Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Monday, May 23, 2016
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics is exactly that: very short explanations of the elements that we understand about the general relativity, quantum mechanics and the Standard model. The lessons are very easy for the layperson to understand, and the 84 page book can easily be read in a few hours. There's not a lot of meat on the bone, but reading the book does whet your appetite to read more about loop quantum theory. I think that every person should broaden his or her mind by reading Seven Brief Lessons on Physics.
Saturday, May 14, 2016
I did however, finally read a book. I found out about Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. The author and book were highlighted on a recent episode of episode of Freakonomics on How to be Productive. I know that it's a question that I hear from a lot of friends, who think that I'm productive. They ask me how I got to be that way. I don't think Smarter Faster Better is really about being productive as much as it attempts to show you the qualities that will make you successful, and perhaps a better boss. I know as I read through it my prominent thought was that some of my former bosses who were really good at demoralizing and demotivating the workforce should read the book. However, that would probably be a lost cost. Bad bosses never see their own incompetence, and they do have a habit of misconstruing what they read to believe it is a validation of their incompetence.
When Duhigg surveyed productive people and teams, he found that there were eight factors that seemed to be consistence across all the people. These eight were items that no one disagreed on. So it wasn't that it worked for one and didn't work for another. They worked for all. The factors are:
- motivation with the locus of control being internal rather than external to the individual
- psychological safety in teams
- focus and how cognitive tunneling can be destructive
- goal setting with SMART goals and stretch goals
- managing others with agile thinking and a culture of trust
- decision making by forecasting the future and Bayesian psychology
- innovation through creative desperation
- absorbing data by turning information into knowledge
Sunday, February 14, 2016
This book is different than some of the others because the love interest really doesn't make itself known until the last third of the book. Also, it's not one of those torrid affairs, but one of those gentle realizations. Carmel March is found under a bush at the Commonwood House, and is taken in my Dr. Marlaine and his shrew of a wife. It seems that the wife would rather send the baby to the orphanage, but Dr. Marlaine stands his ground and has Carmel raised with his own children. Carmel shares everything, but the Marlaine kids make her realize that she is not really one of them; all except for Adeline, who is not really all there mentally. However, when Uncle Toby visits, he makes Carmel his special favorite. Also, Lucien the eldest son at the near-door manor, The Grange, shows a fondness for Carmel. When Miss Carson comes to tutor the children, things change. She forms a relationship with Dr. Marlaine, and when Mrs. Marlaine dies, and Miss Carson is pregnant with the Dr. Marlaine's baby, Uncle Toby sweeps up to take Carmel to Australia. It turns out that Carmel is really his daughter with a local gypsy girl. Of course, there are adventures in Australia and the return of Carmel to England, with lots of suitors making themselves available.
All in all, the story is an enjoyable read. Carmel is not the usual strong heroine of the Holt books, but she doesn't wimp out either. She makes her final decision on a husband based on love, and the husband (no spoilers) is the strong, womanizer that is usual in Holt's books. There is a mystery, and everything is nicely wrapped up in the last 20 pages. As I said, it was an enjoyable read.
Saturday, January 23, 2016
So enough rambling. The book that caught my interest was named of the dragon by Susanna Kearsley. As you might have noticed from some of the other books that I've read, I do have a thing for romantic suspense, especially when it has a woo-woo gothic factor. I LOVE Victoria Holt, Barbara Michaels, Philippa Carr, and Mary Stewart, but those authors haven't published much lately (and in fact, all are, unfortunately, dead.) I've looked around for a currently publishing author who fits that romantic suspense mold, and I found it in Susanna Kearsley. One of her newest releases, which was originally published in 1998. I noticed that Kearsley's most recent books appear to be re-releases of earlier books, and I'm not sure what that is about.
named of the dragon takes place in Wales around Christmas time. Lyn Ravenshaw is a literary agent who lost her husband and her baby five years early. Lyn's current authors, Bridget, invites Lyn to go with Bridget for the holidays. Bridget plans on spending time with her current love, while also trying to seduce a new man, Gareth, who is a moody playwright. Well, Lyn has been having problems accepting her baby's death, feeling at fault because Lyn continued to compete in dressage events. Lyn has been haunted by dreams, trying to get to her crying baby, and she thinks that going to Wales might be better than spending time with family who want to take care of her. When Lyn and Bridget arrive at James Swift house, they find more than they bargain for. a woman, Elen, in the shared half of the house has recently lost her husband and is afraid that dragons are after her baby. When Lyn starts to have dreams about a woman asking Lyn to protect the woman's baby, Lyn starts to wonder if she is having a psychic experience. Will Lyn be Elen's baby's savior?
I've read seen reviews that commented on the slow pace of the book, and it does slowly build the tension. It does remind me of some of Mary Stewart's books because Kearsley spends a good portion of the plot on describing the environment and the characters. Even with that, I didn't feel that I got a good view of the characters, except possibly for Lyn and Gareth. That said, I really did enjoy the book. I was curious about where the book was headed, and the occult element was nicely done. At the end, you can say that it could all be explained by subconsciously noticing things...or you could agree with the psychic notifications. All in all, I enjoyed the book, and I need to read more of Susanne Kearsley's books.