Monday, February 23, 2009

87, 86, 85, 84

So, I was on a roll... sue me. I finished up four last week.

Outliers: Malcolm Gladwell - I'm a fan of Gladwell's other books, "Blink" and "The Tipping Point," which deal with decision making. Outlier takes a look at success. Remember all those stories about how some guy of humble beginnings raises himself up through the muck to become super successful? According to Gladwell, it's mostly horse shit. Partly, it has to do with when and where you were born and partly to do with where you are at the moment you get your shot. It's more complicated than right place, right time, but it's an eye-opening look at how the self-made really aren't self-made.

Animals in Translation: Temple Grandin -At times a jaw-droppingly insightful book about humanity seen basically through the eyes of a highly articulate autistic (asperger's). She talks mostly about animals, but it's impossible not to see parallels explaining human behavior.

How To Dunk A Donut: Len Fisher -a scientist and winner of the ignobel prize for physics. A really smart book about everyday science and applying scientific principles to study common activities. It's also a book to make guys like me feel dumber than we already do. Pretty obviously I have a massive math deficiency. People with head injuries can probably add and subtract with more confidence than I can. It's embarrassing. Even with things dumbed down for the masses, about half of the mathematicl stuff was still over my head. I did better with chapters dealing more with chemistry, like one about beer foam and another dealing with food, and biology, like the chapter on sex. I'm kind of a lunkhead, but maybe I should just get a book on dumb ass math and try to work on it.

Tunnel Vision: Keith Lowe -A total idiot makes a bet with his scumbag trainspotting friend to ride the entire London underground in less than a day. The trick is it's the day before he's supposed to get married to the girl of his dreams and his scumbag friend has hidden the things he needs to leave with his fiance for their wedding in Paris in locations scattered around the tube system. He has some help from a homeless guy and there are some funny, even bizarre moments. The ending however isn't very satisfying. You sort of wish the guy would shove his friend to the tracks or he'd lose the girl or he'd adopt the homeless guy... something... Mostly, the finale is a kind of literary shrug with nothing really being gained or lost.


MountainLaurel said...

Is Outliers worth a read?

primalscreamx said...

Very much so. It's actually an easier read than Blink and funny. He lays out his evidence in a fun way. I liked how he explained the rise of Bill Gates and others. It made a lot of sense.