“If there is one secret of success it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from their angle as well as your own.”

Henry Ford

A grave danger…

A while back, I described to friends my biggest World fears were the spread of ebola and the rise of ISIS. Ebola eventually spread to a handful of cases in the US but was overall contained, and in my opinion, the World population escaped a close call. ISIS quickly spread their territory and appeared at one time to be nearly unstoppable in their region, but now are thankfully crumbling.

Today, I worry about North Korea. This is not a new problem, just one that finally people are taking seriously. North Korea has been continually developing their technologies despite most experts saying they do not have the capabilities they do.

There was a recent article from the Intercept which is scary to read. It describes the psychology of theNorth Korean population now that they have been under their current government for three generations. The population essentially thinks like a cult. The lack of information places them in a dangerous situation where they do not realize the ramifications of the World they live in.

I recently found this fascinating video. It demonstrates what people can do with critical thinking and some team directionality. It also shows how these technological developments are not sudden but logical steps.

This is a dangerous situation and one to not be distracted by lesser stories in today’s World. Check out this impressive site on the range of North Korea’s warheads.

Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life

 

I listened to the audiobook of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life: A Former CIA Officer Reveals Safety and Survival Techniques to Keep You and Your Family Protected by Jason Hanson. This book is written by a guy who is likely over prepared, but should an exceedingly rare event occur to him, he will be ready.

He does have some good advice sprinkled throughout and I took some notes:

Continue reading Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life

Visual Intelligence

This is one of my favorite books I’ve read. It is a great how to book and will improve your observation skills, situational awareness, and communication skills.

The book, Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life, is written by Amy E. Herman who is an art historian and a lawyer. She teaches others to use observation in their everyday life for both work and personal improvement. I highly encourage all to read this book. As a side benefit, it will increase your appreciation for art.

Below I will quote parts of the book and make notes for my future reference.

Continue reading Visual Intelligence

The Undoing Project

This book (The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis)  centers around the story of a friendship between Daniel K ahneman and Amos Tversky. The story moves steadily and is quite a page turner following the development of these two geniuses whose ideas really gelled through their collaboration. Their careers have affected more than the world of psychology and reach into the world I am familiar with (medicine) as well as economics, aeronautics, engineering, politics, and more. We have all been influenced by the research and findings of these two heavyweights, and this story is a fun and enlightening read describing their struggles, life experiences, research, and findings.

In the past, I read the book Thinking, Fast and Slow, which was written by Kahneman. I did not realize what a brilliant mind he was and now want to re-read that book. Maybe now I will understand the content better!

Continue reading The Undoing Project

The Upside of Inequality

This book, The Upside of Inequality: How Good Intentions Undermine the Middle Class, written by Edward Conard, is a heavy book on economics.

I enjoyed this book and its content. It makes sense to me and he describes my concerns with the quantitative easing season we recently went through in our country.

My criticism is with his writing style. Without a base interest in the subject, you might not get through this book. The book hits you with point after point after point. Just as soon as something clicks and you have an aha moment, you get drowned in more economics.

In the end, if you think the best thing for our country is redistribution of wealth, this book will challenge your thoughts. If you think the only fair situation is to give more to tax the rich more to help the poor, this book will challenge your ideas.

Mr. Conard describes how through the use of the stimulus mentality, we might have slowed our recovery, through our undisciplined absorption of many immigrants we have slowed both our and the worlds economical growth, yet we still managed to find jobs for these immigrants and grow our economy nonetheless.

This book is both optimistic and pessimistic. Whether you agree or disagree with the political side these economic ideas seem to reside on, it is a good read for theory and understanding from a different perspective.

I Contain Multitudes

Recently, I have been reading a lot of great books. I recently listened to this book (I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life) as an audiobook.

This is a book that discusses how microbes are all around us and in us. How we depend on these microbes and they on us. How exposure to our microbiome and the microbes in our environment affect us in our development or lack of development of allergies, obesity, and more.

This is a fascinating read and the author is well versed in the subject. I encourage all interested in science in general to read this book. It really helps connect dots throughout biology. I enjoyed the stories presented and the information given.

When Breath Becomes Air

I just finished listening to the audiobook of When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. This book tells the story of a neurosurgeon who becomes a patient.

Paul is very inspirational. I related well to his stories of medical education, experiences as a resident, and working in academic hospitals. I appreciated the details and how open he was.

Paul walks us through his experience, struggles with death and meaning, and with life.

This book brings both laughs and tears and is a meaningful experience for the reader.

The New Jim Crow

I recently read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.

I thought about writing a review in the same way as I have for many of the books I read in the past. This time, I want to do something a little different. Her overarching point, which I will be unable to articulate as persuasively here, is that the War on Drugs has led to a modern World where African Americans (both as individuals and as a group) suffer and are unable to improve their standing economically, politically, and socially.

In every way, this is an outstanding book. Few books change perspectives, adjust your reality, open your eyes. Books that make you stop, make you think, challenge your thoughts and views are rare.

Continue reading The New Jim Crow

Libraries

Only recently did I realize once more, how amazing libraries are!

I joined my local library not that long ago and fell in love with the easy access to books, ebooks, audiobooks, music, and more! Today’s libraries have so much to offer, and given that our taxes help fund them, there is no reason to not take advantage of them.

Some things you get with library access that does not even include going to the library:

  • Ebook borrowing – on your phone, tablet, ereader, computer, etc
  • Online database access
  • Book borrowing (including even delivery to your home in some cases)
  • Audiobooks – on your phone, tablet, computer, etc
  • Music and Movies – streaming and download services as well as CDs, DVDs, and more

The library itself offers (among others):

  • A quiet place to study or read
  • A meeting location for small groups
  • Computer and printer access
  • A place to learn, be tutored, taught things like coding, programs, 3D printing, and more

I highly recommend being an active user and supporter of your local library!