Book Round Up – Part 4

”Manthropology” – Peter McAllister – Despite any delusions to the contrary, the modern male sucks more than any previous versions. We are physically weaker, slower and lack the endurance of our genetic forebears. Besides our physical shortcomings, McAllister outlines many other surprising areas that we are found wanting. The reasons for this profusion of collective male ”suckery’ is attributable to modern day cultural, ontogenetic and environmental reasons. Learn why hard work and ”overtraining” aren’t as crippling as fitness gurus tell us, as well as how our modern day lifestyle of luxury has traded off much of the physical dominance we once collectively possessed. A good book, somewhat crippled by its author’s shithouse writing style. 3.5/5

 

 

“The Psychopath Test” – Jon Ronson – Psychopaths are all around us and in a society which values charming, manipulative and an ‘achieve at all costs’ mentality, it’s no big surprise that psychopaths often fill the ranks of politicians and high flying captains of industry. Using Hare’s famous ‘Psychopath Test -(a checklist for identifying psychopaths), Ronson journeys into the madness industry, interviewing psychopaths (a famous CEO, a death squad leader), reality TV recruiters, conspiracy theorists, criminal profilers as well as Scientologists who constantly battle against the psychiatry profession. Ronson also questions the frenzy to diagnose and label every aspect and nuance of human behaviour, (e.g. bipolar and ADD kids) filling the pockets of drug companies. Starts off slow, but a fascinating topic complemented by Ronson’s subtle but quirky British humour. 4.5/5

 

“The Guinea Pig Diaries” – A.J Jacobs – Jacob’s life is seemingly one long social experiment after another. Previous books recount his quest to read the entire Encyclopaedia; another about his year of obeying the bible as closely as possible. This book involves a range of month long experiments ranging from outsourcing his life, practising Radical Honesty, Uni-tasking, impersonating actor Noah Taylor at the Oscars, living George Washington’s Rules of Life, and being his wife’s slave for a month. Light-hearted and easy to read, I love this kind of immersion-journalism because I’m always trying out my own life-hacks and guinea pig experiments to make shit more random and interesting. Like Socrates said, ”The unexamined life isn’t worth living.” 4/5

 

 

”Letter To A Christian Nation” – Sam Harris – “Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious.” Harris distils his arguments against the very existence of religion in terms so simple that even the most retarded of the faithful could grasp. Religion has and always will be the root of all evil. Its stranglehold on weak minds must be broken if society is to be diverted from its current and inevitable suicidal plunge over the precipice. 4/5

 

 

”Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard” – Chip & Dan Heath – Changing yourself is hard. Motivating others to change can be damn near impossible. Acknowledging the battle between the rational and emotional selves, Heath’s approach provides a template aimed at recognising the optimal points of leverage for enacting change in almost any situation. The Switch formula involves a blend of logical steps, emotional inspiration. and the establishment of conditions/environment for success. Backed up with a lot of interesting pop psychology and case studies, this is probably one of the better books on organisational/personal change I’ve read. 4/5

 

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