3 1/2 stars. This is an amazing story—engrossing and elegantly written. It's too bad that Zamperini apparently chose to conclude his life in a way tha3 1/2 stars. This is an amazing story—engrossing and elegantly written. It's too bad that Zamperini apparently chose to conclude his life in a way that's altogether and utterly trite....more
3 1/2 stars. Three points make this book difficult to review: a.) the subject matter is fascinating, b.) Haidt's descriptive accounts of moral psychol3 1/2 stars. Three points make this book difficult to review: a.) the subject matter is fascinating, b.) Haidt's descriptive accounts of moral psychology are penetratingly deep, but c.) his political and moral conclusions don't follow from his scientific position. Quite possibly the largest flaw is that he lacks any compelling argument for moving from the fact of moral pluralism existing in the world to a normative endorsement of that pluralism.
Prior to reading the book I already knew that people moralize all sorts of things along several moral dimensions, but Haidt doesn't really make the case that each of those dimensions should truly be valued (although he more or less asserts that they should). For instance, why should I consider sanctity a moral value, or, rather, why should I include sanctity as a moral dimension alongside harm reduction in my ethical judgements? True, sanctifying propositions or beliefs may create beneficial group cohesion--in a religious form, perhaps--but that group cohesion doesn't matter if the negative effects of strong group cohesion outweigh the benefits. He even comes very close to outright endorsing group cohesion for the sake of group cohesion. He does mention the possible exclusionary nature of strong group cohesion, but he brushes it over as seemingly unimportant (he actually relegates the treatment of homosexuals and other minorities by strongly cohesive, dominant groups to a footnote!). Haidt simply fails to show that, normatively, morality should include anything other than harm reduction (or happiness contribution).
I guess, to be honest, I think he's just generally too sympathetic toward conservative values.
I shouldn't give the impression that this is only a book of flaws, however. The descriptive psychology is superb, and it's definitely worth the read for that alone (which is the majority of the book, anyway). Just don't put too much weight into the concluding chapters.
A few months ago, I went to a local library book sale. They allowed you to put as many books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, etc. into a brown grocery bag forA few months ago, I went to a local library book sale. They allowed you to put as many books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, etc. into a brown grocery bag for only $5. That's a pretty phenomenal deal, if you ask me. Anyway, that's where this book comes in. Normally, I probably wouldn't waste my time on an over 20-year-old critical work of the state of experimental psychology, but I figured some the criticisms may still be relevant today. And plus, I had a whole grocery bag to fill!
Well, I should've left this one on the shelf. Kline criticizes pretty much every perspective in psychology from the late 1980s. He says that the topics psychologists choose to study are trivial, and this triviality is a result of an overreliance on the scientific method as adopted from the natural sciences. He also puts a lot of stress on the idea of theories requiring some sort of immediate practical utility. He even goes so far as to equate the dominant style of psychological research with a form of fascism, and he says that experimental psychology attracts only those who are emotionally "repressed."
Apart from some of his obviously exaggerated and misplaced criticisms, some of his other points actually are legitimate and still relevant today. For instance, he correctly notes that many psychological theories are merely descriptive rather than explanatory. He points out that psychology suffers from no widely accepted Kuhnian paradigm. He illustrates the intractable problems with behaviorism. And he shows how a lot of psychological research is overly speculative.
However, in the final chapter he provides the new direction in which experimental psychology should proceed. That new direction? Psychodynamic/psychoanalytic research. Yeah, um, no. If anything is draped in the emperor's clothes, it's Freudian "psychology" by quite a long shot. Skip this one....more
It's hard to say if this is a good book or not. I don't have a job as a technical communicator, so I can't say how accurately this describes the profeIt's hard to say if this is a good book or not. I don't have a job as a technical communicator, so I can't say how accurately this describes the profession. The author certainly seems like she's knowledgeable, and she provides a lot of great (or at least seemingly great) tips for breaking into the field. If I could fault the book, it would be that I was expecting a little more discussion on XML. It's hard to find literature about the exact sort of XML knowledge a person needs to know to work in technical communication, and it's something I'm currently trying to find out. I suppose I won't quite know the value of this book until I'm done with school, job hunting, and ultimately employed. We'll see....more
4 1/2 stars. My girlfriend used this textbook for an undergrad course in psychology and law. I thought it looked fascinating, so I stole it off her sh4 1/2 stars. My girlfriend used this textbook for an undergrad course in psychology and law. I thought it looked fascinating, so I stole it off her shelf. And it was fascinating. The textbook references a wealth of studies on the places where psychology intertwines with legal matters, and every chapter was full of interesting research. The one drawback is that it is entirely black and white, but that's a minor complaint....more
Although this book is well-argued, and I agree with most of it, it lacks any particularly original insights. Our real capacity for choice is limited bAlthough this book is well-argued, and I agree with most of it, it lacks any particularly original insights. Our real capacity for choice is limited by a variety of factors, including the free-market, culture, biology, etc. Personal responsibility is a confused concept. Society needs to make certain changes in order to allow individuals to make better and freer choices. None of this is anything new. Most of it, in fact, I have found to be obvious for awhile now. This isn't a bad book by any means, but it simply fails to put forward any stimulating ideas that haven't been put forth elsewhere....more
I read this for a graduate class in technical writing. It was okay. More or less, it provides a good foundation for the subject. Nothing particularlyI read this for a graduate class in technical writing. It was okay. More or less, it provides a good foundation for the subject. Nothing particularly memorable....more
A merely okay collection of essays. Most of them try to interpret Kafka in a religious light, which is dead wrong, if you ask me. I don't have the booA merely okay collection of essays. Most of them try to interpret Kafka in a religious light, which is dead wrong, if you ask me. I don't have the book handy right now, but I think the essay called "The World of Franz Kafka" or something along those lines was the only truly spot on one....more
Great introduction to a wide variety of topics. Some of them I happen to be very interested in and would enjoy (or actually have enjoyed) doing, whileGreat introduction to a wide variety of topics. Some of them I happen to be very interested in and would enjoy (or actually have enjoyed) doing, while others are, frankly, just a bit weird and off-putting. Divided into two parts, the first section is techniques and the latter is fantasies/philosophies. I enjoyed the former somewhat more, I think, if only because it's geared towards the applied aspect of sexuality, which strikes me as more relevant to my own case. There were short passages of erotic literature interlaced throughout these chapters, but I thought them to be unnecessary; their purpose appeared to be to put the techniques in context, but they came off as filler. Yet, I don't want to dismiss the second section, as a proper mindset and perspective can go a long way in creating fantastic sexual experiences. The last few chapters were a bit... "out there," shall we say, but I appreciated the variety of topics and kinds of kink examined. Someone already familiar and experienced in kink would undoubtedly find this work dull and unenlightening. For the rest of us, however, this is an ideal place to dive in....more