Unlike some other reviewers, I think that the unconventional storytelling (breaking up one story by starting on another) is actually superior to a morUnlike some other reviewers, I think that the unconventional storytelling (breaking up one story by starting on another) is actually superior to a more traditional style. According to the most recent research on interleaving, it almost undoubtedly helps with retention, too. I think that was Duhigg's intention.
Ironically, though, I can't remember whether or not he said that. Too ADD, I guess :)
However, my opinion might differ because I listened to this book. I can understand why, if you physically read it, that style could possibly be annoying. That's especially true if you look something up that you vaguely remember and you can't quite find it.
So both sides are totally valid, I think.
The part of the appendix that shows you how you can apply this book's principles to your life is invaluable, and it's definitely something that other books like this should do. Knowledge without application does not, and by definition cannot, boost your intelligence. Moreso, that's one of the only references that most people need, and he even put it online:
Kind of like Douglas Adams wrote the novelization of Starship Troopers.
Don't take it too seriously and you'll love it.
By the way, I think the deus exKind of like Douglas Adams wrote the novelization of Starship Troopers.
Don't take it too seriously and you'll love it.
By the way, I think the deus ex machina was fair. I think that Alanson did a good job of working it in. For one, it was obvious from the beginning that the humans stood no chance of fighting off ANY of the other alien species without stealing their technology, or at least running into Elder technology. It was actually explicitly stated. Two, it's not like Skippy appeared in the third act. If I remember correctly (I was listening, not reading, so I might be wrong), he was introduced about halfway through.
Three, as I said before, don't take it too seriously....more
I'm going to summarize the things that Warren Buffett loves most in six words: McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Disney, Kellogg's, Campbell's, and Walmart.
CreatI'm going to summarize the things that Warren Buffett loves most in six words: McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Disney, Kellogg's, Campbell's, and Walmart.
Create a small business that most closely emulates the attributes of those businesses and you, too, can have a business that Warren Buffett would love. Create a consumer monopoly. Have a strong track record of earnings, a healthy return on equity, the ability to retain earnings and the ability to increase prices with inflation. Have low debt levels that could be paid off with one to two years of earnings. To top it off, have a healthy net and gross margin.
But I'd say it's worth a read for the information on goal-setting in the epilogue alone.
Well-written, well-researched, and packed into a short, reader-friendly couple hundred pages, I'd recommend this to anyone interested in business or Warren Buffett....more
First things first, ladies: You're never going to find a man like Daniel. No one's putting up with that much shit. No one.
Actually, no. Scratch that.First things first, ladies: You're never going to find a man like Daniel. No one's putting up with that much shit. No one.
Actually, no. Scratch that. It's still true, but it's not the first point I want to make. Instead, let's make this my first point: This book is not a thriller.
Sure, it's got biochemical torture. It's got assassins. It's got a former CIA agent "back from the dead." It's got a cool, killer dog named Einstein (by far my favorite character). Hell, it's even got a female Jason Bourne as the narrator.
But it's not a thriller. Not by a longshot. In fact, THE CHEMIST is a thriller in the same way that Edmund Morris's THE RISE OF THEODORE ROOSEVELT is bizarro fiction. It's just not. It's not even trying to be.
Instead, THE CHEMIST is a thriller for people who don't read thrillers. Or maybe, if you're like me, it's a romance novel for someone who doesn't read romance novels.
I read some reviews that called this book "fast-paced." If you think this book is fast-paced, I recommend you stay off Space Mountain on your next trip to Disneyland. Or the parking lot tram, for that matter. The two main characters literally have an impromptu date in the middle of the novel. There's enough time for Daniel to make her dinner. Enough said.
The whole time I was waiting for a Gone Girl-type twist, and I think Meyer played into it a little bit. Spoilers ahead. I was hoping against hope that it was all a ruse designed by Daniel, the real mastermind, and Kevin, his lackey brother, to get Alex to discretely kill a Senator. Tell me that's not a more interesting plot. Alex is the only person in the world with the skill-set to pull something like that off. She's also the prime target to be misled by a tall, handsome man. She's perpetually lonely. It's the nature of her work. She's the exact type of person who claims that she won't let her emotions get the best of her while acting in a way that suggests the opposite. Everyone needs human companionship sometime. Why try to outsmart her? Just give her somebody to love. There's more concrete evidence, too. For example: When Alex falls asleep in the van, she wonders what Daniel and Kevin spent hours talking about if Kevin wasn't prepping Daniel for his new life. It's implied that Daniel was talking about what a smokeshow Alex is, but it's more realistic for them to talk--in hushed tones, of course--about what they plan on doing with Alex's body once they're done with her. Also, Daniel spends his summers working for Habitat for Humanity and, even though he claims he doesn't know anything about woodworking (he apparently just "hammers the nail where they tell him to" for three months out of the year), the house on the ranch, Kevin's "retirement plan," a place where no contractors have been, is expertly well-designed. It's a little hard to believe that Daniel, a seemingly inquisitive guy, managed to learn nothing about construction during his time with Habitat but, unfortunately, that little tid-bit wasn't a clever hint at a twist. He never knew anything about his brother's involvement with the CIA, or the ranch. He's just dumb. More than that: Daniel seems to show a lot of symptoms of someone suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, a diagnosis that's written off with little more than, "No, Kevin, I really do like her."
To top it all off, he still calls her, "Alex," even when he finds out her real name is Juliana, like he's holding on to the memory of when he first saw her instead of accepting the fact that she isn't who he thought she was.
There's a reason thriller novelists don't delve in to serious romances. There's just not enough time for a relationship like that to develop. The whole novel spanned a few days. Maybe teenagers can fall in love that quickly, but not mature adults. At least not often.
All in all, it's unbelievable--not in a good way, either.
But dammit, I still liked it.
And that little restaurant epilogue was the cutest fucking thing I've read in years....more
I thought this would have a little bit more information on entrepreneurship. Instead, the most interesting thing that happened over the course of JianI thought this would have a little bit more information on entrepreneurship. Instead, the most interesting thing that happened over the course of Jiang's 100 Days was that he briefly became an internet meme.
I know that's not a rave endorsement by any means, but, if I'm being honest, that's how I feel about it. Reading through these reviews, I canNot bad.
I know that's not a rave endorsement by any means, but, if I'm being honest, that's how I feel about it. Reading through these reviews, I can see that other people seem fed up with all of the recommendations he makes to other works, especially when it comes to direct-response marketing,but I don't see anything wrong with that. And, seeing as he's not a millionaire himself, I think it's the appropriate course of action. "These things worked for these people, so study them." It's not the sexiest, most eye-opening revelation, but I think it's the most honest.
What I don't like--what gets that one star taken away--is that he didn't compile all of those resources he mentions along the way into the end of the book.
Favorite quote: "The driving theme of the stories in this book is that, even though you may learn many wonderful things in college, your success and happiness in life will have little to do with what you study there or the letters after your name once you graduate. It has to do with your drive, your initiative, your persistence, your ability to make a contribution to other people’s lives, your ability to come up with good ideas and pitch them to others effectively, your charisma, your ability to navigate gracefully through social and business networks (what some researchers call “practical intelligence”), and a total, unwavering belief in your own eventual triumph, throughout all the ups and downs, no matter what the naysayers tell you."...more
You could retitle The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement to The Social Animal: An Attempt to Compile Every Pop PsychYou could retitle The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement to The Social Animal: An Attempt to Compile Every Pop Psychology Book That David Brooks Has Read and Liked Within the Past Five Years By Borrowing the Structure of Rousseau's Emile.
Still, a really good book. Maybe exactly for that reason. It's probably not for everyone, though. Everyone else has touched on the biggest problems in their reviews so I'm not exactly breaking new ground here, but I'll do it anyway: There were areas where the narrative was clearly contrived (Erica's Mexican-Chinese heritage, pretty much everything political) but Brooks was pretty straightforward about his intention from the get-go, and it provided a surprisingly compelling storyline on which to attach the research. That same research, though--even with the narrative--lacked focus. None. At all. The book wasn't really about being "social." It was about pretty much everything.
Also, I'm a little hung-up on whether or not Erica ever told Harold that she cheated on him with Mr. Make-Believe.
And I'm a little hung-up on the fact that Brooks named one of his characters, "Mr. Make-Believe."
As others have said, this book isn't necessarily about math and science at all--at least not exclusively. Everything you learn here can be applied toAs others have said, this book isn't necessarily about math and science at all--at least not exclusively. Everything you learn here can be applied to other fields. And it's a great book. It's worth a read, for sure.
Why 4 stars, then? Honestly, despite the great content, I was thinking about giving it less.
Why? Because of an error so blatantly incorrect that, if I was writing this at the exact moment I finished the book, I would have given it two stars or less. The worst part? It seems intentional.
That error is this, from Chapter 9:
"The proof is in the outcome: Over the past decades, students who have blindly followed their passion, without rational analysis of whether their choice of career truly was wise, have been more unhappy with their job choices than those who coupled passion with rationality."
That sure as hell sounds like a fact, doesn't it? Sounds like the introduction to a longitudinal study that lasted at least twenty years, right? She even tags a footnote along with it, referencing "Newport 2012, particularly chap. 1 ('Rule #1')." But I've read Cal Newport's 2012 book, So Good They Can't Ignore You, and I had a copy sitting on my bookshelf, so I thought I would double-check to see if I missed something that big.
Nope. There is no study.
In that chapter, Cal talks about Steve Jobs and he presents the argument that Oakley boldly claims is fact (did she think no one would pick up on it? I don't know). That's pretty much it. I've been a follower of Cal since the studyhacks days and I can say with a solid degree of certainty that he wouldn't want anyone to present his arguments in the way that Oakley did. It's scholarly suicide, really. It's embarrassing, and it ruins her integrity.
This is coming from a guy who agrees with what she's saying, too.
I'm starting to hate myself for all of the self-help that I'm reading.
Why? Because--pardon my French--it doesn't mean shit. And it makes you feel realI'm starting to hate myself for all of the self-help that I'm reading.
Why? Because--pardon my French--it doesn't mean shit. And it makes you feel really good, really successful, even if you haven't actually achieved anything that day.
Worse, the information is repetitive. It goes with the territory. Still, you could make a worse decision when it comes to self-help than The Obstacle Is the Way, and that's because you get the idea that Ryan Holiday actually put some work into it. It's not all fluff (although, don't get me wrong, it is pretty fluffy). There's some substance. There are quotes from the Stoics. And Abe Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt and Ulysses S. Grant.
That's why I'm giving it four stars. I don't think it's a great book, but, when it comes to self-help, it's pretty damn good....more
If you want to get better at anything, this book is your starting point.
As a sophomore in high school, I remember asking my favorite English teacher iIf you want to get better at anything, this book is your starting point.
As a sophomore in high school, I remember asking my favorite English teacher if he would sign off on my application to an advanced writing class. The look on his face was shock: mouth open, eyebrows raised. I felt stupid for even asking.
Needless to say, I took a general English class my junior year.
But I decided I didn't want the other kids to get ahead of me academically. I didn't have that elusive, all-important trait that everyone calls "talent." I had a brain that was geared more towards science and math, so when I read in Geoff Colvin's Talent is Overrated that there was a science behind improvement, I was blown away. I emailed K. Anders Ericsson, asking for research on how to use deliberate practice to improve my writing skills, and, to my surprise, he actually emailed me back. In this book, he made all of that research even simpler. Soon I began writing and reading every night for about an hour, focusing on improving my weaknesses, imitating my favorite writers, and stepping out of my comfort zone.
The following should speak for itself:
I took an AP writing course my senior year. I scored a 5 on that test (the highest score possible). I aced a creative writing course in college. I began submitting my fiction to literary magazines (at this point I was churning out at least one story a week). I became a professionally published short story writer at 20 years old ("Elite Slugger" in Cracked Eye).
I still have a long way to go, but one day I want to be a New York Times best-selling novelist. Without Mr. Ericsson's research, I would still be a sub-par writer. Instead, I developed a passion for something that no one thought I could do.
More importantly, though, I developed a passion for improvement, and that doesn't really depend on some outside factor, like whether or not a publisher wants to buy my work. Improvement is an intrinsic, driving force. Whether or not I ever become a New York Times best-selling novelist isn't the point. The point is constant improvement. The extrinsic goal is a side effect.
If there is some skill or "talent" that you always wish you had, then buy this book and follow its principles. I guarantee you can have it....more