Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Review: Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials

Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials by Malcolm Harris
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book regurgitates much of what is known about the millennial generation. There is no new insights, except the painting of a doomsday scenario, which hardly qualifies as an insight.

This is not surprising. Harris is no researcher, and when he tries to assemble and comment on research in child rearing, education, human capital, technological changes, criminal justice, pop culture, amongst other things, he oversimplifies the conclusions.

The irony is that in attempting to deconstruct the popular stereotypes about millennial slackers, the author ended up relying on stereotypes about parents to make sweeping statements. At times, this makes it sound like parents are in a situation of "damned if you do, damned if you don't". In doing so, he inadvertently epitomises the ranting generation.

Unfortunately, the way Harris went about his "analyses" just reinforces the common perception that millennials are a generation with whiny, self-entitled attitudes.

Overall, this book proves the point that every generation blames the one before it.

If you want to read Malcolm stuff, read Gladwell instead.

View all my reviews

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Review: The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change

The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change by Adam Braun
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a great book for those who are struggling to find purpose in their lives. Unlike many books in this genre, it doesn't sound preachy or highfalutin.

Each chapter (or mantra, as the author puts it) can be read on its own, and it will still provide valuable lessons (except the chapter that introduced Justin Bieber). But if you read the chapters sequentially, you will be able to better understand the full context of the lessons.

View all my reviews

Monday, April 30, 2018

Review: The Marshmellow Test

The Marshmellow Test The Marshmellow Test by Walter Mischel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First things first. This is not a self-help book. If you're reading it expecting to find some kind of magic panacea for the lack of self control, you will be sorely disappointed. Instead, Walter Mischel delves into his in-depth study of the psychology of delayed gratification and how this is often a predictor of future successes in life.

The Marshmellow Test is, however, not an easy book to understand if you're not grounded in psychology, or if you fall short of a decent level of comprehension. There are elaborate discussions of many dense subjects, including the "hot" and "cool" systems of the brain, nature vs nurture and the role of executive function (EF), which the author says is the key to the mastery of skills (such as self-control).

Even when it comes to the advice on how his findings can be applied to everyday life to help with self-control efforts, the mathematical model may be too hard for casual readers to grasp and apply consistently. The mathematical model appears in the last two chapters of the book.

View all my reviews

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Review: The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed

The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, the underlying message that our kids can and should do a lot more than we afford them is commendable. And the author clearly did her homework, citing study after study by renowned psychologists. However, while the book started off on a bright note, it went downhill from there. Yes, Lahey highlights many scientific research as "case studies", but some of them are irrelevant to the topic of the book or, at best, have a tenuous link.

The second half of the book is where Lahey's self-interest as a teacher got the better of her. The missive on Parent-Teacher Partnerships, for instance, is not particularly helpful. There is just so much teacher angst on display. It's like the author had all these pent-up emotions writing the front part of the book as a parent that she can't help coming across as angry and condescending when she lectures parents on how to forge (ironically) better relationships with the school and teachers. The tone is way too off-putting.

View all my reviews

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Unnecessary spoiler alert: Almost every other sentence in the first few chapters contains the four-letter word. That much is obvious from the title of the book. Which is a real shame because the author dishes out good advice when he’s not punctuating his sentences with profanity.

But some people may find the style offensive, or worse, they may find it tiring to plough through the same shit over and over again. Swearing a lot only gets you so far, and mixed with oft-repeated self-help proclamations (not much is counterintuitive, in fact), you can’t help but wonder why you should give a fuck to this book.

View all my reviews

Labels

accountability (1) advertising (73) AIM (1) Alex Au (1) Amos Yee (1) anger (1) animation (8) Anwar Ibrahim (1) Apple (1) art (11) Barisan Nasional (1) blog (1) books (38) bureaucracy (2) Bush (29) business (123) Cantonese (8) censorship (1) China (91) Chinese (72) civil liberties (38) CNY (1) commentary (299) computers (81) corporate governance (30) corruption (7) CPF (1) credit rating (1) cronyism (2) debt (1) democracy (47) design (32) dictatorship (4) Disney (1) downloads (10) Dreamworks (1) economy (24) election (46) entertainment (47) events (32) fashion (18) food (36) free speech (1) freedom (16) funny stuff (450) gadgets (63) games (22) gaming (2) GE2013 (1) GE2015 (2) gerrymandering (1) GIC (1) government (55) health (11) history (10) Hollywood (1) Hong Kong (37) human rights (3) IB (1) ideas (10) IKEA (4) innovation (1) inspirational (42) interesting stuff (240) iPhone (6) Japan (4) language (75) leadership (4) Lee Kuan Yew (3) lifestyle (75) List (27) lyrics (5) Macau (1) Malaysia (1) management (47) marketing (43) media (66) mindboggling stuff (107) money saving hack (1) movies (34) music (30) musings (4) nepotism (1) news (2) NSP (1) olympics (1) opinion (7) opposition (1) Pakatan Rakyat (1) PAP (7) parody (59) Party Against People (3) PE2017 (1) people (285) Philippines (29) philosophy (6) photography (9) photos (220) political detainees (1) politics (120) privacy (9) products (110) protest (1) quiz (2) quotes (66) relationship (89) religion (6) republic (1) research (21) scam (2) SDA (1) SDP (1) shout (1) Singapore-related (151) Singaporeans (1) social media (5) society (99) software (65) sports (40) SPP (1) Straits Times (14) Sun Yat-Sen (1) survey (20) Taiwan (4) tear for fears (1) technology (151) Temasek Holdings (1) transparency (1) travel (46) trivia (40) TV (31) videos (207) Web (126) women (4) workplace (57) world affairs (109) WP (1) writing (64)