The subtitle "Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future" gives the impression that left-brain thinking (e.g., logic, data, and analytics) will become irrelevant in the future... to be replaced by right-brain thinking (e.g., design, empathy, and creativity). And throughout the book, the author is biased towards right-brain thinking. He gives lots of anecdotal assertions, rather than facts or data. For example, one of the reasons why Apple products is so appealing is its design, not its speed and memory capacity. And it's right-brain thinking that created that design. That may be true -- buyers hardly think about the speed or capacity of an Apple product. However, this isn't proof that right-brainers will rule the future. Apple products did not succeed on design alone. Apple products rank high in reliability. And the miniaturization of Apple products (e.g., nano iPod) is left-brain thinking at its extreme. The book would have been better if it talked about a balanced approach -- focus just as much on right-brain thinking as left-brain thinking. It was good in that it provided insights on the value of right-brain thinking. Rather than discounting it as "artsy" stuff, we actually see how much of a role design plays in our lives.
This book looks at neuroplasticity from many angles -- how the brain can be rewired whether young or old, due to genetic defects, illnesses, or accidents. It is a muscle that can be strengthen through mental exercises. Although this book is more about the concept of neuroplasticity (not the application and how you can increase your brain functions), it is still filled with a lot of useful information. By repeating an activity, you can build pathways in your brain. As the pathways deepen, it becomes easier to perform that activity. This is good if you're working on math problems and can calculate faster and faster. This is bad if you start to drink and associate the release of stress with drinking alcohol more and more. This is also a great book if you're fascinated by how the brain works. It makes you want to do brain training because you know your brain can do so much more.
This book gives an interesting perspective on history, following six drinks: beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola. It's amazing to learn how these drinks played a key part in the development of civilization. They were used as currency and they caused disputes between countries (Boston Tea Party and Opium Wars). The author does a wonderful job in researching the relevant facts and explaining the popularity of the different drinks in different parts of the world, like why the English loves their tea and the American loves their cola. I also learned that coffee originated in the Arab world. As it became popular, the coffee bean was taken to other countries for cultivation, including Brazil (which is now the largest coffee producing country).
This is an excellent book on honesty and ethical behavior. The message is simple and clear - do what is right. If you start to rationalize your decision (e.g., it was a verbal agreement; they know it's not an obligation until a contract is signed), you know you're going against your values but trying to justify it. The author follows this simple ideology and demonstrates that you can be both honest and successful. You don't have to pay bribes to create a billion dollar company. You don't have to have lots lawyers to draw up complicated contracts so each company can protect itself from other's unscrupulous behavior. The author Jon Huntsman Sr. gives many stories about winning without cheating.
The title of the book gives the impression that it's a self-help book. It's more of a psychology book explaining how people can make mistakes, think they are right, and honestly believe that. A good example is false memories. How often have you said, "I could have sworn I did that." You see the event in your head, yet evidence shows it didn't happen. You rationalize it ("someone must have moved it") instead of accept the most obvious answer ("I was mistaken in thinking that I did it").
The books goes even further into big mistakes that people make and refuse to admit, such as in the criminal system where suspects are locked away for years ("I know he's the rapist so I'll interrogate him for hours until he finally confesses") until DNA finally proves their innocence. Fortunately for most people, they are not making mistakes that means life and death. The book contains many extreme examples. Still, this is great book to read to understand and recognize your own mistakes. For example, maybe a friend asked for a favor and you said no. Initially you felt a little guilty for saying no. Then you start justifying the answer, "She wouldn't have helped me if I had asked for a favor. She's always looking for someone to do her work." So that guilty feeling goes away. It's a rude awakening to realize how your feelings have completely changed -- you went from feeling a little guilty to thinking your friend is selfish and lazy.
Reading this book is like a "feel good" session with a therapist. It encourages you to let go of your imperfections and live more whole heartedly. When listening to the stories in the book, you realize all those little negative thoughts that stop you from being authentic (for example, "he's being a jerk" instead of "he said something that was true and painful). The journey towards wholehearted living is a practice you would do everyday (or try as much as you can). I'm sure the key points that I take away from this book now are those things meaningful to me at this point in my life. I plan to read the book again and see if I find other things to work on.
This was more like an essay rather than a book. It had some good points for not lying followed by some stories of how people diminished or ruined relationships through lies. At the end, the author answered questions about lying in specific situations (e.g., there is a surprise party -- no, don't lie; tell the person that plans have been made and don't ask anymore). More thought and research should have been given to these situations and been made chapters of their own in the book.
I think the title creates an unrealistic expectation -- that after reading this book, you'll know what you're meant to do. It doesn't. The answer doesn't come from someone else. You have to do some soul searching and identify what makes you happy. That's not new, nor any of the other concepts in this book. The book is useful in that it contains stories that readers can relate to... and maybe one of these stories will spark an insight or motivate a person to take actions for a career move.
This is great read on the history of Google, it's founders (Larry Page and Sergey Brin), and search technology. In the early days of the internet if you had typed in "newspaper," you would not have gotten "New York Times" or "LA Times" because they didn't have "newspaper" in its title. You had to know exactly what key words would generate the results you wanted. It's amazing to think how far search engines have come -- as you type, they predict what you want and populate key words for you. It is due to Google's extreme focus on technology and goals (speed, measurement, refinement, and openness). And there are many more amazing Google technologies that work seamlessly into our lives, which I have forgotten about -- Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Translate....
There is a lot of reference to "Googley" people and culture and the company's motto of "don't be evil." I think some readers will find it as a bias towards Google. I think it simply describes a workforce obsessively dedicated to doing what they love. For example, many might argue that Google's entry into China was a major stumble and the book doesn't place much accountability on the executives of Google. I think it was daring that Google did that. Selling technology in China is a high-risk proposition. Corruption and copyright infringements turn many companies away from China. Google had to know failure was very likely. Google took a chance to do something for the people of China. Although they censored results as required by the Chinese government, the users were informed on the page whenever results were censored. It was a small step... but an important step to reflect the value of openness -- the Chinese people were told when they weren't getting everything they wanted to see because the government was censoring it.
This book is filled with shocking stories of how Kevin Mitnick was able to hack into systems through social engineering and computing security holes. He collected information from dumpster diving and other simple methods. Then he brazenly bluff his way in getting more information by acting as an "insider." He patiently kept mining for more information from different people to fill in gaps in his "insider" persona... until he was able to access the restricted information he wanted -- codes, dial-in numbers, IDs, and passwords.
Since the book is co-written by Kevin Mitnick, he paints himself as an awkward youth hacking into systems out of curiosity and the satisfaction of being able to do it. He repeats throughout the book that he didn't profit from the information he had stolen. When he's finally caught, he portrays himself as a victim of unethical governmental prosecution. Although he may not have sold the information he had stolen, he shared his hacking techniques with other hackers who did cause damages. There was good reason why the government wanted to put him away for life. I think the book would have been improved if it was a biography and had a more balanced view of Kevin Mitnick.
This book is illuminating on how easily social engineering can work and how the collection of seemly unconnected, basic information can make a company vulnerable to hacking.
The simple message from the book is to do vigorous exercise daily or at least three times a week. Throughout the book is the science and stories about how exercise can improve the quality of life whether you're stressed or suffering from a disease. I think most people can relate to many of the topics in the book because they may be going through it or know someone who is, such as obesity, Alzheimer's, addiction, depression, and ADD. Even for topics that I didn't find to be relevant in my life, I found the scientific evidence fascinating. Whereas medication almost always have side effects, exercising isn't harmful. As long as people can keep slowly work up to a vigorous pace and do it consistently, they'll see that exercising is good medicine.
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