Author Topic: Fave Books / Currently Reading  (Read 724510 times)

colonel panic

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #990 on: September 23, 2009, 10:39:39 AM »
I like the way Gladwell writes but at the end of anything I read from him I have to ask "so?".

"their are outliers". ok.

"some decisions are made instantaneously". fine.

"some other dude invented stuff at the SAME TIME". so?

There's never any closure. Just more questions.


yesno

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #991 on: September 23, 2009, 10:58:14 AM »
I was going to sort of make fun of Gladwell but chickened out.  Grote broke the ice. Honestly, though, he's okay if you consider his origins as a magazine writer, whose job is to hype whatever he's writing about.  He takes research and blows it up beyond what the actual researchers who came up with it would ever do. 

I haven't read Outliers, and, although it's obvious the fact that success owes a lot to luck and circumstance, and then to hard work second, strikes me as being very, very worth saying, in a day where people believe we have a "meritocracy" contrary to all the evidence. (#1 predictor of how you'll turn out in life is how rich your parents are, not your own "merit."  Also, there is less social mobility in the US and Britain than continental Europe.  I've met plenty of smart people who think that we have a nation where smart, energetic poor people do better in life than dumb rich lazy people.)

If you like modern  "secret hidden truth of whatever" authors, I'd recommend "Predictably Irrational" by Dan Ariely and everything Nassim Nicholas Taleb has written.

buffcoat

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #992 on: September 23, 2009, 11:36:56 AM »
I was going to sort of make fun of Gladwell but chickened out.  Grote broke the ice. Honestly, though, he's okay if you consider his origins as a magazine writer, whose job is to hype whatever he's writing about.  He takes research and blows it up beyond what the actual researchers who came up with it would ever do. 

I haven't read Outliers, and, although it's obvious the fact that success owes a lot to luck and circumstance, and then to hard work second, strikes me as being very, very worth saying, in a day where people believe we have a "meritocracy" contrary to all the evidence. (#1 predictor of how you'll turn out in life is how rich your parents are, not your own "merit."  Also, there is less social mobility in the US and Britain than continental Europe.  I've met plenty of smart people who think that we have a nation where smart, energetic poor people do better in life than dumb rich lazy people.)

If you like modern  "secret hidden truth of whatever" authors, I'd recommend "Predictably Irrational" by Dan Ariely and everything Nassim Nicholas Taleb has written.


The Black Swan will change your life.  It may very well make it worse and more depressing, but it will change it.  Sway: The Irresistable Pull of Irrational Behavior and The Drunkard's Walk are two other really eye-opening examples in the genre.

The message of all these books is basically, "No one knows anything," which is a hard pill to swallow, even for a hardened cynic.
I really don't appreciate your sarcastic, anti-comedy tone, Bro!

Steve of Bloomington

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #993 on: September 23, 2009, 01:35:04 PM »
 I've met plenty of smart people who think that we have a nation where smart, energetic poor people do better in life than dumb rich lazy people.

Ew boy. A couple years in corporate America and you'll see what a load of crap that is. Unless by 'do better' you are talking about intrinsic sense of self-worth and contentment with life or something.

yesno

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #994 on: September 23, 2009, 02:03:22 PM »
The people who are most successful in life are the ones most interested in pushing the idea that it's solely due to their own merits.  The fact that daddy was rich or connected had nothing to do with it.  I'm sure that bonehead John Kerry (I'm being bipartisan here) would have gotten into Yale no problem if he wasn't a Forbes.

I don't think you can get any closer to an actual "meritocracy" though in the real world, unless you raise all kids in Brave New World-style nurseries.  People will always help their kids, and life is fundamentally arbitrary and unfair.

wood and iron

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #995 on: September 23, 2009, 02:41:09 PM »
Science fiction class reading update:

More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon was fantastic. Deals with next human evolution which doesn't seem too ingenious of an idea now but in the 50's when this was published I'm sure it was astounding. Not only are there extremely interesting ideas, his style of writing is fantastic and very literary. The beginning seems almost Faulkner-esque.

Also, seems to be the basis for X-men and according to my professor Chris Claremont has said as much.

JustNicole

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #996 on: September 23, 2009, 02:55:12 PM »
I started The Black Swan a few years ago.  I'll have to go back and pick it up again. 

It's interesting to hear everyone's opinion on Gladwell.  I don't know too much about the genre but I just enjoy talking about books I'm reading.

I also want to re-read "Youth in Revolt" before the movie comes out.
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Steve of Bloomington

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #997 on: September 23, 2009, 04:04:00 PM »
I like the way Gladwell writes but at the end of anything I read from him I have to ask "so?".

"their are outliers". ok.

"some decisions are made instantaneously". fine.

"some other dude invented stuff at the SAME TIME". so?

There's never any closure. Just more questions.




Heh, I did a blog post 50 years ago on 'books that tell you all they're going to tell you in their title':

http://wordsofadvice4young.blogspot.com/2007/10/if-youve-read-title-youve-pretty-much.html

fonpr

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #998 on: September 23, 2009, 11:32:50 PM »

The message of all these books is basically, "No one knows anything," which is a hard pill to swallow, even for a hardened cynic.


No it isn't.
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AndrewVDill

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #999 on: September 23, 2009, 11:50:45 PM »
Why do you say that?

The message of all these books is basically, "No one knows anything," which is a hard pill to swallow, even for a hardened cynic.


No it isn't.
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buffcoat

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1000 on: September 23, 2009, 11:56:50 PM »
What do you mean by "it" here, F. Ricks?
I really don't appreciate your sarcastic, anti-comedy tone, Bro!

dave from knoxville

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1001 on: September 24, 2009, 06:02:50 AM »
What do you mean by "it" dhere, F. Ricks?

fonpr

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1002 on: September 24, 2009, 09:00:31 AM »
What do you mean by "it" here, F. Ricks?


Dat hard pill, dere.


"Like it or not, Florida seems dedicated to a 'live fast, die' way of doing things."

JonFromMaplewood

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1003 on: September 24, 2009, 09:22:23 AM »


Reads like one of Spike's daytime programs.  Everyone's backstabbing and sleeping around.

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namethebats

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1004 on: September 24, 2009, 10:32:10 AM »
I just finished Jennifer 8. Lee's "The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures In The World Of Chinese Food." I'd recommend it for anyone curious about how Chinese cuisine changed when it came to America. I like her writing style, and there's plenty of fun tidbits (the D.C. boardinghouse where John Wilkes Booth and his accomplices planned Abraham Lincoln's assassination is now a Chinese restaurant called Wok n Roll).

 

anything