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!

Thought Challenge

Here is a thought challenge:

  1. Take someone or something you disagree with.
  2. Write down everything you think is good about that person or that point of view.

I suspect, if done honestly, there is more in common than you think on the surface.

I find most of the time, people are logical in an irrational manner. Listening to others, from their point of view, and learning why they have the perspective they do will pay back immensely.

Christian Life

This explains how a Christian should live. I think regardless of your religious views, these are virtues to live up to.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.  Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the dissadvantaged and seek to show hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12: 9-17