Archive for the ‘book review’ Category

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

October 12, 2014 Leave a comment

This book is as clear a description as any of the need to eliminate noise and choose to do the right few things with our lives.

If you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, if you’re missing a sense of purpose and direction, then I highly recommend this book.

Categories: book review

The Martian by Andy Weir

September 29, 2014 Leave a comment

I’d heard the recommendations and read the reviews, but I still wasn’t sure.

How interesting could a survival story set on Mars be?

Mr. Weir creates a compelling and fascinating narrative. Mark Watney is knocked out during a sudden storm, and his crewmates leave him for dead.

However, he is not dead, just unconscious.

The story outlines the drama which unfolds over the next year-and-a-half.

Parts of the story get quite technical. This is hard science fiction, well-researched and plausible.

I recommend this book to anyone else who think this sounds like an original and engaging story.

Categories: book review

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

July 14, 2014 Leave a comment

This book is less horror, more contemporary detective thriller. It’s a fantastic and disturbing look into the lives of a psycho and a retired detective.

If you like crime stories, this book is a great one to pick up. After reading “It,” I was pleased to find a Stephen King story that had an end just as compelling as its beginning. I give this book my highest recommendation.

Categories: book review

The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly

July 14, 2014 Leave a comment

This second novel in the Lincoln Lawyer series is a great follow-up to Mickey Haller’s first book.

I found the plot compelling and the conclusion satisfying.

If you enjoyed the first book in the series, you will enjoy this follow-up.

Categories: book review

Our Mathematical Universe by Max Tegmark

“You are out of your mind! Your great learning is driving you insane.”

Don’t read this book unless you’re prepared to be challenged by what initially may sound like the ravings of a crazy person.

At times, I had a great deal of difficulty following the author’s line of reasoning.

And I ended up really enjoying the journey.

For a brief overview of Tegmark’s four-level taxonomy of potential universe and multiverse configurations, check out this link here.

In short, his thesis is that the ultimate structure of the universe is purely discrete and mathematical. This radical line of reasoning eliminates many kinds of paradoxes, such as the Measurement Problem.

Does anyone else find it curious that the kind of infinity described by the real numbers between zero and one (the continuum)  is bigger than the infinity which describes counting by ones forever (aleph-null infinity)?

According to Tegmark, the continuum is not a real mathematical structure at all, but just an imaginary human construct.

If the continuum is an illusion, then Kurt Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem breaks down as well. Mathematics again becomes able to describe all True and False statements within complex logical systems.


If you find this review intriguing, then I highly recommend that you get this book and read it at least twice.

Otherwise, back away slowly. Then turn and RUN!

Categories: book review

A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines by Janna Levin

April 28, 2014 Leave a comment

I’m a huge Kurt Gödel fan. And Alan Turning is one of the fathers of modern computing.

I never realized what difficult lives these two people led.

The author acknowledges that this story is not completely historical. But it’s not completely fiction, either.

Turning’s run-in with the British government for his homosexual offenses is well-documented.

Gödel’s mental health issues and self-starvation are not as widely known.

I loved this book. But if you don’t already care about Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem or Turning’s theoretical and practical work in computing, then this isn’t the story for you.

You won’t learn any new mathematics. But you’ll get some insight into the relationships among members of the Vienna Circle and what led to the early deaths of two of the greatest minds of the 1900s.

Categories: book review

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

April 28, 2014 Leave a comment

This illustrated, short children’s story is a ridiculous romp through a Dad’s trip to the corner store.

It takes about half an hour to an hour to read the whole thing beginning to end.

I highly recommend this story for both kids and adults.

This book is better going in cold, so I won’t include any other details.

But it’s by Neil Gaiman, so you know it’s outstanding.

Have fun!

Categories: book review

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

April 16, 2014 Leave a comment

This story about a soldier who served in the Pacific during WWII is one of the most amazing, powerful true stories I’ve ever read.

It is as moving at times as Elie Wiesel’s Night.

I borrowed this book in audio format through Overdrive NYC, and I was hooked from the very first chapter.

I give this story my highest recommendation!

Categories: book review

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

April 2, 2014 Leave a comment

This book is a classic. It’s Daniel Goleman’s best work.

He systematically summarizes study after study and countless programs which justify a greater focus on handling emotions.

People who can communicate assertively and compassionately will be more successful in their relationships than others who focus exclusively on job-oriented goals.

I give this book my highest rating.

Categories: book review

Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman

February 5, 2014 Leave a comment

Goleman again does a great job of summarizing a great deal of social science research in soundbyte format.

People who can focus on important tasks, and are able to focus on important emotional cues, are more successful than people who lack these skills.

There’s much more detail in his book, but these are my two big takeaways.

Categories: book review
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