Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Attached by Amir Levine & Rachel Heller

There is a reason I don't usually read self-help books and it is mainly because I don't find them helpful. More so, they are often filled with obvious statements, inaccurate drivel or faulty metaphysics/psychology. (The subtitle of this book is repellant to me.)
This only had some of the first and neither of the other two, so I gave it a shot. It should have been a one page document.
People have different attachment styles, these can change over time, and the different styles lead to different relationship dynamics.
Highlight for me was how people with an avoidant attachment style can pair with those with an anxious attachment style and how the behaviour of the other reinforces the beliefs of both.  A bad situation.

I, Robot by Issac Asimov

A classic that deserves its fame. I had long been curious about this work (and I still haven't seen the movie) and I thought it quite worthwhile. The book is a series of loosely connected stories about robot and human interactions in the future. That I found them to be parables might say more about me than Asimov's intent.
All the stories center around the three laws of robotics and how things can still go wrong.
The Three Laws are:
  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
The first one is quite interesting to me due to the 'through inaction' part. Does this mean a newly minted robot must immediately start working on feeding the starving or trying to reduce malaria, TB, AIDS?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Big Short by Michael Lewis

Superb telling of the collapse of Wall St. in 2008. Lewis wisely makes it a compelling narrative by following several people who bet against the system. One ends up learning about (and/or confused) by the complexities in the financial market but there is still much to gain even if those parts are not fully absorbed. For example, I don't know exactly what a CDO is, but then again, it turns out almost no one did either! Even those who were buying and selling them!
Lewis certainly makes the case that the American taxpayer got screwed by immoral people who should have known better.
Highly recommended.

Things I Learned from the Women Who Dumped Me by Various Authors

Supposedly comedic, I can only say this was luke-warm. There were one or two hilarious pieces (mainly in the latter half) and one or two that was sufficiently interesting, but otherwise a bit of a disappointment.
Can't recommend this one.

23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang

A fantastic book that explores popular misconceptions and specious propaganda about macro-economics. I thought it might be a lefty rant, but Chang believes the capitalist model is still the best thing we have. The problem is that so many people (including supposed 'experts') believe and promote false ideas that have little supporting evidence, or in some cases, actual counter-evidence.
Highly Recommended.