The main point of this book is that Millionaires are frugal; they accumulate wealth by living below their means and invesGenre: Non-Fiction, Financial
The main point of this book is that Millionaires are frugal; they accumulate wealth by living below their means and investing the difference. Being that I'm someone who chronically over-spends this is a very useful thing to be reminded of, and it gives me a whole new appreciation on my husband's outlook on financial matters. The book is a little mono focused in hammering this point home, but it really is a worthwhile point to dwell on given America's consumer society. It even had some (possibly) helpful advice for how to curb your overspending habits, if you happen to be like me.
The points that I thought worth taking notes on:
1) Millionaires tend to spend more time monthly planning their budgets then most people do exercising. E.g. about 8 hours per month. They plan down to the minute categories of expenditure, shoes, clothing, groceries, etc.
2) Millionaires tend to have daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and lifetime goals. ...more
This book felt like it was pulling together a lot of threads from a lot of different books I've been reading lately.Genre: Non-Fiction, Pop-Psychology
This book felt like it was pulling together a lot of threads from a lot of different books I've been reading lately. It's mainly about self-justification, how it works and how it plays out in various ways, which felt like a key piece of reasoning that had been glossed over in the other books:
- Kathryn Schulz's Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error talks about what happens when we realize we're wrong and how our internal paradigms shift but doesn't spend much time on how we struggle to keep our paradigms from shifting. - Dan Ariely also briefly touches on self-justifiction in The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone - Especially Ourselves but it's much richer to have it explored in depth. Mistakes Were Made spends some time on how lies happen (the topic of Ariely's book), mostly from the standpoint of how does someone who sees themselves as moral come to do something that any outside observer would recognize as immoral. - Mistakes Were Made? also touches on the topic of shame associated with the dissonance one feels when faced with contradicting evidence to a decision one made (which is one of the key things that self-justification tries to deal with and which is the main topic for Brené Brown's book I Thought it was just Me (But it Isn't).) - And finally, there's an entire chapter on how self-justification is specifically detrimental to marriages, which resonates very well with the books on marriage I've been reading lately (Tara Parker-Pope's For Better: How the Surprising Science of Happy Couples Can Help Your Marriage Succeed and Why Marriages Succeed or Fail:And How You Can Make Yours Last by John Gottman) plus I find worrying about self-justification a bit more helpful then the external cues regarding what not to do when fighting that the other books focus on....more
This is an odd story, but very well written, of a 32 year old not-too-successful musician an attempted recoveriGenre: Fiction? Memoir? I don't know...
This is an odd story, but very well written, of a 32 year old not-too-successful musician an attempted recovering druggie falling head-over-heals for a 23-year-old girl who he meets on line (she claims they met in a bar a month ago, but per his usual drug-fogged state, he has no memory of this, though he does his best to manufacture one.) But never once in the entire novella does the course of love run smoothly, nor, given the narrator, should you expect it too. Realistic characters, leading to a fucked up story, which left me shaking my head over the whole thing. But I'm glad I read it....more
This was funny, and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, but I don't think I was its target audience, having never done online dGenre: Nonfiction, Humor
This was funny, and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, but I don't think I was its target audience, having never done online dating. It is exactly what the title says it is - one guy's stories of online dating disasters. He actually sandwiches what is probably good advice for how to handle the online dating scene in between the stories, along with advice that I wouldn't call good but at least is funny to read, along the lines of "if the date is going that badly, you're never going to see them again, so you might as well make it worse and see what happens, what'd'ya got to loose? It'll at least keep you entertained!"...more
The book isn't exactly about packing for mars, it's more about the everyday life aspect of the current-day space prograGenre: Non-Fiction, Pop-Science
The book isn't exactly about packing for mars, it's more about the everyday life aspect of the current-day space program, and how it got to be the way it is. I found the last three chapters absolutely fascinating. They were on 1) toilets (a completely fascinating engineering challenge without gravity, if a tad disgusting in application - one feels very sorry for the astronauts!) 2) sex (the logistics are interesting, as is the investigation of them, and NASA's unwillingness to come close to talking about the subject), and 3) food (the logistics of no crumbs, nothing that will float upward in the throat without gravity to create a choking hazard -- again a very interesting problem. Although, from the sound of it the solutions so far have been completely unappetizing. Poor astronauts!)
I found the introduction to be fascinating as well; it did an informal comparison of the entrance exams different countries use for their space programs. Did you know that in Japan one of the tests is to fold a thousand cranes? These are then analyzed to see if the fold precision and accuracy is maintained throughout all thousand, since most of an astronauts tasks are boring and repetitive yet precision and accuracy is critical.
The middle section of the book didn't capture my attention quite as well, it touched on how chimps were launched into space first and the psyco-dynamics of groups in small confined spaces... and plenty of other things that just haven't made much of an impression. Still, it was all quite readable, and definitely worth the time. ...more
This was well organized, well-written, and highly readable, and considering the number of business-psych books I've been reading lateGenre: Nonfiction
This was well organized, well-written, and highly readable, and considering the number of business-psych books I've been reading lately, recounted a number of studies I hadn't run into before, plus it suggests tools that I as an individual can put to use to change my own habits if that is my desire. However it has one major drawback that caused me to lower it's rating: it occasionally relies on somewhat anecdotal evidence such as the section on alcoholics anonymous -- which I've heard studies showing that they're not any more effective than not attending a rehab group, specifically because of the faith-based requirement taking the responsibility out of the hands of the participant (thus giving an excuse for failing), Duhigg, however touts the faith-based requirement as one of the main benefits of the program. So... given my concerns over an area that I have some familiarity with I don't know how much trust to put into those areas where I have no familiarity with the subject matter. However, Duhigg puts together a compelling argument, and in many cases I don't see a reason to quibble, but would I have seen a reason to quibble with the AA story if I hadn't already been given different data? ...more
This purports to be a biography of Queen Isabella of England, the wife of Edward the Second, the first English monar**spoiler alert** Genre: Biography
This purports to be a biography of Queen Isabella of England, the wife of Edward the Second, the first English monarch to be deposed by parliament... but I really didn't get a sense of who she was from reading this book. A large part of that is probably the sources Weir had to work with -- there was plenty of information on what Edward the Second was doing, but what there seemed to be to work with for what Isabella was doing was her account books, and records of whether she wrote letters and to whom (NOT you'll notice, the actual letters). In the first third of the book you get a real good sense of who Edward was (an unobservant, self-centered ass) -- and I suppose one can be amazed that Isabella continued to support him for as long as she did, as loyally as she did... but... not a lot of sense of who she was other then that. Politically active, yes - she was involved in various negotiations both within and outside of England... She must've had diplomatic skills. But since you're determining that by inference, it's hard to get a real sense of the woman.
Then Edward falls in with Hugh Despenser the Younger and her position as Queen starts to be persistently undermined... We still don't see her reaction to what is done to her; no one is going to like having all her lands and money taken from her, and having all her French courtiers (including her nursemaid who'd been with her since early childhood) sent back to France and prosecuted if they didn't go) but how one reacts to things like that are very telling personality-wise, and we don't know how Isabella reacted, other then that by the time she was sent to France on a diplomatic mission she had gotten to the point of being willing to start a rebellion to depose the Despensers. She also felt disaffected enough to start an affair with Roger Mortimer, a man Edward had declared a traitor. Plus, she convinced her teenaged son, (Edward's heir) Edward the Third to remain with her in France and join this rebellion, despite many entreaties on his fathers' part. HOW she comes to this point, isn't entirely clear to me.
The weakest part of the book imo, is after Isabella successfully leads the rebellion and deposes Edward the Second. She starts out as being the unofficial regent and very popular. Due to a couple missteps on the international stage (namely the incredibly unpopular peace with Scotland, although it's completely understandable how Isabella thought it was a war that couldn't be won -- as a reader I certainly agreed with her! And, in a long-term view it probably wasn't a misstep.) Isabella looses popularity and has to put down another baronial rebellion. Which leads to Mortimer being over-proud and both of them being too money hungry (in case they need ready cash to deal with another rebellion). So, Edward the Third, right before he reaches his majority, leads a coup against Mortimer, and puts his mother under house arrest for most of the rest of her life (although it's a very comfortable and respectable house arrest, with lots of visitors, and eventually some political influence as an elder statesman.) What's motivating Isabella though all of this, and why she makes the decisions she does (except the big political moves, like the peace with Scotland) are left a complete mystery.
The book certainly succeeds in it's main aim, which is to rehabilitate the much maligned posthumous reputation of Queen Isabella as the ultimate femme fatale... but I'm not sure what image of her it's put in it's place. ...more
This is about training and fighting in the SCA as a woman. It's highly readable, straight-forward and easy to understand. Since I'veGenre: Non-Fiction
This is about training and fighting in the SCA as a woman. It's highly readable, straight-forward and easy to understand. Since I've only just started training I can't comment about how helpful or accurate it is. But, it lays out many things I didn't know or didn't apply to martial arts -- for example that generally men's fists and women's fists are different, which means we naturally hold swords at different angles. Ditto, I knew we processed adrenaline differently, but I hadn't thought about how that might play out on the tournament field. As a non-fighter I've seen many of my female friends struggle with the social/psych issues Beck talks about... and certainly one of my biggest concerns was could I handle hitting someone and/or being hit which she lists as major hurdles.
The section on blows and blocks was a little problematic for me - the blows that I had been shown made sense to me, on a visceral level. The once that were unfamiliar to me... not so much. (It doesn't help that the reading order for those pages jumps around...). The drills however, I really want to try. ...more
This book was reviewed on NPR a month or two ago, as one of the best science books of 2013... It's quite readable, but I don't findGenre: Non-Fiction
This book was reviewed on NPR a month or two ago, as one of the best science books of 2013... It's quite readable, but I don't find it very science-y, or it's not experimental or research-driven, only observational really. It's basically asking different experts to take a walk around a city block and talk about what they notice (or in the case of the dog and toddler for the author to describe what she thinks they're clueing into). As a basic "There's a lot more going on that you could be noticing" it certainly makes its point. But... I want more structure to the organization... I want more of a point then just that. I did find the section walking with the geologist fascinating, but that may just be because I'm vaguely interested in geology. Ditto the physical therapist and analyzing what movements say about people's physical health. The fact that for a toddler, a walk is not a movement from point A to point B, but an exploratory expedition, and as such starts long before you get out the door, is an interesting and useful observation... but I'm not sure how it fits with anything else in the book. How raccoons and rats and other wildlife interject themselves into city life and adjust to it (and how we don't notice them) was also fascinating, as was thinking about sky scrapers as a cliff ecology... But I'm not sure what to do with all these random factoids or how long they'll stick in my head without a framework to apply them too....more
This is a rather macabre subject -- what happens to a body after death. It doesn't really look at it from a biological point of viewGenre: Non-Fiction
This is a rather macabre subject -- what happens to a body after death. It doesn't really look at it from a biological point of view (although that's touched on somewhat) but journalist Mary Roach explores the different uses corpses can be put too and different options we have beyond cremation and burial. The whole thing is quite readable, and oddly fascinating -- but it does skip lightly from one topic to another with very little rhyme or reason that I can see except that these are things that can be/are done to corpses. I found the chapters on scientific testing the most interesting - it never occurred to me that of course corpses must be used in car tests, otherwise you wouldn't know how much stress a human body could take. (Crash test dummies can tell you how much stress is applied to the body, but not whether that level of stress is a survivable amount - to figure out acceptable stress levels, you need actual bodies.) The description of how corpses are used in forensic research was rather lurid (and smelly) but again, not something it occurred to me before would be needed -- but of course, one needs to create a baseline in order to go to a crime scene and be able to say (reliably) "this body's been dead for a week". I was aware of organ donation and corpses being used for medical training, generally, but I now have a much more specific understanding of those aspects. I was not at all aware of corpses being used for ballistics testing (or what a hot-button issue that might be) -- but it makes sense to me, gunshots being a major cause of injury, both intentional and unintentional. You need to make sure that the bullet damages what you want and not more and the ballistics goo will only take you so far. I was less fascinated by the idea of plasticizing bodies or composting them or cannibalism... but the description of how bodies are used to reconstruct plane crashes was unexpectedly fascinating (although I wouldn't recommend reading it if you have any fear of flying!)
When I first finished the book I was rather unimpressed, because there was so little connection between all these topics - it didn't seem like a cohesive book to me... however, it's given me oodles of conversation topics! (if slightly macabre ones...) and I will say it did leave me with the strong determination to look up willed body donation programs in my state. ...more
I'm not sure what I think of this book... it was all over the map in what it discussed and what it tried to cover... and my initiaGenre: Pop-Economics
I'm not sure what I think of this book... it was all over the map in what it discussed and what it tried to cover... and my initial reaction to many of the initial statements was -- "but modern business psychology has proven that people don't behave like that" (e.g. as the ultimate rational actors that classical economics seems to think we all are...)
I thought the question it purported to try to answer, why we pay what we do was interesting, but that I didn't really feel that the book answered it to my satisfaction. That may be more a limitation in the book's view to a more classical economic theory versus my desire to incorporate the psych studies on decision making and choice discussed in The Honest Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely, Nudge by Richard Thaler and Sidetracked by Francesca Gino. Plus, the book flits from topic to topic without actually getting a cohesive vision from them. There were a number of interesting ideas/different perspectives to think about... but not really what I was looking for or expecting out of the book....more
I really enjoyed listening to this book, but I think I'm going to have to get a paperback copy - you sGenre: Self help, I guess... or maybe psychology
I really enjoyed listening to this book, but I think I'm going to have to get a paperback copy - you see it's one of those books where you need to stop and think about things and take notes. The audiobook serves as a good introduction, but it would not be my recommended way to read this book. The basic takeaway I got is that based on Brené Brown's research there are a lot of coping mechanisms that everyone applies to try to protect ourselves from our feelings of vulnerability and try to not feel shame or hurt. Strategies such as perfectionism and "fitting in". Ironically, these strategies actually lead to increased feelings of shame and pain. Strategies for numbing negative emotions such as escapism and keeping busy all the time, and addictions just mean that we numb ourselves to the positive emotions as well, since they're at root the same neurological pathways. What requires a lot more thought is that the book starts to talk about ways to keep ourselves from over-utilizing negative strategies, but it requires a fair amount of reflection and self-analysis, and I am not sure I caught all the suggested avenues of reflection and practice on the first listen. ...more
For a book named "Focus" purportedly on the benefits of focusing, it was remarkably unfocused. There was quite a lot of stuff I founGenre: Non-Fiction
For a book named "Focus" purportedly on the benefits of focusing, it was remarkably unfocused. There was quite a lot of stuff I found interesting in it, and quite a bit I didn't. But how much of it connected to each other -- not so clear to me. For example, towards the end, it had lots of interesting stuff to say about leadership. For years I've actually wondered what IS leadership? And this book actually started towards a useful definition for it. However, what exactly that has to do with focusing and the benefits of focusing, I'm not so clear on - nor what it had to do with the earlier stuff on pre-school and grade school education and how training in focus and emotional intelligence improved kid's overall performance academically and in life... was interesting, but didn't really connect to the leadership stuff, nor to the stuff in the very beginning of the book.
The book did inspire me to look into ways to improve my own ability to focus and work on my own emotional intelligence, so, while it had some problems as a book, it did convince me that there was something there to work on, and that it was something that could be worked on. Unfortunately, it failed to give any concrete guides to how to improve either of these abilities. We'll see what I think of _Emotional Intelligence 2.0_ (not by the same author, but obviously building on his previous work _Emotional Intelligence_)....more