I like seeing fictional books since I can relate to the people writing them. If I enjoyed some of the fictional books that people talk about, then I'll go along with their non-fiction recommendations. Also, reading fiction shouldn't be treated like time wasted! I see that comment a lot by people who only read the non-fiction books, but I highly disagree with that thought. For another comment I guess.
One way to do that is to have different sections, one for fiction and one non-fiction. I'd love to see that here.
On that note, I've actually experienced that here, with some of the book recommendation threads, finding comments with books I also like and then reading the others. Always fun to talk to people who read the same as you.
One reason I picked it is that is indeed a great book that I have been recommending plenty to friends.
Another is that I do think it's incredibly important to be able to enjoy and indulge and make time for fiction, especially when you work in tech. It's too easy to "read for facts / information / theory" and forget the joy that good writing can bring.
It took me some reflection to realize I heavily bias towards non-fiction unless I make an effort. But when I do get the chance to read a great novel, it tends to affect me more than reading non-fiction.
The world needs more literature, poetry, and art, so I also like supporting authors who ship that product too :)
(FWIW, the book probably isn't for everyone, but I think reading great literature is – give it a shot if you haven't in a while!)
There are a lot of fiction books that will make you think differently more than non-fiction.
Blindsight* ... I was trying to CTRL+F for "Blond" and couldn't fint it =). Finally found the link here: http://www.rifters.com/real/Blindsight.htm
And downloaded it. Thanks.
Many consider a relaxing, entertaining read to be worthwhile after a hard week of work in its own right.
For those who need a more "tangible" return on reading, though, many fiction books, intentionally or not, introduce ideas, philosophies, thoughts and perspective.
Some explore political systems, others philosophies, others social/economic constructs, yet others interpersonal relationships, etc. From that perspective, one can learn from many fiction books, exercise one's mental muscles, gain new perspectives, and even take actionable insight.
I'm not saying Danielle Steel or Sydney Sheldon are necessarily likely candidates for bringing lifestyle change; but I have personally found many fiction (particularly SF in my case) books to have played a large part in influencing my perspective on the world and people within it, impact my likes and priorities, and so on.
I don't agree with ideas in Starship Troopers but found them challenging my own worldview. Arthur Clarke put Sri Lanka / Ceylon on my bucket list, made me interested in astronomy AND computer science. Neuromancer instigated my trip to Japan and visit to Tokyo, where I very much experienced the night-time vista through Case's eyes. A lot of Tom Clancy (I know... I know;) renewed my interest in flying and geopolitics, and I've happily used the word "nekulturny" in my daily usage since. Karl May's doubly-fictional accounts of American West and Arabian Peninsula added them to my own imagination.
Tau Zero, Childhood's end, and Children of men made me realize how much I empathized with success and continuation of species more than Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" or Dawkins' "Selfish Gene" ever did. And so on...
My $0.01 CAD :)
I find it to: enhance empathy; expose me to new ideas and perspectives (both of background and state of mind); improve my writing; allow me to experience the beautiful and the sublime, which I'd count as among the least-wasteful uses of time; act as a kind of therapy by letting me see that my struggles both great and mundane are, without exception, not only my own; generally aid self reflection, understanding, and improvement.
Granted few or none of these things may result if we're talking about trash fiction, which isn't better than any other time-waster one may choose (TV, say—though both are fine if one's goal is simply entertainment). The above is what The Good Stuff does, by definition—achieving most or all of those things is overwhelmingly why those works are considered great.
[EDIT] I'd add that even mediocre fiction can be a great source of inspiration and ideas, while also being entertaining.
I think there's an argument for reading as entertainment, regardless of quality, as a form of non-productive entertainment that is less harmful than other forms of entertainment. I've taken to switching off my devices at night and just reading books (fiction and non-fiction) before bed.
I would say my attention span has benefited greatly from this, as has my sleep (from not staring into blue lights late into the night).
Of course reading fiction isn't the only activity that this could apply to. Just the one we happen to be talking about.
That's a good point. I was over-broad in my post—the form by which one experiences otherwise low-nutrient entertainment can have its own benefits. Reading even so-so fiction's not the same as watching so-so TV or compulsively refreshing online news aggregators, for example.
Have you ever had an idea that you thought could change the world? Write a short story about it. When you are really forced to create different viewpoints in your head, put those viewpoints into characters, and then have those characters come into conflict with one another, you're subjecting your idea to scrutiny that costs nothing more than a few bytes in word processor and a few hours of time.
In that way, I think a lot of non-fiction is time wasted. I think more non-fiction writers should be fiction writers.
As a scientist, authors like William Gibson, Borges, Bradbury, Ramez Naam, Asimov, Clarke, Richard Morgan, etc. have provided me with rapid access to very real and useful perspectives inaccessible in non-fiction form. Such stories are long-form versions of Einstein's 'gedanken'  - thought experiments such as those he relied on to conceive of relativity.
- rehearse it after a time, or
- try to derive it by yourself (applies to e.g. math and physics), or
- explain in your own words (whether by teaching someone, or just writing a blog post), or
- code a working demo of it
Basically, you have to apply the idea somehow to actually learn it.
And it's certainly true that writers of hard-to-grasp ideas often use both - fictional examples in non-fiction books, historical examples and exposition in fiction books.
For example, I've never given time to reading about gene editing, but after reading Change Agent I've been reading about gene editing and Crispr. I also have some minor understanding of the dangers and benefits of where that could take civilization.
I hadn't thought about what would happen in doomsday scenarios, like a large virus outbreak or an EMP blast, but Holding Their Own and One Second After exposed me to that.
Reading Seveneves exposed me to space travel and Lagrange points, I had no idea about these otherwise.
Authors like John Fante are great story tellers and he's such a joy to read instead of watching a tv series.
I do second The Windup Girl - in particular, I liked the exploration of technologies in a society so energy constrained, that the Joule becomes pretty much the most important resource.
If anyone has any biotech fiction recommendations, I'd love to hear them.
Not all types of empathy. I think the idea is that when they see someone behave in a negative manner, they are more likely to conjure up a scenario in their mind where that behavior makes sense.
I remember one communications workshop I took where one of the lessons was: "When someone acts poorly or irrationally, try to ask yourself: Why would a reasonable person ever behave this way?" If you can come up with a scenario, then you don't automatically attribute negative qualities to the other (irrational, jerk, etc).
The claim is people who read a lot of fiction are much better at this. Anecdotally, I often find I'm better at this than most around me - even people who I view as much more intelligent. Often gets me in trouble, as well (e.g. my refusal to blanket condemn Wall Street professionals after the 2008 crisis (the key word being "blanket")).
Until recently, I would get quite frustrated with those who were quick to judge in situations where I could come up with (reasonable) scenarios vindicating the person, and could clearly see the person judging had not ruled those out. But in the last year or so, people have sent me signals that this is hard for the average person to do and I'm much better than most.
And the advice I keep hearing on how you can develop that skill is "Read more fiction".
Anyway, my 2 cents. Would love to see if this is backed by anything rigorous.
They discuss benefits in:
1. Increasing empathy
2. Decreasing stress
The other is the hidden benefits of fiction. You'll be exposed to different world views than your own, different social constructs and different time periods which can shape how you see events. It's possible to live your life, in very different ways, in fast forward with fiction hundreds of times. You can gain new ideas, new creative energy or it may help you relax and recharge energy for when you don't want to "waste" your time.
But there's certain works, literary classics, which started to fascinate me - because these books changed the world. Nowadays, it's technology that changes viewpoints - but there are parallels between good technology and good storytelling.
I also see certain classic films being just as important. Watch all of 'easy rider' and see how it affects you, moves you emotionally.
I still read mostly technical documents, but reading some of the classics can expand your viewpoints. I reread 1984 and brave new world last year for example - I'd read them in high school but clearly didn't appreciate them back then. Just being able to discuss those books with others who have read them have opened up some amazing conversations.
Personally, I see lot of value in science fiction books. They're good at exploring impact of technological changes on people (both on individual and societal level), and they can also be very inspiring. Also, the less such work is about people and their relationship, the more I like it - what I look for in science fiction is ideas and inspirations, not the boring interpersonal drama our lives are so full of already.
Teachers always tell their pupils to read often and to read widely. Why? Because the more you expose yourself to a wide range of writing styles the greater the chance it will help improve your own writing (regardless of whether you write fiction or non-fiction).
Fiction arguably lets the writer compose sentences with more freedom and creative licence than the non-fiction writer. The more you read, the more likely that some of that will rub off in your own writing or influence the rhythm of your own writing.
Three fiction recommendations:
* The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
* The Last Question by Isaac Asimov
* Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon
Three non-fiction recommendations:
* Art is Work by Milton Glaser
* Pragmatic Thinking And Learning by Andy Hunt
* The First And Last Freedom by Jiddu Krishnamurti
Leaving the worlds of business and technology to study messy human relationships can only help to increase empathy in our industry.
Definitely going to re-read it. It is a fast read.
I love fiction, especially fantasy and sci-fi. Reading just fiction or reading just non-fiction are both a pity, you are missing out on great experiences.
I am under the impression that fiction has won, so seeing non-fiction win around here feels good to me. May be my impression is mistaken? May be that's just where I live?
I'm always pleased to see posts on literature show up on the HN, but often disappointed to see so few comments. But enough people are up-voting them that they do regularly appear on the front page, so there's clearly enough interest around here.
 e.g. see https://news.ycombinator.com/from?site=nybooks.com
Rarely have I read a book which made me think about a subject I thought I had a pretty good understanding of completely different. And if that is not enough it's probably one of the few books which doesn't have a moral/ethical agenda but merely seeks to inform about how the crisis happened (and what money really is)
For me it's one now on my list of books about important fundamentals in this world.
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (Evolution)
MindStorms by Seymore Papert (Education)
Structure of Scientific Revolution by Thomas Kuhn (Scientific Method/ Philosophy)
Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas R. Hofstadter (Formal Systems)
The Innovators Dilemma by Clayton Christensen (Entrepreneurship)
Innovation and Entrepreneurship Peter F Druckert (Entrepreneurship but most likely because I had a quite crazy experience while reading it)
They are all books written by what I consider careful thinkers i.e. people who are able to avoid confusing what they want the world to be with what they actually observe.
They don't have to be right and can be highly subjective as long as their premise is clear and they are aware of it.
- scientific knowledge is embedded in some intellectual ether made of underlying hypotheses often not explicitly stated called paradigms
- paradigms follow a Darwinian evolutionary process, i.e. better paradigms evolve out of not-so-good previous paradigms
- paradigm replacements start with an epistemological crisis , i.e. facts that the current paradigms don't explain well enough.
Hope it helps !
If you believed the world is flat you can still get from one village to the next one and you wouldn't fall of the earth. It's true enough for what it is trying to accomplish. If you want to navigate longer and longer distances or go to the moon however this believe will meet it's limits.
The primary thing people struggle with in general with science and philosophy of science is actually more fundamental in other parts of life to which is Truth.
Popper thought science helped us approach the some objective Truth. Kuhn realized (and I agree) that truth is always depending on the context in which it's defined.
We don't need truth we just need useful.
* Twenty-Three Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism 
* Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism 
I've also heard Our Kind recommended for this kind of thing, but I haven't read it myself.
RE "He gives almost no credit to human agency", I wonder what's the current state of that discussion. My current belief (as always, subject to change) is in technological determinism - i.e. available technology level shapes the "parameter space" of social and economical structures, and individual agency is a secondary factor. This seems to match my knowledge of history and history of science, as well as observations of current social dynamics. I'm not a scholar in the area though, so I don't know what's the best criticism of that view.
Has a little less about historical events and more on the ideas that shaped humanity. The part on early human development is also fascinating.
Agreed, I also liked most of the book, but some chapters it seemed like the author was pushing a political agenda.
Kindle Version - $11.99
Paperback (Prime) - $9.32
I see the value of bringing systematizing vs empathizing in the picture, but you can do that without character-assassinating them. It was really bizarre to read him bring up their autism, then insist he didn't commit Ad Hominem, then continue on as if he had invalidated Kant's view (without actually making any substantive argument).
I believe it was Apollo Robbins who said one of the brainjacks he uses is the "A, B, C, 7" pattern, where people with distracted attention tend to leap to assuming the next object is like the former ones.
Can you give an example of this?
That being said, it didn't really detract from the overall messages of the book. Just a strange one-off.
Affiliate links make me feel like I'm paying back the curator(s) for the awesome recommendations I'm thankful for. However minor that might be.
Do people feel like recommendations would be biased if the links were affiliate links?
Phantom limb syndrome is in many ways similar -- do these same people consider that "woo-woo"?
My one issue with Sarno is that he's a little light on detail in terms of what exactly I need to do to get rid of the pain. For that, I've found this organization/program to be helpful: http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/pages/overcomingpain/
I don't think it's an objection to psychosomatic phenomena as much as just skepticism towards Sarno's work specifically, lack of support from other MDs, lack of strong peer reviewed evidence, etc.
IMHO we're fairly likely to eventually find that what he calls TMS is an early precursor / catch-all to a larger class of health issues (like "cancer"), and as we find better ways to classify, distinguish and diagnose these, we're also going to be able to run better studies and come up with more specific treatments that satisfy the medical community's standards of proof.
Edit: there may be some slight truth to why his treatment seems to work for some in that if you can mentally reframe your pain you are more likely to get better but that nugget seems to be buried in the fluff of his TMS theory: (https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/chronic-pain-a-disease-in-i...)
I've heard of folks who are capable of meditating their way through a root canal. Should we stop offering Novocain to patients? Should we start actively discouraging dental patients from getting Novocain?
To me (dons flameproof suit), it's a lot like Homeopathy - another attempt to sell the placebo effect.
I can't believe people think it's woo-woo or anti-scientific, though, after reading it. Sarno's thesis is basically "we haven't found a physical cause for most chronic pain conditions, so why not the brain?".
Anxiety sufferers can fool themselves into thinking they're having a heart attack and hyperventilate. Why is it crazy or anti-scientific to think that the same can cause other symptoms?
That makes more sense than I was expecting. In particular, pain must be felt in the brain. That is, my body can be suffering some trauma, but if the nerve signals don't make it to the brain, or the brain doesn't interpret them as pain, then I don't feel pain. (This is true of third-degree burns - they don't hurt very much, because the nerves got destroyed, so you don't feel how bad the burn is.)
But if the body isn't under (known) trauma, but the patient is experiencing pain, maybe the brain is a reasonable place to look...
I don't want a robot to read the book, but I also don't want the reader adding "color" by reading some characters with different voices (or - as i've heard in some cases - multiple readers each "in character").
Is this common?
James Marsters reads the Dresden Files books and he is amazing. It really is a performance by a good actor and (IMHO) adds to the book. He does use "voices" for different characters and it works really well. Most other readers will try to do this has well. It can be hit or miss.
A really good ensemble book is World War Z by Max Brooks. The cast is incredible (Alan Alda, Martin Scorsese, Simon Pegg, and more)
Benefits of an e-book reader over a phone or a tablet include a better screen for reading, and it being a dedicated device that doesn't distract you with notifications or the ability to start browsing random shit on the Internet.
Especially when you realize that you can listen to a lot of books at 1.5x - 2x speed, with very little loss of comprehension.
Since I mostly read non-fiction I find 1.5 a bit too fast if I want to really comprehend stuff without hitting replay all the time, so I just hear all books at 1.25 and it works well for me.
Is it enjoyable, though?
Some readers are excruciatingly slow, so 1.25 just makes them sound normal. Other readers speed along, so 1x is like 1.5x on other books.
Some books need to be played at 1x if you're gonna follow the intricacies. Others with neither dense logical argument or thick, nuanced soul, like bestseller nonfictions where you have a sequence of little stories to illustrate "what studies have shown", can profitably be listened to quite fast, especially when also allaying their boringness with a Geometry Wars or Kingdom Rush addiction. (You might say, why read them then? Personally: as an excuse to play Kingdom Rush.)
If I'm not too into a part I'll even go faster than 2x to pick up the gist unto it catches my interest again.
Really, it's just like normal reading. Any displined reader has different speeds depending on the how much time the material is worth (Adler's How to Read a Book gives a nice model).
I've also noticed that the ability to comprehend spoken words can be trained; I started off at 1.25x speed and have gradually built up to 2x. Now when I listen to audio at 1x, it is just so slo-o-o-w. Anecdata, but I don't think my comprehension or enjoyment have gone down as I increase speed.
However, the fact that I usually notice it after listening on 1.5x makes me think that it's really an illusion. Does anyone have any "insider" info on this?
I also have a 10-15 minute walk in the commute for podcasts, which, combined with walking the dog and running, gives me about an hour of listening in. I haven't listened to any audiobooks in the last few years, but it's definitely an option for if I suddenly lost my commute or had to drive myself (and thus couldn't read).
For non-fiction, I need to be stuck on a plane or have a clear weekend morning.
If it had worked, you'd have a surefire way of massaging your brain with good content. Win-win either way, imho.
2) There is no step two.
Conditions allowing that:
- I nearly always read on my phone.
- I can read on my commute.
- I read before going to sleep.
- I read quickly.
I used to read a lot more books ... but over the past couple years I've achieved intermediate levels of rock climbing and skiing a built a mobile coffee trailer, so there's that.
Huh, I'm the opposite, but I think it depends on the subject matter and how much you're reading. I have read about 70+ fantasy and science fiction audiobooks in the last year, but only each one once, and remember most details of all the books. Some characters from some series I've no doubt forgot their names, but soon as I listen to passage from the series my memory is brought back and I remember the details.
Non-fiction on the other hand I don't do too well with audio books. e.g. listening to an audio book on programming is never going to happen for me.
I think I'm the opposite. When I was in school I was able to learn things much faster by attending the lecture compared to reading on my own.
my bet is if you test yourself on a book you listened to two years ago you will not remember 99% of it, and if you read it it's probably more like 95% percent of it.
then again, everyone's mind is different, so maybe you retain voice more than audio
Start off with something easy like 10 pages per night.
Then increase in increments of 10 pages every week or so.
By the time you're reading 50 pages per night or more, you'll be working through quite a few books per month.
Personally I've found over the years that this balance between reading a very small number of books closely and a whole lot casually has worked well and has led each set to complement the other.
I'd not worry about "retaining" in the sense of being able to mouth all sorts of facts and figures and arguments and story details several weeks later. Sometimes this stuff is important, but for me anyway I only "retain" in this sense when I take the further step of taking notes after finishing a chapter, etc. Most books aren't worth that IMO given you can just pull them off the shelf when you need to look something up. But books can affect you in other dimensions, especially in slowly enlarging your perspective in ways you hardly even notice.
(But I mean, if you literally couldn't talk -at all- for a few minutes about a book you read last month, that's a different story!)
Love this idea! I'm going to try that too. Very soon, I'll be quitting my day job and should have a bunch free time which is currently taken up with busywork. Time to re-read and get more out of my books.
They are a captivating mixture of science, scientific theory, cognitive science, AI, science fiction and the like and quite an interesting inspiration for future books to read.
2 of 19 the books in the list are by female authors (both recommended by women). Looking for some good books from women? Check out these:
* Radical Acceptance, Tara Brach
* The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs
* Freedom Is a Constant Struggle, Angela Davis
* Rising Strong, Brené Brown
* Cleopatra, Stacy Shiff
* The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander
* Anything by Ursula Le Guin
* Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie
* Too Like the Lightning, Ada Palmer
* Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine
... so many more
Why does everything have to be about diversity?
In an industry where we all earn well, have similar qualities of life, similar careers, etc. virtue signalling (often wherever possible) appears to have become the perceived fertile soil for differentiating yourself, and "elevating" yourself.
I mean, when the President broadcasts to the world that transgender people can no longer serve in the U.S. armed forces, it only deepens the systemic bias. Why is it then selfish to showcase that they are able to write good books too?
Diversity of THOUGHT is important, but how is that directly correlated to skin color?
Not by a female author, but on the topic of diversity, another one I'd recommend is Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee. The author is a queer trans man. This book and Ancillary Justice are the 2 best books I read in 2016.
I'll be honest, I found Ancillary Justice a little boring since the characters aren't very complex. It's interesting in that it's from an A.I.'s perspective involving many simultaneous inputs (multiple sensors, people, etc).
Also, I have to give the obligatory fiction recommendation for Red Rising. That trilogy is like the roman empire in space, but the characters are what really make it.
(incidentally, when I picked up the book I had no idea what race or gender the author was, I was just looking for Hugo Award winners)
Another author I want to throw out there, is Liu Cixin - his novel The Three-Body Problem won the Hugo for Best Novel the year prior. Not a woman, but scifi from a vastly different cultural/racial angle than a lot of us are accustomed to, I would imagine.
Another one I really liked: The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt. Very interesting writing style (it's not about Japan).
Anyway, it's cool that you're listing these. I'm particularly interested in The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs.
Historically, men were the only ones that had the opportunity to write, so any books from older centuries are going to be by men. But that doesn't have to be the case now.
ps. Love Jane Jacobs! After you read that, if you are interested, you may want to check out The Power Broker to see the other side. It is one of my top nonfiction books. (warning, white male author ;)).
They're asking us to judge a book strictly by its cover, and to reject it should it not meet their strict criteria of having not been written by a white person or most especially not a white man.
It is 2017, after all.
And yes, Jane Jacobs' "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" is definitely a must-read if you're interested in urban areas.
There is no point to your argument if it is just a hunch.
Women are better writers.
Upon reading 'Healing Back Pain', I came to understand that it wasn't the sitting but rather built up stress and anxieties causing the pain.
Within 1 week of reading, my back felt 80% better. Within one month, 95%. Several months later, I'm now pain-free.
My girlfriend also experiences anxiety at times and had back pain that would come and go. She read the book and it cured her back, as well.
Admittedly, I found it very strange how effective this book was. I approached it hesitantly, but it has had profound results. Check the reviews on Amazon for further support.
This book has had a great impact on my quality of life and I highly suggest it to anyone experiencing not just back pain, but any physical ailment that might be tied to stress, anxiety, tension, etc.
One person who I trust said that once he reached certain page, his chronic back pain disappeared (just by reading the book). Apparently he is not alone. Maybe for some people chronic back pain is just fearing back pain and having tensing up or something.
I'm still very skeptical, but if the author is not selling anything except the book, maybe reading it is not so bad thing.
Here's a recent segment from the Howard Stern show if you want to hear a bit
I really don't understand why people respect Greenspan. His excuse for not having regulations was that he thought companies wont make mistakes so there is no need to regulate them.
The view of Europe from 20 thousand kilometres is quite insightful. The big patterns stand out, as power shifts from the Spanish to the Dutch and then to the British. The different things that those people are trying to achieve in Asia neatly summarise the different things that they might have valued at home.
It's also interesting to see a long term situation where land is abundant, and labor is the scarce resource. Women get liberated (or so Reid claims). Battles are fought in order to take the other army from its land, not the land from the army. Labour productivity is so high, and construction materials so easily available; 3 days after an event like Hurricane Katrina, the city has been rebuilt and life is back to normal.
Two books I've read this summer that would fit on this list are This will make you smarter from edge.org, and Waking Up by Sam Harris. The first is a collection of the essays from edge.org about what everyone should have in their cognitive toolkit . Consider it a list of a) the many ways one can go wrong when trying to think scientifically, and b) some of the many concepts to consider when trying to solve a problem or understand something. Waking Up was good from the point of view of understanding the science behind 'the self' and meditation. I've started meditating because of this book, and it's a useful guide for avoiding the, shall I say, less rational aspects that are out there.
If you didn't read any of those, they are long but well worth the time.
Any other suggestions about similar books where author is wondering what might happen next? I'm mostly interested in the tech part of it. Recently, I started reading Superinteligennce by Nick Bostrom. So far it's very good.
I still have a few books left to read but most of these are amazing books.
Read this recently. Thought it was pretty good.
The book club had nice reviews of each of these books.
2. Daniel Suarez, "Kill Decision"
3. Stel Pavlou, "Decipher"
If this book saves just one HN reader from opioid addiction then I am glad it made the list.
Don't get me wrong I think the placebo effect is a very useful tool but best to combine it with other methods that work for many back conditions, such as yoga routines that strengthen the back muscles. Of course what works depends on your particular condition which is why anyone with severe back pain should see a medical professional to get advice for their specific problem.
Regardless, the book is very effective for many individuals, myself included. I highly recommend it to anyone dealing with back pain.
The crux of some recent research into pain can be summarized in a few points:
* Sometimes you'll hear patients talk about pain and look at their area of pain and find nothing in their bones/muscles/etc that would indicate they should experience pain, and sometimes you'll look at other patients and their bones/muscles/etc and find they should experience pain but they don't.
* If you have three cups of water–two of them warm, the middle one cold–and stick a finger in each cup, your finger that is in the middle, cold cup will actually feel a hot, burning sensation. Try it yourself. Pain can be misleading and not indicative of actual danger.
* Similarly, ever play a sport and not feel an injury until the next day? (I'm not talking about soreness.) This indicates that pain can be silenced, and that underlying physical damage doesn't immediately and directly cause a sensation of pain.
The mind-body connection in essence is this: your body is the territory, and your mind is the map. Your map of the territory can become out of sync with the way the territory actually is. The body is incredibly adaptable, if you teach your body to feel pain, it will, if you teach your body to move freely, it will. This doesn't mean, if you're feeling pain, go and do crazy things and hump the dragon so to speak. It does mean: approach the dragon. Lean into the pain. Allow yourself to feel pain. Recognize the pain and listen to it and learn more about where the flare-up line exists in your body. Constantly strive to elevate where the flare-up line is, mindfully and with good vibes. :)
Increasingly we're moving away from a past where physical pain is stigmatized.
With that in mind, I don't think it's anti-scientific to think there may be legitimacy to other mind-centered approaches to pain relief.
To expand on your point for others about mental exercises: if you experience pain, say, in your leg during a squat, if you mentally visualize doing a squat, and imagine doing it while not feeling pain, and practice doing that visualization, that will help you feel less pain when you actually get around to doing a squat.
Another way I've heard people treat phantom limb is by getting a tall standing mirror, so that their other limb in the mirror looks like their missing limb. And then they will move their limb and that will help treat the pain they feel in their phantom limb.
Plus, as they say, "if it works, it ain't stupid"
I'm just curious why you hold that belief? I don't have an opinion either way, but I'm curious if that is an informed belief.
I agree that it was a problem even more recently than a century ago. It was probably a problem as recently as 10 years ago. However, in 2017, it's not hard to be published. You can even self-publish.
Unless the topic is related to the author's identity (i.e. it's about gender, race, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.), I don't see why someone should care about the identity of an author.
Take "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" on your list. Why does the gender of the author matter for such a topic? Books are written by individuals not demographics.
This is a genuine question and not an attempt to troll. I don't understand why gender or any other identity needs to be a concern aspects where it is orthogonal/unrelated.
I have posted it twice to HN, and it was essentially ignored, but it provides good evidence that women writers have a much harder time getting published simply because they are female.
Sorry, it seems really obvious to me and I have heard it said before, so didn't feel I needed to spell it out: Female authors must be better than most to have any shot at getting published. So, women authors who do get published tend to be better authors than most male authors.
You aren't required to care. Whether or not you care is on you, but if you want quality writing, there is evidence that due to the fact that women are discriminated against, IF they manage to get published, their writing will be of unusually high quality.
I didn't make a moral argument anywhere. You asked "Why should I, as a reader, just try to find quality interesting content care about the identity of the author." And I suggested there is evidence that women authors need to be better to have any hope of getting published at all.
As I noted above, you have no obligation whatsoever to care about the author's identity. I was merely answering your question very literally and in good faith. But, your many remarks here strongly suggest it wasn't actually a good faith question and you trying to do this "gotcha" just makes it clear that your real intent is to completely piss on the idea that anyone should do anything for "moral" reasons (a la supporting diversity).
But, I wasn't making a moral argument.
Sorry, it seems really obvious to me and I have heard it said before, so didn't feel I needed to spell it out: Female authors must be better than most to have any shot at getting published.
"it seems obvious to me" and "I have heard it said before" etc. You very much look like you are trolling me at this point. So, I think I am done because, wow, I feel like I need a shower for having made the mistake of trying to engage you in good faith.
And of course a writer's identity will play a role in the work that they produce. No one is writing Toni Morrison besides Toni Morrison, and a Fanon essay is a Fanon essay because he experienced being black in France and Algeria.
Why stop at choosing books by gender? If it's irrelevant to the subject matter being written on, should I buy books based on someone's nationality? Their religion? Their race? Their sexual orientation?
Citing examples of authors where the subject matter is relevant to their identity is not a counter-argument to the point I'm making. I'm in agreement that only Toni Morrison can write about Toni Morrison's identity-related experiences and only Fanon can write about Fanon's identity-related experiences. However, if Fanon and Toni were to both write a book on something like the 2008 banking crisis, I would expect the their lived identity-related experiences to be largely irrelevant to the final product each produces.
This reduction of individuals to their identity is dehumanizing.
No one is reducing individuals to their race or gender identity, but unless we're talking about pure science and mathematics books it is a show of ignorance to argue that lived experience has no bearing on the work of the author.
The relevant lived experience is being a banker at Bear Stearns, not the race of that banker. Also, how do I know the person of color isn't also a banker at Bear Sterns. I worked in Wall Street years ago, and yes, I had co-workers that were people of color.
This is especially important in fiction books where you are immersed in the experience of main characters. If the authors identity mirrors yours, then the experience of the main character will not build my understanding of how other people live. At this point, you are reading only for entertainment (which is fine, but you must acknowledge and accept that).
Books, whether fiction or nonfiction, are stories. They present information in a narrative. That narrative will be determined by who writes it and how they've lived their life.
> Unless the topic is related to the author's identity (i.e. it's about gender, race, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.), I don't see why someone should care about the identity of an author.
There are hundreds of thousands of non-fiction topics where the identity of the author is irrelevant (or at least one of the least relevant factors impacting the authors work). Why should I care in those cases?
I thought the GP answered your question succinctly as follows:
>> Even in a book about facts, a person's relation to those facts reflects their lived experience.
Why not their age? nationality? place of birth? race? sexual orientation? height? native language? myers-briggs personality type? etc., etc.,