Thumbs up for The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. Nonfiction/Self-help.
I am generally a pretty tidy person who’s good at limiting my possessions to available space, so it was out of curiosity at this book’s glowing reviews, rather than any desperate need, that made me request it from the library. Rather to my surprise, after finishing it I rampaged through my closet and storage and managed to find eight boxes of stuff to ditch.… >> Read more
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 Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer. Science.
Yet another book in the guy-does-weird-stuff-in-order-to-write-about-it genre? I had low expectations. And yet: I really enjoyed this book, and furthermore, I feel like I got quite a bit out of it. Originally setting out to do nothing more than write a short magazine piece on the 2005 USA Memory Championships, Foer gets sucked into training for, and competing, in the next year’s event.… >> 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