What a public service this book is. Oster applies her training as an economist (which btw is highly relevant here) to analyze the validity of the manyWhat a public service this book is. Oster applies her training as an economist (which btw is highly relevant here) to analyze the validity of the many studies upon which medical recommendations for pregnant women are based. It turns out that the bulk of behavioral guidelines given to pregnant women in the U.S. are based on shittily conducted and inconclusive studies, and plenty of countries follow quite different guidelines and bear no apparent negative consequences for it. With some very important caveats, you can drink coffee, you can drink booze, you can keep your poopy cats, you can take anti-nausea medication (she even gives you a recipe!), you can dye your hair, you can get a little fat. Don't smoke, though. Wish she would write a version of this book for every subsequent stage of infant development, though I guess then we just go straight into soc/econ/public policy. ...more
I did not expect to like this book very much. Initial scans revealed such dull and slightly embarrassing sentences as "Do you have the courage to brinI did not expect to like this book very much. Initial scans revealed such dull and slightly embarrassing sentences as "Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?" These are not the type of things I think, or even especially want to think. Plus the most creative thing I do is write academic papers, which is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of creative "treasures."
But it ended up good in the end. Gilbert is an open-hearted and encouraging cheerleader, and the book is stuffed with pep talks, mental tricks, and arguments you can adopt to stop being your own worst enemy when it comes to making stuff. Her advice is consistent with findings from much recent pop psych on the creative process (ex: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/12/...). Most of these tricks are applicable to writing academic papers, as well as the general work of living. Don't take yourself too seriously. Don't think the world owes you anything. Work for the sake of the work only, not the fruit of your work.
I especially liked the parts where she deflates the ideal of the artistic genius, and instead proposes that we adopt the classical belief in an "external daemon of creativity" which "helps to keep the artist's ego in check, distancing him somewhat from the burden of taking either full credit or full blame for the outcome of his work" (67). Other swaps she suggests: - shooting for authenticity vs. aiming for originality - instead of going into massive debt for an MFA, try to believe you are already creatively legitimate, and come up with your own working group -be a "deeply disciplined half-ass" that is content with the flawed results of hard labor vs. a lazy perfectionist - believe writing loves you as much as you love it vs believing it is hostile or indifferent to your effort - Light trickster energy vs martyr suffering - Instead of relying entirely on passion, follow your curiosity - Stay for the party even if it turned out you dressed wrong (ex: lobster costume), and be proud of the effort you put into your outfit
Finally, the second to last chapter on the transformations of Balinese dance was a wonderful illustration of the cultural specificity of high-low artistic distinctions. ...more
Finally got a copy from the library and was immediately overwhelmed about all the bad habits I would have to break, and the amount of attention I woulFinally got a copy from the library and was immediately overwhelmed about all the bad habits I would have to break, and the amount of attention I would have to pay to temperature and timing. Maybe I am okay with being a poor cook. ...more
Read by the author. Cried half a dozen times-- the parts about her mother and regret, and so many lost children. I recognized myself in self-righteousRead by the author. Cried half a dozen times-- the parts about her mother and regret, and so many lost children. I recognized myself in self-righteous entitled letter-writers, whining and self-pitying, and enjoyed her calling them out. ...more
Picked this up because Dale Carnegie was referenced several times in a grad school guidebook. It was of limited use. There were way too many rules, anPicked this up because Dale Carnegie was referenced several times in a grad school guidebook. It was of limited use. There were way too many rules, and the writing style has not aged well. Examples of success stories sound made up, like a salesman's lies. Like the other handful of business-y self-help books I've read, it seems to suggest a complicated system of behavior as a substitute for being a decent human being. Haha this review illustrates why I will never be able to win friends or influence anybody. If I only tried to follow Principle 1 "Don't criticize, condemn or complain," I would probably be rendered mute, indefinitely.
But in truth I am being harsher than I mean to be. The book's genial and likeable, and I am giving it 3 stars because of the great anecdote about Lincoln, whether it's true or not. Did you guys know Lincoln used to love telling people how much they sucked?
"As a young man in the Pigeon Creek Valley of Indiana, he not only criticized but he wrote letters and poems ridiculing people and dropped these letters on the country roads where they were sure to be found."
Eventually one of Lincoln's letters led a man to try to kill him so Lincoln stopped his honest Abe ways. But unfortunately, as we know, this reform did not put an end to the murder attempts. ...more
Well-grounded advice, plainly (and a little boringly) presented: Don't be nuts. Get along with people. Deal with difficult powerful people carefully aWell-grounded advice, plainly (and a little boringly) presented: Don't be nuts. Get along with people. Deal with difficult powerful people carefully and patiently. Don't freak out if your data's not coming together perfectly. Keep a clean and organized work space (both physical office and on your computer). Make it a habit to regularly relax and treat yo-self. ...more
Read this because of fascinating NYT magazine excerpt on how Target tracks our buying habits. The rest of the book is not as compelling -- anecdotes sRead this because of fascinating NYT magazine excerpt on how Target tracks our buying habits. The rest of the book is not as compelling -- anecdotes sometimes don't support particular arguments he's attempting to illustrate (the Hey-Ya examples being the most egregious), and his section on how social movements occur is weak and unconvincing, and not really about habits, per se. Style and structure were often clunky, and the book seems a bit muddled as its ultimate purpose. I dunno, I guess I was expecting slightly more substantial psychology or social science and instead got more of a book solidly for businesses/manager types and people on the beginning of their self-help journeys. But I fall into the latter category, so why am I pooh pooh-ing this book so much? I dunno. Maybe I am just jealous of how $$$ money this dude's gonna make at corporate speaking gigs.
Anyway, lessons I'll take away -- *making your bed every morning and committing to regular exercise are two habits that can transform your entire goddamn life *Diagram about mouse brain activity spike post-reward eventually arriving prior to reward (the origin of cravings) *Changing habits requires identifying the cues and rewards that trigger and support the habit behavior, then trying out various substitutes for the behavior that might achieve the same reward *deliberate advance plans for responding to challenging situations can be extremely helpful (ex Scottish knee/hip replacement patients, Michael Phelps, Starbucks) *With more challenging habits like alcoholism or stuff related to football, true belief and submission to some higher purpose is necessary *in general, it's more effective to change others' habits if you make them believe they have some power or authority over their decision than if you coerce them with force *casinos are super evil
Essentially a self-help book that uses personal stories of celebrities and evidence from scientific experiments to support its suggestions. Tips I wanEssentially a self-help book that uses personal stories of celebrities and evidence from scientific experiments to support its suggestions. Tips I want to keep in mind:
1. No joke, make sure you're eating healthy, substantial foods and sleeping enough during the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle...more
This book probably contains something for everyone who's enthusiastic about movies. Light, funny, informative AND encouraging to those with dreams ofThis book probably contains something for everyone who's enthusiastic about movies. Light, funny, informative AND encouraging to those with dreams of writing commercial screenplays (not me). Lots of Hollywood anecdotes, like their meeting with Jackie Chan, who's so ballsy he drank a bowl of tomato soup with one hand while wearing an all white jumpsuit, and secrets such as the meaning behind where they let you park during studio meetings. Also contains the entire outline for several movies, including a terrific and tragically never-to-be-produced Reno 911 prequel/sequel. Concludes with a useful appendix explaining the jobs of all those people you see in the credits....more