What I’ve been reading

Again, a long delay in posting. I’m job hunting again as my current contract finishes at the end of the year. Happily, I’m using working on my novel as displacement activity for finding a job. This weekend I managed to get my act together enough to update my CV and apply for a couple of jobs.

In the meantime, I’ve read a few pop science books lately that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.

Risk, The Science of Politics and Fear, by Dan Gardner is a guide through understanding statistics and probability. It does this through examining health scare, terrorism, and child abuse stories rampant in the media. It can have a flavour of biological reductionism, especially at the beginning, but it is worth perservering with.

Blink, The Power of Thinking without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell is really interesting. It looks at intuition and what happens when it’s right and why it can go wrong. What was mainly interesting is the idea that you can develop better intuitive thinking through applying lengthy analysis to your experience. Gladwell has a very light writing style and covers some complex ideas in a manner that requires little effort on the part of the reader.

Bad Science, by Ben Goldacre. This mainly focusses on medical science. Goldacre has a pop at homeopaths, nutritionists, big pharma and science journalism. The section on how the placebo and nocebo effects work are very engaging.

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