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Books for the Brain

Edward R. Tufte

So far, I've only read two of these books, but it's an excellent series on how humans interpret graphs, and how to make graphs more effective in their job of communicating information.

Donald A. Norman

So far, I've only read one of these. My summary of Things That Make Us Smart: What are computers are good at, What are humans good at, and why do we keep using one in place of the other?!

Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner

Freakonomics basically is a collection of strange questions. The chapters in this book are titled:

  1. What Do Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers Have in Common?
  2. How Is the Ku Klux Klan Like a Group of Real-Estate Agents?
  3. Why Do Drug Dealers Still Live with Their Moms?
  4. Where Have All the Criminals Gone?
  5. What Makes a Perfect Parent?
  6. Perfect Parenting, Part II; or: Would a Roshanda by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet?
These questions are asked, and he provides correlations, but leaves the cause completely unanswered. It is very entertaining, yet distinctly avoids any moral judgements. Just enough facts to make it real enough. There are a few sections that are dubious, but several fundamentals still come through, such as digging into the real incentives that drive people to 'win', whatever their practice might be; whether it is a school teacher, sumo wrestler, or a real estate agent.

This is a very quick and fun read.

If you enjoyed the book, you will also enjoy the podcast! They've been releasing episodes almost weekly for over 10 years. As of 2024, there are now 750 episodes available to listen to.
KJW - kjw@rightsock.com