I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
Redirect was not very exciting but it had a number of interesting tidbits. The narrator, Gover Gardner, was great as usual. Redirect tries to make it clear that we, as a society, should test ideas with experiments before spending millions on programs that ???make sense??? but may not actually be affective. Redirect also describes the interesting technique of ???Story Editing??? which, although not as magical as The Secret, would likely be more successful.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Do take some time to look at the included PDF before you start listening otherwise you will be frustrated at various points. The book does repeat some things from other of Ramachandran???s books, but it was all stuff that was interesting enough to bear repeating. The book also becomes speculative at points, but the author notes where experimental results end and speculation begins and he also points out that speculation is an important part of the scientific method. The speculation becomes a little wild near the end of the book when the author attempts to frame art in term of neuroscience, but it was interesting to think about nevertheless. The book mostly describes unusual neurological conditions, links them to specific brain regions, and describes experiments to test related theories. This is quite good fun if you are in to that sort of thing ??? if you are not, it might seem dry.
This is one of the few books that I would recommend to virtually anyone. It is funny and engaging with an obvious, but almost universally ignored thesis, that people don’t have good strategies to achieve happiness. The author demonstrates this in quite a few humorous and compelling ways. I am a big believer in the basic advice in this book. If you want to be happy, find people like yourself, who are older than you, and ask them what has made them happy and what they would have done differently. Although this seems rather obvious, it is seldom done, and even more seldom taken to heart. I recommend listening to this book with an open mind, seeing the ideas as obvious, but nevertheless seeing surprising and counter-intuitive.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
"'Grandiose sense of self-worth?' I asked him. This would be a hard one for him to deny, standing as he was under an enormous oil painting of himself."
I quite enjoyed The Psychopath Test, which combines the self-deprecating wit of its anxiety-ridden author, accounts of his interviews with several colorful individuals, and some serious ethical questions. The book begins with the story of a man named "Tony", whom Ronson meets in a mental institution. Tony is a personable, intelligent, stable-seeming guy who doesn't seem like he should be there. He faked insanity as a teenager to avoid a jail sentence for beating someone up and now the doctors won't let him out, now matter how reasonably he behaves.
As it develops, though, Tony, while not "mad" in any sense, has been diagnosed with psychopathic tendencies. In other words, he has trouble empathizing with others, a self-aggrandizing attitude, and a charming, manipulative personality. His legal status remains in limbo not because he's thought to be dangerous, but because many dangerous people have been like him.
As Ronson's explorations into psychopathy and its consequences unfold, we encounter some extremes of opinion. On one hand, there are those who distrust the entire psychiatric profession and accuse it of sinister motives, like Scientologists. But, not entirely giving lie to their views are the actions a group of a doctors and self-appointed criminal experts, who, with the zealousness of witch hunters, wield a questionnaire designed to ferret out psychopaths. Confusing matters further are the agendas of the media and pharmaceutical companies, and a long history of very dubious mental health diagnoses and treatment methodologies. Some of the people Ronson meets seem almost too bizarre to be real, but having worked at a company founded by someone a lot like the businessman with the oil painting of himself (and with about as many legal indictments), I know that they are.
Though Ronson focuses a lot more on the strange fringes than on scientific rigor, I found the questions the book raises quite interesting. Should society allow those who lack empathy to roam the streets or rise to positions of power in the corporate world? If not, then who should have the power to make those decisions, and is it right for a diagnostic checklist be treated as predictive of someone's behavior? When does that sort of thing cross the line into a Minority Report-like realm?
Normally, I prefer it when authors don’t narrate their own audiobooks, but Ronson has an amusingly wide-eyed speaking style that I liked. I plan to check out more of his work.