Monday, March 26, 2018
Somehow, there was a giant bubble in Beanie Babies in the late 1990s. It doesn't really fit the usual pattern of bubbles that I have come to understand, which I guess goes to show that when a narrative gets going and people start to herd, you can get a bubble in anything! The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: The Amazing Story of How America Lost Its Mind Over a Plush Toy--and the Eccentric Genius Behind It is all about this bewildering phenomenon.
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance is not really about tennis. It's about getting your frame of mind right to be able to practice and play at your best, in any sport.
Monday, March 19, 2018
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
As Trump takes the world by storm, I've wondered whether there is a real reason to worry that America could become a politically unstable country, or whether that kind of talk is just fear-mongering. On the one hand, he has done some things which you would not expect from a democratic leader (e.g. attack the press, appoint family members to prominent roles, blur the lines between the presidency and personal business relationships, politicize institutions like the FBI etc.). But on the other hand, it seems improbable that we should live in exceptional times; considering America has been around for 240+ years, surely this kind of demagoguery has come and gone before...right? So it was with these ideas in mind that I read the fantastic book How Democracies Die.
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
I generally love books about the Holocaust, and Escape in Time: A novel based on the true story of how a Jewish family in Hungary survived the Holocaust is no exception. It's a bit different from the others in that the main characters, by staying astray of the law, managed to avoid concentration camps by blending in with their Christian persecutors.
Saturday, March 3, 2018
The common ancestors we share with molluscs like octopuses lived eons ago. So in some ways they are so different from us that learning more about them can be fascinating. And yet, life found some tools so valuable that they were developed by both us and them in parallel. In The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness, Sy Montgomery explores this world of differences and similarities between us and the octopus.