Reviews and Comments

Victor Villas

Joined 3 weeks ago

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How Will You Measure Your Life? 4 stars

Strangely Valuable

4 stars

Professor Clayton Christensen applies a pedagogical method that I enjoy: explain some theory, exemplify the theory to solidify the insights, then use this theory to analyze a new situation and discuss the predictions/guidance that the theory yields.

It's strange to attempt to design a life based on business administration theory, and it's somewhat bleak that so often the book invites the reader to think of themselves, their careers and their families as a business to grow and manage. But I have to confess that the lessons are convincing, mostly because those management principles are crystals of common sense.

The advantage of this approach is that business cases are more well documented and more convincing than examining the life of "successful" people, exactly because the success of a business is easier to measure than a human life. I recommend not taking the theories too seriously (there's a lot of literature on …

Enlightenment Now (2019, Penguin Books) 3 stars

Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist Steven …


1 star

Steven Pinker absolutely demolishes his imaginary adversaries in a series of long and repetitive discourses against the most inane straw man arguments - obviously preaching to the choir because creationists, ecoterrorists and whatever else radicals he takes for enemies will not be reading this book anyway.

I'm impressed by how despite we agree on most viewpoints the experience of reading this book is completely overshadowed by the confrontational style. Even more surprising that I liked his book on writing (The Sense of Style)! The problem is not dry or repetitive prose, but the absurd positions he's making out of the other side of the debate. It feels like being stuck on a nerd's shower monologue the day after some bully roasted him for being too optimistic.

Very disappointing because there are long sections dedicated to irrelevant positions like people defending that we should go back to living in forests; while …

Calling Bullshit (2020, Random House) 3 stars

Bullshit isn’t what it used to be. Now, two science professors give us the tools …

A catalog of misinformation pitfalls

3 stars

I celebrate any a book focusing on scientific literacy and I congratulate the authors on trying to reach an important audience: people who already (try to) think critically but could use some guidance on methods and pitfalls.

The book style is not for me, though. Like other generic best sellers on the 10's and 20's, it uses a random swear word to refer to things that have proper descriptors used by specialists who are serious about this field. It abuses the elasticity of slang to lump together things that are tangential and makes the book longer than it should. Sometimes I started getting semantic satiation from all the bullshit jokes and metaphors going around.

The very end of the book reminds the reader: the book is about calling out "bullshit", not just identifying it. But the majority of the book feels like a textbook that defines exhaustively all the modern …

reviewed Factfulness by Hans Rosling

Factfulness (2018, Flatiron Books) 4 stars

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than …

Freakonomics for Humanitarians

3 stars

We need a more fact-based world view. You can probably find the 10 instincts and their respective solutions out there on the web and that greatly summarizes the good parts of the book. In a sense, this is the extrapolation of Thinking Fast and Slow applied to humanitarian progress. The bonus of reading the book instead of just looking up the list is getting showered with positive statistics about our progress in all kinds of important metrics regarding poverty, health, education and equality around the world. That was a healthy outcome and I appreciate the effects it had on me.

Still, for a book about resisting cognitive baits, every chapter will include a dozen. The author poses ill defined questions like "how many people have some access to electricity?", and of course the provided answers are set up in a way that you're blown away by the biggest number being …

Humble Pi: When Math Goes Wrong in the Real World (2020, Riverhead Books) 4 stars

Incalculable Entertainment

4 stars

Matt Parker is a straight up funny guy, at least for those aligned with this kind of humor. I used to watch his calculator unboxing videos and the bamboo calculator is forever engraved on my mind, so I was primed to like this book.

No plot twist here. I had a great time with the book and it's one of those cases where it's the author who reads the audiobook and it works for the better. It's like a 10h playlist of his videos, but with more editorial and crafted storytelling.