Being a stay at home Dad, it feels to me that it is suddenly my responsibility to keep up on the latest book on parenting. While no one recommended the book to me, quite a few people recommended it to my wife. And I started seeing it around at some of our friends houses. So I read/skimmed:

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman

This book is a kind of research/personal reflection on raising kids in Paris by the author, a journalist.

The parts I found interesting were the french techniques for getting your kid sleeping through the night, ideas on helping kids behave appropriately, and a look at the parisian day care situation. There were a bunch of other parts that were more... womanly related to being pregnant, breast feeding, and social norms in Paris that I just skimmed/skipped because, they just didn't seem all that applicable for my situation.

I think the overarching principle that I took out of my reading was that babies, even infants are little people quite able to understand, control themselves and even empathize with what a situation requires if given a chance to try and parents are adults who have a duty to give their kids an opporunity to do these things. It seems to me that much of the stuff about sleeping and behaving is related to expecting the kids to be able to sleep and behave, explaining to them the importance of these things to them. And boy to they start this process very early, like one month in, but it seems to yield good results on the sleep and behavior front.

Another item that book brings up is the idea of giving the kids freedom within structure. There were some really helpful examples of how Parisian try and achieve this.

The last thing that I thought was interesting was the idea that seemed to come through the book that in general the french don't let their children make them into harried parents (they have a social system that very much supports them in that) and I think that is a point to be noted, that parents need to give plenty to their kids, but they also need to retain a sense of self happiness, confidence and enjoyment.