Posts Categorized: Psychology

Review: Brain on Fire

November 2, 2016 Memoir, non-fiction, Psychology, Science 14

Review: Brain on FireTitle: Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
Author: Susannah Cahalan
Source: Library
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This was an amazing mix of clear, informative journalism and moving, emotional memoir.
“When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened? In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Cahalan tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen.” (source) Read more »

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Review: A Deadly Wandering

June 18, 2015 Biography, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction, Psychology, Science 8

Review: A Deadly WanderingTitle: A Deadly Wandering
Author: Matt Richtel
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: Although the science and citations weren’t as detailed as I’d have liked, this book was a profoundly moving and enjoyable read.

This is a story about something that could happen to any of us if we’re not careful. This is a story about the sometimes deadly consequences of texting and driving. This is a story about Reggie Shaw and how he caused an accident that killed Jim Furfaro and Keith O’Dell, both fathers and rocket scientists, because he was texting while he drove. Through extensive interviews with Reggie, his family, and the families of Jim and Keith, the author shows the impact this accident had on their lives. He also explains the science that makes texts so hard to ignore that many of us choose to text and drive, despite knowing that doing so is dangerous. Read more »

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Dataclysm

October 28, 2014 Memoir, non-fiction, Psychology, Science 19

DataclysmTitle: Dataclysm
Author: Christian Rudder
Source: Edelweiss
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was a very light, accessible look at data analysis which answers some interesting, but often obvious, questions about how we date and how we describe ourselves online.

As one of the creators of the dating site OkCupid, author Christian Rudder has a fascinating dataset to play with. In combination with data acquired from other data-collecting websites (Facebook, Google, etc), he’s able to ask and answer some very interesting questions. For instance, who do people want to date? And, more interestingly, how does this compare to who they say they want to date? Does the way people describe themselves and the way that people respond to them vary by ethnicity? By age? Even questions that people might not answer accurately can begin to be answered here.

Read more »

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Wikipedia U: Knowledge, Authority, and Liberal Education in the Digital Age

October 8, 2014 History, non-fiction, Psychology, Review 17

Wikipedia U: Knowledge, Authority, and Liberal Education in the Digital AgeTitle: Wikipedia U
Author: Thomas Leitch
Source: Edelweiss
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Summary: This book wasn’t a success as either an entertaining read or as a well thought out scholarly work.

Despite discouragement from many teachers, I feel like student use of Wikipedia is on the rise, so I was excited to read about the phenomenon from an educator’s perspective. However, as I perhaps should have gathered from the description and subtitle, the main focus of this book is on the nature of authority. Wikipedia is primarily used as an example of a situation where authorities are in conflict and the source of authority is up for debate. Read more »

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My Thinning Years – Review and Giveaway

September 23, 2014 LGBT, Memoir, non-fiction, Psychology, Review, Self-Help 10

My Thinning Years – Review and GiveawayTitle: My Thinning Years
Author: Jon Derek Croteau
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This was a tough read, but also engaging and eye-opening.

It was clear from an early age that Jon was not the athletic, all-American boy his father wanted him to be. His father responded with fear and hate, trying to change Jon with physical and emotional abuse. As a teenager, Jon’s internalized homophobia caused him to continue abusing himself, with eating disorders and excessive, unhealthy amounts of exercise. Only years later, by cutting his father out of his life and out of his head, was he able to come to terms with his sexual identity and to recognize that he deserved to be happy. Read more »

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It’s Complicated

June 23, 2014 non-fiction, Psychology 17

18342787 (1)Title: It’s Complicated
Author: Danah Boyd
Source: from publisher via NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: Even though this book had an academic bent, everything was explained clearly and the mix of research with anecdotes and ethical questions made for some fascinating reading.

Being a blogger means I use social media quite a bit, something which often highlights for me how technologically behind I’d be if I didn’t blog. This has made me curious about how more technologically savvy people use social media, so I was excited to see how teens who grew up with social media use these sites. In  It’s Complicated, the author takes a look at teen use of the latest social media sites over the past decade, from MySpace to Facebook to Twitter. The author systematically questions the stereotypes about social media-using teens. These include the assumption that all teens are good at and potentially addicted to technology to the idea that technology has fundamentally changed the way teens interact. She supports her conclusion with facts and figures, as well as hundreds of interviews with teens and parents. Read more »

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The Map Thief

June 1, 2014 Biography, History, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction, Psychology 28

18693681Title: The Map Thief
Author: Michael Blanding
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★★
Fun Fact: Because mapmakers continued to depict California as an island after it was known not to be, Ferdinand VII of Spain issued a law which simply stated “California is not an island.”
Review Summary: This is a well-researched story which included both interesting personal details and awesome fun facts written in an engaging way – everything I want from narrative nonfiction!

To most people who knew him, E. Forbes Smiley III appeared to be a respectable, well-to-do map dealer. However, there were some who suspected otherwise, noting his sometimes bounced checks and less than friendly business practices. Nothing could be proven until he dropped a razor blade while visiting a rare book collection, raising the librarians suspicions. The Map Thief tells Smiley’s story, from his childhood through his arrest, as well as the history of map-making and map collecting. The author shares bits of an exclusive post-arrest interview with Smiley and is able to share other personal stories from interviews with friends. He also addresses clues that Smiley might not have been entirely forthcoming about how many maps he stole. Read more »

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The Future of the Mind

March 4, 2014 non-fiction, Psychology, Science 10

IMG_9560Title: The Future of the Mind
Author: Michio Kaku
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: I loved the exciting look at current and future technology, but the explanations weren’t as clear as in some of Kaku’s other books.

Michio Kaku is first and foremost a theoretical physicist, so he begins his book describing a physicist’s perspective on how the brain works. Then he describes the latest and greatest advances in our understanding of how the brain works and makes some incredible predictions for the future. These include everything from the possibility of assisted telepathy and enhanced cognition to uploadable memories and recordable dreams. Read more »

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Precarious Japan

December 5, 2013 History, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction, Psychology 11

17264900Title: Precarious Japan
Author: Anne Allison
Source: from publisher for review
Fun Fact: Until the 1980’s when this was made illegal, many Japanese companies required that women leave work when they married or had children. 80% of women still follow this custom.
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: Parts of this book read like narrative non-fiction and gave fascinating insight into the state of Japan, but other bits were full of sociology-speak and very hard to follow.

Currently in Japan regular employment is becoming scarcer, the population is aging, and recovery from the nuclear disaster of 3/11 is still underway. All of these factors have made life more uncertain in Japan. Many people feel a lack of belonging and connection to other people. The author, Anne Allison, addresses these issues both through social theories about Japan and her extensive interviews with Japanese citizens. Read more »

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Hardwiring Happiness

October 8, 2013 non-fiction, Psychology, Self-Help 10

17288646Title: Hardwiring Happiness
Author: Rick Hanson
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★☆
Fun Fact: Things you think about often shape your neural pathways.
Review Summary: I only finished this book two days ago and I actually think it’s already making a difference for me because it gives such great actionable advice. Very helpful!

Hardwiring Happiness is all about focusing on the little things. It is not, however, just another one of those books telling you  “live in the moment” which are so popular these days. Instead, it focuses on events and feelings that you can pay attention to in order to build up the inner strength you need to face specific challenges. By focusing on positive experiences, you help yourself remember positive feelings more strongly, despite our brain naturally remembering negative experiences better. Read more »

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