2019 December Update
No new posts last month, but it was a busy month nonetheless.
Books I've read #
- Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
There are lots of trivial findings from google queries, but I can's say there were that interesting to me. There is a little bit about Big Data's pros and cons that I've learned. I would say it's trying to be fun rather than useful failing at both.
- The ABCs of How We Learn: 26 Scientifically Proven Approaches, How They Work, and When to Use Them by Daniel L. Schwartz, Kristen P. Blair, Jessica M. Tsang
Lot's of research-based knowledge about learning. The book has a strong emphasis on academic and school teaching. If you want to know more about learning then there are better books about it.
I've seen it mentioned on Hacker News as this great epic novel. I can agree that it's long (Polish audiobook I was listening to takes 46 hours), but I can't say the same about quality. It's easy to notice that it was written to be long (paid by line). There's a lot of side stories and backstories that don't add much to the story, but it's nice to learn a little bit about France's history even if it's mixed with fiction.
Book for writers that want to get published with a little bit of author story. Lot's of good advice for day-to-day writer's work. Less useful for me were (outdated in my opinion) advice about getting published and how to create novels (as I'm not writing one), but even then I find Storyworthy by Matthew Dicks to be much more useful. It's fun and easy to read so I can still recommend it. I especially like the advice to always keep an index card with you. Write down the though at the time you have it as it's likely to be gone when you get home.
I actually have one writer friend—whom I think I will probably be getting rid of soon—who said to me recently that if you don’t remember it when you get home, it probably wasn’t that important. And I felt eight years old again, with something important to say that had suddenly hopped down one of the rabbit holes in my mind, while an adult nearby was saying priggishly, “Well! It must not have been very important then.”
I fell in love with the book in the first chapters. Writing is great. The stories of her childhood are interesting and a little bit similar to my childhood. It was interesting to compare it to one of the pieces of advice from Bird by Bird to write stories from your childhood to use them in your novel. Unfortunately, after the first chapters, she started losing me. I wasn't sure what was wrong until I've finished it. I still change my mind about the book every time I think about it. Most of the stories in the book are one-sided if not distorted to suit her narrative. At the end of the book I had a big lingering So what? question, because there wasn't much out of the ordinary from my point of view. I'm not sure why it's getting so many high ratings. For me, it's 3/5 at best.
Elsewhere on the Web #
- What’s good for capturing human attention is often bad for humans. Great analysis of social media algorithms.
- What Are the Biggest Mistakes People Make When Forming Habits?
I like the difference between habits and routines that the article makes.
A behavior that requires you to think or exert effort is not a habit. And a lot of times, I see people try to turn things like going to the gym or studying into “habits.” And the problem is that they end up blaming themselves—when the real culprit is that they’ve been trying to solve a problem with the wrong tool.
If you have found a behavior that you’d like to make into a routine, how do you do that? First, start by holding the time for it. Set an “implementation intention,” which is just a fancy way of saying that you will plan what you are going to do and when you are going to do it. Even something as simple as holding the time for doing something has been shown to boost the likelihood of following through.