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  #11371  
Old 12-26-2016, 05:13 PM
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The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig is definitely one of the best social science books I've come across. It's not too jargony or heavy going. It's about people's delusions of what makes businesses successful but this book could apply to any type of organization: school, church, nonprofit, family, political campaigns and your anime club.

A sample:

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Barry Staw, then at the University of Illinois and later at the University of California, conducted an experiment in which groups of participants were asked to estimate a company's future sales and earnings per share based on a set of financial data.

Afterward, he told some of the groups they had performed well, making accurate estimates of sales and earnings per share, and told other groups they had performed poorly–but Staw did so completely at random.

In fact, the "high-performing groups" and the "low-performing groups" had done equally well in their financial calculations; the only difference was what Staw told them about their performance.

Then he asked the participants to rate how well their groups had done on a range of issues. The results? When told they had performed well, people described their groups as having been highly cohesive, with better communication, more openness to change, and superior motivation. When told they had performed poorly, they recalled a lack of cohesion, poor communication and low motivation. Staw concluded that people attribute one set of characteristics to groups they believe are effective, and a very different set of characteristics to groups they believe are ineffective. That's the Halo Effect in action.
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  #11372  
Old 12-27-2016, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig is definitely one of the best social science books I've come across. It's not too jargony or heavy going. It's about people's delusions of what makes businesses successful but this book could apply to any type of organization: school, church, nonprofit, family, political campaigns and your anime club.

A sample:

I don't believe psychology studies anymore
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  #11373  
Old 12-27-2016, 10:07 AM
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You should take that skepticism and apply it to any study that hasn't been reproduced, psychology or not.
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  #11374  
Old 12-27-2016, 10:09 AM
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Wrong thread
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  #11375  
Old 12-27-2016, 10:12 AM
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Mister Monkey by Francine Prose
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  #11376  
Old 12-27-2016, 11:08 AM
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Thanks for letting me know.
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  #11377  
Old 12-28-2016, 03:40 AM
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Started reading Cibola Burn.

This is not a series that is content to keep from escalating.
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  #11378  
Old 12-28-2016, 08:34 AM
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Well, he did make an entire subspecies of humanity based on her. So his opinion runs hot and cold.
And then they turned out to be one of the two Usually Evil subspecies, and the only "good" one we see in the narrative turned out to be a wicked traitor, so there you go.

Basically, once Evil Hillary and Evil Malala showed up, I was worried the book was about to go into an irretrievable nosedive, and I was right.

In retrospect, the bit that annoys me the most is at the end of Part Two, where the survivors are sitting around on the ruins of the moon, being all sad that everyone else is dead. And then they decide the reason for this is because people aren't mentally cut out for living in space, which okay, that seems reasonable. So then, instead of trying to get advice from the last living psychiatrist, who is sitting right there, everyone else decides that the solution to this is clearly to just start fucking around with the human genome. It was like every major character had to suddenly make the same bizarre leap of logic so Stephenson could cram his goofy sci-fi RPG setting into the third part.
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  #11379  
Old 12-28-2016, 09:20 AM
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Started reading Cibola Burn.

This is not a series that is content to keep from escalating.
Unfortunately, Cibola Burn is the low point of the series, in my opinion. But Nemesis Games and (so far, I'm not done with it yet) Babylon's Ashes come roaring back in some major, game-changing ways.
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  #11380  
Old 12-28-2016, 09:23 AM
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Well, to be fair, the human race was down to seven at that point. Buggering up DNA to make Custom Babies was kind of a high priority any way you slice it.

The thing that got me was that they gave cart blanche to let the murdering cannibal do whatever she wanted when making her Super Baby children.

And hey, guess what, she made an entire race of supervillains
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  #11381  
Old 12-28-2016, 09:51 AM
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Ancillary Justice by Anne Lecke.

Most of the sci-fi and fantasy I've read is 40+ years old at this point, and written from one particular perspective. So I asked FB friends to recommend me some spacey sci-fi stuff written within the past 20 years or so, and got a ton of recommendations. Compiled them into a spreadsheet, went to B&N, and scanned until I settled on this one. So far, really liking it.

Although I find that I now tend to associate any discussion of gender with tumblr snowflakes and I kinda wish I'd never made that association

(Also reading: Dracula, because strangely enough I've never completed a full read of it)
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  #11382  
Old 12-28-2016, 09:57 AM
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What's interesting is that it's completely impossible to tell if Ancilliary Justice has passed the Bechtel Test.

Also, less prominently, while the Raddch have pretty much completely done away with male pronouns, they haven't for regular nouns. So you sometimes see instances of male terms being used but female ones awkwardly sidestepped. Really reinforces how awkward their androgyny is for non-Raddch.
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  #11383  
Old 12-29-2016, 09:08 AM
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Trying to squeeze in one more book for the year, and it's the sequel to one of my favorite reads of the year (might be my favorite): Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
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  #11384  
Old 12-29-2016, 11:17 AM
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Just finished Stilleto the second of Daniel O'Malley's books about British secret agent X-men combating and/or working with Belgian super geniuses who are really into elective surgery (to give themselves retractable poison stingers and whatnot),

Not quite as engaging as The Rook, and the ending was pretty rushed, but highly recommended if any of the above sounds interesting to you.
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  #11385  
Old 12-29-2016, 12:56 PM
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Finally finished Godel, Escher, Bach after a month. The stuff about cognition was very interesting, but the book overall felt kind of disjointed. Hofstadter spent a long time talking about formal systems in order to establish his points about Godel's Theorem, but then it didn't feel like understanding Godel's Theorem was that important to understanding his points about thought and brains, which was the stuff I was interested in. All the talk about formal systems was maybe necessary in order to understand Godel's Theorem, but it really slowed the book down and didn't really contribute all that much in the end.
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  #11386  
Old 12-29-2016, 01:12 PM
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halfway through Cryptonomicon. It really hits a good mixture of math-nerdery plus historical fiction nerdery. I'm learning way more about WWII than I ever did in school (even giving consideration to the fictive parts!)
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  #11387  
Old 12-29-2016, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emcee Escher View Post
Finally finished Godel, Escher, Bach after a month. The stuff about cognition was very interesting, but the book overall felt kind of disjointed. Hofstadter spent a long time talking about formal systems in order to establish his points about Godel's Theorem, but then it didn't feel like understanding Godel's Theorem was that important to understanding his points about thought and brains, which was the stuff I was interested in. All the talk about formal systems was maybe necessary in order to understand Godel's Theorem, but it really slowed the book down and didn't really contribute all that much in the end.
I tried reading I am a Strange Loop once and i had similar impressions. Didn't finish it, though.
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  #11388  
Old 12-29-2016, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Emcee Escher View Post
Finally finished Godel, Escher, Bach after a month. The stuff about cognition was very interesting, but the book overall felt kind of disjointed. Hofstadter spent a long time talking about formal systems in order to establish his points about Godel's Theorem, but then it didn't feel like understanding Godel's Theorem was that important to understanding his points about thought and brains, which was the stuff I was interested in. All the talk about formal systems was maybe necessary in order to understand Godel's Theorem, but it really slowed the book down and didn't really contribute all that much in the end.
I'd recommend against starting any of his other books then. They get even more meandering with even more assorted-theory-describing. Hmm, there might be an exception or two. Maybe Le Ton beau de Marot?
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  #11389  
Old 12-30-2016, 04:56 AM
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Re: Seveneves

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Originally Posted by MrChris View Post
So then, instead of trying to get advice from the last living psychiatrist, who is sitting right there, everyone else decides that the solution to this is clearly to just start fucking around with the human genome. It was like every major character had to suddenly make the same bizarre leap of logic so Stephenson could cram his goofy sci-fi RPG setting into the third part.
Out-of-universe, I wasn't surprised. Stephenson strikes me as somebody who firmly believes in personal choice and decentralized economy. I'm sure he thinks the swarm and its decentralized economy would have worked flawlessly if it hadn't been for the influence of Evil!Clinton. So giving each Eve the freedom to choose the traits of their perfect race of human beings is exactly what I'd expect him to do.

In-universe, well, at that point they're desperate, and they need to start cranking human beings yesterday who have a high chance of survival, so any compromise is an acceptable compromise. And their safety mechanism is broken: the geneticist who could have overruled any bad idea is nuts enough to create her own race of freaking Time Lords.
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  #11390  
Old 12-30-2016, 05:40 AM
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Much of the final act seems to hinge around simply accepting that Moira is a wizard.
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  #11391  
Old 12-30-2016, 02:54 PM
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I've started doing occasional book reviews for Tor.com.

Here are my first and my second.
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  #11392  
Old 12-30-2016, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Dracula View Post
Ancillary Justice by Anne Lecke.

[...]

Although I find that I now tend to associate any discussion of gender with tumblr snowflakes and I kinda wish I'd never made that association
Not sure how far you've gotten with it by now, D. For myself I can say that "she"-the-universal-pronoun fell into the background maybe 1/3 of the way into the first book, and as the second and third books went along I noticed that Leckie provided enough description of most of the characters that I could form a decent picture of them and gender was a side thought, if it was pertinent at all (pretty much never). A fun effect.
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  #11393  
Old 12-30-2016, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Dracula View Post
Most of the sci-fi and fantasy I've read is 40+ years old at this point, and written from one particular perspective. So I asked FB friends to recommend me some spacey sci-fi stuff written within the past 20 years or so, and got a ton of recommendations. Compiled them into a spreadsheet, went to B&N, and scanned until I settled on this one. So far, really liking it.
If you like Ann Leckie, I suspect you would like the late Iain M. Banks as well. Similar progressive space opera, though with more of an edge to it. Use of Weapons is the only one I've read so far, and it took a little while to get going, but the payoff is incredible.
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  #11394  
Old 12-31-2016, 11:06 AM
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I'd recommend against starting any of his other books then. They get even more meandering with even more assorted-theory-describing. Hmm, there might be an exception or two. Maybe Le Ton beau de Marot?
I wasn't really aware of his other books, and after this one, I don't think I'll be picking any of them up. Again, interesting, but not worth the time.
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  #11395  
Old 12-31-2016, 02:37 PM
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I've started doing occasional book reviews for Tor.com.

Here are my first and my second.
I enjoyed both your reviews! Neither book sounds like it's for me, but I appreciated your insights nonetheless. Keep it up!
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  #11396  
Old 12-31-2016, 05:28 PM
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I've started doing occasional book reviews for Tor.com.

Here are my first and my second.
Woah cool!
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  #11397  
Old 01-01-2017, 08:32 AM
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The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
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  #11398  
Old 01-01-2017, 09:25 PM
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About a hundred pages into Lord Foul's Bane. I'm probably going to have to live with my distaste of old-school fantasy names on this one, aren't I?
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  #11399  
Old 01-01-2017, 10:04 PM
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Oh, man, that is the least of the Thomas Covenant books' problems.
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  #11400  
Old 01-01-2017, 10:51 PM
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I think I might drop it. I can't handle all this *deep lore.*
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