Books in January 2019, Part 1


Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces That Shape Behaviour
Jonah Berger

Social influences are pervasive.

Think you’re above conformity? Think that other people are easily swayed, but, oh gosh, not you! Studies have known that that isn’t true. We are much better at and prone to mimicry — both emotionally and behaviourally — than we’d like to believe.

The book is essentially one concept for several chapters, but it is an easy and short read. And the studies are fun to read.



Tara Westover

Everyone’s all over this book. And it’s an amazing/inspiring story; Westover only set foot in a classroom at the age of 17, and she now has 2 PhDs.

I like the book, and found it an entertaining read.

However, I think what amazed me more than Westover’s tenacity is her family’s incredible luck at defying death. There were a lot of accidents in this book.

Psst, Bill Gates wrote a great review about the book, which he loved.



Brainstorm: Detective Stories from the World of Neurology
Suzanne O’Sullivan

I went through a phase of reading neurology books. This one, told through patient stories, is centred around epilepsy.

I was surprised to learn that there were so many kinds, and that they all manifest very differently! My understanding or exposure to it is (fortunately, I guess) through media, and so I only know about seizures, convulsions, stiffening body, eye rolls… The patient stories were fascinating — no doubt the writer chose the more unusual ones — and reading them made me fear (and fear for) my brain a little bit.

Medical advances have come a long, long way, but the brain has also been very imaginative in coming up with new mysteries.