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Andrew Zuo

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  • 27
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It's A Slog

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-07-10

There are some interesting points made. I particularly enjoyed the points made about affirmative action. However the vast majority of the book is painful to listen to due to how the author assumes every little thing is about race (maybe the neighbourhood is bad because it's black or maybe, and much more likely, the neighbourhood is bad because it has a statistically higher crime rate), how the author cherrypicks examples from crazy women to generalize the population and how she brushes aside any criticism by saying, "You're not black, so you wouldn't understand.". To be fair, sometimes there are legitimate concerns that African Americans may have, but other times there are not. In fact given how many times the author says that things simply 'feel uncomfortable' to African Americans I'd say a much better title for this book is 'Black Fragility'.

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Dry Academic Writing

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-06-29

This book opens saying it's going to discuss the causes of evil without making any value judgement. And that's just what this book does. It covers a bunch of studies of things society believes to be 'evil' without commenting too much on any one study. The result is it reads like a dry University textbook. Also it does not go into very much detail on the topics. It is quick to make hand-wavy statements such as 'that's just how people are' which although probably true isn't very compelling.

Not Much Content

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-06-16

Most of this book just repeats the same thing over and over: "You are not your habits." And the rest of it can be summed up in two points: pause and realize that your urges are coming from your primal brain. Which, in all fairness, is pretty good advice. But from a book whose title is, "The Little Book of Big Change" I expected a little more.

Entertaining But Not Enlightening

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-06-10

This book is called 'Talking to Strangers' and I mean... it's sort of about that. It goes from spy stories, lying, facial expressions, alcohol, and suicide and 'coupled' behaviour. And if you squint real hard you can sort of see how they relate, but not really. The author tries to tie it all together with the Sandra Bland case but I was just left going, "What are you talking about?" And the case studies used feel too perfect, as if they're cherry picked. Not to say it's not a good book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The production quality is the best I've seen from any audiobook and at points it feels more like a podcast than a book. And I did find it interesting how the author claims facial expressions are pseudoscience.

Very Good Information If A Bit Disorganized

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-05-25

I was blown away by the first hour and a half of this book. Unfortunately the rest of the information is not as great. It frequently retreads the same information and appears self contradictory at times. Plus it just doesn't go into enough depth on what exactly to do. Still a really great resource full of various resources. The author is clearly very talented. I just couldn't help but wonder if it could have been better.

Fascinating

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-04-10

This book examines several 'mistakes' such as fake memories, false confessions, and conflicts of interest. Sure, we've all heard about them before, but what this book brings to the table is a thorough examining of the material through the lens of dissonance theory (also referred to as self-justification theory). It is rare that a book so elegantly ties multiple topics together in a clear understandable thesis, but this book somehow manages it. Suffice it to to say it was riveting from beginning to end (although some parts were not as interesting particularly the part on marriages). Also quotes are narrated in a different voice than the rest of the book which I found infinitely better than when the narrator tries to pull off a strange accent for the quote.

Wishy Washy And Lacks Substance

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-03-01

Givers and takers. An interesting premise for a book. But the execution... leaves something to be desired. The entire book is just a bunch of anecdotes of 'givers' and 'takers'. But the terms giver and taker are thrown around so loosely that I started to wonder if these are actual categories or manifestations of deeper traits like psychopathy and openness. And the book doesn't even say anything that meaningful about them. "People like others that are kind to them". Oh, you don't say. There is a small patch of interestingness on how giving can help you become more productive. But this is more general life advice than anything related to givers and takers.

Very Insightful

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-02-16

I particularly found the point and call system interesting. Some later points are abit obvious.

Some Interesting Tips But Mostly Quite Dull

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-01-25

This book has convinced me of the importance of deep work. However some of the claims Newport makes are quite hyperbolic and not believable given the cherrypicked anecdotes and scientific evidence (myelin!) he provides. There are some interesting tips at the end (for example the Zigarnick effect) however it's mostly the same ego-stroking material I've come to expect from most books.