Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Michele Is Recommending:
In the tradition of The Power of Habit and Thinking, Fast and Slow comes a practical, playful, and endlessly fascinating guide to what we really know about learning and memory today—and how we can apply it to our own lives.

From an early age, it is drilled into our heads: Restlessness, distraction, and ignorance are the enemies of success. We’re told that learning is all self-discipline, that we must confine ourselves to designated study areas, turn off the music, and maintain a strict ritual if we want to ace that test, memorize that presentation, or nail that piano recital.

But what if almost everything we were told about learning is wrong? And what if there was a way to achieve more with less effort?

In How We Learn, award-winning science reporter Benedict Carey sifts through decades of education research and landmark studies to uncover the truth about how our brains absorb and retain information. What he discovers is that, from the moment we are born, we are all learning quickly, efficiently, and automatically; but in our zeal to systematize the process we have ignored valuable, naturally enjoyable learning tools like forgetting, sleeping, and daydreaming. Is a dedicated desk in a quiet room really the best way to study? Can altering your routine improve your recall? Are there times when distraction is good? Is repetition necessary? Carey’s search for answers to these questions yields a wealth of strategies that make learning more a part of our everyday lives—and less of a chore.

By road testing many of the counter-intuitive techniques described in this book, Carey shows how we can flex the neural muscles that make deep learning possible. Along the way he reveals why teachers should give final exams on the first day of class, why it’s wise to interleave subjects and concepts when learning any new skill, and when it’s smarter to stay up late prepping for that presentation than to rise early for one last cram session. And if this requires some suspension of disbelief, that’s because the research defies what we’ve been told, throughout our lives, about how best to learn.

The brain is not like a muscle, at least not in any straightforward sense. It is something else altogether, sensitive to mood, to timing, to circadian rhythms, as well as to location and environment. It doesn’t take orders well, to put it mildly. If the brain is a learning machine, then it is an eccentric one. In How We Learn, Benedict Carey shows us how to exploit its quirks to our advantage.
An audacious, irreverent investigation of human behavior—and a first look at a revolution in the making

Our personal data has been used to spy on us, hire and fire us, and sell us stuff we don’t need. In Dataclysm, Christian Rudder uses it to show us who we truly are.

For centuries, we’ve relied on polling or small-scale lab experiments to study human behavior. Today, a new approach is possible. As we live more of our lives online, researchers can finally observe us directly, in vast numbers, and without filters. Data scientists have become the new demographers.

In this daring and original book, Rudder explains how Facebook "likes" can predict, with surprising accuracy, a person’s sexual orientation and even intelligence; how attractive women receive exponentially more interview requests; and why you must have haters to be hot. He charts the rise and fall of America’s most reviled word through Google Search and examines the new dynamics of collaborative rage on Twitter. He shows how people express themselves, both privately and publicly. What is the least Asian thing you can say? Do people bathe more in Vermont or New Jersey? What do black women think about Simon & Garfunkel? (Hint: they don’t think about Simon & Garfunkel.) Rudder also traces human migration over time, showing how groups of people move from certain small towns to the same big cities across the globe. And he grapples with the challenge of maintaining privacy in a world where these explorations are possible.

Visually arresting and full of wit and insight, Dataclysm is a new way of seeing ourselves—a brilliant alchemy, in which math is made human and numbers become the narrative of our time.
Fourteen years before Kirsten Gillibrand succeeded Hillary Rodham Clinton as senator from New York, she heard her future mentor say these life-changing words: “Decisions are being made every day in Washington, and if you are not part of those decisions, you might not like what they decide, and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.” A young corporate lawyer at the time, Gillibrand felt as if she’d been struck by lightning. She instantly knew that her voice—all women’s voices—were essential to shaping the future of this country, and that she had a greater purpose in life: to speak up and effect change. Now, in this extraordinary memoir, the senator, wife, and mother of two recounts her personal journey in public service and galvanizes women to reach beyond their busy lives and make a meaningful difference in the world around them.

Off the Sidelines is a playbook for women who want to step up, whether in Congress or the boardroom or the local PTA. If women were fully represented in politics, Gillibrand says, national priorities would shift to issues that directly impact them: affordable daycare, paid family medical leave, and equal pay. Pulling back the curtain on Beltway politics, she speaks candidly about her legislative successes (securing federally funded medical care for 9/11 first responders, repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) and her crushing disappointments (failing by five votes to pass a bill protecting survivors of sexual assault in the military).

Gillibrand also shares stories of growing up the daughter and granddaughter of two trailblazing feminists in a politically active family in Albany, New York, and retraces her nonlinear path to public office. She lays bare the highs and lows of being a young (pregnant!) woman in Congress, the joys and sacrifices every working mother shares, and the support system she turns to in her darkest moments: her husband, their two little boys, and lots of girlfriends.

In Off the Sidelines, Gillibrand is the tough-love older sister and cheerleader every woman needs. She explains why “ambition” is not a dirty word, failure is a gift, listening is the most effective tool, and the debate over women “having it all” is absurd at best and demeaning at worst. In her sharp, honest, and refreshingly relatable voice, she dares us all to tap into our inner strength, find personal fulfillment, and speak up for what we believe in.
From the author of the best-selling Buddha Walks into a Bar . . ., wisdom for "Generation Next" on how to make your work meaningful, satisfying, and of benefit to others.

Does it ever seem that a lot of the people you work with are, well, jerks? This book is about how not to let work turn you into one of them. Apply the simple Buddhist teachings and practices Lodro Rinzler provides here to whatever you do for a living, and you’ll not only avoid jerk-hood, but you’ll be setting out on the path toward making your livelihood an expression of your inherent wisdom, honesty, and compassion. You’ll discover practical ways to bring mindfulness into administrative support, cabinet-making, financial management, nursing, truck-driving, or latté-brewing. In the process, you’ll discover genuine empathy for the folks you once found so difficult. You’ll also learn leadership skills that apply compassion to management in a way that increases happiness along with efficiency.

This is career advice of the profoundest kind, geared toward today’s twenty- and thirty-something workers and job-seekers whose employment outlook is radically different from that of a generation ago. As Lodro shows, even if the path of work shifts beneath your feet, it’s possible to make your livelihood a source of satisfaction and of deep meaning.
A dark and frightening fully painted novella, Mr. Punch tells the tale of a young boy's loss of innocence results from a horrific confrontation with his past. Spending a summer at his grandfather's seaside arcade, a troubled adolescent harmlessly becomes involved with a mysterious Punch and Judy Man and a mermaid-portraying woman. But when the violent puppet show triggers buried memories of the boy's family, the lives of all become feverishly intertwined. With disturbing mysteries and half-truths uncontrollably unraveling, the young boy is forced to deal with his family's dark secrets of violence, betrayal, and guilt.

Written by New York Times best-selling novelist Neil Gaiman, with unwordly illustrations by artist Dave McKean, Mr. Punch - 20th Anniversary Edition is the new deluxe cut of this landmark original graphic novel. Includes bonus material.
Greenwich Village, 1970s. Fourteen-year-old Rainey Royal lives with her father, a jazz musician with a cultish personality, in a once-elegant, now decaying brownstone. Her mother has abandoned the family, and Rainey fends off advances from her father's best friend while trying desperately to nurture her own creative drives and build a substitute family. She's a rebel, even a criminal, but she's also deeply vulnerable, fighting to figure out how to put back in place the boundaries her life has knocked down, and more than that, struggling to learn how to be an artist and a person in a broken world.

Rainey Royal is told in 14 narratives of scarred and aching beauty that build into a fiercely powerful novel: the harrowing and ultimately affirming story of a young artist.

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