Day 8 of 14 - A few more thoughts on books...

Updated: May 6

“We need to distinguish what is actually dangerous from what sounds frightening.” - David Spiegelhalter (2019)


This is #8.

Today I want to share a few more thoughts on books that I have recently read or listened to.

The Art of Statistics by David Spiegelhalter


The first book I want to share with you came back to my attention after seeing a lot of statistics about the virus outbreak in my LinkedIn and Instagram feed. The core message of the book is: "Don't take statistics at face value."


This shouldn't be new to any of us, but we tend to read and interpret statistics in a way it suits our current situation, opinions or values best. However, the author reminds us to view statistical information as a source of some great stories, even though they might not be the most accurate. They should be treated with the same skepticism you apply to other kinds of claims, facts and quotes.


Where to read?

Since I am a slow reader with the tendency to re-read a lot of passages to better understand them for me this is a good weekend read - probably on a Sunday afternoon with a few hours to spare. I also listened to parts of the book while doing cardio but I found it to be a little bit distracting because I had to concentrate a lot on the examples and information given by the author. So, for me it is best enjoyed in a quite and relaxed atmosphere with full focus on its contents.


What to expect?

The author urges us to improve our data literacy since data creeps into out daily lives more and more these days. To do so, he uses a good amount of relatable examples to describe how to read and interpret statistics, how statistics are manipulated to meet certain requirements, how problems can be solved using statistics, how statistic analyses can be prepared, how data is assembled, and what methodologies and frameworks you can use to do the above mentioned.


Even though the topic seems to be very dry, thanks to the author it is far more relatable than one might think when first picking up the book. I am not a data-guy but while reading this book I've learned a lot, and I've learned to somewhat like the topic. Maybe it can do the same for you.


If this short summary aroused your interest, you can buy the book here (Amazon Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/3bOUwSf):


Who Will Cry When You Die? by Robin Sharma


The author, Robin Sharma, is probably most known for his book series "The Monk who sold his Ferrari". He wrote his first book in 1994 at the age of 25. "Who Will Cry When You Die?" was his fourth publication back in 1999.


This book taught me to deal with my grudges a little better. There are certain moments in my life where I get angered easily by the people around me, especially the ones that show bad manners or don't treat others well. As one piece of the puzzle this book taught me to shift perspective in these situations, understand that most of other people's behavior has got nothing to do with me and helped me to be more relaxed overall.


Where to read?

This is a good evening read, but also suitable for lunch or coffee breaks. I was carrying it around with me for a while and found it worth listening/reading to even if I only had a few minutes while on the bus or metro. It can really lift your spirits and make you forget about the rest of the world for a moment.

What to expect?

At first, the title put me off a little bit. I was afraid that I would find a lot of spiritual passages dealing with death and how to make your life meaningful. But the book is much more straight forward.


It provides great advice on how to live a happy life in a very unspectacular way and how to make other's miss you when you're gone - not by being someone else, being super famous or doing extraordinary things. But by being a better you, getting your priorities in order, complaining less about the world, instead contributing more value to the world, dealing with failure in an open-minded fashion, being more honest with yourself and others, taking care of your body and your mind, and connecting with nature from time to time.


You can find this book and other publications by Robin Sharma here (Amazon Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/2Uu2jyL):


How Not to Diet by Michael Greger, M.D.


How much money do you spend per week on food these days? Most of us have been going out for lunch or dinner less recently which has an effect not only on how much we spend on food but on our overall dietary habits. The rise of processed, unhealthy food means that many of us consume too many calories and gain too much weight.


Realizing that I haven't been eating out for over 2 months and preparing 1-2 meals a day for me and my wife made me think about the way I prepare meals and what I can do better to do so. This book - and another one called: The Bullet Proof Diet - helped me to do so.


About the author: Michael Greger is an American physician, author, and professional speaker on public health issues, best known for his advocacy of a whole-food, plant-based diet, and his opposition to animal-derived food products.


Where to read?

There's a good audio book version so I've listened to it while doing my cardio. Another reason for listening instead of reading is the fact that the book is over 600 pages strong - it provides a lot of facts and advice that can be listened to and picked up quite easily without having to re-read them.

What to expect?

This book - opposed to many others that try to give good advice on how to diet - tells you what to avoid to live a healthier life. The author explains that the word "diet" doesn't necessary stand for "loosing weight" but for how eating habits should be in general. He explains the fundamentals of good nutrition from a scientific perspectives which helped me a great deal to understand what kind of diet our bodies were originally made for.


Here's the link to this book... (Amazon Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/33UMR1U):

... and its sequel "How Not to Die" which I haven't read yet but it's on my list (Amazon Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/2UrVjCC):


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