Nov 14, 2010

a few good books

Let me take a little breather from debate-blogging to suggest some good reads.

See What I'm Saying, Lawrence D. Rosenblum
If you trained yourself, you could echolocate like a bat. Not as well as a bat, of course, but pretty darn well, considering. Rosenblum's first chapter explains how, while the rest of the book illuminates other surprising features of the senses. The upshot: it's actually misleading to think of a discrete batch of five senses; we all, to varying degrees, have what Rosenblum calls "multisensory perception." At least, that's how I smell it.

The Black Swan, Nassim Taleb; Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, Kathryn Schulz
Of course, if our powers of perception are much better than we imagine, our cognition is much worse. These books aren't intended to be therapeutic, but, at least from this wrongster's perspective, they are, in the best possible way.

The Man Who Lied to His Laptop, Clifford Nass and Corina Yen
What can we learn about human nature by studying our interactions with machines? Hopefully, a great deal. This book provoked me to reconfigure the way I give feedback--and how I teach students to give each other feedback.

Here's Looking at Euclid, Alex Bellos
Love the title, and, even more, the explanations of mathematical concepts, which are entertaining and accessible in equal measures. Because the best math teachers always have the corniest jokes, right?


Scott H Thompson said...

I haven't read the book by Kathryn Schulz, but I've really tried to take to heart the ideas of Taleb. I find that it really is a different way of looking at things, of understanding and accepting the limits of our own knowledge and understanding of the world around us. We can actually become stronger the more willing we become to accept our limitations, provided we take steps to make ourselves robust or resilient to the unknown. It's a pretty liberating way of looking at the world, I think.

I'll have to check out Schulz's book. Thanks for sharing your reading list!

M.T. McLaughlin said...

Oh man. I just happen to be reading Here's Looking at Euclid.