The Book List #19

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick year: 1999 | pages: 302 | rating: 5/5 In 1820, t...

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick
year: 1999 | pages: 302 | rating: 5/5

In 1820, the whaleship Essex set sail from Nantucket for routine whaling work. Several oversights made before setting sail meant when an eighty-ton bull sperm whale repeatedly rammed and sunk the ship in the far reaches of the South Pacific, the twenty-man crew were left in a desperate situation. Boarding three small boats and fearing cannibals on the islands to the west, the crew began a 3,000 mile journey to the coast of South America in hopes of rescue. They spent ninety days at sea, enduring horrendous conditions, and eventually succumbed to hunger, thirst, disease, and what they initially feared, cannibalism. In the Heart of the Sea is written so powerfully with such extraordinary detail; the combination of factual evidence woven into a seemingly fictional narrative, makes this book such a page-turner. No facts are spared and while similar tragedies and relevant historical events are discussed in detail, this information is provided in such a way the reading experience is only enhanced and not dulled by overbearing enthusiasm. Philbrick's writing is exceptional and a book that could so easily be overladen with pointless trivia becomes one of the most amazing true life stories ever told.

Swindled: From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee - The Dark History of the Food Cheats by Bee Wilson
year: | pages: | rating: 1/5

I found Swindled to be far less exciting than I expected. Wilson pays particular attention to nineteenth- and twentieth-century America and England and personally, I would have found a more in-depth analysis of how that era impacted our current generation. Wilson reveals how food swindlers have cheapened, falsified, and poisoned our food throughout history. Swindled details how people and corporations have placed profits above the health of its consumers by tampering with their food and drink in horrifyingly grotesque ways. Wilson encourages the reader to become more vigilant consumers, arguing industrialization, slack politics, globalization, and professional "food swindlers" have caused not only the quality of our food to suffer but our expectations. Despite not enjoying this book as much as I expected to, I can't deny that cover, it's to die for.

Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod
year: 2009 | pages: 159 | rating: 4/5

Do you know that feeling you get when you hear something that rings incredibly true and you nod your head emphatically and say "YES" constantly? That is how I felt when I read this book. The entire time I was nodding along, agreeing with every word Huge MacLeod wrote. "Put the hours in; You are responsible for your own experience; Keep your day job; Never compare yourself; Sing in your own voice; Don't worry about finding inspiration; Write from the heart; The best way to get approval is not to need it; Beware of turning hobbies into jobs; None of this is rocket science." None of what is written inside Ignore Everybody is groundbreaking or even new, but the way MacLeod writes is encouraging and enthusiastic; MacLeod is passionate, sincere, and friendly. He offers up good advice in a way that would be hard for anyone to ignore.

Bossypants by Tina Fey
year: 2013 | pages: 250 | rating: 4/5

I have been telling everyone to read this book; Tina Fey must be one of the most charming and funny writers I have ever encountered. Bossypants is a brief account of Tina Fey's life so far including childhood memories, failed relationships, social faux pas, her successful career, and dilemmas only mothers would know. The entire book is entertaining, hilarious, and heart felt; quick, snappy, and full of empowering sentiments - read this book.

Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
year: 2013 | pages: 200 | rating: 2/5

Berger combines new research with powerful marketing stories to reveal the secrets of word-of-mouth and social transmission. Six basic principles are provided as to why certain things become "contagious" and others do not. Berger explores the power of consumer products, workplace rumors, YouTube videos, and viral advertisements. Contagious was an incredibly interesting read, however, lacked the ability to spark enthusiasm due to its rather monotone writing style. While Berger provides insight into the marketing industry and the power of organic reach, and despite incorporating a lot of modern research studies, Contagious doesn't cover any ground I was not already familiar with.

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer
year: 2012 | pages: 279 | rating: 2/5

Jonah Lehrer attempts to shatter the myths of creativity; creativity, Lenhrer argues, is not a rare gift the lucky few possess, it is something that can be learned through distinct processes. Lehrer argues by encouraging creativity we can improve our neighbourhood and our workforce; we can make schools more effective and companies more productive. Imagine proved a little too dry for me and took paths down routes I did not find interesting (Bob Dylan's writing habits and the drug addictions of poets) to "prove" vague concepts of creativity. There are, in my opinion, much better books tackling the slippery subject of what is means to be creative.

Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy by Martin Lindstrom
year: 2011 | pages: 256 | rating: 4/5

The social science of advertising is a genre I can't get enough of so it's no surprise that I found Brandwashed to be an exceptionally good read. Martin Lindstrom explores the psychological tricks and traps set up by companies to fool consumers. Lindstrom has spent over twenty years working in the industry, which provides a new angle and fresh material. Brandwashed explores marketing to children, fear mongering, the beauty industry, addictive products, the use of sex in advertising, subconscious peer pressure, celebrity endorsed products, the selling of hope, and a whole lot more. While I have read many books on advertising and am rarely shocked by advertising tactics, Lindstrom writes in a fluid, engaging manner that managed to keep me interested throughout.

{ the book list #1-18 }

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