Tag: books

  • Five Books: Books Reviews Through Expert Interviews

    Five Books has been a favourite reading discovery site of mine for a few years. Twice a week, an expert in a given field is asked to select five books on a related topic, and then explains that selection in an often-enlightening short interview. I’ve never failed to come away from an interview with some…

  • NPR’s Annual Book Concierge

    One of my favourite annual publications is NPR’s Book Concierge, released each December. After suffering from “an acute case of list fatigue”, NPR stopped producing year-end lists in 2012 and, from 2013 onwards, has instead elicited recommendations from NPR staffers and other critics to create this “interactive reading guide [that’s] more Venn diagram-y than list-y”.…

  • “If you like to play [computer game], then try [book]”

    If you like to play [computer game], then try [book]. That’s the simple premise of a post from the imitable Powell’s Books, back in 2018. In Console-free camping, for a bunch of popular computer games, they recommend a book you might like. The list, for posterity (non-commission, non-tracking links to Powell’s):

  • Long Reads and the Stockholm Syndrome

    Since reading one of the¬†longest novels¬†I have shied away from other lengthy tomes despite thoroughly enjoying my 1000-page adventure. When considering this choice, I frame my decision as defending against a type of literary¬†post-purchase rationalisation: after investing such an enormous amount of time in reading a book, will I be able to objectively consider both…

  • The Inefficiencies of Local Bookstores

    We should not hold Amazon in contempt for pressuring local¬†independent¬†bookstores to the brink of closure and instead should embrace the company for taking advantage of inefficiencies, furthering a reading culture, and–believe it or not–helping us ‘buy local’ more effectively. In response to Richard Russo‘s recent New York Times article¬†berating a recent not-so-well-considered Amazon promotion, Farhad…

  • Our Self-Centered ‘Default’ Worldview: DFW’s Commencement Address

    Recent talk of the correspondence bias (here) reminded me of possibly the best commencement speech that I’ve not yet written about (and I’ve written about quite a few): David Foster Wallace’s commencement address to the graduates of Kenyon College in 2005. The speech, often cited as Wallace’s only public talk concerning his worldview,¬†was adapted following…

  • WordPerfect Business Advice

    In 1980, as a $5-an-hour part-time office manager,¬†W. E. Peterson joined the small company that would go on to become¬†WordPerfect Corporation. Then, twelve years later, after helping grow the company to half a billion dollars in annual sales and becoming the Executive Vice President, Peterson was forced out of the company and set out to…

  • How We Read

    What we know about how we learn to read and how our ability to read developed is fascinating, and in a review of a book that looks at exactly this ‚ÄĒ Stanislas Dehaene’s¬†Reading in the Brain ‚ÄĒ Jonah Lehrer offers us a wonderful teaser on exactly that:¬†the hows of reading,¬†from a neuroscience perspective. The introduction:…

  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

    The¬†First Law of Fanfiction states that¬†every change which strengthens the protagonists requires a corresponding worsening of their challenges. [‚Ķ]¬†stories are about conflict; a hero too strong for their conflict is no longer in tense, heart-pounding difficulty. [‚Ķ] The¬†Rationalist Fanfiction Principle states that¬†rationality is not magic; being rational does not require magical potential or royal bloodlines…

  • ‘Bit Culture’ and the Benefits of Distraction

    The information consumption habits of many in the younger generations–one feature of the ‘Internet information culture’–has many merits, despite its many detractors. So says Ban Casnocha in an article for The American that acts as both a review of Tyler Cowen’s Create Your Own Economy and a fairly positive and comprehensive overview of the “bit…