Thumbs up for Data, A Love Story: How I Cracked the Online Dating Code to Meet My Match by Amy Webb. Science.

After watching Webb’s TED talk I was curious as to whether her book was a worthwhile expansion of the talk, or merely a padded version. I can say now that the book is well worth it, if you think humor, data hacking and love are a winning combination.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt. Nonfiction.

You would think, given that I don’t own a car or commute any great distance, that reading Traffic, which is after all primarily about driving, would be a peculiar choice for me. But it’s not really just about driving – it’s about roadbuilding, signage, pedestrians, and, above all, human nature.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McDonigal. Psychology.

Though I find computer games tedious, like most people I love games in general – card, board, word; scavenger hunts; even things like crossing a book read off a list (which is totally like leveling up, except better).… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War by Barbara Ehrenreich. History/Psychology.

If Ehrenreich’s thesis is that the deep root of warfare is (I quote the jacket) “the blood rites early humans performed to reenact their terrifying experience of predation by stronger carnivores,” then I don’t think she sells it. The fact that I had to refer to the jacket flap tells you how much impact the idea had on me.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Psychology.

Finally got around to reading this classic. It’s the people who don’t think they need to read it who probably need to read it most, of course; and I didn’t want to be one of those kind of people. It’s safe to say that whatever your feelings about How to Win Friends…, it won’t do you any harm, and could conceivably do a world of good.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee. Nonfiction/psychology.

‘Cause I have these friends…but don’t we all? A unputdownable look into the psychology of hoarding. Told via case histories, it’s sympathetic and in fact heartbreaking, because no one yet knows how to fully help the sufferers of this widespread disorder. Both a horrifying book, in its descriptions of the hoards, and a fascinating one, in its sensitive and wondrous examinations of the fascinating but entirely different way that hoarders process information and memory, and how they make (or don’t make) decisions.… >> Read more