Posts Tagged ‘Book’

3 things that I will never recommend

February 29, 2016
  1. I will never recommend a particular diet (paleo, macrobiotic, raw foods, fruitarian, juicing, etc.)
  2. I will never recommend a particular exercise program (weightlifting, running, yoga, etc.)
  3. I will never recommend a particular book.

Why?

Because my views on these things are fluid, constantly changing. Today I am convinced that one diet/exercise program/book is “the ultimate truth” and the next day I realize it’s not. I have no idea what truth is. But I have a pretty good idea what kindness is, so instead of giving my version of truth to people, I will give them my kindness.

Pure knowledge – no agenda

November 17, 2013

I am reading a book. It has no extraneous words. There are no jokes in it. No lively dialogue. And definitely no agenda or marketing. The book’s purpose is simply to convey a body of knowledge. It is challenging to read. I have to think deeply about every sentence. I am crawling through it at a snail’s pace. But I have come to realize that there is a great beauty in this book and this gradual learning process. And it is refreshing to get away from the incessant marketing machine of our society. Everyone has an agenda. Everyone is selling their product, their point of view. Enough! It is time to bask in pure knowledge.

Four phenomenal books

June 26, 2010

There are four books that I have read which I have found to be phenomenal. Until recently I have not been able to put my finger on why I found them so phenomenal. Now I know why: they start with simple concepts and gradually build on top of them. Each step adds a tiny bit of knowledge on top of the preceding steps. Each step logically follows from the preceding steps. Here are the four books:

  1. An Introduction to Mathematics by Alfred North Whitehead.
  2. Economics by Boyes/Melvin.
  3. Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith.
  4. Elements by Euclid.

Do you know of other books which follow this approach of starting with basic concepts and gradually, incrementally building up a vast body of knowledge?

Would Albert Einstein read New York Times bestsellers?

December 4, 2009

I am reading this book:

“Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely

It is a very interesting read. It describes some of the author’s research findings in the (new) field of behavioral economics. And it is a New York Times bestseller.

For a book to be a bestseller it must appeal to a large number of people, i.e., it must appeal to the masses. What are the implications of that? Clearly the average person doesn’t have an in-depth understanding of every field. So a bestselling author must present his material in a way that requires little or no understanding of the field. Research results are oftentimes rather dry. “Dry” doesn’t lend itself well to “bestselling.” So the author must spice things up-emotionalize the material, appeal to the readers emotions. What are the implications of that?

Several years ago, as I was beginning to learn about the field of complex systems, I read a pop-sci book on the topic. The book was very exciting and-to my thinking-it provided profound insights into the field of complex systems. I attended a class at the New England Complex Systems Institute. The instructor was a world-renowned scientist. Being so excited about this book, I approached the instructor to get his opinion about it and, in particular, a certain section of the book. Much to my surprise the instructor had never read the book. I was shocked, “How could he have not read this wonderful book, especially when it’s in his field of expertise?” I asked him to read a certain section because I wanted his feedback. He was gracious enough to do it on the spot. I don’t recall his comments. I only recall feeling that his comments were very controlled, he didn’t want to hurt my feelings. He was clearly not impressed by the book.

I wonder if it may actually be damaging to read bestsellers? Do they lead the reader into ideas and beliefs that are simply wrong?

If Albert Einstein were alive today, would he read New York Times bestsellers?

Seek clarity of thought? Here’s how

September 8, 2009

Are you struggling with a problem, but are unable to obtain clarity on a solution? Here’s an approach to get clarity that has worked for me: read a book with great clarity; that is, a book that expresses fundamental ideas in a simple, clear way.

I am on my fifth read of An Introduction to Mathematics by Alfred Whitehead. Every time I feel my thoughts getting muddied I pull out this book and read it. This book takes the complex subject of mathematics and describes its fundamental ideas with brilliant clarity. Reading this book brings clarity to my mind, in all of my thoughts.

Do you have a book that you enjoy reading because of its clarity of thought?

Avoid commas in sentences to accelerate information absorption

August 16, 2008

I am in a hurry.

I want to learn quickly.  You too?

Anything that slows me down is to be avoided.

Commas are syntax to get the reader to pause.  Commas slow you down.  Commas are evil.

I wonder if anyone has written a book that doesn’t use any commas?

This message doesn’t use commas.  I’ll bet you were able to read it really fast.