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 drunkard's walk: how randomness rules our lives

This is a good intro for non-statisticians to avoid some common pitfalls and misconceptions that the public often has. It’ll help you understand what it means when something is statistically significant, why sometimes studies contradict each other, and how to avoid believing in patterns that don’t exist. You’ll understand the following biases and fallacies: confirmation bias gambler’s fallacy hot hand fallacy “hindsight is 20/20”: the illusion of hindsight for explaining historical performance/events One mistake I want to point out:
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The birth order book: why you are the way you are

This book really gave me the chance to think about what being the firstborn did to my personality and my life outlook. I think it’s pretty clear I fit the mold of a perfectionist firstborn, thanks to having usually met the high expectations of my parents growing up. It’s been especially valuable to think about how that will affect my own parenting, especially toward my first child. I think one of the most useful things about the book is that it prepares a parent to try to mediate some of the negative consequences of birth order.
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thinking for yourself permalink I recognized myself a little in this book, not in the events, severity, or locations but in the path to being “educated” in the sense that Westover intends. I’ll try to convey what that sense is with some quotes from the book. The first moment is after she takes a class on American history at BYU. She returns home and gets her face dirty while working, and her brother calls her a N—r, a joke he had made many times before.
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In this dialog Hermogenes comes to Socrates to discuss Cratylus’ view of the nature of names, whether they are true to the objects they represent or are just conventional. Hermogenes believes that names are purely conventional, while Cratylus believes the opposite. Socrates falls somewhere in the middle: I quite agree with you that words should as far as possible resemble things; but I fear that this dragging in of resemblance, as Hermogenes says, is a shabby thing, which has to be supplemented by the mechanical aid of convention with a view to correctness; for I believe that if we could always, or almost always, use likenesses, which are perfectly appropriate, this would be the most perfect state of language; as the opposite is the most imperfect.
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In this dialogue Crito comes to Socrates who is in prison waiting to be executed by the state. Crito has come to convince Socrates to come and escape with him. Crito’s escape plan will not cause great inconvenience for any of Socrates’ friends, and he would be able to live well in Thessaly. Socrates ends up convincing Crito that it would be wrong for him to escape. “the opinion of the many” permalink CRITO: But you see, Socrates, that the opinion of the many must be regarded, for what is now happening shows that they can do the greatest evil to anyone who has lost their good opinion.
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