Statistical and Data Handling Skills in Biology- Roland Ennos (****) 100p Since I’m working on a MSc in Environmental Science, I have to do a lot of statistical analysis. I saw a few books and this 100-page quick reader is by far the best. It explains the tools without bogging you down with the theory that as a biologist, you just don’t really need to know.
The Fundamentals of Empirical Knowledge- Ayers (**) 274p The idea that what we know is real or merely a figment of our imagination or simply misperceived is a common question for man-kind. In other words, are we living in a matrix or is all of this real? Ayers in a dry and nearly incomprehensible writing style of early 19th century which is impossible to understand for anyone not studying philosophy, goes to explain how we can dissect information we perceive to figure out if it is real or not to ascertain its empiricity. If you don’t like what I just wrote, don’t read the book, it is far more dry and less fun that my summary.
Keys to Writing. – Ann Raimes(***) 434p I have been told over and over by friends that if I want to write, I should take a writing course. I think they are right. But there is also a pretty book that my wife had from college. Keys for Writers is a great manual for going through english grammar and just general understanding of how to write grammatically and for effect. I think a course would do well but for now, a handbook on writing that explains structure is good too. I don’t know if there are better books than this one, perhaps there are, I’m doubtful I will find out.
Facebook Effect (****) David Kirkpatrick (360p) A great account of one of the most impact companies of the 21st century. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to know what Facebook stands for and how it came about. Really well written taking the reader through the short but highly unpredictable history. Made me appreciate Zuckerberg.
Moon Shot- Al Sheppard, Deke Slayton (****) An amazing account of the space race, of the first men and women who took us out of the atmosphere. The book is a fast read and beautifully written explaining with graphic and visual language of what it was to be in space and to fly to space. Written by the first Astronaut in Space and an Apollo mission Astronaut, it details the many near misses and amazing skill that Astronauts showed to make sure that the missions went successfully, that astronauts came back, that the programs weren’t cancelled and that we got to moon and beyond. It details the problems politicians can make for progress but also how they can make it all happen. One of my faves.
Striking Thoughts- Bruce Lee (****) 202p A thorough philosophy on every subject a human may need guidence on . It is difficult to comprehend that these are the writings of a Martial Artist in his 30ties, except with the understanding that this is a virtuoso of a man. We are so lucky to have his thoughts on life so eloquently put.
After the Quake- Haruki Murakami (****) 130pp Four stories about what happens to different people who don’t know of anyone who died but who are deeply affected by the earthquake. Told in Murakami’s detailed and calm manner with bits of Kafkaesque surrealism. The characters are always real and relatable and every story makes you ponder your own shifts.
A Man Without A Country- Kurt Vonnegut (****) A sad but funny and pessimistic outlook of an 82 year old about the state of affairs. We’re kind of done for, it’s the end of the world and a few jerks ruined it for all of us. But perhaps we are all jerks, just some of us don’t like the jerks who ruin the planet and others hate those who ruin their ability to ruin the planet and become rich. It was hilariously fast read and there are so many passages to highlight. One was about writers: there are writers who reflect on their writing, and writers who reflect on life. I hope to be the second kind.
100 Quotations To Make You Think!- Wolfgang Riebe (***) I have a feeling a lot of these were stolen. It doesn’t attribute the quotes, but they are good ranging on all sorts of issues having to do with general life. A quick read that is nice to have when you are trying to read a lot.
The Road to Character- David Brooks (***) 270p Wonderful book not just for how it describes for a need for ambition and self cultivation, rejection of the anything I feel good about is good morality, but the historical descriptions of people like George Ellion, Dwight Eisenhoer and Samuel Johnson. This book was a fairly quick read and a great conversation piece. It made you think and question what Brooks said as it seemed contradictory. However, he really finished off the book well by defining what he means by character, by self development: duty, seeking something greater than self, humility, and dedication to craft. If you are asking yourself: how can I be better, I recommend this book.
Another Country- James Baldwin (****) 450 p A good book is a conquest, a good book is a fight, a lengthy brawl to the end. Every book worth it’s tike makes you feel a sense of accomplishment in the end and changes you as any journey would. It makes you question things, makes you question life, your life, changes your perspective of self and people. And that is hard, that’s takes time. You read in bursts, it tired you and haunts you in your thoughts and conversation and sleep and then you finish it and you are addicted and you seek another.
This is how this book was. Eye opening to race relations and sexuality of the sixties and how little things have changed and how much things have changed. Baldwin should have received a Nobel prize, his work is haunting on par with Dostoevsky and Marquez.
The World As I See It-Albert Einstein (****)-100pages A quick read but an amazing read. Reading Einsteins essays and letters you see his views on science, art, politics, war, fame and you realize just what a unique person he was. His clarity did not only apply to nature’s laws but to humanity as well. I couldn’t stop highlighting the books, his words penetrated me to the core. I can’t recommend this book enough. I love autobiographies and this one is not an autobiography, it is thoughts of a man and you get to know him through what he thought so much better than through events.
Nudge-Thaler and Sunstein (****) 320p Although this book often feels more political than science (economics is hardly science) it goes well into behavioral economics (which is more like psychology) explaining how we are all nudged by small things into big decisions. I now see these nudges all around me and think of how to create nudges to get people to do things a little better. It borders on manipulation but always tries to excuse it in some way. The best argument would be that we are already nudged towards evil, let’s start nudging towards good.
No Dream is Too High– Buzz Aldrin (****) 450p This is a super fast and super easy read. I’d say probably the least descriptive of all space books but entertaining. It is clear that it has been a long time since Adlrin went to the moon, but he has lived a long and colorful life. He inspires me to be like him in old age but at the same time makes me understand just how smart the Astronauts are and just how outspoken they used to be. They don’t make them like this anymore.
Leonardo Da Vinci Biography– Sigmund Freud (****) 150p I like to browse free and out of copyright books on iBooks. There are many great biographies and autobiographies there. One that caught my eye was a biography of Leonardo Da Vinci. What caught my eye, even more, is who wrote it: Sigmund Freud. This was like two birds with one stone: to find out details of Leonardo Da Vinci through the lens and analysis of the great Sigmund Freud. This book is short but did not disappoint. He spoke about Da Vinci childhood, his homosexuality, his exuberance and creation of the great Mona Lisa ( a copy of which hangs in my bathroom). That story is amazing because he was in his fifties when he drew that painting which he was painting for over five years and felt that it was not finished! Anyway, highly recommended quick read.
Thomas Jefferson Autobiography– T Jefferson (****) 350p The more I read about people like Jefferson, the more I am awed by human abilities. We are all so different and some of us, are true demigods in their abilities compared to the rest. His keen mind and genius is much above ours. He had the thinking and the ability to write the Declaration of Independence in his mid thirties, after his parents died, he was able to survive so much and do so much.. it is unbelievable. I highly recommend going on iBooks and finding his Autobiography which comes with a 100 page biography as well which is just as interesting to learn about him, what he thought and especially the changes of his thoughts. He is so much more than we know.