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Ok, here’s my first draft for my book recommendations page. For now, I’ll have a short, unsorted list with a tiny bit of comment on each one and a link to amazon.
Risk examines how the human brain percieves and prioritizes what it’s afraid of. Unfortunately, we are very prone to getting it wrong, when it comes to prioritizing risk factors. To make things worse, there are many people who can profit from people being afraid of certain things and they are obviously prone to exploiting this. The book is relevant and very helpful in gaining a realistic perspective of what risks we really face and where we are worrying too much. The general tone is very positive and it’s not just an informative, but also an uplifting read.
I found Black Swan to be not so much a good book as an important book. The core message is repeated again and again, which can be tiring, but doesn’t change the fact that it is an important and much-underestimated message: Some things cannot be predicted and we should be realistic about that. It’s been shown often enough that people have a very poor ability to make correct predictions about complex issues, and Black Swan dwelves deep into this basic problem. Black Swan opens the reader’s mind to the fact that for some subjects, our way of predicting outcomes and our ideas of what is regular and what is random simply don’t hold true. While there is no real solution to this problem, at least we could learn not to delude ourselves about it. The book is also an interesting counterpart to Risk by Dan Gilbert, since it touches some of the same subject material, but is more gloomy and basically shines a light into the corners Gilbert’s book omits.
This is one of the books that I hoped would go on forever. It is very well structured and written, funny and informative. Ben Goldacre guides the reader through the basics of scientific thought, to how studies are supposed to be conducted, how they can go wrong and how science in general is often mis-represented and misunderstood. He holds something of a grudge against sloppy journalism on scientific subjects, badly constructed or misrepresented research and nutritionists (yes, nutritionists) and brilliantly rants about them with a wonderful sense of humor. Bad Science should be required reading for every human being. It makes you smarter – go and read it right now. Ben Goldacre also has a brilliant Blog that you should check out.
Outliers offers an unusual perspective on how people become successful. Read my Blog-post for more information on this book.
If you’re at all interested in productivity and general life-improvement, it’s quite unlikely that you haven’t come across Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek yet. The book was and still is enormously successful and for a good reason: Ferriss’ ideas about productivity are truly and refreshingly different from the norm. I’m going to be pragmatic here and say that the book will probably not enable you to actually work just four hours a week and live a jet-set life (at least not without a lot of innovation and effort of your own added in), but the ideas in this book are valuable none the less. Of all the books I’ve read that could be classified as “self-help”, this is the one that was the most useful to me and the one that I most recommend to everyone else to read. Tim Ferriss has a personal blog here, that is worth checking out.