Written very much in the style of a magazine writer, Born to Run is a book about ultra-long-distance running written by a magazine writer. That's not...moreWritten very much in the style of a magazine writer, Born to Run is a book about ultra-long-distance running written by a magazine writer. That's not to say it doesn't deserve full-length treatment--it was entertaining and informative throughout, and never felt like filler. It's just that it has a simple style of prose and an episodic nature (complete with flashbacks) that readers of magazines like Outdoor or National Geographic Adventure will recognize. In fact, it reminded me quite a bit of John Krakauer.
Born to Run discusses the theory that humans evolved as running animals, and through narrative, presents evidence toward that fact. There's also a bit of discussion about how the modern running-shoe industry has actually managed to increase running injuries over historical, pre-shoe levels. Interwoven with the light-science story is the story (and back story) of a race staged with a reclusive tribe of super runners based in the Copper Canyon area of Mexico. Besides gripping story and the science is a peek inside the world of ultra-marathons and the people that are pushing the boundaries of human endurance.
Born to Run is the type of book that will inspire you to begin your own running, and will entertain you all the way.(less)
The Geography of Thought was pretty much exactly what the subtitle says. It uses the author's experience as a research psychologist to elucidate some...moreThe Geography of Thought was pretty much exactly what the subtitle says. It uses the author's experience as a research psychologist to elucidate some of the experimentally verified differences between Western and Eastern thought. This part of the book is well researched and well documented. The author stretches a little bit when he ties modern thought back to its ancient Greek and Chinese origins, but there's nothing that is implausible... just difficult to verify. The epilogue discusses what the author sees as the future of global thought, and whether Eastern and Western thought patterns are diverging or converging.
Overall, I found this a very interesting read, even if the author occasionally got a little too into the details of the studies he's basing the book on. I wish there was a little more info about how to reconcile Eastern and Western thought patterns, and how we could better work together in a business context, but I guess there's probably a slew of business books on that very same topic. This book was well worth the time.(less)
A history of the development of American forensic medicine engagingly told through stories of poisonings (murderous and industrial) in Jazz-age New Yo...moreA history of the development of American forensic medicine engagingly told through stories of poisonings (murderous and industrial) in Jazz-age New York. Fascinating details about poisons such as carbon monoxide, methyl alcohol, chloroform, arsenic, and the struggle to detect them (in a way that could be used as evidence in a trial!) A quick, thoroughly enjoyable read.(less)
Although a little dated (no mention of String Theory or Quantum Computing), this was the best layman's guide to Quantum Physics I've read. Zukov cover...moreAlthough a little dated (no mention of String Theory or Quantum Computing), this was the best layman's guide to Quantum Physics I've read. Zukov covers everything in non-mathematical terms, and covers key concepts with multiple explanations--so if one doesn't stick, the next might. Zukov walks us through the historical development of the theory, bringing us along so we can see why the great physicists think like they do. He spends a little time tying the latest developments to Eastern philosophy (especially Buddhism) but it's not much time, and if you're uninterested it certainly won't impede your enjoyment of the book.
Highly recommended for all math-challenged physics-curious readers!(less)
As it is, nothing in here struck me as anything I didn't get from 11th grade physics, or from reading popular physics books. It wasn't painful, and Feynman clearly loves the subject matter, but I'm glad it was short because it was mostly a rehash for me.(less)
A "memoir" from Richard Feynman. I put "memoir" in quotes because it's really a collection of stories told by Feynman himself. While many of the Goodr...moreA "memoir" from Richard Feynman. I put "memoir" in quotes because it's really a collection of stories told by Feynman himself. While many of the Goodreads reviews are over the top ("laugh out loud funny"--I laughed out loud not once) the book is an informative and entertaining look at one of last century's most famous physicists. We learn what it was like to work on the Manhattan Project, why Mr. Feynman frequented topless bars, what was wrong (and may still be) with the Brazillian university system, and how to stop ants from walking through your house.
The book is a transcription of recordings from Mr. Feynman, and as such it feels as if Feynman is having a beer with you, telling stories. Most are good, a few are boring, but you still want to get another round and keep him talking.