After starting to dabble in doing some home recordings and simple mixes, I skimmed this book over a period of several months. Much of it is beyond whaAfter starting to dabble in doing some home recordings and simple mixes, I skimmed this book over a period of several months. Much of it is beyond what I want or need to do -- the audience is people doing home mixing who want to make professional-sounding tracks. I have no such ambition; I simply want to make some half-way decent sounding recordings of my own vocals. Still, there were quite a few useful tips and I think it is a book I will return to as a reference. Certainly I think this would be an excellent book for someone who does want to get seriously into mixing....more
A great follow-up to her first book on tidying up. She has visual instructions on her folding technique, and details on storage for all the differentA great follow-up to her first book on tidying up. She has visual instructions on her folding technique, and details on storage for all the different categories. She answered many of the questions I had about her approach after reading the first book. Once I was part-way through this book I finally gathered the motivation to dive in and start following her methods....more
At first I found Paul Theroux's meditations on the British, walking the coast of England, and other miscellany interesting and engaging, but I gradualAt first I found Paul Theroux's meditations on the British, walking the coast of England, and other miscellany interesting and engaging, but I gradually became bored with the book and abandoned it about a third of the way through. It started to feel quite repetitive -- he goes from one town to another along the coast and they all started to sound the same, with the same people saying the same things....more
I found this biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder quite fascinating. Pamela Smith Hill sheds light on who Wilder was as a person, and how she was truly aI found this biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder quite fascinating. Pamela Smith Hill sheds light on who Wilder was as a person, and how she was truly a writer who crafted her stories to be enjoyable well-written, fictional novels, not just plain autobiography. In the later part of the book, Hill explores in some depth the correspondence between Wilder, her daughter, and her editors and publishers, to demonstrate how Wilder's fiction came about. At times this section felt like a response to people who have claimed that Wilder's daughter wrote the books, but I found it interesting even though I have never read about or bought into such claims.
Some things that particularly stood out to me as interesting include:
* How Wilder changed some events from her childhood to maintain a strong theme of independence and ever traveling west in the novels. In reality, the family moved back east multiple times, and her father (portrayed as fiercely independent in the books) went through a period of borrowing money, working odd jobs, and even leaving town in the middle of the night to avoid a debt.
* How the novels starting with On the Banks of Plum Creek are much more character-driven than the earlier ones (which are more descriptive and follow a seasonal cycle). I always enjoyed and re-read the later books much more, and this explains to me why I liked them better!...more
An inspirational book about living an authentic life, particularly focused on leadership. Irvine and Reger explore what it means to be authentic and hAn inspirational book about living an authentic life, particularly focused on leadership. Irvine and Reger explore what it means to be authentic and how this leads to a type of leadership where you inspire others by your actions, often without even trying to. Much of the book resonated with me, and I found the section where they look at the eight qualities of authentic presence particularly concrete and useful. I appreciate their emphasis that living authentically is a journey, not a goal: "It is a cycle. it is not waking up with a monumental 'aha' moment and that is the end of it." They also point out that you can't wake up every day and say today I'm going to live authentically -- because that can itself become an inauthentic attempt to wear the veneer of authenticity. Instead, to truly live authentically you need to give yourself space to listen to your inner voice, pay attention to your values, and strive to align your values and actions.
My only criticism of the book is that I felt the first half was quite vague and abstract, and it didn't really get into the meat of it until about halfway through. Really, there were just two chapters that were the most concrete and useful: "Chapter 4: Recognizing Authentic Action in Leadership -- Eight Qualities of Presence" and "Chapter 5: Strategies for Stengthening Your Authentic Presence -- Making Authenticity Real". Everything before these chapters felt like fluff to me, and I was in fact starting to wonder if I was going to get any value out of the book. However, those chapters were well worth the read....more
The Piano Shop on the Left Bank was, quite simply, an absolute delight to read. Thad Carhart expertly weaves together stories of his life in a Paris qThe Piano Shop on the Left Bank was, quite simply, an absolute delight to read. Thad Carhart expertly weaves together stories of his life in a Paris quartier and friendship with the owner of a used piano repair shop with the history and mechanics of pianos. He makes his quarter of Paris come to life and similarly breathes life into pianos themselves, and I was enchanted through-out the whole book. It is clear that Carhart is a professional writer who is skilled with using words and language effectively. He has a light touch of humor but also gently brings in serious subjects without it ever feeling either saccharine or depressing. I learned a good bit about pianos but he doesn't get lost in the technical details. I highly recommend the book if you are interested in pianos, Paris, or meaningful human encounters!...more
Chip and Dan Heath present a process for making decisions called WRAP -- Widen your options, Reality-test your assumptions, Attain distance before decChip and Dan Heath present a process for making decisions called WRAP -- Widen your options, Reality-test your assumptions, Attain distance before deciding, and Prepare to be wrong. They cite numerous studies about the psychology of decision making and provide many concrete examples to demonstrate how their process helps support better decisions and avoids many of the pitfalls of decision making.
At the beginning of the book I was quite skeptical, especially because it seemed like everything they were citing and all their examples were studies done on men, and I was left wondering whether they applied to women as well, or whether in fact women make decisions differently than men. They do have plenty of examples from women later on, but I still have questions. After all, any study that looks at decisions made by leaders of large corporations is naturally going to be studying more decisions made by men than women, since the majority of such leaders are men. In fact, I have read about studies showing that women do have a different leadership style from men, including being less overconfident and less risk prone, both of which are characteristics related to decision making.
That said, many of their tips seem useful and as a female leader I certainly make no claims that all of my decisions are thoughtful and avoid all the pitfalls they mention. I do plan to pay more attention to my decision making process as a result of reading this book.
One thing I particularly appreciated and found useful was their acknowledgement that ultimately a decision IS about emotion -- but not the short-term emotion that we can experience with the rush of a moment. Rather, it is about the long-term emotion of being aligned with our values and priorities. Ultimately the best decisions will the the one's that are aligned with those values, whether personal or organizational....more
A short, to-the-point, and down-to-earth book about working with other people as a software engineer. Certainly much of what they say applies well beyA short, to-the-point, and down-to-earth book about working with other people as a software engineer. Certainly much of what they say applies well beyond engineers or work relationships, but that is their focus. They lay the foundation by talking about the myth of the genius programmer and the three pillars of humility, respect, and trust, and then apply the three pillars to a widening circle of your team, your leader (or being a leader), people outside the team, the organization, and users.
As an engineering manager, I found the section on leadership particularly helpful, as they talk about both patterns and anti-patterns of effective leaders. However, the whole book was interesting and relevant.
My only minor issue with it is that they sometimes focused too much on the open-source software environment as opposed to a corporate environment. Some of their examples and descriptions of effective behaviors were strongly based in the loose organization of open-source software, making it harder to see how they applied in a corporate situation.
Overall, I highly recommend this book if you are a software developer, whether or not you are in a leadership position....more
I skimmed this book and only found it to be moderately useful. Too large a percentage of the pages are spent on aspects that are not useful to me: howI skimmed this book and only found it to be moderately useful. Too large a percentage of the pages are spent on aspects that are not useful to me: how to do things in specific software plugins, and how to edit, mix, etc. individual parts of a drumset. I am instead buying Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio, by Mike Senior....more
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