books

These are my notes from books I read. Each page’s title is also a link to the corresponding GoodReads entry. You can see my GoodReads lists here.

The seven principles for making marriage work: a practical guide from the country's foremost relationship expert

Better communication doesn’t really solve marriage problems. It has a low success rate, and that makes sense because there are plenty of marriages that yell and dispute. Disputation is not a sign of an unhealthy marriage. You’d have to be really magnanimous to take criticism about you, even if presented as softly as possible. Personality does not make a marriage incompatible. People can be friends but have very distinct personalities. Handle each other’s strange side with caring and respect, as you would a friend.
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Harry Potter and the methods of rationality

Spoiler warning: no plot held back in this review. science is at least as beautiful as magic permalink In chapter 7 Harry introduces Draco to the beauty of scientific advancement, and it actually moved me to tears. You should read the whole thing, but here are some of the best quotes: “Anyway,” Harry said, “I’m saying that you don’t seem to have been paying much attention to what goes on in the Muggle world.
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Planted: belief and belonging in an age of doubt

(My own thoughts appear as sidenotes or in italics, to distinguish from the author’s thoughts.) Richard Bushman categorizes those who leave the church into two broad categories: those who feel “switched off”, and those who feel “squeezed out”. Mason summarizes the switched-off group as those who encounter troubling information about church history or doctrine, and as they discover more information they become jaded by it until they can no longer see the good the church does for them or for others.
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The life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing

This book was my first real exposure to minimalism, and it completely changed how I feel about the possession of objects. It was super fortunate that my wife and I listened to it together on a road trip, and became equally enthralled with the idea of dumping all of our excess clutter. all at once permalink We have excess clutter because of a fundamental problem with the way we deal with possessions.
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The smartest kids in the world

The PISA test tests common senses reasoning. The countries that did best on the test were a surprise to everyone. Finland, South Korea, and Poland were all standouts in their own ways, and Ripley compares the policies and learning environments in these countries with those of the US to determine why the US is falling behind, especially in math and science. We talk a lot about parent involvement in the US, but the US actually has above average parental involvement.
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