Sep 29, 2012

Why Quantum Physicists Don't Get Fat: Inject Your Diet With Rocket Fuel (Volume 1)

Why Quantum Physicists Don't Get Fat: Inject Your Diet With Rocket Fuel (Volume 1) by Greg Kuhn

Description: Finally say goodbye to unwanted weight!

1. Have you tried to lose weight only to wind up
gaining it all back (and more)?

2. Have you repeatedly dieted and been unsuccessful
at losing your unwanted weight?

3. Are you tired of trying to hide your weight gains
from family and friends because weight loss plans
just don't seem to work for you?

If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, you're no different than millions of Americans; you've been frustrated by your seeming inability to lose your unwanted weight. It might surprise you, though, to learn that the specific diets you've tried aren't the problem. Would it surprise you further to learn that YOU definitely aren't the problem either?

The problem is not the weight loss plans and neither is it you. The problem is the science! The diets you've tried have failed you because they are based on old, outdated science. Science that has, in fact, been replaced, right under your nose, by an amazingly accurate and incredibly reliable one called quantum physics.

Why Quantum Physicists Don't Get Fat will teach you, in simple, everyday language, to unlock the awesome power of quantum physics to inject any weight loss plan with nitroboosting rocket fuel. You'll quickly find that the great-feeling, slender body you've dreamed of is just around the corner!

If you'd like to read a weight loss success story (as well as the story
of how Why Quantum Physicists Don't Get Fat came to publication), go to
the following webpage:

When I failed to win a copy of this book on Goodreads, I was contacted with the information that it was available as a free kindle download for a limited time (no longer an option, but still a pretty good price).

As someone who knows absolutely nothing about quantum physics,  I had very little trouble following the science of the book. It was written in such a way that you don't have to have a science background to understand, which is important for this type of book. That being said, if you don't have much interest in science then you'll probably not enjoy the first half of the book as much as I did. I am however taking the author's word that the facts in the book are sound. It assured me several times that they had been successfully shown in lab testing. It just wasn't all that clear how exactly one would go about testing the claims being made; I just couldn't picture a test that would prove them since, as I've mentioned, I know nothing about quantum physics. It was a minor annoyance and I actually think the book would have been worse off if it had all of the minutiae details. It would have bogged it down too much. Luckily I generally give people the benefit of the doubt, so I'm willing to believe that the facts of the book are sound, even if I don't really get the why or the how of it.

On the diet front the advice is at it's most basic this: Eat foods that are good for you and move your body more. Common sense, sure, but it's good advice. The other part of it was that we need to tell ourselves better stories about the food that we're eating. This is what I feel made the book more than just another gimmicky weight loss book. I don't know if it aids in weight loss or not, but I really believe that the way we think about food it broken. If you can't feel good about what you're eating, that's a problem. Not that I'm immune to such thinking. Not even a little. So this point should be made as often as possible - no matter if it's dressed up as science or warm-and-fuzzy-self-help - Stop thinking about foods as good and bad, and if you can't feel good about eating something, perhaps you shouldn't be eating it.

Last point - this book suffers from what I've come to call Exclamation Mark Overkill. I'm mentioned this before (and again). Seriously - stop it. If your content can't stand on it's own as important information, the exclamation mark it only going to draw attention to your weak point. And if the information you're presenting really is important/ground breaking/novel/exciting/whatever, it'll be seen as such. Assume that your reader is smart enough to decide when a piece of info is exciting or interesting. Trust me. This book could have been a hundred times better. The important bits could have stood on their own. Unnecessary exclamation marks make your non-fiction books seem unpolished and amateurish. Don't do it.

On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrifically Awful I'd give it a Pretty Decent. Easy to understand, interesting concepts on the science front, common sense on the diet end. Just...cut it out with the exclamation marks.

Sep 20, 2012

The Future Belongs to the Curious

I'm taking a couple courses on skillshare right now. So far it's pretty excellent. But this video? So awesome and true.

Sep 19, 2012

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Book Description: At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.

Perhaps most inspiring, she introduces us to successful introverts--from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a "pretend extrovert."
This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.

I first realized I was an introvert during my high school sociology class. I was in grade eleven and it came as a bit of a surprise. I know this seems pretty late in the game to realize such a thing, but I'm very close to the middle of the introvert/extrovert scale. At the time, I felt a kind of shame about it. It's should not be a surprise to anyone that in the western world being extroverted is the ideal that is prased. Since then, I've come to terms with my introvertedness  and try to work with it rather that fight against it.

I didn't find this book life affirming or anything, but I imagine it could be for someone who isn't comfortable with their introverted selves. Especially if they are a "classic introvert" if you know what I mean. Close your eyes and picture an introvert. I assume we're both picturing something similar - mousy and quiet, likes spending time alone. Obviously, not every introvert is that intovert. I'm not that introvert. And the book does make that clear. But I suspect that introvert will see themselves reflected in the pages of this book more than I did.

And that's ok. Even if you're not introverted in the least, you still could enjoy this book. It's full of feel good stories of innovation and success. It has tons of psychology and science. Also, lots of general awesomeness. Plus, maybe you'll understand the introverts in your life. And better understanding can never be a bad thing, right?

On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrifically Awful I'd give it an Extremely Awesome. Informative, interesting, engaging and well written - this is just an all around excellent book.

Sep 18, 2012

A Brief Note about Jonah Lehrer

Back in January, I wrote a review of Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. It was a pretty glow-y review, too. Or at least it would have been if I knew how to review books properly. I like to think I'm getting better at it, but I might just be fooling myself. Anyway, the point is that I really enjoyed that book. I enjoyed it so much that my ending recommendation was that everyone should read it. I loved it. I thought I would hold it up as one of the best (if not the best) book I read this year.

That's why I was saddened to learn that some of the quotes in the book were just plain made up. No, more than saddened. I felt betrayed. Not as betrayed as I might had I actually paid for the book, but betrayed none the less. I don't like to be lied to when I'm reading non-fiction.

His other journalistic misdeeds? Well, I'm no journalist, so I'll leave the ethics of those up to the professionals. (Also see Whose Words Are These Anyway)

I thought about taking down my review. Instead I wrote this.

Sep 17, 2012

Sep 11, 2012

Brave New World

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Description: Far in the future, the World Controllers have finally created the ideal society. In laboratories worldwide, genetic science has brought the human race to perfection. From the Alpha-Plus mandarin class to the Epsilon-Minus Semi-Morons, designed to perform menial tasks, man is bred and educated to be blissfully content with his pre-destined role.

But, in the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, Bernard Marx is unhappy. Harbouring an unnatural desire for solitude, feeling only distaste for the endless pleasures of compulsory promiscuity, Bernard has an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress…

A fantasy of the future that sheds a blazing critical light on the present--considered to be Aldous Huxley' s most enduring masterpiece.

When it comes to book choices, I am generally not interested in anything that could fall into the category "classics". This may make me seem uncultured, but it's true. I usually enjoy them once I get into to them (as you can probably tell from my previous reviews, I'm not particularly hard to please when it comes to books) but I often find them tedious at first - before I get into the rhythm of reading them. I just kind of have a meh attitude about classic literature in general. 

...I'm not really sure what my point is, except to say this book has always been an exception to that rule of sorts. I've been meaning to read Brave New World for some time now, but just have never gotten to it until now. I love dystopian fiction and want to read as much as possible (seriously, if you have suggestions I would like to know them). 

Does it ever happen to you that you hear a lot about a book (or a movie, or whatever), and you think you know what it's going to be about but then you actually read it and it's not at all what you expected it to be? And, if you really think about it, you realize that you really didn't know anything about it to begin with? Well, that's what this book was for me. It was not at all what I had expected it would be, and that was both good and bad, as you can imagine.  Good because, well surprise is always good, right? At least, when reading fiction. Bad because...well, it's kind of hard to explain. I just expected to like this book a lot more then I did. I didn't expect it to be this big, life changing inspiration or anything, just...yeah. I expected it to be more than it was. 

I guess I'm just used to it being very clear who the good guys are and who are the bad guys. But...I mean, the people of civilization weren't exactly bad guys. They just had a very narrow existence. A very boring, narrow view of the world...but they were happy, at least. And "The Savage", well, he was a little too extreme and intense for me to want to side with him. A product, I'm guessing, of being a character written for an audience in 1931. I just wanted to say to him, Dude, chill out. You're making mountains out of mole hills. Also, Lenina was this awesome character, right up until they went to the reservation and then she instantly got annoying and stupid. That made me more than a little displeased. I really, really liked her at the beginning. I know she was just being who she was brainwashed to be, but I wanted her to be so much more.

On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrifically Awful, I'd give it a Very Good. I'm glad I read it and it had some really interesting ideas, but I didn't love it.