More books

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Posted by: stak
Posted on: 2014-02-11 21:58:38

It's been a while since I've posted, but I've been getting through a lot of books that have been queued up on my reading list for a while. Quick rundown:

  • The old way (Elizabeth Marshall Thomas) - An account of the Kalahari bushmen, written by one of the first outsiders to live/interact with them. At a high level the book is similar to The World Until Yesterday, in that it relates how a pre-agricultural civilization used to live. I found it pretty interesting but probably not everybody's cup of tea. Books like these always make me more aware of how so many things we assume are "normal" really aren't.
  • Nothing to Envy (Barbara Demic) - The book follows the lives of a few people who lived in and escaped from North Korea. Quite well written. There were definitely some parts that took me by surprise - one of those "fact is stranger than fiction" things. If anybody ever does a detailed psychoanalysis of Kim Jong Il I would like to read it.
  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (Carol Dweck) - This is one of those books everybody should read, ideally before they have children. Life-changing in some ways. I think this book has been popular enough that some of its messages have seeped out into "general knowledge" but there's still a lot of stuff there that I hadn't encountered before.
  • Moonwalking with Einstein (Joshua Foer) - Ehh. It was certainly an entertaining read, but of little practical value. He describes how to create memory palaces so that you can rapidly memorize things like decks of cards, but that sort of stuff doesn't help me with being absent-minded and forgetting where I left my phone. There's some good discussion in the book about the pros and cons (and history of) of developing your memory which I found interesting.
  • Revelation Space (Alastair Reynolds) - Science fiction book. Pretty good overall although I was unsatisfied with the ending.
  • Your Money or Your Life (Vicki Robin, Joe Dominguez) - Pretty comprehensive book on personal finance management. I only skimmed this because there wasn't much in here that I didn't already know, either from reading The Wealthy Barber or my own experiments. But a good book if you're looking for something in this category.
  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Robert Cialdini) - Another must-read book. All about the subtle ways people exert influence on you, and what you can do to defend against it. What surprises me here is how easy it is to drastically improve the odds that somebody will agree to do something they fundamentally don't want to just by using a few of these tricks. (You can also use this knowledge to influence others, although the book is not written from that standpoint.)
  • Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (Betty Edwards) - This book teaches you how to draw, and more importantly, how to see things differently. I haven't finished this book yet but I have gotten through enough to know it's good. If you're looking for a hobby I suggest picking up this book. Note that my best drawings prior to starting this book are in the form of stick figures, but I'm already confident that I will be able to draw well after finishing this book and practicing some.
  • Dogfight (Fred Vogelstein) - I started this book recently but abandoned it. I don't know why I even started to read it, but it wasn't worth the time.

That is all.

Posted by Varun at 2014-02-16 13:35:16
Did you read the sequels to Rev Space? :)

Those seem to be more interesting than the original.
[ Reply to this ]
Posted by stak at 2014-02-16 17:26:05
No, I haven't. I might eventually.
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