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Book Review: Madness And Civilization

[Content warning: Severe mistreatment of the mentally ill. Through this post, I’ll be following Foucault in using the politically incorrect term “madness” rather than the more modern “mental illness”, because a big part of his point is worrying about the … Continue reading

Book Review: Inadequate Equilibria

I. Eliezer Yudkowsky’s catchily-titled Inadequate Equilibria is many things. It’s a look into whether there is any role for individual reason in a world where you can always just trust expert consensus. It’s an analysis of the efficient market hypothesis … Continue reading

Book Review: Legal Systems Very Different From Ours

I. Medieval Icelandic crime victims would sell the right to pursue a perpetrator to the highest bidder. 18th century English justice replaced fines with criminals bribing prosecutors to drop cases. Somali judges compete on the free market; those who give … Continue reading

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Book Review: Mastering The Core Teachings Of The Buddha

I. I always wanted to meditate more, but never really got around to it. And (I thought) I had an unimpeachable excuse. The demands of a medical career are incompatible with such a time-consuming practice. Enter Daniel Ingram MD, an … Continue reading

Book Review: Surfing Uncertainty

[Related to: It’s Bayes All The Way Up, Why Are Transgender People Immune To Optical Illusions?, Can We Link Perception And Cognition?] I. Sometimes I have the fantasy of being able to glut myself on Knowledge. I imagine meeting a … Continue reading

Book Review: Raise A Genius!

I. A few months ago, I learned about Laszlo Polgar, the man who trained all three of his daughters to be chess grandmasters. He claimed he could make any child a genius just by teaching them using his special methods. … Continue reading

Book Review: The Hungry Brain

[Content note: food, dieting, obesity] I. The Hungry Brain gives off a bit of a Malcolm Gladwell vibe, with its cutesy name and pop-neuroscience style. But don’t be fooled. Stephan Guyenet is no Gladwell-style dilettante. He’s a neuroscientist studying nutrition, … Continue reading

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Book Review: Seeing Like A State

I. Seeing Like A State is the book G.K. Chesterton would have written if he had gone into economic history instead of literature. Since he didn’t, James Scott had to write it a century later. The wait was worth it. … Continue reading

Book Review: Behavior – The Control Of Perception

[Epistemic status: I only partly understood this book and am trying to review it anyway as best I can] I. People complain that psychology is paradigmless; it never got its Darwin or Newton to tie everything together. Nowadays people are … Continue reading

Book Review: Eichmann In Jerusalem

[Content warning: Holocaust. This is a complicated and emotional subject and I make no claims to know much more than what I read in the book, nor to be 100% certain I am representing Arendt’s views faithfully.] I. For Holocaust … Continue reading