Category Archives: Books


Kids Can!

This TED talk by Gever Tulley is a great go-along to Sugata Mitra’s research in self-organizing education. Instead of giving kids access to a computer and having them learn biochemistry on their own, the kids at Tinkering School get tools and learn equally impressive skills and concepts.

Of course, Tulley’s written a book which I bought a few years ago and have to admit, was too scared to have the kids do most of the challenges. “Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do” would make a great challenge series. One challenge at a time is enough for me!

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Peter Diamandis, one of the most vocal thought leaders of our time, is my new celebrity crush!

Not only does he support massive innovation through funding and founding projects like the X Prize Foundation and Singularity University, he has a unique ability to make anyone understand the impact of these exponential technologies in our world.

In this 2012 TED talk, he argues that humans have never been more equipped to anticipate and solve the most challenging global problems like peace, water, energy, health, climate and poverty. He makes a convincing case that now, more than ever, we can be optimistic about the future.

Of course, Diamandis has a few books. This talk is based on the book “Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think“. I’m currently reading “Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World” in which he gives a roadmap to entrepreneurs to predict when exponential technologies will disrupt an industry. Hint: The number one predictor, in his view, is user-friendly interface.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of the links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Walking the Walk

One thing I loved about sociologist, Alice Goffman’s, Ted talk was that she spent 6 years living in one of the worst neighborhoods in Philadelphia. I think that’s brave.

Goffman discovered first-hand how young people of African-American and Latino descent are guided down a singular path to prisons-even for minor first offenses.

This is a fascinating talk and important work. The question is whether and how change will result from studies like this.

I haven’t read Goffman’s literary account of her social experiment but I plan to. You can find “On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City” here or in your library system.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through a link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks.



When a Neuroscientist Has A Stroke

If you ever had a stroke or know someone who has, don’t miss this talk by Jill Bolte Taylor.

Bolte Taylor is a brain scientist who suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke and lived not only to tell about it but show us how it’s possible to rebuild connections in the brain after a devastating event like that.

I have read her book, “My Stroke of Insight” repeatedly and refer it to people all the time. It’s one that borrowed from my mom but wanted my own copy.

Bolte Taylor does such a good job of explaining the difference between experiencing the world through her right brain for the very first time when the stroke damaged the left hemisphere. She tells how caregivers with high energy and sudden movements overwhelmed her and how her mom was her fiercest advocate and protector during her recovery. (I don’t want to give more than that away but her mom quickly became the hero of the story).

The other part I loved was her explanation of how a negative thought transmits chemicals through the entire body in about 15 seconds and her conscious efforts after the stroke to minimize or eliminate negative thoughts because of that.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through a link, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.



Introverts DisUnite!


It’s true. Although, as an outgoing introvert, I wasn’t chastised at school or encouraged to change, so I was one of the lucky ones.

Susan Cain, (God Bless her for getting up in front of all those people in spite of her introverted self) explains why, now more than ever, it’s critical to provide solitude to introverts in work and school environments which will allow them to find solutions to complex problems.

Even if we aren’t inclined to adapt the environment to accommodate introverts, we can at least quit trying to turn them (us) into extroverts. The world needs introverts!

I haven’t read “Quiet!” yet, but it’s on my list as one of James Altucher’s Top Ten Mind-blowing reads. According to some reviews on Amazon, it’s not a scientific study but a lay-person’s summary and description of research on the topic. So, it sounds like it’s a good introduction if you haven’t read a lot about personality types. I’ll likely borrow this one from the library.


Why You Should Join the Doodle Revolution!

Remember all those scribbles in the margins of your notes and homework when you were in school? Well it turns out, your brain was doing what it does best….helping you solve problems.

In this TED™Talk, Sunni Brown, author of “The Doodle Revolution“,* explains how doodling is really deep thinking in disguise, it’s universal across all time and cultures and can be harnessed to unlock innovative thinking and complex problem-solving.

*I’m a serious book junkie and I own this one, too. Although you can probably find this one in your library system, this is a reference that you’ll want to return to. Brown goes through several methods of learning how to use doodling in different settings (even on creative teams at work). It’s entertaining, thorough and well-organized.


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The science of happiness is real and even applies to traditionally grim environments (giant banks during the financial meltdown, the military, prisons, etc.)

In this hilarious and convincing talk, Shawn Achor, a leading expert in the science of happiness, makes a convincing case that happiness PRECEDES success (not the other way around), that people can be primed for happiness and success and that we truly are the masters of our experience.

This is not woo-woo, feel good positivity. It’s hard science that ANYONE can master.

Watch the first minute of this talk and you’ll boost your happy factor today…then you’ll want to watch the whole thing-guaranteed.

Of course, I had to get the book and not only is it enlightening, but practical, too. (I need my book back, Paula!)

The Happiness Advantage brings us up to date on the history and the latest research in positive psychology, anecdotally and scientifically.

As a painfully practical person, what I love about Achor’s book most is that it also offers 5 “happiness hacks” that anyone can implement to improve their happiness score (that’s my term) or even reverse decades of pessimism in less than a month.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through a link, I receive a small commission (cents, seriously) at no additional cost to you. What’s the point? It makes me happy!


What I’m Reading This Month

books i'm reading

On this last day of September, I decided to list the books I’m reading now so I don’t forget.

1. “The End of Jobs” by Taylor Pearson

Technically, I’m finished reading this book and Hannah’s waiting for it but I’m re-reading it because I want to interview Taylor Pearson. Not only about the book but his brilliant answer to the gap between the traditional path of employment for life and entrepreneurship.

Taylor argues in the book that current circumstances make starting a business less risky and easier in many ways than pursuing a traditional path. He discusses and explains concepts like silent risk, democratization of tools of entrepreneurship and global competition as a result of the improved education standards (and low wages) globally. These are only a few factors of the changing landscape of work in the new economy.

Not only does Pearson raise important ideas but he supports all of his claims with data accompanied by real-life examples that bear out his bold statements.

I have to admit that Pearson is preaching to the choir but I am so happy to have solid evidence to back up what I’ve been suspecting for a while now. This book is an eye opener for anyone preparing for the next 5-10 years in the big bad world.

2. Zero to One by Peter Thiel

I’m reading this after listening to James and Claudia Altucher talking about a post that James wrote “The Ten Most Important Books to Expand Your Mind”  The list was made up of books that gave him a braingasm. You can guess what that is.

Peter Thiel is a founder of Paypal and one of the first investors in Facebook. He also started a Gap year fellowship program.

I’m just diving into this one and while I appreciate understanding some things that I didn’t before, I’m thinking a lot of it will be over my head. I’m no dummy but so far it is. I’m not giving up yet, though.

3. Bold by Peter Diamandis

James and Claudia’s description of this book as mind-blowing intrigued me. I haven’t gotten far into it yet but he dives into exponential growth in certain areas (robotics, computers, health, bio-hacking, etc. and ideas that are not only huge and outlandish but that are iterated and many of us don’t even know it.

In case you’re wondering whether I’m inventing something…no, but I’m intrigued by the idea of people totally going for broke when they have outrageous and ideas that are so new that others have a hard time adjusting their reaction to the idea of it. They keep trying to box it into their frame of mind. I don’t think like this, by the way, but I kind of wish I did.

4. The One Thing by Gary Keller

I have to admit that I’m not as impressed by this one as most people are and maybe I’m not giving it a fair shot. I understand and appreciate the main idea; that multi-tasking doesn’t work and focusing on one primary task to completion is most productive. But how many chapters do you need to say that? I get it already.

The book’s well-written, though and includes some interesting anecdotes so I’ll probably get all the way through it. Maybe I’ll decide it’s as great as everyone else thinks it is.

5. Looking forward to Hesitation Wounds by Amy Koppelman

I was introduced to Koppelman’s work through listening to her husband, Brian’s podcast (which I really like). I read “I Smile Back” and loved the style, voice, characters and prose. I read it too long ago to discuss it specifically but the story was like no other that I’ve read. Pretty brutal but beautifully crafted.


Disclaimer: All the book links are affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of the links, I get a small commission (like pennies) as a result of your purchase at no additional cost to you. Why bother? I don’t know, it’s fun.

Important Information about a Stroke

A tip for stroke survival

Image credit: Nemo on Pixabay

I have learned a lot since inviting my 78-year old aunt to live with us. Every time I learn something new, I think , I should write about this, I’m sure someone else could benefit from this information.

Although my aunt did not have a stroke, she was fighting a stomach virus that landed her in the hospital. When she was discharged, I learned something that might be life-saving or life-changing for someone who has a stroke.

Did you know that if you suspect that you or someone you know is having a stroke, you should note the time of the onset of symptoms? I never knew that and it turns out that it can make a big difference in protocol for medical intervention. Obviously, it isn’t always possible to know when a stroke is happening (for example if a person is sleeping) but if you’re able to give medical providers a time of onset of symptoms, there’s a window for certain treatment options that can make a difference in survival and recovery.

With all the PSAs and pharmaceutical commercials  publicizing the warning signs of stroke (droopiness of face, numbness or weakness in face, arms or legs, confusion, trouble speaking, trouble seeing out of one or both eyes, severe headache are just a few), I’ve never heard this critical piece of information, so I thought I’d pass it along.


Disclaimer: I am not a physicican, this  article is published for information purposes only. If you think you or someone you know may be having a stroke, dial 911.