Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Review: The Napkin The Melon The Monkey: How to Be Happy and Successful by Simply Changing Your Mind

The Napkin The Melon  The Monkey: How to Be Happy and Successful by Simply Changing Your Mind The Napkin The Melon The Monkey: How to Be Happy and Successful by Simply Changing Your Mind by Barbara Burke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A short and easy read (130 pages with key points repeated in many places). Conceptually sound, but a bit short on practicality. Those looking for a detailed "how-to" guide may be disappointed. However, considering the amount of effort to read this book, the ROI seems pretty remarkable, especially if you are able to put some of the more salient recommendations to good use.

Here's a summary of all the "Aha!" moments in the book:

#1: I will always have problems.
#2: It's not about me.
#3: Problems can be gifts in disguise.
#4: Just sit there. Do nothing.
#5: There is no such thing as a difficult situation.
#6: When all else fails, have a SODA.
#7: Withholding judgment allows me to observe what is.
#8: The nicer I am to myself, the nicer I am to others.
#9: A simple apology works wonder.
#10: The less I talk, the more I learn.
#11: People harmonize when they are tuned to the same frequency.
#12: Great supervisors follow the Golden Rule and do the right thing.
#13: Spreading my wings is the only way to fly.
#14: Give a little. Get a lot.
#15: Remember, we all share the same vine.
#16: United we stand. Divided we fall.
#17: Our stories connect us with each other.
#18: Success comes from bringing out the best in others.
#19: Winners don't just point out problems. They fix them.
#20: It's not what happens to you in life, it's what you do with what happens that counts.
#21: Real freedom comes from letting go of the outcome.
#22: Generous hearts make a difference.

There! On their own, some of these do not seem to make much sense/impact, while others may appear painfully obvious. That's where the stories of the melons and monkey provide the context. Give it a read if you have a few hours to spare.

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Saturday, December 02, 2017

Review: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do and How to Change

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do and How to Change The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do and How to Change by Charles Duhigg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you like Malcolm Gladwell's investigative journalistic style, you will take to this book like a duck to water. The notes at the back, based on my rough estimate, span almost one-quarter of the entire book, not including the footnotes that are scattered in some chapters in terribly fine print.

I initially wanted to give this book just 3 stars because I couldn't fully grasp certain parts of the book (e.g. some of the anecdotes do not seem to support the argument of how habits are formed, or for that matter, if a particular action is the direct result of a habit loop), but then I realised that the failure to understand is probably on my part, not the author's.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Review: There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather: A Scandinavian Mom’s Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids

There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather: A Scandinavian Mom’s Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather: A Scandinavian Mom’s Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids by Linda Ã…keson McGurk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book touches on an important aspect of early childhood development that many parents and educators in the digital age tend to neglect. Written in a part-memoir, part-research style, the anecdotal evidence cited by the author is often backed up by relevant studies and interviews with professionals in the field.

The book also provides a fascinating contrast in the regulatory framework for outdoor play between the Scandinavian countries and the US. The "land of the free" is not so free after all.

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Friday, October 06, 2017

Review: Einstein's Dreams

Einstein's Dreams Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like most dreams, Einstein's Dreams are open to interpretations. The book started off a bit slow, but as you progress through the series of dreams, you'll come to appreciate the passage of time in the various ways described. Some of these scenarios give rise to intriguing philosophical questions that you can continue to ponder over, long after you have finished this rather thin book. The writing style may not appeal to everybody, but if you have the perseverance to slog through the boring parts, you will come away with a deeper appreciation of alternate possibilities.

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Spoil your vote? Nah! There's a better way to do it.

Some people have been suggesting that you should spoil your vote as a protest in the upcoming presidential election, but they may not realise that this will result in a guaranteed win for the reserved candidate.

Here's a strategy that can kill two birds with one stone (provided there's no walkover):

First, we have to decide who is the strongest alternative to the puppet.

On polling day, write Tan Cheng Bock's name in the box next to the strongest alternative on the voting slip. (Or anywhere along that row as long as it doesn't cross over to the other candidate's space.)

Under election rules, the vote will count towards the strongest alternative even though it's not properly marked.

So there you have it. You can technically have your cake and eat it. Yes, it might not change anything but at least you have shown your middle finger to the #PartyAgainstPeople.

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