Another month, another set of blind book reviews.
For those of you who are joining us for the first time, Welcome!
The blind book reviews series is the result of my compulsive need to visit the bookstore once a week. Sometimes during those visits, I’d see a book that looks interesting, but not enough to buy it (yet).
These blind reviews are my attempt to verbalize that interest. A sort of pre-review for a book I’ve yet to read.
These books were on-shelf in FullyBooked between February to March 2017.
A Little History of the World, by E.H. Gombrich
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who did horribly in social science and history.
Math, English, Science? Oh she did just fine. But ask her to memorize a name or a date, and she’d zero out.
That is, until one teacher taught Japanese history in a new way: A series of tragic love stories, maniacal villains, with ninja and samurai side-stories galore.
Suddenly, school became just as interesting as fantasy books, and so the little girl learned to love history.
I am that little girl, and this book is–I hope–like that teacher.
John Brockman’s annual Edge books
I’m mentioning these books to call out that, Guuuuuyyyysss, did you know FullyBooked carries the Edge series?
For the uninitiated, each year Edge poses a question to a set of individuals known for their thoughts and opinions; a mixed group from diverse backgrounds to ensure lively discussion.
Each “conversation” is published in Edge.org, and then the answers are edited and published as a collection in print.
I saw the following books in FullyBooked’s shelves:
- 2013: This Explains Everything: Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works
- 2015: This Idea Must Die: Scientific Theories That Are Blocking Progress
Weaponized Lies, by David Levitin
Dangit. I haven’t even finished my most-recently purchased David Levitin book and he’s already out with a new one?!
Given it was only published last month, I’ll let it sit for a while and have more people review, but the premise is promising:
Investigating numerical misinformation, Daniel Levitin shows how mishandled statistics and graphs can give a grossly distorted perspective and lead us to terrible decisions.
I think given how much I’m studying data, this book would be redundant. But for people who don’t have as much context this looks like a great read.
Small Data, by Martin Lindstrom
If you’ve been following my data-related posts, you’d know I’m all aboard the big data train. So much so that I’ve been self-studying, trying to skill up in data science.
So when I see a book that talks about the contrary, one that goes against what I thought was a consensus, then of course I’d be intrigued!
Wikipedia tells me Lindstrom is a bigshot, having been a Time magazine Influential 100 honoree, and one of Thinkers50’s 2015 Top 50 management thinkers of the world.
I’ve never read any of his books, but for him to receive such praise… then checking out his book should be worth a shot, right?
The Best Place to Work, by Ron Friedman
I’ve been seeing this book for some time now but thought it just wasn’t something I could use because I can never see myself being influential enough to change my workplace.
That is, until I thought of a very specific use case:
You’re in a job interview. You aren’t 100% sold on the job itself, but it does offer some advantages over your current one. Finally, the interviewer asks,
“Do you have any questions?”
THAT. That would be the perfect time to have read this book. You could ask about the workplace environment, going through each criteria described in this book. THEN you can decide if its worth the change.
I’m tagging this book for the next time I get a call from a recruiter.
And to wrap it up, I’d like to call attention to what seems to be a growing trend: Webtoons published as physical books:
Its so prevalent that FullyBooked has even created a new genre “illustrated humor” for them.
P.S. If you’re struggling to understand the concept of depression, Hyperbole and a Half has a couple of very insightful chapters on the condition.