Friday, February 27, 2015

Are Printed Books Better than E-Books?

I just skimmed through an interesting online article on Nine Studies Show Why Printed Books are Better. I prefer reading a printed book myself. I have a better idea on how much progress I've made in the book or within a chapter. I can highlight sections easier and if inclined, write notes in the book. The big advantage with an e-book is cost. Unless you can find the book you like in the library, you may have to spend 50-80% more purchasing the printed book vs. downloading the book online.

I also miss the smell and feel of a printed book. The biggest thing I miss is the experience of going to a bookstore to slowly browse the shelves, thumb through books I may have interest and purchasing them.

Content on a Kindle or Ipad seems very antiseptic at times. As an aside, I'd say that 50% of my reading comes from books in the library, 40% from e-books and 10% from purchased printed books from Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Great observation on What Love of Country Means

This is a follow-up post to the stupid comments made by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani where he questioned the patriotism and love of country why Pres. Obama. I am quoting below and article written by William Galston in today's Wall Street Journal entitled "Giuliani Aside, Love of Country Means What?

"What does it mean to love one's country? This much is clear: it doesn't mean never criticizing one's country...Edmund Burke said it best: 'To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.' To the extent that our country beauty is flawed, we straighten that love by working to remove it."

Thursday, February 19, 2015

My Own Life: Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer

I wonder if I could be as wise and accepting of my fate as Mr. Sacks. Indeed I should try to follow some of his guidance right now...

"Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life.

On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight. 

This will involve audacity, clarity and plain speaking; trying to straighten my accounts with the world. But there will be time, too, for some fun (and even some silliness, as well). 

I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential. I must focus on myself, my work and my friends. I shall no longer look at “NewsHour” every night. I shall no longer pay any attention to politics or arguments about global warming."

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Too Much Prayer in Politics: Republicans, the Religious Right and Evolution NYT 2-15-14 by Frank Bruni

GOD had a busy week. Alabama alone was a heavy lift, what with all those God invocations by state leaders trying to cast out the demon of gay marriage, then London called as well. Scott Walker was on a trip there, and he tugged God into the picture when he was asked about evolution and declined to answer, as if embracing it would be a heathen outrage. 
In a subsequent tweet, Walker insisted that there wasn’t any conflict between “faith & science,” which, he wrote, “go hand in hand.”
That’s debatable. This isn’t: Faith and government shouldn’t be as cozy as they are in this country. Politicians in general, and Republicans in particular, shouldn’t genuflect as slavishly as they do, not in public. They’re vying to be senators and presidents. They’re not auditioning to be ministers and missionaries.
We should listen hard to what’s being said in Alabama, where opponents of gay marriage aren’t merely asserting that it runs counter to what Alabamians want. They’re declaring that it perverts God’s will, which was the position that some racists took about integration.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow

 Some takeaways from the book:

" New ideas emerge when you question the assumptions upon which a problem is based."

 Lateral thinking doesn't replace hard work; it eliminates unnecessary cycles.

 Momentum, not experience, is the single biggest predictor of business and personal success.

 Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win.

We live in an age of nontraditional ladder climbing. Not just in politics, but in personal and business development and education and entertainment and innovation. Traditional paths are not just slow; they no longer viable if we want to compete and innovate.

 Informal mentoring produced a larger and more significant effect on career outcomes than formal mentoring. Asking someone to formerly mentor you is like asking a celebrity for an autograph; it's stiff, inorganic, and often doesn't work it out.

 Research showed that experts – people who were masters of the trade – vastly preferred negative feedback to positive. It's spurred the most improvement. That was because criticism is generally more actionable than compliments.

 Perhaps the most important benefit of having super educated instructors is a better trained teacher is more adept at teaching children how to learn, whereas the coach turned geography teacher will often teach how to memorize. Finnish education reflects that: it focuses on teaching students how to think, not what to think.

 The trouble with moon walkers (Aldrin and Armstrong) and billionaires is once they arrive at the top, their momentum often stops. If they don't manage to find something to parlay, they turn into the kid on the jungle gym who just hangs from the ring. Not coincidentally, this is the same reason that only one third of Americans are happy at their jobs. When there is no forward momentum in our careers, we get depressed too.

 Research found that minor victories at work were nearly as psychologically powerful as major breakthroughs.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Smart Things I Read Today

The persistently unsafe state of dying in America should provoke a Howard Beale moment.
Let's start by requiring medical schools to adequately train young doctors to assess and treat pain, listen to patients concerns and collaborate with patients and families in making treatment decisions and test for those skills before awarding medical degrees. Let's require nursing home companies to double staffing of nurses and aides, and the hours of care recorded each resident. Let's set minimum standards for pallets of care teams within every hospital. Let's routinely publish meaningful quality ratings for hospitals, nursing homes, assisted-living, home health and hospice programs for people to use in choosing care. And let's repeal the Medicare statute that forces incurably ill people to forgo disease treatments in order to receive hospice care.

Ira Byock:  Dying Shouldn't Be So Brutal NYT 2/1/16