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.
I saw there were a lot of rave reviews for this book. It seems to be from fans who were familiar with the movies and probably the author's other books (which would have given them more insights into this book upon re-reading). Having only read the book, I didn't find it engaging. I thought the dialogue was awkward at times. It could be that the intent didn't translate well from Polish to English or because it was written in 1961 and has become dated. As a story, I think the book is lacking. For example, the focus is around the main character Kelvin and the physical manifestation of his "guest" shortly after he arrives on the planet. The other two characters are also facing their own of past regrets and guilts. The book teases the readers with moments where the other two characters are struggling to contain their "guests," but it is never revealed who they are. This left an unsatisfactory feeling. It's as if the author spent all his energy creating the dead lover of Kelvin and trying to unveil the part he played in her death. And he couldn't think of anything else to create for the other two shipmates. The book also spent more time describing the science that emerged from studying Solaris (and all the scientific jargon that evolved) than in developing the characters.
The book is interesting from a philosophical perspective. Humanity is arrogant in thinking that it can study and understand an alien life when we don't even understand ourselves. Also it appears that the planet Solaris could be one giant life form. Humanity's attempt to make contact with it would be like an ant trying to make contact with an elephant.
I've always wondered why the medical profession keeps changing what they considered to be a "normal" cholesterol level. First, there was one number. Then there was "good" and "bad" cholesterol. And all the while not really knowing what is a normal cholesterol level, they have been prescribing medication to millions of people to lower cholesterol. This book provides a lot of background on how all this misinformation started. There is also a lot of science explaining heart functions, cholesterol, saturated fat, trans-fatty fat, etc. This is useful if you suspect you may be candidate for heart disease and really want to understand how all elements affect your body. I found it technical and dull after a while. The book claims the real causes of heart disease are inflammation, oxidation, sugar, and stress... again more technical information.
It took a long time before the authors got around to their advice, which is taking coenzeme Q10 (better known as CoQ10) for individuals taking statins or at risk of heart disease. Statins deplete CoQ10, which may lead to muscle pain, weakness, and fatigue. Unless you had a heart attack before (to justify the taking of medication), the preferred action is to lower inflammation with natural supplements, eat a better diet, drink alcohol in moderation, don't smoke, exercise, and manage your stress.
The book describes in layman terms about fallacies and delusions that we fall into to maintain our beliefs. For example, the sunk cost fallacy - if we are watching a terrible movie, we are unlikely to walk out in the middle of it because we paid for it. We believe we should get our money out of it, even if it means wasting our time to watch a movie we're not enjoying. This book doesn't delve as much into the science of it as many brain books out there. And if you've read a few of those, you'll find the same information in this book except with more stories. This book doesn't provide much guidance on how to avoid these fallacies and delusions. For example, if you feel like having a cold beer, is it because it's a hot day or you just saw a beer commercial? Are you doing something you want to do or doing something that advertisers primed you to do?? The book is good for developing an awareness of these things and examining the decisions you make.
The book is a fun read for cooks and foodies. The topics are based on curious food questions that the author answered in his "Food 101" column in the Washington Post. It is about food chemistry with food facts and a wry sense of humor thrown in. If you enjoyed the first book "What Einstein Told His Cook," you'll like this one (also called "What Einstein Told His Cook 2"). Whether you use the tips or not, they're interesting to know (such as chilling an onion first and using a sharp knife to minimize crying or adding cream to your coffee sooner rather than later -- yes, there was a study conducted to measure if there was a difference). Another example is the topic on cake mix instructions -- various temperature settings depending on the type of pan you use. His advice - toss it all out the window. While metal conducts heat faster than glass and a dark colored pan more so than a light colored pan, no two ovens are the same. At the end, you'll just have to stick a toothpick in it to know for sure.
If you purchased this book because it sounded interesting, you probably don't need it for yourself. There are people with a "fixed" mindset - intelligence and skills are fixed; mental capacity and capabilities are limited to what you're born with. And there are people with a "growth" mindset - intelligence and skills can increase through learning and practice. So if you're interested in this book, you would be in the camp that thinks you can always do better. You don't have limiting thoughts like "I'm not a math person" or "I couldn't... if my life depended on it."
The book provides examples and techniques in moving away from that "fixed" mindset. It covers a variety of areas: athletes, business people, people in relationships, and parents/teachers. The section on parenting/-teaching was the most useful, probably because adults could have a big impact on nurturing or limiting children's potential. Whereas in the other areas, adults make problems complicated and it's hard to get them out of a "fixed" mindset.
This book is being sold as a book about randomness -- how our lives are affected by random events... as if we have no control and who knows how our lives will turn out. But really, it's about understanding probability and how our minds create pattern and order sometimes when none exist. Sometimes you can do things that favor your chances if you know what are the factors contribute to improving your chances. There is also a lot of information about the development of these theories and a lot of stories of how those theories are applied. This would be an excellent prerequisite reading assignment for a statistic class.
This is a fun book about procrastination, but not really a guide. As a structured procrastinator, the author actually accomplishes quite a bit... just not the most important thing he was supposed to have done at the moment. It is an entertaining and witty way of looking at the weakness of procrastination. After all, the author wrote this book to avoid doing something else. His stories are amusing, like a "to do" that starts off with waking up, don't press the snooze button, and getting out of bed... which he happily crosses out each item with a red pen. By the time he has his cup of coffee in the morning, he had already completed seven things on his list.
This books provides an excellent overview of big data and examples where it's affecting our lives. It explains the difference between between "digitalization" (e.g., electronically booking your travel) and "datafication" (e.g., analysis of past flight data to predict the potential and duration of delays). The analysis of all data in all its form (good and messy) provides unexpected results. For example, a flight is more likely to be delayed longer due to fog than snow. Computing power and new processing techniques are allowing businesses to apply big data in all kinds of areas. For example, Google was able to track the spread of 2009 flu in real time, whereas prior to that the CDC took weeks. Google compared the most common search terms with CDC data. And through testing hundreds of mathematical models, found a combination of search terms that strongly correlated with official data. Our own behavior contributes to the use of big data. When we purchase items from Amazon, all of that metadata is stored and crunched. You're given recommendations based on what you purchased and what others making that same purchase had purchased in addition to that.
The potential of big data is both incredible and scary. Imagine traffic on every road is available in real time based people's cell phone signal as they are driving. There will be some accurate data (e.g., people in cars on the road) and some messy data (e.g., someone walking or standing on the sidewalk). New processing techniques know how to pick out the right set of data. To what extent will data be collected and used for purposes that we never anticipated?
Based on the title, I thought this book would be about eating whole food. Instead, it's about evidence supporting a plant-based diet. Although at times it seems like a research paper, I found the information fascinating and valuable. The author talks about fallacy of reductionism - focus on a single specialty of practice, single drug, or single nutrient to treat diseases. Our culture is accustomed to doctors prescribing medication, rather than discussing diet. It's easy - pop some pills and your problem goes away. Except your problem doesn't go away. There are many side effects to medication. And why are they called "side" effects? They are effects on your body. You're trying to ingest something that your body doesn't process well. If you think you should eat more fruits and vegetables but wonder how much benefit you would get from it, this book would convince you.
Although I've only seen a few James Bond movies before reading this first book, I don't know if that created too much expectations between the gadgets and far-fetched scenes of the movies to this James Bond character written in 1953. I was disappointed to read that his mission is to bankrupt a Russian agent by trying to beat him at the baccarat table. It sounds more like the work for a professional gambler than a spy. It goes into details about the gambling, odds, and strategy. The suspense builds as the stakes increase. However, all the characters are flat. Maybe because it was Fleming's first book... it's a rough outline of who they are. There is James Bond, the cold and calculating British spy. He has support from Mathis, operative from the French branch, and Felix Leiter, CIA agent. There isn't any back story to explain why Bond is so cold or the depth of relationships between Bond and any of the other characters. Occasionally through dialogue or Bond's inner voice, the reader get a sense of him and his focus on accomplishing the mission. If some woman gets in the way and gets hurt for it, so be it. This book would probably rate higher for fans of James Bond or pulp fiction genre (easy read for entertainment).
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