30 December 2011

"50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology" by Scott O. Lilienfeld, et al

This book is a collection of myth busting study summaries (with a bit of common sense thrown in for good measure) in which they authors seem to disabuse the minds of the general public of the sometimes rampant misconceptions people have about the way their minds work. For example, we do not know how smart the human brain can be, thus the assertion that we only use 10% of it cannot be true. Further, using brain scans we have found, at one time or another, every area of the brain in use.

Interesting tidbit: blind people usually only dream with imagery if they had sight before the age of 7.

24 December 2011

Humility and Confidence

A ranting moment against a school teacher who said that Humility and Confidence were contradictory terms:
Humility and confidence may seem to conflict but in truth they can happily coexist with each other because they cover difference functions. Humility is about submission and respect for the superior. On the other hand, Confidence is about being bold enough to ask the right questions and to do the right things.

The balance can be seen in the ancients’ interactions with the gods. It was not the peasants, who let the gods do whatever they wanted, who were favored; they were abused. It was not the kings and heroes who challenged the gods who, in the end, won favor with them; they were destroyed. Instead, it was the humble but confident individuals who said, “I do not care about the consequences, I just need to keep my oaths and uphold justice.” These earned the respect of the gods, earned their favor and became legendary.

23 December 2011

"Good to Great" by Jim Collins

In his "prequel" to Built to Last Collins does an incredibly in-depth analysis of publicly traded companies that have gone from mediocre to amazing. He then break the analysis into eight thing that he and his team found in common with all of the companies.

Interesting tidbit: Most of the CEOs you have heard of have been outperformed by the CEOs on the eleven "great" companies identified in the book, most of which you probably have never heard of. 

01 December 2011

"Annals of the Former World: Basin and Range" by John McPhee

In this book, McPhee teams up with a Geology professor to explore what is known as the Basin and Range (the greater Colorado area). He talks about his exploration into the theory behind the unusual formations in the area and adds a bit of intrigue as we learn that the professor is also interested in finding old silver mines and reprocessing the discarded ore to find left behind silver (and he does). In general, this book provides a fascinating insight into a very geologically unique area of the world.

Interesting tidbit: while sand stone and silt stone look very similar to the unaided eye, sand stone is gritty when chewed on while the silt stone is creamy.

(Annals of the Former World is a collection of five different books about geology written by McPhee).