Books Feed

"What's REALLY going on when you wake up in the night and sense a monstrous presence in the bedroom . . ."

Excerpt from The Science of Weird Shit by Chris French & Richard Wiseman:

We can learn so much about the human mind by investigating what lies behind experiences that appear to be paranormal. Factors like attention, perception and memory can all play a part.

What I've also found is that you can almost always uncover a logical explanation for things that appear to be paranormal.


"Very Ordinary Men: Elon Musk and the court biographer"

A crabby, insightful, funny review of Walter Issacson's biography of Elon Musk. Excerpt:

Listen, Walt: I know everyone at your Aspen Ideas Festival get-togethers is always prattling on about changing the world, I know every two-bit billionaire claims to be changing the world with their obnoxious SaaS fintech bullshit, I know all your buddies in Washington speak in the same language of creepy blissed-out messianism, but Elon Musk has not changed the world. He is not a great innovator. He is not a genius. He is not taking the human species anywhere in particular. He’s boring. Even his faults are boring! Musk is a very ordinary man. A con man; a fraudster. Worst of all, a government contractor.

 


Book review of "How Big Things Get Done The Surprising Factors That Determine the Fate of Every Project, from Home Renovations to Space Exploration and Everything in Between"

Yikes.

Flyvbjerg’s database of more than 16,000 big projects shows that only 8.5 percent are on-budget and on-time and that only 0.5 percent are on-budget, on-time, and deliver the promised benefits—and these numbers make no allowance for budget padding.


"FDR’s Campaign of Intimidation"

Very favorable review of a new book, The New Deal’s War on the Bill of Rights: The Untold Story of FDR’s Concentration Camps, Censorship, and Mass Surveillance.

The book is yet another strike against the reputation of FDR. But I don't anticipate it will change the minds of any of the people who revere him. (I once had a brief discussion with my late father-in-law about the research showing that FDR didn't really get the country out of the Great Depression. My father-in-law wasn't having it: you don't understand, he said, FDR got the apple sellers off the streets! It was an early introduction to Liberal reasoning.)


"The Big Fail"

Alex Tabarrok favorably reviews the The Big Fail by Joseph Nocera and Bethany McLean.

[The Big Fail] is an angry book. Rightly so. It decries the way the bien pensant, the self-righteously conventional, were able to sideline, suppress and belittle other voices as unscientific, fraudulent purveyors of misinformation. The Big Fail gives the other voices their hearing— Martin Kulldorff, Sunetra Gupta, Jay Bhattacharya and Emily Oster are recast not as villains but as heroes; as is Ron DeSantis who is given credit for bucking the conventional during the pandemic