Happy New Year to all, nevertheless.
Last Modified 2024-01-30 6:53 AM EST
[Excuse blatant copying from last year's post.] Just in case you're interested in what I found informative, interesting, thought-provoking, etc. last year. Clicking on the cover image will take you to the Amazon page (where I get a cut if you buy); clicking on the title will whisk you to my blog posting for a fuller discussion.
Ten is an arbitrary, but traditional, number, I hasten to point out.
I started using Goodreads in 2022. They nudge you to rate books, which made this retrospective task easier. I've "curated" this list to limit it to items of (I hope) general interest.
Apologies to those who didn't make the cut. I could have come up with a slightly different set on a different day. Feel free to peruse the full list of books I read in 2022 (including fiction).
In no particular order:
|The Quick Fix: Why Fad Psychology Can't Cure Our Social Ills by Jesse Singal. An impressive job of de-hyping the overblown claims of psychological "quick fixes" over the years, most of them relatively recent. To quote a bit of this WSJ op-ed where Andy Kessler talks with Marc Andreessen: "I suggest 'studies show' are the two most dangerous words in the English language. Mr. Andreessen quickly adds, 'The corollary is ‘experts say.'"
|Where Is My Flying Car? by J. Storrs Hall. That's only one of the areas where the author is disappointed in the future we were promised. His analysis is wide-ranging and provocative.
|Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn't, and Why It Matters by Steven Koonin. Who is not some wacky crank peddling fake science. He was (in fact) Undersecretary of Science in President Obama's Department of Energy. He opposes climate alarmists that want to stampede us into taking drastic carbon-cutting measures with (he says, convincingly) only very shaky science on their side.
|The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein. Another effort to throw cold water on climate alarmists. Unlike the Koonin book above, it's more philosophical than scientific (although the science is there). He argues that energy policy should be driven by a standard of "human flourishing". And by that standard, we have little recourse but to continue fossil fuel use; the alternatives provided are too expensive, too unreliable, too scarce, or non-scalable. (In varying combinations.)
|Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America by John McWhorter. The argument here is that "Electism" (McWhorter's preferred name the "woke" phenomenon) is a religion in all but name; why black people are so attracted to this religion, given that it treats them like simpletons; that this religion actually harms black people; there are better solutions to the problems plaguing black Americans; and how we can lessen the grip of Electism on the minds of all.
|Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer. A compendium of advice on how to improve your writing, in order that people like the author, Benjamin Dreyer, won't have to wince and fix it before publication. It's hilarious in spots, full of oddball facts. And once you read his discourse on proper use of lay/lie/laid/etc., you may (as I did) throw up your hands and make a resolution to just use some other words instead.
|Existential Physics: A Scientist's Guide to Life's Biggest Questions by Sabine Hossenfelder. An excellent science popularizer (and actual scientist) tries her hand at explaining what science can and can not tell us. (She is very critical of scientists wandering into ascientism, loosely defined as "religion masquerading as science under the guise of mathematics.") She's relentlessly fair at exploring alternative answers to the "biggest questions", which makes her answers all the more credible. (But see my report for what I considered to be an exception.)
|The Sack of Detroit: General Motors and the End of American Enterprise by Kenneth Whyte. An unexpectedly interesting history of the rise and (mostly) fall of the American car industry, and how that exemplifies the decline of American industrial might generally. It all has to do with prevailing attitudes toward "big business", grandstanding politicians, dishonest activism, and power-hungry regulators. It's a good companion read to Where is My Flying Car?, mentioned above.
|Unequivocal Justice by Christopher Freiman. A political philosophy book, but one I found accessible and (even) funny in spots. Freiman's purpose is to rebut egalitarian theories of justice (like John Rawls'), especially as such theories rule out laissez-faire free market capitalism as an acceptable operating system for national economies.He's very fair to his opponents, considering their objections, but that only makes his arguments more devastating.
|The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millenium by Martin Gurri. The second (2018) edition of a book originally from 2014. Arnold Kling writes in his intro: "Martin Gurri saw it coming." That's only gotten truer since.
Last Modified 2024-01-14 4:55 AM EST
The yearly Pun Salad update. Mostly copied from years previous.
Back in 2016, I made an early New Year's resolution to blog more diligently. This was unusual, in that it was actually successful. I took a small break this year (for a good reason, trust me). This broke my streak of 2129 daily posts (not counting book/movie/geek posts) since 2016-12-24. Since that five-day hiatus, my daily streak is 65.
And yet I am still not famous. We'll keep trying.
There's twelve more months of data on the chart
showing the monthly blog posts since Pun
Salad's birth in February 2005:
(Hat tip: the
Once a geek develops a hammer, it's tough to stop finding nails to pound. Here's an updated chart on my book reading; you can tell that I've been trying to read more over the past few years:
Last year, I wondered if I'd break 100 this year. I did, by a lot.
I should probably get out more.
And movies watched since 2004 …
Like last year, an all-time low record. But Top Gun: Maverick was pretty good.
Last Modified 2024-01-30 6:53 AM EST