Suggested Questions and Topics for Reading Groups

 Here are some suggested questions to get the discussion flowing in your reading group.  Feel free to add, modify, or come up with your own questions!

 

INTRODUCTION

Did it surprise you that 25% of young American women would rather win America’s next top model than the Nobel Peace Prize?  Would you have thought that number was larger or smaller?  Why do you suppose that is?  What kind of women would make that choice?  Is there a part of you, if you were being honest, that would love to hit it big on a reality show?  If so, why?

Lisa says that “Europeans and Asians consistently slaughter our boys and girls in international competitions.”  Did you know that?  Why do you think that’s the case?  Who is to blame?  How can we turn that around?  How can we muster the political will to refocus on education?

CHAPTER ONE

I CAME BY IT HONESTLY

Lisa gets personal in this chapter, describing her upbringing with “two parents who were independent thinkers, who got giddy from the thrills of facts and books and ideas.”  How much did your upbringing influence your approach to thinking?  If you’re a parent, what are you doing to stimulate your children’s minds?

CHAPTER TWO

WHAT A WASTE IT’S BEEN TO LOSE OUR MINDS
Lisa says:  “When did not-thinking become not-embarrassing?”  Was there a time in your life when you can remember people really valuing knowledge and insight?  Was there a teacher, a family member, who pushed you to use your mind?  Many people believe that the news, and public discussion of issues, has gotten dumbed down.  When do you think that happened?  Do our leaders set a credible tone for the rest of us?

Lisa says, “tabloid media is making us stupid, narcissistic and self-loathing.”  Do you agree?  Why are gossips shows, magazines and websites so popular?

Do you agree that we are deep in a beauty double standard?  How much time and money do you spend on your beauty routine?  Did Lisa convince you to make any changes?

CHAPTER THREE

THE FALLOUT

Why do we say “never again” in remembering the Holocaust, yet allow genocides to continue around the planet?  Why do we not have the political will to stop them, even by nonmilitary means?  Were you surprised to read that the climate change debate is much more lopsided than the American media let on?  Why do you suppose that is?

Is the media making us stupid?  Is it the American media’s responsibility to make important news stories palatable to us, or is it our responsibility as consumers to click on and buy the good stuff?  Why don’t more of us stay current on the big issues around the planet?

What do you know about Angelina Jolie?  Were you surprised that so much of her life’s work is ignored by the media?  How can we create a world where her refuge work is more celebrated than her lip size?

CHAPTER FOUR

RECLAIMING THE BRAINS GOD GAVE YA

Lovingly describing her grandmother, Lisa says, “Fox was the original Do-It-Yourselfer, as were all the women who came before us – those who rejected all the negative cultural messages about what women weren’t supposed to do and just got on with their lives on their own terms.”  What women do you know like Lisa’s grandmother?  In what way have these women been role models for you?

Lisa passionately makes the case that “Housework is not your job.”  Did that resonate with you?  Why are working women still doing one hour more per day of housework than working men?  How can we break this cycle so our daughters don’t get stuck in it too?

Are you spending too much time entertaining your kids, when leaving them (safely) on their own might be better for them and you?  How about cooking?  Lisa offers lots of timesaving tips – do you have any of your own to share with the group?

“Those who do not read are no better off than those who cannot.”  How much reading do you do?  Is it enough?  Are you persuaded to make more time for books?  How can you do that?  What are the obstacles?  Do you agree with Lisa’s statement that “reading is the cure for what ails us – ignorance”?  Do you “cross-read” regularly?  What kinds of books might you be persuaded to try, that are outside your usual comfort zone?

“No cake for one month” – do you need to go on a tabloid media diet?  Is it hard to give up the glossies?  If so, why is it so hard?  Are you willing to go cold turkey for 30 days,then slowly reintroduce some, as Lisa suggests?

Lisa tells the story of Candace, baby Bella and the swing.  Before reading this chapter, what would you have told Candace?  To swing, or not to swing?  What information do you need to look up on your own?  How much have you been relying on hunches, rather than checking the facts?

Were you surprised to learn that fewer women than men are happy, and that women are less happy now than we were a generation ago?  Why do you suppose that is?  What actions can you take now to create more joy in your life?  Is it a priority for you?  Should it be?

The book ends with a plea for us to connect with our third world sisters.  Why don’t we hear more about them in the media?  Do you agree that we have a moral obligation to help them?  What charitable organizations do you support?  What volunteer work do you do?  Have you been persuaded to do more?

Overall, did Think make you think?  Would you recommend it to others?  Which parts made you realize, “I never thought about it that way”?  What changes in your life did in provoke in you?

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