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November 24, 2012

Innumeracy

Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its ConsequencesInnumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences by John Allen Paulos

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


While many of the examples in the book feel dated the overall message that being uninformed about math is as bad as being illiterate still rings true. The book provides an easy introduction to probability and statistics which he uses illustrate common issues with coincidences, polls, and pseudoscience. Other sections that covered dealing with large numbers and logic I didn't find as compelling. Overall the book is an easy and frequently amusing read that helps reiterate why math matters and how to not be fooled by it.



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November 17, 2012

In the Garden of Beasts

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's BerlinIn the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Compared to other books I've read by Larson I found this one to be lacking a story that drew me in. I think it was a combination of the events leading up the war having been covered better in other books and movies and the fact that there was nothing engaging about the way the Dodd's were portrayed that captured my attention. It felt more like a synopsis of their journals instead of an intriguing story that was enhanced by the participants own words. The frequent foretelling I particularly disliked as it removed any element of surprise about future events. Overall, I'd give this book a pass.



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November 4, 2012

Regenesis

Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and OurselvesRegenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves by George M. Church

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I found this book suffered from self-aggrandizing and minutiae which combined to make it a chore to read and understand. It felt that because the authors were involved with much of the material being discussed they focused on a level of detail uninteresting to that of a layperson. It resulted in uneven tone and scope between chapters. I did gain some understanding of synthetic biology and how research around it is progressing but overall I'd give book a pass.



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