Last night I read, cover to cover, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, a classic 1955 novel by Sloan Wilson. The book made a huge splash when it was first published and was turned into a movie starring Gregory Peck a year later.

The thing I found most remarkable about the book, beyond the rather dreary and awful lifestyle it suggested businessmen have, is how perceptive the book was about the future. The chief surprise was that Wilson seemed to, in many ways, channel Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique, a book I sort of joked about yesterday, years before Friedan’s book was published.

I don’t really wish to spoil the book, but suffice it to say, I can see why the book made such an impression on American society. American society of the 1950s was bland, boring, and predictable, with little room for visible dissent, ultimately paving the way for the vibrant, colorful, and unpredictable 1960s where people violated norms and innovated challenged the cultural standards of the past.

Of course, I also want to see how the film turned out.

Random Question: which is worse: Looking through lots of Russian nesting dolls for a clue while a Russian band plays loudly next to you, or eating a big bowl of spicy Hungarian soup while a Hungarian band plays loudly next to you?

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