On hearing that 20% or more of patients encounter complications caused by their medical treatment or hospital stay, one might wonder how individual hoOn hearing that 20% or more of patients encounter complications caused by their medical treatment or hospital stay, one might wonder how individual hospitals and the medical-industrial complex could afford to ignore the statistic--and why more patients aren't up in arms about the obstacles to evaluating the quality of their treatment. In fact, as Dr. Makary discusses, this is one logical consequence of a system that makes up a fifth of the nation's economy yet goes largely untaxed and unregulated, and sees profit from every procedure undertaken, necessary or not. Advocating for transparency in data such as doctor ratings, number, type, and outcomes of procedures performed, and safety indicators such as employee perceptions of teamwork, comfort level bringing up problems to superiors, and percentages of hospital staff who would want their own treatment administered at the facility where they work, he makes the argument that patients will have to wield their power as consumers to demand accessible and decipherable information enabling them to take more control of their own care. It's a grand vision for a complicated system, but one Makary argues an up-and-coming generation of doctors themselves are getting behind....more
I'll admit, grocery stores nauseated me a bit for a few weeks after reading this. Solid research and an important read--does a good job of narrating tI'll admit, grocery stores nauseated me a bit for a few weeks after reading this. Solid research and an important read--does a good job of narrating the development of the processed food industry, exposing some horrifying facts and basic contradictions between healthy living and the logical ends of food as a business, without offering easy answers or giving in to sensationalism. Readability (though not documentation) might argue towards a bit more editing; if you'd like to get a taste before diving into the entire book, Moss's The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food is a good place to start. ...more
Funny, irreverent, occasionally compelling, with every once in a while a descriptive passage that really has something to it:
On the porn industry (pp.Funny, irreverent, occasionally compelling, with every once in a while a descriptive passage that really has something to it:
On the porn industry (pp. 36-37): "Imagine if it were about desire.
People who actually wanted to fuck each other. Had to fuck each other. Imagine watching two people screwing at that early, white-hot stage of attraction when your pupils dilate just looking at each other, and you want to melt each other’s bones so bad you’re practically eating each other’s clothes off the minute the door closes.
In a world where you can get a spare kidney, a black-market Picasso or a ticket to ride into space, why can’t I see some actual sex? Some actual fucking from people who want to fuck each other?
I have MONEY. I’m willing to PAY for this. I AM NOW A 35-YEAR-OLD WOMAN, AND I JUST WANT A MULTI-BILLION-DOLLAR INTERNATIONAL PORN INDUSTRY WHERE I CAN SEE A WOMAN COME.
I just want to see a good time."
On women's underwear (pp. 89-90): "Let us hymn a while on lingerie — recite the psalms of the smaller, higher drawer in the chest. Stockings — black, seamed or sheer — allowing you to fuck instantly, spontaneously, standing, possibly even as you’re still saying ‘So do you need me to sign for this parcel?’
French knickers in peach satin, with ruffles all up the back. Cami-knickers in outrageous colours, flashing under basques: kingfisher blue; rose-red; gold, like the wedding ring on the floor. The frothing, cloudy egg-white joy of tulle. The way silk slip-slides over you, like a sheet of oil. Watching the blood rush through the semi-visibility of lace. The black line from calf to thigh. The hook-and-eye, with flesh swelling beneath. Torn buttons. The hem.
I have an August-blue petticoat with tiny pink roses, and black suspender straps, that makes me happier than nearly anything else I own. Not only does it embody the kind of purring, spanky, joyous 1950s soft-porn postcards I have based most of my wardrobe/sexuality on, but I also look dead thin in it too. I have often noticed this, with underwear: the right stuff will be the most flattering outfit you can wear.
Oh, if only the world knew how amazing we look, under all these clothes." ...more
Gladstone and Neufeld do an admirable job of communicating the history and trajectory of the news machine as we know it, in a very accessible format.Gladstone and Neufeld do an admirable job of communicating the history and trajectory of the news machine as we know it, in a very accessible format. (And how often have I seen attempted educational graphic novels fall flat and dry, you ask? Too often). I would argue that they strike a good balance of communication through both words and pictures, creating a product that feels dense but not boggy. The final assertion--that "We get the media we deserve"--doesn't quite satisfy, but I learned quite a lot coming to that point in the argument (and enjoyed it!), which is no small feat....more
While I wish there had been more context given for the material (maybe when the book was written dialectical materialism and the time frame of Poland'While I wish there had been more context given for the material (maybe when the book was written dialectical materialism and the time frame of Poland's involvement in WWII were self evident, but it's been a while since I learned about them--that is, since high school), it was enlightening to read this account of culture and allegiance cast in the frame of the possible historical inevitability, and to have it brought home just how fragile the systems of civilization within which we function really are....more
It's saying something that this book, in which Vincent has herself admitted to several different psychiatric centers for both treOur Staff Recommends:
It's saying something that this book, in which Vincent has herself admitted to several different psychiatric centers for both treatment and personal research, is in many ways less controversial than her last. An incisive study of mental illness and the ways in which it is (often mis-)treated, vividly colored by Vincent's own struggles and prejudices. Her conclusions are not new, but the path by which she arrives at them is interesting to trace, and her methods...committed....more
Balancing the best of both worlds--philosophical yet practical, and entertaining to boot!--in The Happiness Hypothesis, Jonathan Haidt blends discussiBalancing the best of both worlds--philosophical yet practical, and entertaining to boot!--in The Happiness Hypothesis, Jonathan Haidt blends discussions of ancient wisdom with findings from modern studies on happiness and positive psychology. The result is a compelling and resonant picture of the factors comprising and affecting human fulfillment; what we can control about our own state of happiness; and why we can't control the rest.
I often find the last third of popular nonfiction "idea" books a bit of a letdown, but lo and behold, Haidt manages to consider multiple perspectives thoughtfully and end with conclusions that, while I didn’t find them surprising, struck me as both eminently reasonable and sorely needed.
Lucid, compelling prose and the depth of subject treatment keep this book out of the self-help section, and I've found myself referring back to it so often in the past few weeks that I would recommend it to a wide variety of people interested in how humans are the way we are, and why. In sum, easily one of the top two books I had the pleasure of reading this year and, I suspect, a long-term favorite....more
I enjoy pop psychology and nonfiction as much as the next person, but I also recognize its flaws--often a bit repetitive, sometimes sweeping nuances uI enjoy pop psychology and nonfiction as much as the next person, but I also recognize its flaws--often a bit repetitive, sometimes sweeping nuances under the carpet. I was ready to be underwhelmed, but Quiet struck me as above-average on both counts. Cain has clearly done her research and while it's an oft-discussed topic, manages to range far enough to keep things interesting, while also continuously acknowledging that it's the full range of personality types that we should value, rather than one over another.
Interesting food for thought around the ideas of group work and collaboration, and the potential for groupthink to stifle creativity; as well as discussion of how and when people should break out of type--for a period--in service to causes that matter to and motivate them. The book also provides some useful, concrete tips for those looking to function at their best in a world that doesn't always have an easy time facilitating their contributions. A lot of common sense (and certainly limited in some respects, especially culturally), but more substantial than I was expecting--and certainly enjoyable! ...more
Often books on intriguing and little-known subcultures are disappointingly poorly written; not so with this fascinating portrait of several circuses (Often books on intriguing and little-known subcultures are disappointingly poorly written; not so with this fascinating portrait of several circuses (including Seattle's own Circus Contraption) that have been part of the movement to revive do-it-yourself circus arts in the past few decades. I've flirted with the edges of this world (mostly settling for observing), and it's fascinating to get a picture here, in their own words, of some of the things that make the people involved tick. ...more
Courtney Martin's dissection of the ways in which girls are taught to hate their bodies (and themselves) is chilling and informative. Some of the lateCourtney Martin's dissection of the ways in which girls are taught to hate their bodies (and themselves) is chilling and informative. Some of the later chapters seem to be just an application of the same thesis to various different areas of life, but all told a well-written and fairly heartwrenching assessment of a cultural attitude reinforced far too frequently, even when it's being decried....more