It should have been exciting and fresh... but it was just lightly warmed up science with an appeal for money to run a connectome project. The connectome is a mapping of synaptic connections that can be done by slicing a brain really thin over and over and then scanned by high speed computers. It costs lots of money and it might yield some exciting science someday. The brain is complex and mysterious and this book wasn't.
Philosophy has a limited number of concepts and questions that animate the field and professor McGinn introduces them all with skill. I appreciated the fact professor McGinn made it clear which arguments are most convincing to him, he is no overly evasive professor that keeps his own view hidden. McGinn is famous for his mysterian arguments, and his book the Mysterious Flame is a very interesting argument attempting to show that the mind cannot be explained in physical terms. However his strong views were not forced upon the reader, rather he showed how a serious person tends to take up a position and that this can actually help illuminate the field. Very enjoyable and interesting to anyone no matter their level of exposure to philosophy.
Good business books are rare, the business book publishing machine is content to churn out time wasters... but not this book. The 5 principles are presented in a way that help a person see and then diagnose dysfunctions that undermine high performance. If you are a team leader and things are not clicking for you and your team then this is probably the best 3 hours you can spend to help turn it around. I am a team leader, and this book has helped me. Thank you Patrick Lencioni.
Asymmetric loss relative to gain is an important principal to try and understand. It is has been shown that we feel losses stronger than gains. The way that this concept was expressed provided some great insight into the everyday struggle to maintain ones place in the world. Many other insights were shared in this remarkable book, your time and attention is rewarded with good ideas and clear writing.
No lasting insights were found here but accept and express your emotions positively. What is the all fuss about with this guy???
This book has real value to those interested in the history of computation. So many history of science books are thin and give the reader almost nothing, but if you are really interested in mathematics and computation you will enjoy this book.
The Narrator does a good job, not great but solid performance.
Provides a center reading and view point for the discussion of religion among the secular. Could be on a par with William James and The Varieties of Religious Experience. Makes me want to learn about Philo of Alexandria and the divine logos. I first encountered the distinction between personal and social salvation in this book, which appears to me to be a useful way to organize some important religious ideas.
A direct question for theists in this book is the basis for their singular conception of god and a historical weight of evidence showing gradual development of a singular conception as opposed to an instantaneous revelation and change. A silent question for theists in this book is the basis of a singular conception of the divine living in a world which on the surface is a plurality of concepts and cultures. Perfection is conceivable in many forms... perfect circles, perfect squares, perfection could come in as many forms as can adapt to different niches, and in the exciting discovery of new niches leading to new forms.
Another step for a constructive engagement on this profound subject.
Mlodinow's Euclid's window does not get the reader too deep into Geometry but presents more of an overview of the development of our abstract understanding of space. The part of the book that stands out for me is the development of Elliptic and Hyperbolic geometry with Riemann and Gauss. Here Mlodinow really shows the depth of his knowledge and does a great job. He also touches on interesting facts that Gauss had read Kant 5 times and then dropped his ideas as inadequate. He also seems to present a thesis that Mathematicians are born not made, as only 1 in 3 million individuals contribute creatively to the field. I did not feel that the development from Riemann to String Theory to Ed Witten’s M theory had the concepts as coherently explained as the section on curved spaces.
You will also find a bit of a polemic against religion and philosophy mostly in the first half of the book. The most interesting section was his story of Hypatia, and if you are looking to confirm anti-theist sentiment this is pretty persuasive. On a wider scale this book fits with the growing number of scientists that are anti-religion and anti-philosophy. Some of the stand out writers of this type are Stephen Hawking, Dan Dennet and Richard Dawkins but you also have second tier writers like Steven Weinberg and Leonard Mlodinow. You cannot learn too much science from books like this but the cultural voice of the physicist is interesting in pointing out how religious dogma holds back the pace of discovery and the freedom of the individual to follow wherever the facts lead. Anti-philosophy is also part of the mix for Mlodinow, for speculations without the guide of experiment mean nothing, he appeals to both Gauss and Feynman who called philosophy BS. There is a sense that to understand the world that science and mathematics is now the only path and that religion and philosophy should be left behind. The big question remains, who well can science, replace religion and philosophy?
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