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.

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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.

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Monday, April 09, 2018

Review: Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice

Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice by Bill Browder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A classic David vs Goliath case, played out on the global stage. I wonder how Malcolm Gladwell would retell the story if he had to.

The book reads like a fast-paced political thriller, with many elements that have the potentials to be adapted to the big screen, or as a Netflix drama series.

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Review: It's Your Kid, Not a Gerbil: Creating a Happier & Less-Stressed Home

It's Your Kid, Not a Gerbil: Creating a Happier & Less-Stressed Home It's Your Kid, Not a Gerbil: Creating a Happier & Less-Stressed Home by Kevin Leman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you need parenting advice, get it from someone who has been there, done that. Repeatedly. Like Dr. Kevin Leman, who has five kids.

However, parents who subscribe to the notion of kiasuism, helicopter parenting, overparenting, or whatever it is called these days, may deem the tone too preachy for their liking. Which is a shame. While the front part of the book relies heavily on personal anecdotes or just pure persuasion to argue its case, some research data from relevant sources or experts in the field are used subsequently to back up Leman’s statements.

Unfortunately, some of the chapters are a bit repetitive and the points raised by Leman sound like common sense or overused arguments. Halfway through, the book meandered to parenting advice (e.g. on discipline) that’s unrelated to the subject matter of its title.

It’s a good read, but it probably won’t win many converts despite the liberal dose of humour sprinkled throughout the book.

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Thursday, February 01, 2018

Review: Lying

Lying Lying by Sam Harris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A complex book (or should I say, essay, to be honest) on the philosophy of practical ethics, based on an undergraduate college course that the author took at Stanford. Ironically, it takes a book about lying to lay out the merits of telling the truth whatever the situation. This last part will probably have some people up in arms, particularly those who subscribe to the notion of "white lies".

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