What Do You Care What Other People Think?

Written on July 6, 2019. Written by .

Based on the description of “A thoughtful companion volume to the earlier Surely You Are Joking…” I was expecting something similar to Surely You’re Joking, but this book was quite different. Publishers Weekly sums it up well: “In this posthumous miscellany, theoretical physicist Feynman displays only sporadically the adventurousness that captivated readers of Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman.” This book is more serious; half of it is about his investigation into the Challenger disaster. It’s still interesting, but it’s really not comparable to Surely You’re Joking.

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Pandoras Star

Written on July 6, 2019. Written by .

It took me over 4 years to finish this book. I found most of it really boring. The prelude on the other hand was incredible. I figured if the rest of the book was half as good as the prelude it would be a great book, but it wasn’t even close to half as good. It seemed like the whole book was all setup and no delivery. And the ending was really frustrating because it didn’t even tie together the two main subplots so the reader is still left wondering what the point of one whole subplot is. There was one fun part in the book, when they visited the Dyson pair and I got my hopes up that the book was finally getting to the good part, but then it was over and it went back to boring stuff again.

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Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Written on June 29, 2019. Written by .

This book was really more of a long list of “notes to self” that were fairly repetitive and not particularly interesting. Some of them could be used as prompts for reflection, so there may be some value in reading it, but I would think that another book that develops ideas more fully would be more helpful.

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Mahamudra for the Modern World

Written on May 11, 2018. Written by .

This is a 38 hour long course on Mahamudra, which is a type of Tibetan Buddhism. It mixes dharma-style explanations with guided practice. The explanatory parts tend to be quite long-winded and sounded like rambling to me. He also didn’t seem very concerned about making them sound scientific as there was a hint of mystical belief embedded in some parts. It’s hard for me to evaluate the effectiveness of the approach due to my personal difficulties with focus during meditation, but I found the guided meditations to be very relaxing due to his calm voice.

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High-Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way

Written on April 27, 2018. Written by .

Mike Mentzer was a world-class bodybuilder and this book explains his approach to bodybuilding. It appears that he had a very scientific approach, although the book doesn’t go into the science much, instead just stating the main points. Some of the big points are: go to failure on each set (excepting some cases like warmup sets), if you aren’t making progress there’s a good chance that you need to work out less to allow more time for recovery (some people should only workout once per week or less for a half hour). The theme was to do short very high intensity workouts and take long breaks between workouts to allow for recovery. He also prescribes a specific workout routine that covers all the major muscles. His approach made a lot of sense to me and seems to be consistent with other research that I’ve done.

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Principles

Written on April 26, 2018. Written by .

Although a fairly dry read, I found this book valuable for providing a counterargument to some other management theories. Many people advise others to pick their battles and let people get away with being irrational if the decision is not obviously critical to the big picture. Furthermore, people often assume that this advice is objectively optimal/correct and not a cultural or personal bias. This book explicitly recommends not picking battles, fighting all of them, and not letting people get away with irrationality. It is interesting in how explicit and extreme it is; you can’t really reinterpret what he’s trying to say as you can with many other sources that have enough qualifications so that it can be reinterpreted to mean almost anything reasonable. Given that this management style underlies one of the most successful investment firms in the world, it provides strong evidence that there is more than one option with regards to these questions, and should instill doubt in those who think that it is objectively wrong or suboptimal. Some parts of the book made me a bit concerned about the psychological implications of working in an environment of always being judged and under threat of termination. I don’t think the book addressed these psychological concerns, so I have a suspicion that the culture described in the book might not work well for all types of people, but may work particularly well for some types.

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Canyonlands National Park

Written on January 21, 2018. Written by .

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Arches National Park

Written on January 21, 2018. Written by .

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Capitol Reef National Park

Written on January 21, 2018. Written by .

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Great Basin National Park

Written on January 21, 2018. Written by .

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