So, What Are You Reading?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Ted Heiks, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    I'm still not finished with The Righteous Mind. I took a detour and started Esperanza Rising. I'm not far enough into it to say anything worthwhile about it, but I remember it being all the rage in the young adult demographic a few years ago. I'm looking forward to what I expect to be a rewarding read.

    On the audiobook end, I just finished You Can Do Anything by George Anders. He basically argues that my little rinky dink Liberal Arts degree is worth more than I could have ever imagined. I hope he's right. I'm currently listening to Livewired by David Eagleman, which is about the wondrous plasticity of the human mind and its resilience in the face of dramatic new challenges.
  2. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Can you elaborate briefly? :eek:
  3. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Wow! How much did he say you could sell it for? :) (I jest, of course.) My take: He's right - but it doesn't have to be (all -or even at all) in a career /monetary sense. My take: a lot of what you learned will stick. You acquired learning skills, thinking habits, knowing how things, processes, people work - regardless of anything strictly occupational. Those skills, habits etc. (and the knowledge you acquired) help make you - You. And help that You to be a continually evolving process. The degree has altered You for the better and if you let it, that will continue.. And how much increased value is there to You? Hell, that's incalculable, Maniac. I don't have a clue how to measure the incredible value of an individual life -- and me, with three whole semesters of College math! :)

    For now, just toss your resume on the pile there, and I'll get back to you. :)
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2020
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

  5. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Oh, a B.A. in Philosophy is excellent preparation for law school, or at least it is according to my son-in-law who is a former professor of that liberal art. I found it so, myself, so there's that. Personally, I suspect that the Victorians got it right; a liberal education is the foundation to all intellectual enquiry even in the hard sciences.
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  6. Mac Juli

    Mac Juli Well-Known Member

    Funny. My Professor (Theoretical Physics) told it exactly the other way around! Tee hee... :)
  7. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State, an indepth look at Edward Snowden's disclosures and the amazing and unchecked powers of the NSA. Really shocking. I thought I knew what the NSA could do, but it goes way beyond monitoring telephone calls and internet traffic: they have access to your emails, your chat conversations, they even install backdoors into commercially purchased routers en route to their destinations. Wow.
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  8. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Hence the saying that the NSA is the only part of government that actually listens.
  9. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    The Man Who Saved The Union: Ulysses Grant In War And Peace, .. H.W. Brands
  10. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    The book argues, with some statistics and a copious amount of anecdote, that beyond learning any particular subject, liberal arts majors learn an invaluable collection of skills that they carry over with them for their entire lives. Further, the book intends to demonstrate that in the long run, liberal arts majors fare rather comparably in job opportunities and lifetime earnings as those who major in more specialized fields. It just takes them a bit longer after graduation to see the big paydays.

    I finished the audiobook. It was a fascinating listen, but I still feel like my social science major is just a bunch of bleh and meh. (Though I'm still very happy that I finished it!)
    Dustin likes this.
  11. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

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  12. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Just finished Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction. Written by a political scientist who ran a forecasting tournament for IARPA, he discovered there are individuals whose forecasting skills were so above average they even beat trained intelligence analysts in time-limited (less than 12 month) geopolitical forecasts. He determined there was a series of differences in the way these people forecasted:
    • They started with the "base rate" of an event. When looking at a question like "Will the President of X country be deposed in the next 12 months", they don't start by learning about Country X. Instead, they look at how frequently leaders of any nation are deposed. How frequently are leaders in that region of the world deposed? And then finally, what's happening in that specific country? This is an outside-in view, versus our gut instinct which is to start on the inside and learn about a topic first.
    • They make numerous forecasts, updating them as they learn more information.
    • They quantify their forecasts into percentages (e.g. 65% chance or 80% chance.)
    • They make more precise forecasts. The DIA uses a prediction scale that has 7 options (Remote, Very unlikely, Unlikely, Even chance, Probably/Likely, Very likely, Almost certainly) but this means moving from one to the next implies an increase of 14%. The best forecasters adjusted their forecasts by 5% or less, sometimes 1% at a time.
    • They work in teams, which with a diversity of thought can increase your accuracy by up to 30%
    • They conduct detailed postmortems to catch thinking errors
    They use brier scores to determine accuracy, which is the square of the error between your forecast and whether the event occurred or did not.

    Although the original superforecasters are now part of the professional Good Judgement Project (GJP), you can potentially join them by joining the GJP Open, where you can make your own predictions and track your success.

    Pretty neat!
    Maniac Craniac likes this.
  13. GregWatts

    GregWatts Active Member

    Currently, "Charting Corporate Corruption: Agency, Structure and Escalation" and "The Cambridge Handbook of Western Mysticism and Esotericism".
  14. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Reread Frederick Lewis Allen's book "Since Yesterday".
  15. SpoonyNix

    SpoonyNix Active Member

    Just finished "Freedom™" , by Daniel Suarez. Took a while to get through. Quickly followed up with "Anatomy of the State" by Murray Rothbard.

    Now I will dive back into "Cryptonomicon" by Neal Stephenson. It's such a long book, sometimes I see it on my shelf, with a little bookmark WAAAAY at the beginning, and I skip it for something I KNOW I can get through in a week or less.
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  16. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    OMG, don't skip it! It is absolutely amazing. Okay, you and I seem to have differences in approach, but I'm certain that you of all people will love it.

    I first read it twenty years ago when I was working for e-gold, which was a company at the center of a nascent industry to build a denominated alternative financial system. This was crushed by the Feds, but whoever Satoshi Nakamoto was, he she or they clearly were at least on the periphery of what we were doing because the distributed ledger design of Bitcoin solved a lot of our design defects. Parts of the book read like a much more exciting version of what we were trying to do.

    Anyway, read it!
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  17. SpoonyNix

    SpoonyNix Active Member

    Yeah, I just looked and I'm on 208 of 918, so further along than I thought. I got into a bad habit of being into 5 or more books at a time, but think I'm over it now.
  18. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I remember e-gold! For reasons I never understood you could buy at least some Mac trial software and pay in e-gold but I don't think I ever saw an offer to pay for something on a piece of Windows software with it.
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  19. SpoonyNix

    SpoonyNix Active Member

    Finished Cryptonomicon.

    Next is The State of Humanity by Julian Simon.
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  20. asianphd

    asianphd Active Member

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