Smart Thinking Books

Interview with Tal Anderson, author of Oh, Tal! Not Today!

Interview with Tal Anderson, author of Oh, Tal! Not Today!

Tal Anderson, author of Oh, Tal! Not Today! recommends a excellent selection of books! Before jumping into the interview, please check out Tal's book (launching during World Autism Month):

Oh, Tal! Not Today!

Oh, Tal! Not Today!

Tal Anderson, illustrated Michael Richey White

Description from :
Oh, Tal! Not Today! is the first book in the “OH, TAL!” series created by autistic actor Tal Anderson, and Hollywood artists Michael Richey White.

In this beautifully detailed picture book, we are introduced to Tal and her cat Winnie. Tal doesn’t talk much, and does things a little differently than expected, always with Winnie in on the plan. In Oh, Tal! Not Today!, Tal’s parents discover that she has a mind of her own. Things seem one way on the outside with her, but ultimately, Tal’s imagination, creativity, tenacity, and independence, shine a light on her true intentions. Tal wins over hearts, while confirming that it’s okay to be different and to do things your own way.

This book, and the additional books planned for the series, are for all kids who feel confused by the world sometimes, to let them know that it’s okay to think on a different track. In addition to helping the misunderstood kid feel good about being themselves, they wanted all the parents out there who may be worried that their kid doesn’t think or act like everyone else’s to know that it’s okay.
A percentage of the proceeds from the sale of this book and future books in this series will be donated to agencies providing services to marginalized and underrepresented persons, including people in the autistic, disabled, and LBGTQ+ communities as well as others.

Buy On:

Pre-order link coming soon

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Q. Do you have a favourite smart thinking book (and why that book)?

In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing by Walter Murch.
I pretty much only read nonfiction books, and I don’t think that most of them would be considered smart thinking books. They’re mainly books on historical events, and biographies of all kinds. However, I do read a lot of books related to my work, whether it be acting or filmmaking, and one in particular has taught me so much not only about film editing, which is my film production specialty, but also about life --- because art imitates life. The book is 'In the Blink of an Eye' by Walter Murch. Technically, the book is about the art of film editing, but he says a lot of things that apply to life.

As an autistic person, life-things often don’t make sense to me, at least not in the way that they might for a neurotypical person, but when put in terms of something that I understand logically and completely like film editing, they make more sense. For instance, in the book, Walter Murch compares cuts in the film to the blink of your eye. He says that people think that life is lived as one continuous experience, but in reality it’s not. Your eye blinks to break the moment and the thought, but the emotion carries through, and what you feel is the most important thing. He also says that in editing you should attempt to produce the greatest effect in the viewers mind by the least number of things you see on screen. What that teaches me in life, is that simplicity is best, and that when you are trying to accomplish something like convincing someone of something, or explaining something, that more is usually not as effective. If you can keep things simple, straightforward, and uncluttered but also keep things honest and heartfelt – the outcome will be better and more authentic.

In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing

In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing

Walter Murch

Description from Blackwells:
In the Blink of an Eye is celebrated film editor Walter Murch's vivid, multifaceted, thought -- provoking essay on film editing. Starting with what might be the most basic editing question -- Why do cuts work? -- Murch treats the reader to a wonderful ride through the aesthetics and practical concerns of cutting film. Along the way, he offers his unique insights on such subjects as continuity and discontinuity in editing, dreaming, and reality; criteria for a good cut; the blink of the eye as an emotional cue; digital editing; and much more.

In this second edition, Murch reconsiders and completely revises his popular first edition's lengthy meditation on digital editing (which accounts for a third of the book's pages) in light of the technological changes that have taken place in the six years since its publication.

Buy On: US $12.97 Blackwells £14.99 Waterstones £14.99

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Q. What's the most recent smart thinking book you've read (and how would you rate it)?

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor.
The most recent smart thinking book I’ve read is Breath by James Nestor. My acting coach suggested it to me because I had been working on breath control, pacing, and volume control in my acting work. I started reading it at first because I thought it would help me with those particular goals, (which I think it did), but more than that, it taught me some very specific things that changed my life. It taught me that breathing is everything, and it affects everything if you do it wrong, and also if you do it correctly. I learned that I need to breathe out of my nose versus out of my mouth. I also learned that doing this and being mindful of breathing helps me with my anxiety, my ability to center myself, pause, and remind myself that I don’t need to rush. Taking time to breathe, and double breathe gives me the time to do what I need to, just because I’m more aware and more present. This was a really great and helpful read about things that I never knew would help me in all areas of my life as well as my general health. It’s also, honestly, not a book I would have purchased on my own, so I was grateful for the recommendation.

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art

James Nestor

Description from
Are You Ready to Finally Find Your Passion?
What if you could say bye bye to confusion? What if you had a way to uncover what you were truly meant to do?

In Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself you'll discover a powerful set of questions that will help you do exactly that.
I've been helping people find and follow their passion for over a decade, and some of the things I've discovered are weird, surprising, and fascinating all at the same time.
In this book, I share a simple process that will help you gain more clarity, and access the answers that were always waiting within you.

Here's a taste of what you'll discover when you read this book:

How your definition of passion stops you from living the life you want
A simple way to connect to your inner wisdom (and get the guidance you need)
How to discover if you're on the right track (or on the wrong track)
Tap into your personality to uncover your true passion and purpose
Why using negativity can dramatically increase the positivity in your life
How to activate the creative problem solving powers of your brain
Uncovering what's really holding you back from getting what you want
A powerful exercise that will help you easily overcome challenges in your life

When you're done reading, you'll have the answers you need, and you'll know how to take the next step toward your dream life.

Buy On: UK £10.44 US $26.97 Blackwells £10.99 Waterstones £10.99

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Q. Do you have a favourite childhood book?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.
I have so many books that I enjoyed as a child of all ages. When I was very young, I remember reading so many Disney related books, but I was always connected and engaged with the Villains for some reason. I think it’s because I’ve always felt that Villains tend to be more interesting characters, especially in childrens’ books. As a teenager, the book that made the biggest impression on me was “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky. Even though we are very different people, I could see myself in Charlie because he was misunderstood, and introverted, and I enjoyed the book because the characters were unconventional. His circumstances were very relatable to me as a teen because he struggled socially, and was anxious and unsure. As for very young books --- I loved them all and couldn’t get enough of books even before I could talk. To this day, I still remember all the words from Maurice Sendak’s 'Alligators All Around!'

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Stephen Chbosky

Description from
f you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer,
A wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er,
A magic bean buyer . . .

Come in . . . for where the sidewalk ends, Shel Silverstein's world begins. You'll meet a boy who turns into a TV set, and a girl who eats a whale. The Unicorn and the Bloath live there, and so does Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who will not take the garbage out. It is a place where you wash your shadow and plant diamond gardens, a place where shoes fly, sisters are auctioned off, and crocodiles go to the dentist.

Shel Silverstein's masterful collection of poems and drawings is at once outrageously funny and profound.

Buy On: UK £8.54 US $14.87 Blackwells £58.99 Waterstones £8.99

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Q. Do you prefer reading on paper, Kindle or listening to an audiobook?

I prefer to read books on paper, I guess possibly because I’m old enough to have grown up with actual books, even in school. But also, I just like to keep them around for when I want to read them again, or refer back to them. It also gives me a reason to take a break from my computer, and engage in life differently.

Q. Do you have a favourite bookshop (and why that shop)?

Barnes and Noble
I have very fond memories of Barnes and Noble as a child, because to me as a book lover, walking in to Barnes and Noble was like walking into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. As an adult, though, I tend to purchase books online just because it’s more convenient, but when I have the time I still like to spend hours at a Barnes and Noble. I buy books usually from Amazon or Barnes and Noble online, and I buy plays directly from Dramatists Play Service online.


Many thanks to Tal for recommending a excellent selection of books! Please don't forget to check out Oh, Tal! Not Today! .

Image Copyrights: (Oh, Tal! Not Today! ), Silman-James Press, U.S. (In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing), Penguin Books Ltd (Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art), Simon & Schuster Ltd (The Perks of Being a Wallflower).

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