Wednesday , April 21 2021
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Tag Archives: Resources

What are the best books ever published in the history of the universe?

Well, I don’t know. But The Week kindly asked me to send a list of my ‘best books’ and I wasn’t sure how to interpret the question. So here goes! Getting Things Done by Edwin Bliss. I stumbled upon this book a boy and it opened my mind to the then-radical idea that you could use time badly, or wisely. Bliss’s book is written for a world of filing cabinets and secretaries, so these days I’d recommend instead David Allen’s book with the same title – although Bliss’s version...

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What I’ve been reading: Bravey by Alexi Pappas

When Alexi Pappas and I realised we were releasing books at around the same time, she suggested that we do a book swap and send each other our books. What a good idea, especially since I probably read too much social science – and I’m a firm believer in a little randomisation in life. I didn’t know what to expect from Bravey. Well, what I received was an elegant and very moving debut from a seriously gifted writer. I knew Pappas was an athlete – she set a 10k national...

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Misinformation can be beautiful

Chapter nine of “The Data Detective” / “How To Make The World Add Up” is all about data visualisation – its power, and its pitfalls. The overarching story is about how one woman launched a public health revolution, armed with a fancy pie chart. I’m fond of the chapter – but how does it look to audiobook listeners? Ah. Obviously the pictures in the audiobook are… well, nonexistent. So here are links to the graphics in question. First, Nigel Holmes’s famous – infamous?...

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Announcing the publication of The Data Detective

Do you want to be able to think more clearly about the world? Do you want to be able to evaluate the claims that swirl around you in the media and on social media? Do you wish you knew what questions to ask to sift out the truth from the misinformation? Are you a curious person, more interested in finding out about the world than in winning some argument on Twitter? Would you like to come away from reading the news feeling calmer and better informed, rather than...

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Adam Grant on Thinking Again

I’m delighted to be sharing a publication day, 2 February, with Adam Grant and his new book, Think Again. Well, mostly delighted: that’s one fewer slot on the bestseller lists for me to aim for. Think Again is a stone cold classic and destined to do extremely well. The book explores three key areas: individual rethinking (the challenges and benefits of being willing to reconsider your views); interpersonal rethinking (how do you get other people to think again?); and...

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The best podcasts about Covid vaccines

While working on How To Vaccinate The World, a weekly podcast devoted to Covid vaccination, I’ve been a voracious consumer of other podcasts about vaccination and the vaccination race. Here are a few recommendations – feel free to email me if you have other suggestions. Vaccines, Money and Politics – a formidably intelligent BBC two-parter written and presented by the formidably intelligent producer of How to Vaccinate the World, Sandra Kanthal. A terrific introduction to...

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Gaming inspiration

I think we could all use some help in escaping to other worlds with our friends. I’ve taken the Christmas holiday as an opportunity to read some good gaming books, some of which were kindly placed in my stocking by Father Christmas… Without further ado, Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master by Michael Shea (aka Sly Flourish) was the first book I cracked open. I wholeheartedly recommend it as a guide to improvising more, preparing less, and let at the same time running better...

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What I’ve been reading: a passionate statistican, and a deep worker

Florence Nightingale, by Mark Bostridge. I don’t read many biographies and perhaps I should read more, if this is anything to go by. I have been particularly focused on the 1850s (nursing and statistics) and 1860s (public health campaigning and statistics) but of course the book ranges over her entire long life. This is an impressive book: lots of detail, authoritative, but also fun to read. There are many, many shallow biographical treatments of Nightingale in short essays...

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Self-help books that actually help

Self-help is a much-mocked section of the bookstore, and in truth there is much to mock. However I have a soft spot for certain self-help books that I have found useful over the years. These ones get my vote. The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. A nostalgic pick, perhaps, but I found this wise, witty little book served as a touchstone throughout my years as a student. “You’d be surprised how many people violate this simple principle every day of their lives and try to fit...

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What I’ve been reading: economic comedy and the power of decency

Two books this week that were written by friends of mine. First, a shout out for How To Buy A Planet by D.A. Holdsworth – a comedy about what happens when the world’s leaders decide to sell Earth to some cute aliens in order to wipe the slate clean and press ahead, debt-free. Needless to say, all does not go according to plan. Echoes of Douglas Adams in this book, which is no bad thing. Lots of fun. Second, David Bodanis’s book The Art of Fairness (Amazon / Bookshop) is...

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