What non-fiction books are you reading?

seitora

Well-Known Member
#1
Skirting a little on the board topic which is more for fiction, but...a topic in which you list whatever non-fiction books you're reading, whether it's historical, botanical, essay, etc.

Just finished reading Bad Science by Ben Goldacre (the updated version). A pretty good read, but a lot of it felt redundant since I already read his later book, Bad Pharma.
 

seitora

Well-Known Member
#2
Reading Walter Isaacson's biography of Albert Einstein, which is supposedly the first one written since _ALL_ of Einstein's (known) private and classified documents and papers were released.

It's a pretty fascinating read, but there's one thing that I must point out: one of his favorite things to say was (roughly) "Blind trust in authority is the greatest enemy of truth". Given the amount of times partisans such as in the political realm like to use his more favorite line about human stupidity being infinite, that first line is a fantastic rebuttal.
 

seitora

Well-Known Member
#3
And then Steve Jobs' biography, again by Isaacson. It's a fascinating read at times, but wow Jobs was an asshole. And while I had heard about the whole Mercedes license plate thing likely helping to cause his cancer, his obsession with weird diets (all apple diet, eating enough oranges to turn green, etc) didn't help.
 

Lord Raa

Exporter of Juice Tins
#4
Dynasty: The Fall of the House of Caesar by Tom Holland.

Or I would be if I could grip things properly. I have a repetitive strain injury from working too hard.
 

seitora

Well-Known Member
#5
'The Everything Store : Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon' paints a pretty good picture of the history and daily rat-race at Amazon. Given the amount of moments the author writes about the high-octane environment of working at Amazon and the amount of data that goes into making delivery ever quicker, more reliable and more costumer-friendly, I find it hilarious that Bezos claims he doesn't know about the burnout that can occur as written by the NY Times a while back (and several years ago, investigations of warehouses which also included multiple incidences of heat exhaustion).
 

seitora

Well-Known Member
#6
'The Signal and the Noise' written by Nate Silver, who runs FiveThirtyEight. It gives some good examples of statistical failures, discusses a number of statistical methods and cases where they are and aren't being applied properly, etc.
I think it's really sad how statistically illiterate people are. More than even having a financing class or job-finding stuff in high school like writing a resume, I think there needs to be more mandatory statistical stuff beyond the really really basic stuff.
 

seitora

Well-Known Member
#7
'Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline', Darrell Bricker, John Ibbitson. The two authors' essay and theory is basically that U.N. population projects for the next century are too slow to update in face of new information, and that instead of hitting over 11 billion by 2100, it might not even reach 9 billion. There was a recent Lancet study too that similarly tamped down future estimates hard. China, for instance, is expected to lose almost half its population in a mere 72 years (from 2028 to 2100, go from about 1.45 billion to 730 million).
 
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