From the archive of the Weekly Filet: Some of the best on Books

Why We’re Polarized

Simon & Schuster

As the trial against Donald Trump enters its final stages, and as the selection of the Democrats’ contender is about to start, this new book offers a sharp lens for understanding the current state of the United States. Ezra Klein, founder of Vox.com, does an excellent job in compiling evidence and forming it into a narrative that is easy to read and easy to understand. His key argument: «America’s political system isn’t broken. The truth is scarier: it’s working exactly as designed.» And while the book focuses on the USA, since it is strongly based on findings from social science, it can be applied to other countries, too. Get it now (you can read and listen to an excerpt on Vox.com)

From Weekly Filet #287, in March 2020.

Algorithms to Live By

Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths

One of my favourite books that I’ve read recently. With all the negative connotations algorithms have been in the news with lately, it’s worth remembering what they actually are: sets of rules for computing things. Things that might be quite useful. When to stop looking for your ideal home, how to schedule Todos, when to introduce randomness to your decisions.

From Weekly Filet #278, in July 2018.

Weekly Filet Book Club

It’s very simple: You share your favourite book (or simply one that you think more people should read), I collect all recommendations and share them back with all of you. The more, the merrier, obviously. So don’t be shy.

From Weekly Filet #229, in February 2017.

On Bullshit

Harry G. Frankfurt

It’s the one book – not counting by MacBook, that is – that I have in my living room, always close at hand. It’s a small book, beautiful on this outside, sharp on the inside, that I come back to every couple of months. Now seems an appropriate time to recommend it to anyone how hasn’t read it yet. Here’s one of the key passages, apropos of nothing:

It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He picks them out, or makes them up to suit his purpose.

From Weekly Filet #225, in January 2017.

Anatomy of Error

The New Yorker

«As I approach the end of my career I feel an increasing obligation to bear witness to past mistakes I have made.» Says Henry Marsh, whose mistakes have ended lives. Great profile of a neurosurgeon who has published a remarkable memoir. From the profile: «He is the Knausgaard of neurosurgery: he writes about his errors because he wants to confess them, and because he’s interested in his inner life and how it’s been changed, over time, by the making of mistakes.»

From Weekly Filet #208, in May 2015.

Epilogue

Will Boast

By the age of 24, writer Will Boast had lost his brother to an accident, his mother to cancer and his father to alcoholism. And then suddenly learns he has another family. An impressive memoir.

From Weekly Filet #199, in March 2015.

How not to be wrong

Jordan Ellenberg

A book about maths. Not hooked? How about: a book about democracy and the universe and how not to be fooled. Eye-opening.

From Weekly Filet #194, in February 2015.
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