Book Reviews, Reviews

Shifting the Monkey by Todd Whitaker

★★★★★

My mom came to visit me last month, and brought Shifting the Monkey with her, so I could read it. If she hadn’t loaned it to me, I probably never would have gotten around to reading it, but I’m glad I did. Most of the advice was pretty good. I think the two biggest takeaways for me were “treat all people like good people” and “don’t rewrite the rules for the bad people.” I don’t want to reiterate what’s in the book, and it’s barely over a hundred pages, so if either of those ideas stick out as something you want to know more about, take a look.
Continue reading

Book Reviews, Reviews

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

★★★★★

By the description, The Devil in the White City sounds like a very interesting book. It follows two stories: the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, and Dr. H.H. Holmes – America’s first serial killer, who was living and killing in Chicago during the fair.

Continue reading

Book Reviews, Reviews

Letters From a Stoic by Seneca

★★★★

When enough people whose opinions you’re interested in tell you to read something, you should probably do it. That was the thought that finally got me to read Seneca’s Letters. I’ve been reading Tim Ferriss’ books and blog for a long time, and he talks about Seneca a great deal. Ryan Holiday, who partially inspired my challenge to read and review 52 books this year also recommends Seneca. Antifragile, a book I just read last month discusses Seneca, and as I recall, it was also mentioned in Thinking, Fast and Slow – a book I read last year that had a big impact on me. As you can see, I was bound to get to Seneca sooner or later.
Continue reading

Book Reviews, Reviews

The Emergency State: America’s Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Costs by David C. Unger

★★★★★

I really wanted to like this book, from the moment I read the title and added it to my reading list. I am very interested in politics/political philosophy, history, and my country’s complete lack of regard for the principles on which it was founded. This book is right in my wheelhouse. It’s preaching to the converted. And yet even I didn’t find it convincing. It’s pretty hard to write a book so poorly that you unsell people who were already sold on your ideas.
Continue reading

Book Reviews, Reviews

The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz

★★★★

I hate grocery shopping. I never know what I want to eat and I don’t have a list, so I wander the isles looking at the choices and trying to figure out how to turn all the food into meals. There is a practically infinite number of meals you could make out of the food in even the smallest of grocery stores. I find the infinite possibilities overwhelming. I remember I once almost had a panic attack in a pharmacy while looking at their enormous selection of toothpaste. I finally grabbed a tube that was the shiniest, and I have stuck with that brand ever since because I can remember what it is. It turns out, while my particular case is extreme, I am not alone in being overwhelmed by choice.

Continue reading

Book Reviews, Reviews

The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind–and Changed the History of Free Speech in America by Thomas Healy

★★★★

I’m not sure when I first heard the phrase about not “shouting fire in a crowded theater.” I do know I’ve heard Penn Jillette say that he and Teller have actually done it. Maybe that’s where I came to know it. At any rate, I also didn’t know that it was from the unanimous opinion in a Supreme Court free speech case.

Continue reading