It has been a few months since I listened to The Clockwork Universe so I cannot go into minute detail, but I can say that there are many long term lessons that you will retain from this book.
Even our greatest thinkers are floundering in the dark most of the time but occasionally shining glimpses of light on our world and universe for future generations to follow.
Even Newton, one of our greatest thinkers, spent most of his life exploring worthless theories but his successes were extraordinary.
This is a story of "The Royal Society" and the doers and thinkers who were its members. It is more than history. It gives us an insight into both our ignorance and our knowledge. At any given moment in history perhaps there are only a few dozen or now maybe a few hundred people who are discovering scientific truths that will profoundly alter all future generations.
This story is both remarkable and enjoyable. We owe a huge debt to those individuals in the Royal Society who changed the world forever. Long after the politicians, generals and admirals of the day are forgotten the members of the Royal Society, if not the Royal Society itself, will be remembered.
One characteristic of Thomas Sowell's books, but not necessarily his newspaper columns, is extreme caution and carefulness to say little that cannot be proven by irrefutable supporting data cited in copious footnotes and end notes. This book follows that pattern.
It is true that he is conservative but he tries to be objective and accurate in his observations.
His conservatism comes from his life experience. He grew up in Harlem. Dropped out of high school and was a Marine in the Korean War. He returned from the war, got an undergraduate degree in economics from Harvard, a master's degree from Columbia and a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago where some of the conservatism of Milton Friedman undoubtedly influenced him.
This book has few flaws. It points out many instances where our politicians have done foolish things by not studying and understanding the data upon which their conclusions rested. He sites many instances where the population as a whole has based popular opinion on an inadequate factual foundation.
I will point out one instance where I think he made one of the mistakes he so ably pointed out in the thinking of others. That mistake is basing decisions on only part of the evidence.
He seems to think that focused, intelligent hard work can overcome any adversity. In general he may be correct, but there are situations where opportunity is stifled by circumstance. He does not subscribe to the belief that overpopulation causes poverty. He correctly cites the successes of resource poor counties like Singapore and Japan that have overcome their circumstances, but fails to grasp that some poor countries with people with little or no education struggling to survive on a fraction of an acre of arable land per person aren't likely to achieve the same result as Japan or Singapore. The same principles apply to families. Too many children competing for too few resources is a localized version of over population that can stifle opportunity.
Everyone would profit from reading this book. I rate it at five stars.
This book shows how perceptive people have separated relevant data from irrelevant data.
The author is fond of baseball and baseball statistics. Not being fond of baseball, I had to remind myself from time to time that the book is about data and analyzing data and not about baseball. Sometimes the book moves a little slow, but it is full of good information.
This is not a mathematical book about statistics so much as a book about judgment calls and how to evaluate relevance.
The author's view on Bayes's theorem is particularly interesting. I hope he will elaborate on Bayes's theorem with examples in detail in a future book.
This book is often considered a classic. It has a catchy start and end with a Persian folk tale. Everything in between is depressing.
The entire story transpires in less than a week as a salesman destroys himself by stupid misbehavior during periods of heavy drinking. Nothing in this book is cheerful. From start to finish it is a downer.
Pure Schadenfreude. If you get pleasure from the misfortune of others you will enjoy this book.
I probably should have rated the performance as five star because the reader made a disgusting person seem more disgusting, but also so blind to his faults as to be helpless in a slide to death.
The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease is an excellent book.
The author is head of the Evolutionary Biology Department at Harvard. It appears that many of the negative reviews are by people who don't believe evolution happens. If you strongly hold to that view yourself you probably will be offended by every page of this book.
The book starts by telling you more details concerning early humanoids than you may want to know, but if you stick with the book for fifty or sixty pages the relevance of the information to modern humans becomes more apparent. The longer you stick with the book the more you are likely to enjoy it.
Ultimately there is much information relevant to how we live today and how we should be living given our likely genetic predispositions.
The one issue that I would like to have heard more about is how or if evolution had much impact on diseases of the elderly when our ancestors rarely lived to the ages we commonly live today.
Overall --- a very good book.
This book is exciting, inspiring and at the same time frightening. Computers and the people who understand them are helping humanity and at the same time gaining a huge edge over people who don't understand and use computers and have the capital to take advantage of their capabilities.
Every late middle school or early high school student should read this book. Their life's trajectory would certainly change to include a more technical education.
For those of us who are on the other end of life's spectrum it makes one wonder whether life has any safe professions or havens for our children and grandchildren. Will half of our doctors be replaced by computers?
When one spends eight to twelve years after high school in study to become a professional is it possible to see all of that work become obsolete with the perfection of a few computer algorithms? But think --- of all of the benefit to humanity from more accessible and accurate medical treatment for everyone on the receiving end instead of the dispensing end of the medical profession. And on it goes.
In the future truck convoys of driverless trucks are likely to deliver our goods in half the time at a fraction of the current cost with no accidents --- and at the same time displace a million truck drivers.
Think of NYC with twenty thousand automated driverless taxi cabs that are incapable of taking the slowest route or blowing a horn or violating a safety law or even having a collision of any sort. Complete safety. Reduced cost. No noise. Displaced drivers.
Read or listen to this book or ----- stick your head in the sand and be intentionally ignorant of the future --- your choice. The change is in progress. Part is history but the exciting part is what is to come.
This book is about irrational financial behavior of the masses. Mackay wrote the book more than 150 years ago, but the irrational behavior persists today.
One side lesson that was unintended by the author is that popular and governmental reaction to the bursting of a financial bubble can be as irrational as the behavior that created the bubble.
Legal entities that shielded investors from risk such as corporations were made illegal in a way that must have stifled innovation for years. The government enacted ex post facto laws that operated retroactively to made criminal acts of acts that were legal when committed. That is people were punished for doing acts that were legal when they acted.
At that time the common law and the law of equity were probably robust enough to sort out the fraudulent acts and punish corporate ventures that were never meant to be valid business deals. That is ventures that were only meant to fleece the purchasers of the stock. The mob acted first.
The primitive nature of accounting and apparent lack of auditing of corporations or governmental regulation of dangerous financial mechanisms was apparent.
There are lessons in this book that should have given pause to investors in the recent financial melt down. There are also lessons for the regulators and legislators -- the reaction to market fraud should be vigorous but not excessive.
This is an extraordinary story of an extraordinary person who moved an entire country ahead at least 100 years from the position in civilization in which he inherited rulership.
Few people have had such impact on their society. Only the name of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk comes to mind in recent times. Theodore Roosevelt may have moved the USA ahead a decade and perhaps Abraham Lincoln moved the the USA ahead several decades but Peter moved his country at least a century.
The voice of the reader is excellent and he does well with phrases and names in many languages.
My only complaint is in the production of this book and many others. It is impossible for a reader to adequately mimic the voice of a child or member of the opposite sex and particularly such very different people with significant foreign accents. That is an impossible task and should be replaced by a reader of the proper sex or age for quotations. This reader does as good a job as most other readers but even the worlds best reader is inadequate when given such a task.
The author apparently had access to many people inside Google including several in top management.
It is interesting to hear how they think and function and the personalities and objectives of the two founders.
It is unfortunate that some of our public institutions are not so rational and data driven.
The objective of the founders appears to be to alter the world and this they have done, but they are clearly not finished. Read the book to discover some of the projects that they pursue principally for the benefits to society which may never benefit their company.
If you are a geek it is a 'must read'. If you are an investor you should read the book to understand what drives the company in which you have invested your money.
It is perhaps the best -non technical - book on current technology.
Cod shaped the economic history of North America for several centuries as well as provided a major economic impact in much of Europe. You can't fully understand our history without reading this book.
The economic impact of cod tapered off as overfishing devastated the economic value of this important resource.
There are many historical and environmental lessons contained in this book.
The book is also entertaining and introduces you to real people who's lives have been profoundly altered by the mismanagement of cod fishing.
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