This is a delightful mature followup to Wonder Women. Scelfo worked to identify women without whom New York would not exist. This is a remarkable boThis is a delightful mature followup to Wonder Women. Scelfo worked to identify women without whom New York would not exist. This is a remarkable book. I will be rereading it soon and spending time to get to know these women. There were a few names I already knew, there were many others new to me. While I'm still processing all that I read, please enjoy this review from the New York Times (I guess it's no surprise I loved this book as I'm a Barnard alumna) and this slideshow of Hallie Heald's illustrations from NY Magazine....more
Computers once walked among us; no not androids, mathematicians who worked tirelessly to solve complex calculations that helped, among other advancemeComputers once walked among us; no not androids, mathematicians who worked tirelessly to solve complex calculations that helped, among other advancements, put man on the moon. We don't hear about these computers here in the United States for a variety of reasons, not least because they were women, and often they weren't white. It was the men who were the scientists, the engineers, the individuals in seats of power. Without these women, the men would never had been able to make their achievements.
In Hidden Figures Shetterly shares the stories of the remarkable group of female mathematicians who had to overcome even higher hurdles due to the color of their skin. We meet Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden. The West Computing group was a remarkable one and I think it was a bit of mixed pride for Vaughan when her computers were so good that the groups that had taken them for special projects weren't keen to return them to the general pool. Hidden Figures skillfully navigates the challenges of discussing physics and maths, the complex history of the civil rights era in Virginia, and providing a glimpse into the lives of these remarkable women.
My only complaint is that stories such as these have taken so long to come into the mainstream consciousness and show up in libraries. I wish I could send a copy of this book to my 7th grade self who had to prove to her school's administration that she could indeed excel and thrive in the advanced maths course. Why? It shows women succeeding while climbing over every obstacle in their way. It shows the need to keep pushing and pursuing the next step forward, never settling. Shetterly put together a great resource as I am not as well-read on this area of history as I should be.
While one could potentially argue that Newport's book about why deep work is valuable, meaningful, and increasingly rare (and how shallow work harms kWhile one could potentially argue that Newport's book about why deep work is valuable, meaningful, and increasingly rare (and how shallow work harms knowledge workers) is simply a rehash of plain common sense, I counter that it is a valuable read. He makes the case in a compelling and clear manner that left me questioning each of my daily actions and if they helped me contribute to the goal of helping my clients truly solve their technology (or yarn) problems. The book is divided into two parts, the first is to convince you of the validity of the deep work hypothesis and the second teaches you how to transform your habits so you can work deeply. Don't turn into someone who has become so used to shallow work that when a deep work project comes along, there is no ability to think deeply and complete a successful project.