Interesting ideas about what trauma is physiologically and how our bodies can heal from trauma. His premise is that we become traumatized when our bodInteresting ideas about what trauma is physiologically and how our bodies can heal from trauma. His premise is that we become traumatized when our body is not allowed to complete its natural response during a traumatic event. For healing, the focus is entirely on letting the body complete that response rather than dwelling on the accompanying emotions.
One minor issue I have with the book is that at times it seems like he is countering some traditional modalities of psychology, which is not helpful to the average layperson who is not familiar with these modalities anyway. Also, he implies that focusing on emotion or "reliving" an experience is always bad, but I think he is generalizing based on the way it is done by some psychologists, and I disagree that it is always bad.
Although I don't 100% agree with everything he says, his ideas make a lot of sense to me. I think they are applicable beyond what we think of as traumatic situations, since for some people with sensitive nervous systems, more minor everyday events can feel traumatic....more
As a software engineering manager, I am exactly the target audience for Managing Humans. Overall I found it to be a helpful and easy to read book. SomAs a software engineering manager, I am exactly the target audience for Managing Humans. Overall I found it to be a helpful and easy to read book. Some of the chapters really resonated with me and he has some insightful thoughts on how people -- and particular engineers -- function, and what is needed to manage them effectively.
However, some of his chapters really did not resonate with me and almost turned me off from the book. He has a few chapters where he describes the characteristics of "nerds". Whether or not it was his intention, these chapters imply that all engineers are nerds and all nerds are as he describes. I am a successful engineer and I felt that these chapters largely did *not* describe me. I would have appreciated some acknowledgement from him that some successful engineers and engineering managers do not fit into these boxes he is creating.
Additionally, he uses "he" much more than "she" in his writing. He does have a disclaimer about this, which I appreciate, but I still felt as if there was a slight undercurrent of subconscious sexism in his writing. The fact that he did not put in the effort to alternate pronouns regularly means that he does not care enough to think that it is important. However, it *is* important, because every single time I read "he" in a description of an engineer or manager I get the vague sense that it doesn't quite apply to me.
Overall, I recommend the book if you are an engineer or work with engineers. However, I will be integrating his thoughts into my own well-developed perspective on how to be a manager, not just following his advice and tips blindly....more
Straightforward, sound, and easy to understand advice for good investment practices. They start from the basics and make very few assumptions about yoStraightforward, sound, and easy to understand advice for good investment practices. They start from the basics and make very few assumptions about your background and goals. In addition to going over all the different types of investments and the best strategies, they cover topics such as saving for college, saving for retirement, types of insurance to have, and how to keep your emotions from interfering with your investing. I am generally risk-averse and this book convinced me that in my position investing is a good thing to do, and it is possible to do it in a way that matches my risk comfort level....more
I read this book over a period of several months, so my experience of it was discontinuous.
As I work actively on tapping into my creativity and learnI read this book over a period of several months, so my experience of it was discontinuous.
As I work actively on tapping into my creativity and learning to improvise on the piano, many things resonated with me in the book. Here are a few quotes that rang true:
"The creative process is a spiritual path. This adventure is about us, about the deep self, the composer in all of us, about originality, meaning not that which is all new, but that which is fully and originally ourselves."
"The most frustrating, agonizing part of creative work, and the one we grapple with every day in practice, is our encounter with the gap between what we feel and what we can express."
I was somewhat surprised to discover for myself in my experience of the past year that striving to express my creativity does in fact feel like a spiritual process, and it was nice to have that affirmed in this book. I also frequently and repeatedly encounter the gap between what I am capable of and where I'd like to be, and he captures it perfectly.
However, other parts of the book I found difficult to get through. It is very dense and also has a free-flowing organization, so at times it is hard to follow and gets quite abstract. There are some chapters that I made it through but couldn't have told you at the end what they were about. I feel as if parts of the book I will return to many times, and other parts I will never get much from....more
(Disclaimer: I know the author.) This book is a humorous look at human behavior as seen through the eyes of a drive test examiner. The stories are fun(Disclaimer: I know the author.) This book is a humorous look at human behavior as seen through the eyes of a drive test examiner. The stories are funny, moving, and sometimes absolutely incredible. The writing puts a spin of humor on all of them but without losing the sometimes brief insights into life. I highly recommend it!...more
I found this to be a useful and interesting book. Sandberg makes some important points about people's behavior with regards to work and gives many useI found this to be a useful and interesting book. Sandberg makes some important points about people's behavior with regards to work and gives many useful tips. I did not feel that she was "blaming the victim" as some accuse her of doing: she admits right up front that she is well aware that there are larger societal issues at work, but that doesn't mean that women shouldn't step up and take charge of their lives where they can. She also focuses more on some of those larger societal issues in the last couple chapters. She cites numerous psychology, sociology, and neurobiology studies to support her points about behaviors. It is true that her book is certainly corporate focused, and not that applicable to a large swath of the population who do not have the luxuries or choices that she is writing about. However, she does also admit this up front - that her book is not for everyone. I think there are many aspects of it that can be useful to anyone who sometimes lacks confidence or feels intimidated by the men in the workforce around them....more
In The Lemon Tree, Sandy Tolan follows the lives of two people, an Arab and a Jew, who lived in the same house in Palestine/Israel - the Arab before 1In The Lemon Tree, Sandy Tolan follows the lives of two people, an Arab and a Jew, who lived in the same house in Palestine/Israel - the Arab before 1948 and the Jew after. These people met in real life in 1967 and continued to interact, write, and see each other over the years up to the 2000s. They had hard discussions with each other over how the Palestinian-Israeli conflict should be resolved, and continued to stay in interaction with each other despite being on opposite sides of the issue.
Tolan does a good job presenting these two people's story, and their story itself is one of hope, although it does not have a nice happy ending (clearly, since the conflict is ongoing). However, I felt that he spent far too many pages describing the historical context in great detail. I understand that some historical context is necessary to understand the story being told, but I think it could have been done much more succinctly. I found these sections boring and I skimmed some of them in order to get back to Dalia and Bashir's story.
Overall the book is interesting, but not compelling. I did not come away from it with any new insights into this conflict - although perhaps that is because I am not the target audience, since I already believe that humanizing the other is the only way to move forward in an intractable conflict. I mildly recommend the book but cannot give it a strong recommendation....more
I did not find Creating Melodies all that useful of a book. It is aimed at people who want to make a living as songwriters, which is not what I am tryI did not find Creating Melodies all that useful of a book. It is aimed at people who want to make a living as songwriters, which is not what I am trying to do. With that as the goal, Weissman focuses on how to write catchy pop-style melodies that will have mass appeal, and the result is pretty conservative characterization of what makes a good melody. Many of his tips and suggestions simply reinforced things that I already do naturally or intuitively when writing melodies, but there were perhaps a few tidbits here and there that I may find helpful. On the other hand, I also take everything he says with a grain of salt since I am not trying to write for the mass market.
The book also seemed to be geared more towards people who perhaps play an instrument in a band but don't necessarily know how to read music. This is rather different from my own musical background, so in that sense also the book didn't seem to quite fit where I was coming from. I skipped the chapter on composing on the guitar, as I do not play the guitar, but perhaps someday I will come back to it if I decide I want to learn a little guitar. I also only skimmed the chapter on reading music (which, a bit oddly, is at the very end of the book), as I already know how to read music.
There are not really any exercises to speak of in the book; it is more descriptive of various approaches than actually instructional. Weissman does refer to a large number of different songs as examples of different things, many of which I was not familiar with. I think I would have gotten a little more out of the book if I'd read it at the computer where I could look up the songs on youtube as he mentioned them, but for the most part I didn't do that.
All in all, Creating Melodies is a quick read and I am sure I filed something away in my sub-conscious that I will come back to later. I think that reading anything about writing music is helpful in further inspiring me, even if it is not the greatest book ever....more
In The Religious Case Against Belief, James P. Carse presents his arguments that there is a distinction to be made between religion and belief. For hiIn The Religious Case Against Belief, James P. Carse presents his arguments that there is a distinction to be made between religion and belief. For him, religion is about higher ignorance - "knowing that you don't know" - and having a sense of wonder, awe, questioning, and striving towards continually deepening your knowledge. Belief, on the other hand, requires willful ignorance - choosing not to know something that can potentially be known or at least explored.
In the first half of the book, Carse discusses the characteristics of belief in great depth. In the second half, he presents an attempt at a definition of religion, and finally discusses what he means by a "religious case against belief". Essentially this is the idea that while belief systems have developed around religion, they are not inherent to religion itself, and that we need to return to the sense of wonder that is true religion.
Many of his arguments made sense to me, and there were some gems of insight through-out the book. However, it was often difficult for me to follow his flow of thought and the discussion sometimes got quite abstract and esoteric. It did not always hold my interest and I almost did not finish the book. (It probably did not help that I started reading it when I had a fever, but I think I would have struggled a bit even if that weren't the case - and I didn't have a fever the whole time I was reading it.) This is the kind of book that reminds me why I studied a technical subject in college rather than the humanities - I think very logically and don't do so well with books where the flow of a text is unclear and there is too much heady musing about concepts with nothing much concrete behind them....more
I got Teacher Man from the library on my husband's request, and ended up reading it first! It is Frank McCourt's memoir of the 30 years he spent teachI got Teacher Man from the library on my husband's request, and ended up reading it first! It is Frank McCourt's memoir of the 30 years he spent teaching in public high schools (and one community college) in New York City. McCourt is an excellent writer and I thoroughly enjoyed his memoir. He has many insightful comments about teenagers, teaching, and life in general. I highly recommend Teacher Man whether or not you are a teacher yourself....more
In Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Susan Cain explores introversion in some depth, looking at psychology, brain stuIn Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Susan Cain explores introversion in some depth, looking at psychology, brain studies, and anecdotal examples of people she has worked with to illuminate the ways in which introverts have their own power and strengths that just happen to differ from the Western ideal of extroversion.
Nothing in the book was especially surprising or a brand new idea to me, but there were many interesting tidbits and I found it affirming and inspiring. I have previously thought of the term "quiet leader" for myself and it was encouraging to read so many examples of people who are just that. As just one example of the many things I could relate to in the book, Cain has many references to introverted individuals who do not speak up in groups until they are quite confident and clear in what they want to say, which reflects my experience exactly. I appreciate her emphasis that introverts and extroverts have different ways of relating to the world and that introverts have an important perspective to provide: a deep-thinking, risk-averse, careful approach to problems and activities.
I found her exploration of how the Western ideal of extroversion developed quite fascinating, as I had never really thought about this ideal so concretely before. I also appreciated and found interesting her comparison to other cultures, especially Asian, that have an introvert ideal.
She has various helpful tips for introverts on how to function effectively in the world, including a whole chapter on children. A couple things I found useful were: when introverts are working on a core personal project, they are able to act like extroverts as needed, because the end goal holds enough meaning for them that behaving outside their comfort zone is tolerable; and that introverts need to be sure to make time in their lives for "restorative niches" - times when they allow themselves to act as an introvert in their comfort zone, thus restoring their inner strength.
I think that introvert and extrovert are useful categories for understanding people's behavior, but I am not convinced that they are actually completely valid distinctions. Much of what she discussed is very similar to the concept of a "highly sensitive person", developed by Elaine Aron, which is based on a biological difference in sensory processing. According to Aron, only 70% of highly sensitive people are also introverts, but I am not really clear on where the distinctions lie between the two. I would enjoy seeing a deeper exploration of the overlap and differences between introvert and highly sensitive person. Overall, however, I do find that thinking of myself as an introvert, into addition to an HSP, does help me understand myself even better, so it seems useful for that if nothing else.
I definitely recommend Quiet whether or not you consider yourself an introvert. I think it is important for extroverts to read this book as well so that they can understand a large percentage of the population better....more