Book 235: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Finished reading on October 27th, 2017
Rating: 9/10

Why is it that a lot of women with higher education after some years don’t work or haven’t advanced in their careers as much as men with the same education? Why don’t men opt for being work-at-home fathers as often as women make the choice to stay at home with their children? Why shouldn’t one ask how to “have it all”?

This is another one of those books that I wouldn’t normally read, just because the content seems logical anyway, so why spend the time reading it? It’s still how I  feel, that’s why I only rated it with 9 points out of 10.

However I did find some points in it interesting. And I do feel that high-school and undergraduate students should read it, so that more women would stay in the workforce and also so that men would also see more options….

There’s a lot of good advice. For example to make your partner a real partner – don’t just do all the chores yourself, but share them and don’t require the other person to do them your way, but rather their own way, even if you consider it wrong.

Another one would be to not judge people on their choices when it comes to career and family – it might seem as if everyone has the same choices but in reality that might not be the case.

An interesting point Sandberg made in the book is that a man and a woman with the same skill-sets would be perceived differently and that there are different expectations to women in professional situations, and not just from men, but from women as well – you’d expect a woman to be nicer in any given situation than a man with the same kind of job. But at the same time successful women are seen as less nice and not liked as much as successful men.

While reading this book, I had one successful woman in the back of my mind, whose decisions have influenced me a lot and that probably is the reason why I felt that Sandberg’s book is just purely logical, and there’s not much new to me information in there. And I consider it obvious that it isn’t  “a woman’s” job to cook and clean – the person who can and wants to do those things will, but there’re no expectations for any one person to do it.

Another interesting thing was the part about mentors – asking someone to mentor you, or having a mentor without even realizing it. I think the main point there was to not ask someone to mentor you in those words, ask for specific advice rather than “be my mentor” – a sneaky way to get a mentor without the mentor even realizing it :).

I’m glad that I read it, and I think that everyone might benefit from reading it – to lean in to what ever it is you want to do with your life, be more confident and reach for the opportunities even when you don’t feel particularly ready for them.

 

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Book 234: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Finished reading on October 21st, 2017

Rating: 7/10

I always had the idea that somewhere in this book there would be someone counting sheep in their mind to fall asleep and wondering whether androids would be doing the same with electric sheep…. Well, I was wrong…

This book is not my usual kind of fiction book to read for several reasons – first if I read sci-fi it the book’s plot should better take place on a different planet or a moon, secondly isn’t it just a bit too mainstream?

I’m not going to get into the synopsis of the book, because that can be found anywhere else…

So my thought on this book: I’m glad it’s over. The end.

…..

I do feel like this book took me for a trip outside of my comfort-zone, which isn’t all that bad in itself.

*Androids as personal servants. Ok, why not. Though why not have them do everything else too? Humans are lazy, programmable robots however can be much more efficient, even in giving orders I’d think, so androids escaping humans sounds logical.

What doesn’t sound logical is having androids of two genders (as far as the book is concerned). Why? If you’d make them indistinguishable from humans, then you shouldn’t be surprised if they behave like humans. But that doesn’t sound effective – my question/idea arose from reading the part where Pris is encouraged to move to Isidore’s apartment where he could take care of her. That’s confusing. They’re capable of pretty much everything but a good cover for an android is living with a “chickenhead”? I wonder whether that’s for compatibility or some other reason that androids have genders…so that humans could relate to them better?

Now electric animals instead of real ones because a lot of species have gone extinct, very few survive and having an animal has become a status symbol – that’s an interesting idea. I remember as a kid wanting a remote-controlled dog when I couldn’t get a real dog, so it makes some sense. But it’s curious that androids aren’t considered as electric humans and as someone you should take care of and keep as pets, but rather as servants. So the latter serve a purpose, the former are merely symbolic and fake at that too. But I guess it’s more the culture – you have to have an animal or you’d be seen as odd, kind of like someone who doesn’t watch TV….

There were two things which I found most disturbing, should those ever come to life. First is fake memories. It’s been used elsewhere too ofcourse. But it’s just creepy.

Second is empathy boxes and Mercerism. So you take hold of the handles and feel what someone else is feeling and others can feel how you feel (kind of like the point-of-view gun in Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide, only it works both ways). Maybe I’m just (trying too or really am) not that emphatic so I would hate to feel someone else’s feelings and moods – partly because I feel it’s an invasion of their privacy even if they’re doing it willingly and secondly it’s making you feel different. However now think of what reading fiction does….. Aren’t they just empathy boxes with pages instead of handles? That’s a disturbing thought. Which is also why I find that any book recommendations should be really well-considered and thought-out. (At least when I’ve read a book on someone’s recommendation I still always connect them to that book…) But why should everything be shared?

Then just something I noticed – in case of names of people etc that I haven’t come across too much, or not at all, I find it difficult to assign a different meaning or character to it, so in my mind Mercer is connected to the Mercer in Eggers’ Circle and the Rosens are connected to Dr. Rosen from A Beautiful Mind….

And now for the last thing – mood organs are probably the most interesting bit of technology that is in that book. The ability to just dial a different mood and schedule your moods in advance -that’s quite intriguing. If such a thing existed, would I use it? On the one hand it goes against my idea of what a mood is and that would just be a setting… and I’d prefer to not have my moods changed even just by me… On the other hand I see how it might make some things easier – for example set it on a sociable mood and you’re willing to talk to people or a learning mood for those early morning lectures…

In my mind the most disturbing part in the novel is the bit with the spider. I do have empathy for the spider…Those awful bully androids…

So that’s what I thought about while reading this book. Unfortunately I finished it way past midnight, so my thoughts haven’t been organized too well.

What were your thoughts on this book?

Data remains my favourite android.

Book 233: Hacking Electronics by Simon Monk

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Hacking Electronics: An illustrated DIY guide for makers and hobbyists by Simon Monk

Finished reading on October 18th, 2017

Rating:8/10

Where would you start if you’d want to get into building electronics? Or just learning about it? I would suggest starting from this book that provides a lot of information on different electronic components, procedures and ideas for beginner-friendly projects.

I picked up this book on a whim at the library and was drawn to it because of its title and later by the illustrated nature of it – it makes electronics seem easy enough and with a few safety procedures in place I might even try some of the projects out.

I liked that there is variety in the projects and the directions seem easy and clear enough to follow. However with some of the projects I sort of started wondering what for would you make one thing or another. I mean in addition to fun, what purpose would it serve? That was the only reason I gave it 8 points out of ten. I can see how some of the projects are helpful, but in case of others I’d like to have seen a bit more of what use would it have. Or maybe a gallery of ideas for useful gadgets you could make with the techniques and components introduced in the book. You’d have to figure all that out yourself.

I am glad that I read it though – it’s great to learn new skills even though I might not put them to use right away.

Book 232: Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps by Peter Galison

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Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps by Peter Galison

Finished reading on 10th October 2017

Rating: 8/10

What is simultaneity? How can clocks be synchronized? Why do we have 60 minutes in an hour instead of 100? These are some of the questions you’d find answers to in this book.

I wanted to read this book just because of the title – first of all it mentions Einstein, and secondly I remembered Poincaré’s name from one or another physics lecture.

This book starts out with the practical need for synchronizing clocks that was first felt at the observatories and on the railroad. In case of railroads it might sound more practical as it makes sense that even small differences in time can cause accidents in case of fast-moving trains. In the case of observatories however it was connected to the need to find your exact location on a map for cartographers etc.

As railroads covered more and more land surface with their grid it also became important and necessary to think of standardizing time. Which brings the book to the topic of what kind of ideas were proposed and how the Greenwich meridian came to be the one acknowledged as the prime meridian.

In addition to practical need and solutions, Galison goes into the idea of simultaneity as a basic idea in physics and philosophy and how it was approached differently.

It all leads us to the special theory of relativity.

Having read several books on relativity and Einstein before, I felt like this book gave me a different insight into special relativity. Maybe it was just because of the comparison with Poincaré’s ideas, or Galison showing it in the context of contemporary ideas of synchronizing clocks.

This book was interesting from the beginning to the end and approached time from a different perspective than what I’ve encountered before. It’s not a difficult book to get through, but it makes you appreciate having standardized time and accurate clocks, and might also make you think about why couldn’t we have decimal time instead?