I thought I was well versed in cognitive biases, but it turns out I am not so smart. Written in a very droll tone, this book describes the most common...moreI thought I was well versed in cognitive biases, but it turns out I am not so smart. Written in a very droll tone, this book describes the most common biases and heuristics of the human mind simply and concisely. It is great for people who want to maintain at least a loose grip on objective reality.
The discussion of how most human memory is a work of fiction that is subconsciously and constantly edited to conform to one's current beliefs, feelings, and identity was particulary fascinating, disturbing, and comforting. Finally, a scientific explanation as to why persons of my acquaintance will tell me how "in love" they are with their current partners who "complete" them and then short time later will tell me how they always hated their partners and never loved them even once during their entire relationship, which was nothing but misery, despite the fact that this 100% contradicts all their previous assertions. I always thought they were just self-absorbed idiots in need of attention who deliberately and consciously rewrote their past in order to save face in light of how things ended, justify ditching relationships with which they'd grown bored, ascribe blame, and reconcile their current feelings about their exes with their past feelings for them. But it turns out human beings just cannot bear inconsistency when it comes to their own ideas about themselves and automatically subconsciously alter and/or outright fabricate their personal histories in order to match their current selves to their past selves. As troubling as this reality is, there is also a brightside. It means that if one's history is simply a story that one tells one's self, and the events have been so heavily slanted and edited that they may bear no resemblance to what actually happened, then it is possible for people who are trapped by their pasts to escape merely by changing their point of view and reframing the meaning the past has in their current lives. That's a cause for hope right there. (less)
Each of the common fashion mistakes featured in this book has its own two page spread consisting of one page of text and one overly exaggerated photo,...moreEach of the common fashion mistakes featured in this book has its own two page spread consisting of one page of text and one overly exaggerated photo, and each one is funny. Clinton is a bit more vulgar and sarcastically crass in his writing than he is on the show "What Not to Wear."(less)
This book provides an excellent and thorough overview of Greco-Roman mythology. Edith Hamilton retells the every major myth in the Greek and Roman Wor...moreThis book provides an excellent and thorough overview of Greco-Roman mythology. Edith Hamilton retells the every major myth in the Greek and Roman Worlds as well as clearly describing their key players -- both immortal and human. At the beginning of each section, the author cites the primary sources in which each story is found, tells whether the tale is a summary of one particular source or a synthesis of several, gives the civilization of origin (Greek and/or Roman), and explains any relevant cultural context. She then provides a simple but elegant and straight-forward summary of the tale.
I feel a lot less ignorant after having read this. I only wish the author would have treated Norse myth as extensively as Greco-Roman myth instead of throwing it in at the very end almost as an afterthought. I really longed for more about Norse mythology.(less)
In the interests of full disclosure, I am what the author calls a late adopter, which he takes from Everett Rogers’s Diffusion of Innovations theory....moreIn the interests of full disclosure, I am what the author calls a late adopter, which he takes from Everett Rogers’s Diffusion of Innovations theory. Actually, I am probably even a “laggard” rather than a member of the “late majority,” but either way I do not jump on board with any new idea, trend, institution, or technology until it is virtually the norm, and even then I often resist either because it conflicts with my Neo-Luddite beliefs or because my disposable income is essentially zero after I pay my bills, buy groceries, and then put gasoline in my car. This means Sinek’s new revolutionary approach to leadership -– as well as the leadership bandwagon in general -– is not something I am likely to buy into.
If you enjoy books about the hot topic of leadership, this one is pretty much par for the course. Nonprofits can glean some ideas from this book, but the bulk of it pertains to for-profit companies. Sinek is very passionate about leadership, and he enthusiastically spews buzzwords everywhere. This book overflows with examples of great leaders and innovators. Sinek puts a slightly different spin on the same old, same old, themes. Lead by example. Inspire people, and they will follow your passion. If you treat employees well, they will be loyal to you and work harder. If you create loyalty, then people will be willing to turn down better deals for your company or your product. Sales are strongest when consumers feel a personal connection to the company or the product. Staff should share the company’s values and buy into its vision. Et cetera, et cetera ….
The one very novel idea is that the Sinek believes people/consumers don’t buy what a company does but why they do it. I disagree, but this may be a result of my bias as a late adopter. I absolutely buy what a company sells and how they sell it. Sinek believes people are attracted to the products of corporations with whom they perceive has a shared value. I may be more inclined to buy from a company whose practices support my own values but not because of a business’s values. I don’t care about the why. I only care about the end result, which is the product or service.
Price and features matter to me despite Sinke’s insistance to the contrary. I will buy less expensive products that I don’t like as well because they are in my price range and the ones I would rather have are not. Yes, sometimes I am willing to pay more, but that because of me and not the company. Certain business practices also matter to me. I am buying because of the services offered. I am buying what and how not why. Sinek believes that the why trumps the what and the how. He doesn’t feel that features and price are the primary selling point and ultimately don’t matter in the face of the why powering a company. I do. Reader, you will have to decide for yourself. You may agree with Sinek and disagree with me. You may feel a personal connection to a corporation; I, however, find this idea baffling.
The author is absolutely in loved with Apple and Southwest Airlines. But Sinek’s hero worship of Steve Jobs lost all him all credibility with me. Steve Jobs might have make Apple shareholders lots and lots of money, and Apple does make good products, but Jobs was a terrible human being. For him to be held up as the gold standard of leadership is sickening to me. Yes, he inspired. He inspired severe human rights abuses in overseas manufacturing plants and fear in his U.S. employees. I am not a Machiavelli the-ends-justify-the-means type of person. I don’t care what someone accomplished if he did so by being a sadistic bully. In fact, I feel that negates the accomplishment.
The author reads his own book, and while his voice is very pleasant, and his pacing good, he is unsuccessfully attempting to suppressive a British accent. Every couple sentences, he hits a word, usually one with containing the vowel “a,” and says it with a strong accent. This is annoying. It is as if he is pretending to be someone who he is not. Also, partway through the book, he talks about feeling a connection to a group and gives the example of hearing a group of tourists on a bus in Australia speaking with American accents and immediately feeling a kinship with them. This really undermined his point since he has a poorly hidden English accent, and there is no explanation given as to why he considers himself to be American. Was he raised in England because his parents were Americans working abroad, so he is a very random American with an English accent? Did he emigrate from the UK and receive American citizenship? Does he just feel a connection to US capitalist culture instead of European socialism? This is a red warning flag for an unreliable narrator. (less)
This is the best more elementary introduction to beading book. In some ways it is overly simple, but for the absolute beginner, it is great. The milli...moreThis is the best more elementary introduction to beading book. In some ways it is overly simple, but for the absolute beginner, it is great. The millimeter size chart on page 8 is particularly helpful for people who have not yet invested in a bead gauge or who can't yet visualize the size of beads. (less)
The story of two boys both named Wes Moore who grew up in poverty in Baltimore. One goes on to become a contributing member of society and the other e...moreThe story of two boys both named Wes Moore who grew up in poverty in Baltimore. One goes on to become a contributing member of society and the other ends up serving life in prison for murder. The successful Wes Moore wrote this book, and while his premise is that he could have just as easily been the other Wes Moore, it is fairly obvious from the life stories he presents that he had resources -- the most critical of which was a stable family unit willing to sacrifice for his future -- that gave him the opportunity to succeed while the other Wes Moore was basically doomed from birth due to circumstances beyond his control that only a very extraordinary individual could have overcome.(less)
Juliana van Olphen-Fehr begins her memoir in 1976 with the birth of her first child and ends it in 1989 with the birth of her third and final child al...moreJuliana van Olphen-Fehr begins her memoir in 1976 with the birth of her first child and ends it in 1989 with the birth of her third and final child although she does give an update in the preface in the late 1990's when she had left private practice and taken a position as the coordinator of a nurse-midwifery program. She chronicles her home birth practice and details her experience as a nursing student, nurse, and nurse-midwife. A similar story is A Midwife's Story by Penny Armstrong.
A couple of caveats. Caveat #1: Much of the author's experience takes place prior to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act going into effect. EMTALA requires all hospitals that accept federal funds to have a doctor deliver any woman's baby who walks into the hospital in active labor no matter what. It can be the doctor on duty in the emergency and not an ob-gyn, but the hospitals are not legally allowed to refuse care to a woman in active labor. So, the problem Van Ophlen-Fehr faces of having doctors refuse to come to the hospital and deliver her patients' babies if they are transfered to the hospital has been completely eliminated. Caveat #2: The author is a certified nurse-midwife (CNM), meaning she earned a bachelor of science in nursing and then a master of science in midwifery, as opposed to certified practical/professional midwife (CPM,) also known as a direct-entry midwife, who has a bachelor of science in midwifery or a lay midwife who has no formal medical training and learned through apprenticeship. This distinction is important because, as a general rule, the more medical a midwife's educational background, the quicker and more aggressive she will be to insist on the necessity of medical intervention. Nurse-midwives are often negatively nicknamed "med-wives" because their protocols can align very closely with those of hospital and obstetricians. For example, in the book van Olphen-Fehr will hospital transfer just to be on the side despite the fact that nearly every time she is horrified about how savagely her patients are then treated. She refuses to attend breech births outside a hospital, and in one instance she nearly refuses to attend a mother at home whose labor begin at 37 weeks because she was earlier than her due date. Caveat #3: How van Olphen-Fehr witnesses women treated in the hospital will make you very angry and perhaps literally sick.