Sunday, November 27, 2011

She'erit Hahaim (What Remains of Life) [Hebrew]

By Zeruya Shalev

This book started out very depressing - the three main characters are totally depressed and constantly mourn their life choices. You feel like telling them - come on! do something! Finally, in the end they do decide to do something about it and the book ends very brightly. It ended up being quite a moving book. [334 pp.]

Book link

Thursday, November 10, 2011

On Second Thought

Outsmarting Your Mind's Hard-Wired Habits

By Wray Herbert

A book about heuristics. It's good to know what they are so you can be aware of them and think again before you make a rush decision because of them. According to this book, it's pretty obvious that psychology researchers like to jump to conclusions. They find tendencies in some people to do something, and immediately exclaim: "they do it because of the fear of height hueristic!" For example, the author himself identifies himself as someone with moderate fear of height. He "proves" it by overestimating the height of the porch he's standing on by a couple of inches! Then he goes on to say that all people overestimate it by a couple of inches, even those who do not think they are fearful of heights. There are many examples that don't make much sense, but I don't remember them. You will just have to read it and find out for yourselves. Because despite the rush conclusions, there seems to be some truth to all of it after all, and it is useful to be aware of all of these things that we act upon because of our ancestor's heritage. One important lesson I will take away from this book: when you put your house for sale, don't ask for an exact number!

Book link


By Jeffrey Eugenides

I enjoyed reading the book. It is very detailed in history, anatomy, and emotions, and I appreciate them all. The only thing that bothered me was that I didn't know why the narrator's brother has such a weird name. I am not familiar with the names of US laws. But now that I know where it came from, I find it hilarious. Also hilarious: the facial hair belt (I think I'm paraphrasing it). Anyway, it was very good. [529 pp.]

Book link