Category: non-fiction

Non-Fiction November: Favorite Reads

November 5, 2013 Blogger Events, non-fiction 27

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Today is my first post for Non-Fiction November, an exciting event celebrating non-fiction hosted by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness and Leslie at Regular Ruminations. Every Monday this month, a discussion question will be posted. Then each Friday there will be a link-up for discussion posts and non-fiction reviews, with each linky entry entered in a prize drawing at the end of the month! Today’s topic is

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Creative Confidence

October 29, 2013 non-fiction, Self-Help 4

17288649Title: Creative Confidence
Author: Tom and David Kelley
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Review Summary: Although this could be a very helpful book for people doing design work, I found the advice to be less generally applicable than the summary suggests.

The authors Tom and David Kelley work together at the Stanford design school, where they help both people and companies to think creatively. In Creative Confidence, they share their personal experiences with many clients as well as some of the exercises they use to help students improve their creativity. They are strong believers that everyone is creative and can learn to access their innate creativity. Read more »

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Writing on the Wall

October 23, 2013 History, non-fiction 14

17287025Title: Writing on the Wall
Author: Tom Standage
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★★
Fun Fact: Facebook alone accounts for one in seven minutes spent online world wide.
Review Summary: This book did an exceptional job bringing historical eras to life while giving insight into our own use of social media and sharing many fun facts.

Writing on the Wall is about all of the ingenious and fascinating ways that information has been transmitted over the centuries. The author is able to draw surprising parallels between ancient media and the social media of today. These comparisons inform discussions of issues still relevant today, such as the question of whether communication at a distance makes us feel more or less connected to other people, and raises the question of how we’ll choose to use social media in the future. Read more »

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Some Nerve

October 15, 2013 Memoir, non-fiction 13

17707684Title: Some Nerve: Lessons Learned While Becoming Brave
Author: Patty Chang Anker
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: This enjoyable memoir was funny, relatable and incredibly inspiring.

What inspired Patty to try to become brave was the realization that her two daughters were inheriting her timid approach to life. Previously too afraid of failure to try new things, in this book Patty chronicles her adventures facing down her fears and those of others. With input from friends and experts, Patty shares her experience exploring everything from fears of public speaking to the fear of death.

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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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Fighting for the Press

October 2, 2013 History, Memoir, non-fiction 4

17561074Title: Fighting for the Press: The Inside Story of the Pentagon Papers and Other Battles
Author: James C. Goodale
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: Although I thought the book was a bit biased and over-dramatic, it was so exciting to get a personal, inside look at this fascinating story that I didn’t even mind.

The publication of the Pentagon Papers, top secret documents leaked to a reporter, was contentious from the beginning. First, there was internal debate at The New York Times over whether or not to publish. Then publication led to one of the most important first amendment cases ever, as the government sought an injunction to keep The Times from continuing to publish more of the Pentagon Papers. As the chief legal counsel for The Times, James Goodale is able to share his first hand experience  and his thoughts on the personalities involved in this momentous historical case. Read more »

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Lean In

September 26, 2013 non-fiction, Self-Help 8

16071764Title: Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Author: Sheryl Sandberg
Source: library
Rating: ★★★★★
Fun Fact: When shown resumes identical except for gender, people tend to consider the man more qualified.
Review Summary: I can’t promise everyone will love this book as much as I did, but the world would be a better place if everyone read it. Definitely an eye-opener!

It’s not often I agree completely with the hyperbole found in book cover blurbs, but Lean In is in fact both “an inspiring call to action and a blueprint for individual growth.” After getting in on the ground floor of Google and working as the chief operating officer at Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg has plenty of experience as a working a woman. She’s seen firsthand the challenges women face in the workplace, including the way women sometimes hold themselves back. This book includes some great advice for helping women overcome their own fears and others’ steretypes to become stronger participants and potential leaders in the workplace. Read more »

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MWF Seeking BFF

September 18, 2013 Memoir, non-fiction 12

11104030Title: MWF Seeking BFF
Author: Rachel Bertsche
Source: library
Rating: ★★★★☆
Fun Fact: Being part of a group that meets just once a month will give you the same happiness boost as doubling your salary.
Review Summary: This book was just a conglomeration of all the things I like – humorous working woman’s stunt memoir including fascinating research and personal anecdotes.

After moving to Chicago to be with her boyfriend, Rachel Bertsche found herself missing the close friendships she’d had in NYC. She bravely and ambitiously decides to take things into her own hands and invite other women to go on 52 friends dates during the 52 weeks of the coming year. Read more »

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Deadly Outbreaks

September 12, 2013 non-fiction, Science 8

17593167Title: Deadly Outbreaks: How Medical Detectives Save Lives Threatened by Killer Pandemics, Exotic Viruses, and Drug-Resistant Parasites
Author: Alexandra Levitt
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: The stories were fascinating but were often told in a clinical way that reduced the drama and my sense of connection to the people in the story.

As the subtitle suggests, Deadly Outbreaks is all about medical mysteries. For suspicious cases where multiple patients die or fall ill and the reason is unknown, epidemiologists  are often called in to help determine the cause. Some of these investigations are retrospective, but many require clever deduction to take place quickly in order to prevent more people from becoming sick. Read more »

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Microcosm In the 579’s

September 4, 2013 non-fiction, Science 4

2051708Title: Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life
Author: Carl Zimmer
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★☆
Fun Fact: Human gut microbes can reach a population of 100 trillion, out numbering our cells 10 to 1.
Review Summary: No matter what the description claims, this lacks the elegant prose and brilliant philosophy in Lives of a Cell. It does do it’s own thing quite well though, giving a great introduction to some crucial biology plus a plethora of fun facts.

Microcosm is a history of E. coli but more than that, it’s a history of modern biology. So much of what we do in the lab today depends on these little bacteria that looking at biology through the lens of E. coli lends itself well to discussing almost all of modern microbiology. It also includes a few philosophical musings and, at the other end of the spectrum, some practical insight into the job of a microbiologist. Read more »

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