The chapters on Sumo wrestlers - School teachers, Ku Klux Klan - Real Estate agents, and Why drug-dealers live with their moms?...moreA long overdue reading.
The chapters on Sumo wrestlers - School teachers, Ku Klux Klan - Real Estate agents, and Why drug-dealers live with their moms? - were an absorbing read.
The Sumo wrestlers - School teachers chapter illustrates the beauty of statistics - all you need is sufficient data, and you can pretty quickly debunk "conventional wisdom". This chapter is a must read for Stat 101 type courses, and also intermediate to advanced programming - to work out a mathematical model, and write a program to make sense of the data you have.
The chapter, Where have all the criminals gone? - while touted as Levitt's important work, was a little dense to read. Same goes for the chapters on parenting, and choosing names for babies. Although, the chapter on choosing names for babies provides another opportunity for math modeling (predicting how long a name will be in vogue), and programming.
A good exercise would be read The Economic Naturalist, and Freakonomics back to back. And then apply the principles in Freakonomics, to see if the explanations in The Economic Naturalist withstand the mathematical rigor that is the foundation of Freakonomics.(less)
A lot irritated by the narration, but not the content.
May be it is my prejudice - I find the "fable" approach to self-help books tedious to read. The...moreA lot irritated by the narration, but not the content.
May be it is my prejudice - I find the "fable" approach to self-help books tedious to read. The last one I read, that took a similar approach, was Gung Ho! by Ken Blanchard, and came off thinking that the whole book was silly. The Monk Who... came highly recommended, and hence I plunged in.
The book starts off on a promising note - hot-shot lawyer has a heart-attack in court, right after winning a big case. What happens next?
Here's what happens - India - Himalayas - Yogi - "a lot of finding myself" - Mystical land - Mystical procedures (apparently even the Pareto technique!) - "share these with others" - another bad fable, within this already bad fable. You can fill in the blanks with that info.
And oh, throw in really really really (big emphasis on that third really) bad jokes as part of the "conversation".
Not to sound overly negative, there were things that hit home for me.
Summarizing them below - 1. Take care of yourself first. If you can't do even that, how can you take care of others / work? 2. Maintain strict discipline in training your body, and your mind. 3. Setting aside some "quiet time" on a daily basis. 4. Goal setting - committing to a goal publicly, so that you hold yourselves accountable in front of your peers. 5. Reflect on what you did good / bad the previous day, and make points for improvement on a daily basis. 6. Get your priorities right - not a lot of people on their death-bed wishing that they had spent more time at work.
This book could have been a LOT BETTER had the author dropped the "fable approach", and just presented his ideas in a straight-forward manner. I like Robin Sharma's The Greatness Guide (Book 2) better than this one, for this reason.
Skip it, if you can resist the folks giving over-the-top reviews for this book.(less)
In this second book, partly personal correspondence between Feynman, and family, and partly about Feynman's involvement in the Challenger disaster - w...moreIn this second book, partly personal correspondence between Feynman, and family, and partly about Feynman's involvement in the Challenger disaster - we get a closer look at this curious character.
While not quite as entertaining as SYJ, this book is a must read for Feynman's observations about how projects are executed in a large organization.
He dissects how NASA works, and is very focussed on getting to the facts leading to the shuttle disaster.
His findings on this subject (how large organizations work) are lessons one can hardly ignore. - Management trying / promising to do the impossible, ignoring sound engineering judgement - The organization on the whole turning a blind-eye to a persistent problem - Only encouraging good news
The Appendix in this book, which is (almost) the same as the one presented to President Reagan on the Challenger disaster, is a must read. Feynman remains true to his philosophy of presenting both the pluses, and minuses of a scientific inquiry, in this Appendix. The hoops that he had to jump through to get this published in the Roger's Commission Report is a story in itself!
If you ever find yourself heading a committee investigating a mishap - you'd do well to adhere to Feynman's methodology here.(less)