I found this book due to the high review from Brain Pickings. I enjoy a good piece of scientific journalism, most notably the excellent Chaos: MakingI found this book due to the high review from Brain Pickings. I enjoy a good piece of scientific journalism, most notably the excellent Chaos: Making a New Science. While this book didn't provide the philosophical nourishment that Chaos did, it provided some very distinct value of its own. Black Hole Blues catalogs decades of developments toward the event of documenting Black Holes; but while the author, herself a notable physicist, possesses an excellent knowledge of the science, she combines a journalist's flair for writing and human insight. In particular, this book gave fascinating insights into the politics of academia, science, and super-powers that are concerned with nuclear physics.
Science, unique personalities and eccentric geniuses, and world-wide research politics. If these are of interest to you, definitely give this book a read. ...more
A fine book, much more than I expected from a football player! He shows himself a valiant defender of the faith while also portraying a life in whichA fine book, much more than I expected from a football player! He shows himself a valiant defender of the faith while also portraying a life in which he lived and served without friction in many environments. He makes some great observations about surrounding yourself with greatness, with finding the right team mates and coaches and spouse in life. One of my favorite insights was when, contrary to the warnings of the defensive coach that he should avoid the ambition- and energy-sapping situation of marriage, he found marriage motivated and refined his ambitions.
Not a literary masterpiece, but neither the sort of literature I expected from a football player. Excellent for Latter-day Saints as well as the non-LDS, as the principle of choosing your society is valuable everywhere. ...more
Linguistically this short book is quite naive, apparently blissfully unaware of the Sapir-Whorf philosophy it is espousing, and the incredulous view tLinguistically this short book is quite naive, apparently blissfully unaware of the Sapir-Whorf philosophy it is espousing, and the incredulous view the academic world takes of that philosophy. Nonetheless, I found this an excellent and profitable read. I don't think my pleasure was purely from a personal perspective.
I read this book as I was preparing for my own several-month trip to China. For me, the real insight of this book was in discussing the fundamental difference in western and eastern ways of reasoning. According to Brown, the Chinese way of thinking is harmonious and about building connections, the same way their writing systems work; rather than breaking things down to an alphabet, they are built up out of ideas that fit together to compose new words and concepts. In medicine as well as science, Western culture analyzes by breaking things into ever-smaller components; Easter culture, says Brown, puts things together and regards their relationships; if an organ is failing and won't respond to treatment, the Oriental approach is to treat the parent-organ of the failing one, and then keep working up the tree of relationships.
After my time in China I still don't feel confident enough to completely certify Jones' view of their philosophy; a lot has changed in the westernization of China since he was there. But I did find his two different ways of looking at things as something I regularly considered in dealing with the people and the language, and something that has effected me significantly as I look for new ways of approaching problems and solving troubles.
If you approach this book expecting scientific rigor or psycholinguistic theory, you will be disappointed. But if you read it prepared for a friendly conversation about some interesting ideas, I hope you will find it as valuable as I did. They are ways of looking at the world that have been very valuable to me in the years since. ...more
An excellent overview of discourse analysis and the ways in which Discourse Analysis surveys all the most interesting components of language, includinAn excellent overview of discourse analysis and the ways in which Discourse Analysis surveys all the most interesting components of language, including rhetoric, power, style, purpose, and world-influence. It left me hungry for more. ...more
A book with great potential and many, many good messages but whose overall structure I found difficult to cope with. There is little narrative threadA book with great potential and many, many good messages but whose overall structure I found difficult to cope with. There is little narrative thread throughout this book because it is a stitched together collage, centered on the idea of Americans in 19th century Paris. In meta-critique it contrasts American pioneers gone west with other pioneers gone east to Paris, seeking instead of land and homestead, culture and education. But you must take this as a piece-meal, smorgasbord of history, relishing each miniature history rather than seeking coherence in the book as a whole. ...more
I'm giving it four stars not for the quality of writing -- I found the one-sided rhetoric tiresome by half way through -- but for the importance of thI'm giving it four stars not for the quality of writing -- I found the one-sided rhetoric tiresome by half way through -- but for the importance of the ideas it has. Despite taking an extreme stance in this book, Kohn gives a solid argument with intelligent research backing it.
The fundamental idea is that competition is destructive in all its forms, and is built into our society to the detriment of all: it is in our education, our economy, or legal system, and our recreation. He systematically approaches each claim for the validity, giving fair voice to their justifications for competition: that it is natural, that it is character-building, that it produces excellence, and that it is naturally desirable to us.
His case against competition is somewhat strong and worth digesting. The suggested alternatives, however, were somewhat lacking. It is in conceiving of solutions that we should use this book as fuel, giving us some ideas of how to convert our environments into non-competitive solutions that will bring the added self-confidence, creativity, and motivation that come from true cooperation. But more I could use more of a picture on a wide-spread vision of cooperation other than his slightly communistic musings and conclusive "competition is evil" voice.
Again, a worthy read with some important ideas to consider, even if it is more of a starting point than any kind of ending. ...more
A truly excellent book. Blending psychology, sociology, discourse analysis, and philosophy, Dr. Ochs provides a broad, rich look at narrative as the tA truly excellent book. Blending psychology, sociology, discourse analysis, and philosophy, Dr. Ochs provides a broad, rich look at narrative as the tool mankind universally uses to shape and make sense of reality, proposing a multi-dimensional grade that is used not to define "what is narrative" but rather, to determine the narrative qualities at work in a given discourse. The text discusses narrative for sense-making, for planning, and as our minds develop from child to adult and the changes apparent in the narrative we employ. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on narrative and prayer, which both considers narrative in prayer and also the elements of prayer in all narrative. This is a book worth reading and studying, with principles that could be of use to anyone. Although it takes an academic and theoretical approach, it is grounded in real (and interesting) examples from adults, children, the autistic, agoraphobic, and more, and is quite accessible. It suggests that our daily, conversational narratives, narratives of personal experience, deserve understanding at least as much as the polished narratives that have been the principle studies of narratology. ...more
Finally a book on memory improvement that is more than just a pop-psych dollar-read! This book is approachable by the lay reader, but offers the rigorFinally a book on memory improvement that is more than just a pop-psych dollar-read! This book is approachable by the lay reader, but offers the rigor and references you would expect from an academic work. Worthen and Hunt do an excellent job on explaining the historical reasons that the study of memory-improvement techniques has departed from our regular school curricula and the psychological basis on which the most effective techniques work. For those interested in history, psychology, or just improving their memory, this book will be a good investment. In addition to background, the theoretical exposition cross referenced with psychology theory provides the understanding necessary to start constructing your own mnemonic tools, understanding the situations and memory-types that need to be compensated for to have success. ...more
Some useful information and fairly pleasant. I finished it in about 45 minutes without feeling I missed much; but it was a useful refresher on basic mSome useful information and fairly pleasant. I finished it in about 45 minutes without feeling I missed much; but it was a useful refresher on basic memory principles. If you want some quick tips on name, number, and list memory, this book may do it for you....more
Although it contained a great deal of useful information, it somehow managed to present it in a rote and lifeless way. There is nothing really wrong wAlthough it contained a great deal of useful information, it somehow managed to present it in a rote and lifeless way. There is nothing really wrong with this book, other than that it simply fails to be overly rhetorically effective itself. I did not read this for class and was hoping to extend my understanding of the power of language; this book seems to have the resources, but they are in such a raw and uninspiring form that mining them takes more effort than I would like. Nonetheless, if this happens to be the only rhetoric theory book you have on hand, it should be a good reference. The chapters on narrative and metaphor were particularly intriguing, but received only a gloss and weren't interconnected much with the rest of the book (unlike, say, the chapter on dramatic rhetorical theory). ...more