The Daily Bongo

May 2016

Monday, May 23, 2016 -- Afternoon

cover of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli
It's not often that a physics book makes the best seller lists, but Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli made the list. The book is a compilation of articles that Rovelli wrote these articles for the Sunday supplement of an Italian newspaper. An interesting fact about Rovelli is that he is one of the founders of loop quantum gravity theory. Basically, loop quantum gravity tries to explain how quanta interact in a curved space-time. Every kid who has been to a science center has seen the spiral tube that illustrates how gravity works on a moving body. Kids toss a coin in, and the coin rotates around slowly sinking in to the tube. That curved space-time implies that a sheet-like effect. The mass of the Sun curves space around it. However, quantum theory also shows us that things also act like singular drops. Loop quantum gravity tries to explain both of these effects.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics is exactly that: very short explanations of the elements that we understand about the general relativity, quantum mechanics and the Standard model. The lessons are very easy for the layperson to understand, and the 84 page book can easily be read in a few hours. There's not a lot of meat on the bone, but reading the book does whet your appetite to read more about loop quantum theory. I think that every person should broaden his or her mind by reading Seven Brief Lessons on Physics.

Saturday, May 14, 2016 -- Evening

cover of Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg
Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg
I have to admit that I have been very busy with my new job and my online class. When you throw in taking my nephew to reading tutoring every Saturday, you will see that I really have very limited time to do anything. Cleaning and yard maintenance have also suffered. The only thing that I kept up with was walking, and that was basically because i love to eat, and eating leads to weight gain! I have been doing some reading, mostly magazines and Philippa Carr. i am working my way through her series. I would write more about them, but the books are really very similar.

I did however, finally read a book. I found out about Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. The author and book were highlighted on a recent episode of episode of Freakonomics on How to be Productive. I know that it's a question that I hear from a lot of friends, who think that I'm productive. They ask me how I got to be that way. I don't think Smarter Faster Better is really about being productive as much as it attempts to show you the qualities that will make you successful, and perhaps a better boss. I know as I read through it my prominent thought was that some of my former bosses who were really good at demoralizing and demotivating the workforce should read the book. However, that would probably be a lost cost. Bad bosses never see their own incompetence, and they do have a habit of misconstruing what they read to believe it is a validation of their incompetence.

When Duhigg surveyed productive people and teams, he found that there were eight factors that seemed to be consistence across all the people. These eight were items that no one disagreed on. So it wasn't that it worked for one and didn't work for another. They worked for all. The factors are:
Duhigg provides some good case studies to prove the point that he makes. For instance, he uses the story about how the production crew behind Frozen changed Elsa from evil to misunderstood. I know that I when I deal with my nephew and niece, I will try to change them feel that their successes were due to an internal as opposed to external locus of control. If you want to be a better worker or manager, or just read an interesting book, you should try Smarter Faster Better.