole every goddamned thing that wasn't nailed down.”
  • “It is difficult to be king when the gods are changing.”
  • “no man leaves where he is and seeks a distant place unless he is in some respect a failure; but having failed in one location and having been ejected, it is possible that in the next he will be a little wiser.”
  • “Why is it, Reverend Hale, that we must always laugh at our book, but always revere yours?”
  • “Patriotism is not a matter of the skin’s color. It is a matter of the heart.”
  • “You love the Hawaiians as potential Christians, but you despise them as people. I am proud to say that I have come to exactly the opposite conclusion, and it is therefore appropriate that I should be expelled from a mission where love is not.”

  • Differences between Chinese and Japanese assimilation. At least initially the Chinese were more willing to intermarry with the local populace.  Whereas the Japanese workers held out hope to return to Japan one day and marry someone from their village.  
  • Very broad generalizations but the Chinese were the first to develop and integrate into the economy through business and trade whereas the Japanese were the first to integrate into the political scene.
  • Notably, the book doesn’t address the other large immigrant/worker populations such as the Filipinos, Koreans, and Puerto Ricans.  
  • Considerable remittances were paid back to homelands by the worker populations
  • There was a very wide variance in missionary experience in Hawaii’s history.  An interesting part of that covered in the book was that of their ministry to lepers on the island of Molokai.  

  • The genetic makeup in Hawaii is pretty interesting--what one might think of as a typical Hawaiian is likely nothing like a pure “Hawaiian” that first inhabited the islands.
  • Statehood was never a foregone conclusion for Hawaii.  There were a lot of “sugar” senators from the continental US that didn’t want the competition--the importance of sugar can’t be understated in the arc of Hawaii’s history..  Additionally, there was a fair amount of racism prevalent that sought to keep the “uncivilized” nation-state out of the Union.  
  • The Dole pineapple that we eat today only came after generations of experimentation and trial and error.  The history of the Hawaiian pineapple alone could fill a book.
  • Palm trees from Madagascar were brought in and planted in Kauai at some point.  This is noted in the book but I haven’t been able to find any other info to verify this on the interwebs.  

Those seeking more robust scholarship on Hawaii’s history and it’s immigrant experience could explore the following articles and books: