Merchants of Doubt

As I’m writing this in 2022, misinformation is everywhere, and it’s not subtle. Between the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, there are a lot of facts that certain groups of people want to hide or cause confusion with falsehoods. But misinformation is not new. It’s been going on for decades, but when did it start and how did its strategies shift over time? Who were the first merchants of doubt?

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant is a simple yet appropriate name for this compilation of quotes. Naval is a venture capitalist and angel investor, probably most well-known for founding AngelList. He has amassed a huge amount of wealth and become a sort of modern day philosopher. He has a lot to say about wealth, health, and happiness.

The Brilliant Abyss

The scope of The Brilliant Abyss is impressive, rivaling that of the deep sea itself. Helen Scales covers the deep from a variety of angles: biology, history, geology, medicine, carbon capture, exploration, mining, plastic, and conservation. I’m sure she gets this a lot, but Scales is a great name for a marine biologist and ocean-focused writer. And she is a good one.

Why Sharks Matter

A Deep Dive With the World’s Most Misunderstood Predator David Shiffman, PhD Find it on Bookshop Summary This book is true to its title: a deep dive into why sharks matter. A man who loves sharks, science, and public outreach has written a book at the intersection of those things. So much about what you … Read more

An Immense World

We, as humans, interact with the world mostly through our vision, which is relatively good. We see the world, literally, as visible light. Other animals, however, have biases toward other senses. They may “see” the world as electric or magnetic fields, or as echoes, or as scents wafting through the air.

An Immense World is a beautiful exploration of what life is like for other animals. Whether it’s a dog sniffing the ground, or a seal twitching its whiskers, or a lost lobster heading home, Ed Yong gets inside their heads to understand how they perceive the world.

Four Thousand Weeks

Life is short. We all know that. But how short is it really?

A day is always the same length of time, but depending on the events of the day, can feel much too short or neverending.

The truth is we all have a maximum of a very similar length of time to live our lives: assuming you live to be eighty, you have about four thousand weeks. And depending on what you believe, you may only get one shot at them. What should you do with that time? How do you even figure that out?

Getting It Done

Getting It Done is all about helping you develop leadership skills for the workplace, even if you are not a leader by job title. It might feel like no one would ever listen to you without the right promotion, but that is not the case.

Your actions can cause someone to ignore your requests and never help you, or they can motivate someone to work hard towards a shared goal. There are tons of ideas in this book for how to work better with your colleagues.

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

Most of the time when I learn about dinosaurs from someone, I get either way too much information about them or not nearly enough. This book strikes the balance perfectly.

We get a high-level, non-technical overview of all the different eras of dinosaurs in chronological order. From the first to appear, to those that evolved, to those that dominated until they were wiped out, and finally those that survived enough to carry on. Brusatte truly covers the rise, domination, and eventual fall of the group of animals we know as dinosaurs.

Speed & Scale

A venture capitalist’s view of the climate crisis. John Doerr, engineer turned investor, tells us exactly where we need to put our money to innovate our way out of this mess, “with urgent speed and at massive scale”. No one solution is going to cut it; we need a variety of solutions for many problems at once.

Make It Stick

A book on how to learn, and really make it stick, using itself as a model. Make It Stick teaches you using the techniques covered in the book. There is no better way to understand a concept quickly than to see it applied.

Make It Stick is a collaboration between Peter C. Brown, a professional writer, and Henry L. Roediger III and Mark A. McDaniel, professors of psychology. The result is a well-researched, easy-to-digest primer for any skill level. While it targets mainly students, parents, and teachers, there is useful advice for lifelong learners as well.

There are many lessons to learn, and to truly make them stick you should read the book yourself, taking notes and quizzing yourself using the given techniques. But since I know you’re busy, here are my main takeaways.