I can't believe this book was not on my list of reviews, it was probably the fiction book that has made the strongest impression on me this year. I haI can't believe this book was not on my list of reviews, it was probably the fiction book that has made the strongest impression on me this year. I have been working on my own "groundhog life" fiction off and on since the age of floppy disks, and luckily it is fairly different. But Harry August is definitely the new king of this subgenre. The pseudoscience is simple and about as credible as some of what passes as science in "New Age" circles. The rest of the story flows naturally from the small change in the premise of how the world works. The characters are credible, as are the range of personalities and the attention paid to each of them. The suspense of the main plot builds gradually and is nicely interleaved with subplots and more quiet reflections.
Obviously this is a lot more interesting to me because I have been thinking about this theme for years, but it deserves a wider audience both for its writing and for its thinking, which I expect to open some new perspectives for those not familiar with the concept of re-living all or part of one's life.
It is not a book that changes my life, and not one I expect to re-read many times. Possibly once more if I live a long life. But for not being a tome of timeless wisdom, it is pretty good. A strong 4 from me for my "fiction book of the year"....more
I got this from Amazon for free, and I think this is a fair price.
After reading the other reviews, I had to go back and check whether Amazon has somehI got this from Amazon for free, and I think this is a fair price.
After reading the other reviews, I had to go back and check whether Amazon has somehow failed to deliver the whole book - I got 13 chapters, and it is all prologue. No plot, no resolution, just introducing a bunch of characters and setting up some of the worldbuilding.
The last couple chapters actually have some supernatural action, and the book was turning into a bit of a page turner. And then it ended, exactly where I would have ended the prologue and started the actual novel.
I don't mean to complain: It was free, after all. But on principle I just can't give a passing grade to a prologue that is not properly marked as such. If it was called: "Haven: Prologue" I would have given it a 4. The first half still needs a visit by a wild-eyed editor with a meat cleaver, but all who have tried to write know how painful it can be to cut in our finely crafted prose just because it turned out to be unnecessary. Just look at this review how it goes on and on....more
I bought this book after I finished A Mind for Numbers. There is considerable overlap in content between the two books, but great difference in style.I bought this book after I finished A Mind for Numbers. There is considerable overlap in content between the two books, but great difference in style. Make it Stick does not practice what it preaches to the same degree. It is unexciting to look at ... actually, it looks rather boring at first glance. I suppose you could praise it by saying that it looks more serious. No drawings of zombies, no boxes, no questions at the end of the chapters.
It is actually a fairly easy read for an adult, though. Plenty of anecdotes break up the science part, which looks reassuringly scholarly without being hard to read. The book also references forward and backward in the book, giving a built-in spaced repetition as the same topics appear repeatedly. If you read very fast, the book may seem to repeat itself too much. In that case, you should probably read it now and then over longer time. I did that, to make better use of the structure of the book.
All in all, it is a good update on current knowledge on the topic of learning for young adults and adults, without learning disabilities. It is not exciting but not a particularly hard read, and I found nothing in it that would be controversial from a mainstream scientific point of view. I am sure various school folks would argue that "this is not how we do it here", but that is the thing about learning something new. And unless you keep an eager eye on this field, you should be able to learn something new from this book....more
The book is used as an optional textbook to the Coursera course "Learning How to Learn", and works beautifully in that context. It also stands well alThe book is used as an optional textbook to the Coursera course "Learning How to Learn", and works beautifully in that context. It also stands well alone. The book should have had the same name as the course, this would have been more descriptive. The current title is somewhat misleading.
This is a basic introduction to the science of learning. It can be of use both to the less brainy and the more brainy, but not so much to those who already have a broad overview of the cognitive sciences. Oakley is a popularizer, and good at it: The book has many memorable metaphors and images that help the reader recall the contents later. In this regard it practices what it preaches.
I would recommend this book to everyone who is about to start college, and any who might be curious about the process of learning, unless they already have a broad but superficial understanding of this topic. That is what this book gives, and it is a reasonably fun read as well....more
The book was entertaining and hard to put away. Not a life changing work, and not one I am likely to read repeatedly, but I am tempted to get the restThe book was entertaining and hard to put away. Not a life changing work, and not one I am likely to read repeatedly, but I am tempted to get the rest of the series. The Kindle version had some clerical errors; I see this a lot lately. Not enough to change the verdict, but may I recommend getting a retired English teacher to look through your manuscripts before publishing?
For us with some interest in Alternate History, the book is a welcome break with the obsession with "What if Nazi Germany won WW2?" The Big One offers a perhaps more realistic scenario, one in which the war drags out long enough to fall definitely within the Atomic Age, to that giddy moment in time before Mutually Assured Destruction, when there was only Assured Destruction and America alone held that power.
Could it have happened? Could America really have bombed a white nation back to the Stone Age, killing tens of millions of people? The book describes a world where this happens, and the ordinary people in it are no different from here. The big decisions are made by people behind big desks, thinking coldly and practically about what is best for their own country. Well worth reading, I think....more
Before the New Age, there was George G. Ritchie, a med student and rather ordinary Christian, who was declared dead for 9 minutes, most of which he seBefore the New Age, there was George G. Ritchie, a med student and rather ordinary Christian, who was declared dead for 9 minutes, most of which he seems to have spent racing around in his astral body without knowing he was dead. Then he met a man of intensely bright light, whom he identified as "the Son of God".
Ritchie seems to represent a transition from the classical Christian tradition of the temporarily dead getting elaborate tours of Hell and Heaven, to the modern fairly brief Near Death Experience where only suicides get to experience Hell, while the rest have a fairly upbeat experience, if any at all.
Ritchie sees a hell of our own making, souls locked in hate or regret or addiction or uncontrollable lust, immaterial bodies clawing at the material world or at each other, unable to connect yet unable to let go. He sees a peaceful selfless world of Higher learning, but beyond that a glimpse of a heavenly world so bright that he was only allowed to watch it at a great distance for a very short time. He sees the Light, and identifies it as the Son of God; when he sees a great number of these Lights, he speculates that maybe Jesus was in all these locations at once. He does not see deceased relatives showing up to welcome him, although two figures from the heavenly realm try to approach him just as he is sent back.
Ritchie himself admits that his visions did not quite match the descriptions in the Bible. Having read the Bible extensively in my youth, I agree. This is more similar to Buddhist and neo-religious concepts. For instance, I was repeatedly reminded of the animated movie "The Laws of Eternity" by Happy Science / Ryuoho Okawa. Some of the scenes there could have been lifted straight out of the book.
Like that movie, the book is inspiring me whether or not I believe in it in any literal sense. I feel that whether or not it represent an afterlife, it represents our invisible life - the world of the mind - while we are here on Earth. All too easily we can get trapped in a hell of our own making, unable to let go of that which only hurts us, when there is a much brighter place (state of mind) open for us....more
Most of this book will probably be useful for as long as humans have brains, although the last chapters will age less gracefully as they refer to contMost of this book will probably be useful for as long as humans have brains, although the last chapters will age less gracefully as they refer to contemporary software and Internet services.
The book is a toy chest of memory enhancement techniques, with the basic science behind them. It may lack in inspiration and vision, but it is easy to read and practical. You probably buy it because you experience a need, and it will likely fill that need. There is no magic button and the book does not pretend to have it, but as a toolbox it is quite good....more
A rather short, rather inexpensive and rather amusing partial memoir of a technophile literature professor, reminiscing about the winding road his lifA rather short, rather inexpensive and rather amusing partial memoir of a technophile literature professor, reminiscing about the winding road his life has taken from one bookshelf to another. The style could, I believe, be called "charmingly whimsical". This little book drives home the fact that the future is hard to predict and the present is hard to understand, while the past sometimes makes sense. ...more
Actually, you probably can't read it, even if it is in English. You may recognize most of the words. Even many ofThis book is amazing. Don't read it!
Actually, you probably can't read it, even if it is in English. You may recognize most of the words. Even many of the sentences may make sense. Once you try to combine those into paragraphs, however, it will probably not gel. And if it does, you'll probably want to throw the book away and wish you had never seen it.
This is not a novel, and not a textbook, and there's not much poetry either. It is more like holy scripture, except not for any particular religion. By all accounts, Schuon believed in a wide range of religions simultaneously.
Schuon thinks that Heaven would from time to time start a new religion tailored to the mindset of people living in that area. After a while, people would have made that revelation into an institution and most would no longer understand it, but they would preserve enough of the revelation that it still had the power to save souls. In much the same way that electricity works pretty well even if you don't understand it, so also religion. But Schuon writes for those who want to understand it, the spiritual engineer student so to speak.
And that is why, if you are religious, you will probably find Schuon explaining how you have misunderstood your religion, not to mention the other religions. If you are not religious, he will dismiss you as more stupid than an animal. So, not a mass market book.
I have found that I just can't read this as a textbook, although I am pretty good with textbooks. I have to stop and listen to my heart all the time. Sometimes he says something that resonates there, as if it made me remember something that I knew very long ago. And when it does, I understand. And when I understand, I remember ... or rather, I don't even need to remember anymore. It changes how I see things, probably permanently.
Madness is not the only danger in books. There is also the danger that something may be understood that can never be forgotten. Read with caution, if at all....more
Because of the title, people might expect this to be an exceptionally pleasurable book to read. That may be stretching things a bit. It is an easy enoBecause of the title, people might expect this to be an exceptionally pleasurable book to read. That may be stretching things a bit. It is an easy enough read, and Prof. Jacobs has a nice turn of phrase, but it is not exceptional or even meant to be so. This is not a book to kindle the first flame of love for reading, but a gentle reminder to those who used to find themselves absorbed in a book and recently have lost that experience. A reminder that the strict and goal-oriented reading of our colleges and universities is not the only form of reading: There is also reading on a Whim, which is poorly explained but seems to be a trust in our own subconscious as a chooser of literature. It seems a reasonable proposition to me.
The book seems kind of haphazardly put together, and I give it a black mark for picking a fight with my hero Mortimer J. Adler. On the other hand, it is very easy to read for something written by an intellectual. Recommended for all who miss their younger days when they could spend all evening with their nose in a book....more
To the modern reader, the name of this book is likely to mislead. It does not at all compromise with atheists or those who approach the Divine in an aTo the modern reader, the name of this book is likely to mislead. It does not at all compromise with atheists or those who approach the Divine in an abstract way. As in classical Christendom, "meditation" here refers to imaginative thinking about the Gospel. It has nothing to do with the Buddhist, New Age and scientific concept of the same name, in which one seeks to free the Self from the activity of the mind.
If you are a Christian who wants to bridge the gap in time and culture between the modern world and the human Jesus Christ who wandered the dusty roads of ancient Galilee, you may find this book valuable, particularly if you are at home in the Catholic Church with its focus on the Mass. Other Theists may also find in it some inspiration, I believe, for their own religious practice. It reminds me somewhat of the Bhaktivedanta practices of vividly retelling the stories of their Avatar's life on Earth. I can see some potential for interfaith inspiration in that regard, but I don't encourage the simple believer to explore that option....more
I only learned of this book a few years ago, probably because I have never lived in an English-speaking country. It was a bit weird reading it, becausI only learned of this book a few years ago, probably because I have never lived in an English-speaking country. It was a bit weird reading it, because some of the more sci-fi world-building part was disturbingly similar to what I had come up with some three decades before I heard of it. Almost makes one believe in the "morphic fields" hypothesis! Although my stories - sadly never marketable - were not religious at all.
Be that as it may, this book is valuable for its insight into recent Christian thinking. As a novel it is too preachy for anyone but the choir, I would think, and Lewis is simply not on the same level as his good friend Tolkien when it comes to plot, world-building and the sheer love affair with the English language. He has creative ideas and does a passable job of getting them into writing, but that's it. Unless those ideas grab you, the book probably won't. But at least it is short and to the point....more
Most people think they don't have a chance at greatness because they lack the special inborn talent that only a few lucky souls are given. Colvin arguMost people think they don't have a chance at greatness because they lack the special inborn talent that only a few lucky souls are given. Colvin argues convincingly that this is not the case. Rather, we don't have a chance at greatness because we don't have enough time left for grueling practice, and (except for the 1%) not enough money to hire the expert coaches who can tell us what we need to practice and the very special way to do it.
The book is written in such a tone that it comes across as optimistic and encouraging. Yet on reflection, most of the optimism is on behalf of the young rich, who probably don't need it most of all. ...more
This is very valuable insight into one of the most important matters in human life. If it is described better elsewhere - or even described elsewhereThis is very valuable insight into one of the most important matters in human life. If it is described better elsewhere - or even described elsewhere at all - I am unaware of it. Recommended for humans and all who interact with humans....more