Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Mind's Eye

"The Mind's Eye." Dr. Sacks focuses on creative people who have learned to compensate for potentially devastating disabilities. From the concert pianist who progressively lost the ability to recognize objects yet managed to keep performing from memory; to the writer whose stroke disturbed his ability to read but not his ability to write; to Sacks himself, who suffers from "face blindness," a condition that renders him unable to recognize people, even relatives, and, sometimes, himself. Written with his trademark insight, compassion, and humor, the book makes the obscure and arcane absolutely absorbing

Book Quote of the Day

It is no tragedy to think of the most successful people in any field as superheroes. But it is a tragedy when a belief in the judgment of experts or the marketplace rather than a belief in ourselves causes us to give up, as John Kennedy Toole did when he committed suicide after publishers repeatedly rejected his manuscript for the posthumously best-selling Confederacy of Dunces...
What I’ve learned, above all, is to keep marching forward because the best news is that since chance does play a role, one important factor in success is under our control: the number of at bats, the number of chances taken, the number of opportunities seized. For even a coin weighted toward failure will sometimes land on success. Or as the IBM pioneer Thomas Watson said, “If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.”
-Mlodinow, Leonard (2008-05-13). The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives (p. 217). Vintage. Kindle Edition.

People to Watch- David Berlinski

He is the author of numerous books, including The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and It Scientific Pretensions (Crown Forum, 2008; Basic Books, 2009), Infinite Ascent: A Short History of Mathematics for the Modern Library series at Random House (2004), The Secrets of the Vaulted Sky (Harcourt, 2003), The Advent of the Algorithm (Harcourt Brace, 2000), Newton’s Gift (Free Press, 2000), and A Tour of the Calculus (Pantheon, 1996). William F. Buckley Jr. said of The Devil’s Delusion that “Berlinski’s book is everything desirable; it is idiomatic, profound, brilliantly polemical, amusing, and of course vastly learned.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A book worth thinking and reading

Here's Tyler Cowen's review;
When doing the statistics, one key issue is how to measure violence. Pinker often favors “per capita” measures, but I am not so sure. I might prefer a weighted average of per capita and “absolute quantity of violence” measures. Killing six million Jews in the Holocaust is not, in my view, “half as violent” if global population is twice as high. Once you toss in the absolute measures with the per capita measures, the long-term trends are not nearly as favorable as Pinker suggests.

A New York City Firefighter's Triumphant Comeback from Crash Victim to Elite Athlete

The Long Run is an emotional and incredibly honest story about Matt's determination to fight through fear, despair, loneliness, and intense physical and psychological pain to regain the life he once had. The book chronicles Matt's road to recovery as he teaches himself to walk again and, a mere three years later, to run in the 2008 New York City Marathon. "Running saved my life," Matt says, and his embrace of the running community and insistence on competing in the marathon has inspired many, turning him into a symbol of hope and recovery for untold numbers of others.
I WILL Foundation

Photo of the Day

Pictured: H. & S.J. Rowan, Secondhand Bookshop, Boscombe, Bournemouth, Dorset "Mr Rowan has been in this part of Bournemouth for many years and specialises in buying and selling maps and books—antiquarian, arts, aviation, military history, atlases and local interest. Like all good dealers, he advertises in local papers offering to visit people’s homes to view books for sale."