Thursday, June 9, 2011

A World Of Virgins Studying Sex

A couple of years ago, I was reading a chunk of books that Dan John had suggested. One of the first I chose from his list was the book "On Killing" by Lt. Col. David Grossman. If you've ever had a loved one or a friend go to war, or even if you haven't but still want to try to "understand", then it's worth your time. It's not what I'd call "an easy read"(emotionally, that is), but I could not tear myself away and it was one of the few books I've read recently that affected me profoundly.

On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society
On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society

There are, of course, many insights, most of which seem commonsensical ("Well, OF COURSE that would affect you!") but, in the context of the book and first-hand accounts and logical conclusions, become all the more convincing. It has certainly made me rethink the conversations and recommendations I have had with teenagers in the past about movies and video games, for example.

A point Lt. Col. Grossman makes early in the book is that conversations and research on the subject of killing often are (or have been) like "a world of virgins studying sex". In the strength, fitness, and conditioning community too, you will find many writer-gurus that have not spent much time in the racks and under a barbell. In this regard, they are like a bunch of virgins in lab coats, dispensing advice about sex when, in fact, the only advice they may be qualified to give is about abstinence.


vinnie said...

Grossman's books are in high demand within my local public library circulation. Normally I'm able to obtain an extension on books I've taken out but I always end up paying fines because I never return his titles on their due date. Purchasing would be best but I don't mind the fines because its a donation to a public service and his work is so interesting. They should be more "Grossman's" in the market but others haven't expound on this niche he has created.

Boris said...

I have On Killing and On Combat - both great. I read the library's copy first, and later found a copy On Killing for next to nothing on a bookstore bargain shelf.

"Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales is a similar vein - also very good. I've quoted it a couple times here and (I think) in "Digging Out Of A Blizzard".

Thanks for commenting - I was afraid no one else felt the same way about the book!