This is one of the best books on mastery that I've come across. It's much more than a bunch of summaries of studies and books on practice, it's the wiThis is one of the best books on mastery that I've come across. It's much more than a bunch of summaries of studies and books on practice, it's the wisdom of some amazing teachers who spent a lot of time actually learning and teaching others how to master their fields. Most of the examples in the book are geared toward teaching teachers how to perform, however the techniques are easily applied to any field or endeavor.
The passion for learning the authors bring to the subject is palpable and the presentation is excellent. Also, don't be put off by the "42 Rules" in the title, this a rare exception to the rule that articles and books based on enumerated lists are no good....more
I like that Coyle actually went out and visited "talent hotbeds" and tried to synthesize ways they practice, motivate and coach rather than just citinI like that Coyle actually went out and visited "talent hotbeds" and tried to synthesize ways they practice, motivate and coach rather than just citing other studies and books. I'd never heard of myelin so that was interesting, though his miracle drug description of it is ridiculous.
The thirty second takeaway: practice in chunks, breaking up music to measures, bringing sports to a smaller scale--practice in a way that lets you fail and correct often. Stay motivated by taking a genuine interest in the subject, group motivation is also helpful. Coach dynamically by giving short queues. Limit praise and criticism and focus on practical suggestions. Coach efficiently taking every second of practice time into account and coach everything from how socks are put on to how they leave the field. ...more
This book disappointed me. It meandered away from the plot too frequently and for too long to keep me interested a story that I otherwise might have eThis book disappointed me. It meandered away from the plot too frequently and for too long to keep me interested a story that I otherwise might have enjoyed. Every time I found the plot pulling me in, Hugo delved off into 100 pages of 18th century French arcana and lost me completely....more
There's a lot about this book that could have gone really wrong. In fact, it's the perfect recipe for disaster. I can imagine the pitch to the publishThere's a lot about this book that could have gone really wrong. In fact, it's the perfect recipe for disaster. I can imagine the pitch to the publisher, "I'm going to tell a fictional story whose purpose is to briefly summarize each of of more than 50 popular books and bring the disparate ideas together in a way that supports an over-arching, but somewhat nebulous, thesis that humans are primary social and rarely rational. Oh and I'm going to throw in some literature, pop culture, religion and philosophy in just for good measure." If that idea crossed my desk, I don't think I'd care that it was from David Brooks, there's no way I'd believe it could work.
And yet... it does. The Social Animal probably won't change they way you live and it probably won't even change your ideas on politics, economics, philsophy or psychology even though it dives into all those areas. What it will do is give you a great jumping off point for further though and research. The underlying story of Harold and Erica is sometimes shallow, but ocassionally poingant. More importantly, it serves its purpose of providing continuity, structure and sometimes a humorous platform for all the ideas in the book.
It's nothing new for a journalist or full-time writer to take a few ideas coming from scientists or "real" researchers and write a soon-to-be-forgotten pop-sci book, but The Social Animal stands apart both for the breadth of the ideas it contains and for the enjoyable way that they're presented....more
Well, my timing was great on this one. I started it just a couple days before the whole project PRISM scandal, if you can call something so endemic aWell, my timing was great on this one. I started it just a couple days before the whole project PRISM scandal, if you can call something so endemic a scandal. Cypherpunks predicts and warns against exactly this type of destruction of privacy by governments in the name of the "four horsemen of the infocalypse" (terrorists, drug dealers, pedophiles, and organized crime). While on one hand, those things are unarguably bad, what is the correct response and solution to them? Is it the complete forfeiture of privacy by all, innocent, suspected and guilty alike?
The discussion in the book is good, but it's poorly organized and sometimes too informal and repetitive. ...more
I can't do it. I read half of it and I just can't bring myself to finish it. Drive started off strong with descriptions of what gets people motivatedI can't do it. I read half of it and I just can't bring myself to finish it. Drive started off strong with descriptions of what gets people motivated to work in a meaningful way. I took notes, got some good ideas and was impressed that Pink, who is a Business Book Author was seemingly digging up some novel ideas.
Then came the case studies. 3M, Google, Atlassian, FedEx, Herman Miller and Toyota are all there. These companies are, if you've read any business books you'll know this, among THE quintessential business book examples. There are how many companies in the world? Millions? Apparently though, of all the millions of other companies, These Companies and maybe 10 or 20 others are the only ones that are innovative enough to be profiled in books. It's either that or the authors of business books are too lazy to find any other examples and instead will mindlessly and incessantly reuse them as fodder for whatever shred of an idea they might be trying to expand into a book.
Avoid it, read Thinking Fast and Slow instead. Drive is yet another business book that will go down in the regurgitated, superficial ash-heaps of history....more
The Antidote starts off by talking about the positive thinking movement, moves on to Seneca and the Stoics then dips into Buddhist meditation, pausesThe Antidote starts off by talking about the positive thinking movement, moves on to Seneca and the Stoics then dips into Buddhist meditation, pauses to to criticize goal setting then stops in for a visit with Eckhart Tolle. Burkeman then writes about how we overvalue safety and undervalue failure then ends with a chapter on how we approach death, including an interesting visit to Mexico on the Day of the Dead.
Every chapter is well written and provides sufficient insight into each of the various subjects the book touches on. In the end, it's all pulled together nicely and makes a good case for finding peace and happiness by focusing on being okay with life as it is rather than constantly worrying about what it could be or should be. It's a good introduction to alternatives to positive thinking, but The Antidote never goes deep enough into any one subject to make it a memorable book or one that is worth re-reading.
Also...the cover endorsement "elegant and erudite" by Jonah Lehrer is unfortunate....more
The idea that I like the most from Eastern style thought is that resisting the way things are is crazy. There's a voice in my, and probably everyone eThe idea that I like the most from Eastern style thought is that resisting the way things are is crazy. There's a voice in my, and probably everyone else's, head that never shuts up. I'm fine with that and don't feel a huge need to silence it, but a lot of the time what it's saying (what I'm saying to myself?) is pretty dumb.
The voice constantly explains and reframes what I experience to make it feel safer or more comprehensible. It resists what it doesn't understand and tries to explain it away or come up with elaborate justifications for why stuff doesn't fit in with The Way Things Should Be. It demands resolution to anything that doesn't fit my mental model and it creates areas in my mind that are forbidden or painful to visit then tries to push those areas away so they'll be uncovered as seldom as possible.
All these elaborate thought tricks work sometimes, but the idea of The Untethered Soul (and similar books) is that the tricks are unnecessary and detrimental to finding peace. Maybe if I let the voice inside my head keep up its constant chatter, but choose to just recognize what it's saying without either rejecting it or mentally canonizing it, I can be okay with what's happening even without understanding and categorizing every bit of it.
I feel like that way of looking at my thoughts lets me experience both negative emotions like anger and hate as well as positive emotions in a way that doesn't have side effects like anxiety or attachment. It keeps me focused on what I'm doing which results in me doing things better. It helps me deal with situations that I don't like by freeing up mental energy that would normally be spent resisting the problem and letting me instead use that energy to resolve it.
Even though I like the idea, I still mostly don't think this way. I tell and re-tell myself the story of how things are and why they're that way and how I'm going to fix them later and forget where I am and what I'm doing. That's why I read books like this, to remind me that there is a better way....more
As anyone who has had a conversation with me over the last week can attest to, I think this book, and especially the parts about the culture of the PiAs anyone who has had a conversation with me over the last week can attest to, I think this book, and especially the parts about the culture of the Piraha tribe in the Amazon rainforest is fascinating. The Piraha have frequent contact with neighboring tribes and Brazilians, traders, anthropologists, linguists on a regular basis, yet they are isolationists and somehow seem to avoid being contaminated by any hint of consumerism, ambition or outside culture in any sense. They are content with their way of life and actively resist any attempt to change it.
The defining value of their culture is that the Piraha rarely, if ever speak of, think about, or make plans beyond a couple days out, and they don't reference the past outside of the living memory of their tribe, usually preferring to speak of much more immediate events. They have embraced the idea of mindfulness and living in the moment without the need for gurus, meditation or any type of conscious effort, other than their active distaste for outside culture.
How's it working out for them? Well they're not exactly growing in size and they basically only survive because the Brazilian government protects their land, but apart from those minor concerns, they are quite happy. So much that, based on the frequency of smiling and laughter among the Piraha, some psychologists believe they are among the happiest people in the world.
The Piraha's focus on the present has other interesting effects on their culture and language. They don't have a counting system, they don't have creation myths since they aren't interested in stories of things that happened more than two eyewitnesses removed from themselves, they maintain only a bare minimum of physical possessions and they seem to eschew the idea of accumulating even items such as tools and food they'll inevitably need to use later.
Another of their unusual traits is that, because of their focus on immediacy, the Piraha do not use recursion in their sentences. To me this observation is compelling, but hardly the most gripping aspect of their culture. For linguists like Everett, this disputed fact could cause the next Kuhn-eque scientific revolution in the field of linguistics. Noam Chomsky and his adherents especially have a lot at stake since Chomsky's entire theory of human language rests on the idea of recursion.
I'm not going to comment on the linguistic debate other than to say that the more controversial and polemical it is, the more entertaining it is. At the time this book was written, it was at the conflict level of reality TV. Everett repeatedly takes stabs at Chomsky and Steven Pinker and their theories and calls them out on their attempts to rebuff him. Everett is calling for a full rewrite of the rules of linguistics and in doing so, threatening a lot of careers and legacies. At the center of this massive wrangle is a small group of people for whom the 'crooked heads,' as they call foreigners, and their petty bickering are the furthest thing possible from their world of enjoying themselves and whatever they happen to be doing at any given time.
The writing is decent, but stylistically it sometimes feels too casual, and the organization could stand a bit of improvement (much like this review!) but Don't Sleep, There are Snakes sure is a fun and profound read....more
I get what Greene is going for here. He gives us an imperfect vessel persecuted by a secular society who, despite some serious opposition and shortcomI get what Greene is going for here. He gives us an imperfect vessel persecuted by a secular society who, despite some serious opposition and shortcomings, manages to do some good, show some humanity and represent Catholicism and God in a way that ultimately redeems both.
It just didn't resonate with me. The story is too short on miracles and manliness, and the depth of character we get from the whiskey priest felt too one dimensional to me. I don't think it's necessarily a bad book but it isn't one I'd recommend....more
The best part of the book, and by telling you this, I am not really giving anything away, at least nothing that is pertinent to the plot of the book,The best part of the book, and by telling you this, I am not really giving anything away, at least nothing that is pertinent to the plot of the book, is that there is a man-made black sand desert in Ohio, near Caldwell, Ohio, the Great Ohio Desert, where people go wandering, hiking, hiding, resolving existential crises, sunbathing and fishing in the desert's lake. It is "a blasted region. Something to remind us of what we hewed out of. A place without malls." It is often crowded and the best time to get there is early in the morning before the crowds gather. Once you come to terms with the G.O.D.,everything else falls into place.
The desert is the great jest in The Broom of the System and the existence of the desert sums up Wallace's sense of humor. You might, as you're reading, be tempted to identify with Wallace's view of the human condition that is so perfectly characterized by the G.O.D., but find your mind resistant to identifying, either for fear of where identifying with Wallace and his desert will take you, or because the strangeness of it all is simply too strange. This temptation to identify with the G.O.D. and the mental resistance to said temptation can be mentally taxing and exhausting and not something that you will find yourself wanting to put yourself through for very long periods of time. If you give in though, and allow yourself to accept the desert and what it implies, reading The Broom of the System and DFW in general can actually be, if not enjoyable, humorous and something you can appreciate very much at an intellectual and philosophical level....more