March Madness... the books I chose

by Kayla Dreisinger | Reading

Posted on April 4th, 2017

Sooo this month, I wanted to take a breather from more demanding books and thus decided my theme would be creativity. I wanted to read for enjoyment rather than for information. I started the month with Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan, followed by Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow. Then another novel - Choke by Chuck Palahniuk and lastly Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Although my intentions were great with the theme of creativity, I think my choices totally missed the mark. Big Magic is a self-improvement book more than anything else and Thinking, Fast and Slow is incredibly dense and information heavy. I struggled to define my theme and my choices were all over the place.

Regardless, I enjoyed every book this month except for Big Magic. I really wasn't in the mood for self-help type of writing. Though these books are great, I didn't feel like engaging with Gilbert, and found myself rolling my eyes more often than not. I was stoked to read another book by her considering how much I enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love all those years ago, but was quickly disappointed. I found her level of writing to be elementary and it also bothered me how much space was left vacant on each page that could have been filled with text... #petpeeve

Choke and The Sirens of Titan were both great stories that had me hooked from page one, allowing my to finish them in two days each. They were both satires that held a very dark element throughout with a twist at the end. Their use of imagination is inspiring and I can't wait to read more from these authors! I actually found a lot of humor in both of these novels and their commentaries on society make them truly hilarious. You can't help but laugh at yourself and take life a little bit lighter by the end.

Lastly, the sheer size of Thinking, Fast and Slow can intimidate any reader, but if you persevere, I guarantee you will not regret it. This book is written so that any level of reader can grasp the subject matter and actually enjoy the topic. Just Kidding! This is a dense book. It's definitely for the intellectual community and assumes a level of education and baseline understanding of the subject matter. Turns out this book is quite well known and sparked many interesting & intellectual conversations (aka my favorite) between my self and strangers. Although everything in this book was valuable, I especially liked the hit on Malcom Gladwell's popular book "Blink". Kahneman argues that unless we are experts in the field, we should think (activate system two) instead of blink! One of my direct take-aways from this book was to place more value on statistics, and think "outside" rather than "inside". He has this great acronym WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) that highlights the fact that we rarely look outside our circles, that we devalue others who have attempted to do something similar and put more confidence into our own ability... turns out no one is special and we should really look at the numbers.

I am now thinking of every single "coding bootcamp" that exists.. in Austin and beyond, and I'm inclined to do a statistical evaluation/comparison of them. How many women attended each cohort?How many of the instructors actually have over ten years of experience in the field? What is the average salary of the participants three months after completion? Is it the same for women? How many partners does the program have? How many years has this program been running and how many students drop out before completion? Coding Bootcamps are clearly very popular and have the potential to be very successful. At the same time, there are many bootcamps that are just looking to take your money and give you less-than tools and resources in the classroom... hmmm

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