The author is a professor and prolific researcher of the effects of sleep on the human body, and goes into nearly every nook and cranny of what sleep does for the human body. He has scared me off of my usual practice of sleeping 6 hours or less to get some work or studying done and to get more hours in the day. Throughout the book, the author cites a scientific study and article on nearly every page, so you know that these are real hard facts.
If you are curious about some common causes of ailments or what the function that consumes pretty much 1/3 of your lifetime does, I'd absolutely whole-heartedly recommend this book.
This is almost discouraging to me. If spending too much time on HN has taught me anything, it's that citing a study (especially medical, nutrition, and psychology papers, among other fields I'm probably missing), is not nearly enough of a guarantee that some assertion should be called a 'hard fact'.
I tend to depend more on the force of overall coherence in an argument, as well as its fidelity with my own experiences. Of course this is a problematic heuristic in its own right, since it by definition limits your ability to believe counter-intuitive but true results—but I'm not sure what's better.
I think with enough reproductions of results in varied contexts, unintentional reappearance of results in overlapping or unrelated studies, applications being developed on top of results (treatments, engineering applications, other fields of study)—then you can start considering the result to be 'factual'.
But from the above description, the impression I get of the book is that it's probably one of these taking a bunch of new studies which can be read a certain way to push a hypothesis the author is in favor of, but it'll take a decade or more before we have a good sense of whether the whole thing was BS (or at least badly exaggerated) or not.
I should add then, that the author definitely backs up the studies (which are multiple and often independently discovered) with reasoning about why certain things are evolutionary advantageous and how they fit in to societal phenomenons. I hope you will give this book a chance :)
I second parent's comment that for me this was one of those perspective-altering books in recent years. Even now, months after I finished, I still have several thoughts going through my head: why schools start so early, the societal impact of sleep deprivation, why doctors complete ignore the importance of sleep for your health , what happens when you drink alcohol (particularly at night), how Alzheimer's works, lucid dreams, and more.
I had already read about most of it in piecemeal over the years, but having everything pieced together for me, in a cohesive and fluid narrative, really helped for things to "click" for me.
Of course, if you want just the TL;DR, the gist is "Yeah, you really should sleep 7 to 8h per night, no joke". But if you want to understand the WHY, then it's a great read.
Because they need to fit in around the schedules of working parents. I'm loathe to accept that this is a source of problems given the likely issue is actually the time students go to sleep, how long they sleep for, and what time they wake up.
The solution does not obviously need to be changing school start times rather than student behaviour
(seriously though, I'd love to hear the counter, as there probably is one)
I guess I'm asking this because I'd believe that this attitude is not good when heeded by the general population. My belief there is that in that population, the better essayist wins over the average expert.
Probably cosigning by other experts would help. As well as links and discussions to opposing studies.
Hopefully by the time you have read the book, you have picked up a set of ideas from the field under the discussion and have an understanding of how they relate to one another. So I'm referring to coherence within that set of ideas and relations (which I'll refer to as a 'framework'). To be more specific I'd define 'coherence' as mutual support and lack of contradiction ('mutual support' is like... one point gains strength because of the content of other points.
The probability that the framework is strongly coherent while also in reality being false decreases with the size of the framework. In other words, if the author has made a large number of claims, which are all coherent with one another, the probability that they are true (in the sense of corresponding to something in objective reality) is relatively high. The alternative is that the author went through enormous efforts to create a large, coherent framework which doesn't correspond to something in objective reality. It's just not easy to do that (requires lots of imagination and lots of attention to detail), and it's fairly easy to detect. So either the framework matches something in reality, or the author is a very imaginative and meticulous con artist.
I think the main risk is that the authors trick themselves too, not that it's a fully intentional scam. So it seems like a decent heuristic.
Having many recent studies available to back up a hypothesis at least informs us that it is credible, given our knowledge at the time.
That said, as a practical matter, if the author cites 100 papers, and each paper takes half an hour to judge the reliability of it (assuming you have good command of statistics and scientific methodology, and some domain knowledge, and access the the required journals), we're talking on the order of 50 hours to validate the argument (of course this is a crazy rough estimate)—who is going to do that? You may as well just take the list of papers, try and validate them, and skip reading the book (and this is largely ignoring the fact that most likely your ability to validate is probably not that great in the first place).
Instead, for ~99.9% of readers, the argument presented will end up working solely as an authority argument.
Not sure what the solution is aside from waiting longer, then coming with maybe a handful of extremely reliable authoritative results that the reader can reasonably verify on their own. I'm not sure. I just know reading a book grounded in 'hard facts' because a study is cited on every page is not at all appealing to me.
(Even better if this is done collaboratively, for a larger sample and less time spent per person.)
> for ~99.9% of readers, the argument presented will end up working solely as an authority argument
Agreed, but an author's authority can still be undermined or reinforced by expert opinion. In an ideal world where book reviews were written by qualified, careful people with time to do a thorough job, the existence of citations would be extremely important, even if hardly any ordinary readers looked at them. Obviously we don't live in that world, but sloppy scholarship is often exposed eventually.
> Agreed, but an author's authority can still be undermined or reinforced by expert opinion.
That's a good point. Actually, that's probably how I will try to validate this book (or others like it): I'll give the 'okay', once I see some unassociated other researchers confirming that the work is good, conclusions drawn are not a stretch etc.
1. Convincing you to accept the import of a problem.
2. Convincing you that the author has the solution to the problem.
3. Outlining the steps to implement this solution.
4. Listing IRL examples to convince you again of the effectiveness of the author's solution.
I read about 25% of Why We Sleep and skimmed the rest, it's all just the first step. I think sleeping is a lot like exercising: Most people agree that they need to do more of it. The problem is that we don't actually do it. So, the most important book on sleeping should be about teaching you how to sleep better and longer, which tend to include:
1. Make sure your bedroom is only for sleeping (and related), not "watching TV room" or "internet browsing before sleeping room".
2. Make your bedroom as dark as possible. Not even one single LED light.
3. If you actually wonder whether you need a short afternoon nap, yes you do.
4. Track your sleep with a device. Remember, the point is to sleep better, not just longer. You can sleep for 8 hours but the tracking will show that you may turn a lot while sleeping resulting in very short REM sleeps.
5. Collect and analyze the tracking data. Everyone is different. Thanks to tracking, I know that I always sleep better if I do some light walking or running prior in the evening.
It might just be that your natural sleep cycle is almost exactly two hours long (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_cycle). Therefore at four hours you have completed a cycle, whereas at seven hours you are halfway through one. Perhaps try eight hours and see what happens?
Out of curiosity do you use an alarm to wake yourself up, and did you before? I'd be quite surprised if someone could sustain four hours sleep a night without an alarm. I've often heard that if you need an alarm to wake up then you're not sleeping sufficiently.
His comment of not being able to recover from sleep deficit because you don't sleep 16 hours the night following a night with less than 8 hours of sleep made me wary of everything else he might have to say.
That seems like an obviously wrong assumption to make and suggests that there's limited understanding of the underlying system.
* Enlightenment Now (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35696171-enlightenment-n...): Offers a defense that our current institutions have delivered the goods and should be defended. The left doesn't need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. We should continue improving the system we've got -- especially urgent today as they're under seige.
* Your Money or Your Life (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/78428.Your_Money_or_Your...): Philosophy masquerading as personal finance. Challenges the reader to ask "What is enough?" and honestly evaluate whether they are living an integrated life that is consistent with their values. Lays out one way to help answer these questions and course correct as necessary.
* Stand Up! (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35989237-stand-up): A hand book and call to action to answer the "knock at the door" and step up to address "a world on fire". Especially useful for those interested in or actively leading volunteers.
If, like me, you're upset about the current state of affairs and unsure where to go from here I recommend the above as a small tonic and, hopefully, stepping stone.
Anyone got a "history of the left and the right" thats a good read?
"If we attempt to define the political left by its proclaimed goals, it is clear that very similar goals have been proclaimed by people whom the left repudiates and anathematizes, such as Fascists in general and Nazis in particular. Instead of defining these (and other) groups by their proclaimed goals, we can define them by the specific institutional mechanisms and policies they use or advocate for achieving their goals. More specifically, they can be defined by the institutional mechanisms they seek to establish for making decisions with impacts on society at large. In order to keep the discussion manageable, the vast sweep of possible decision-making mechanisms can be dichotomized into those in which individuals make decisions individually for themselves and those in which decisions are made collectively by surrogates for society at large." 
“If we attempt to define the political left by its proclaimed goals, it is clear that very similar goals have been proclaimed by people whom the left repudiates and anathematizes, such as Fascists in general and Nazis in particular.”
The central unifying, defining goal proclaimed by leftists since the origin of the left is the achievement of a radical egalitarianism in the distribution of power in society.
To say that fascists in general and Nazis in particular did not proclaim such goals is, well, a massive understatement.
If you haven’t read it/seen it before so yourself a favor and go through it, it doesn’t take very long.
Seriously wish I could get these ideas into everyone’s head.
To save others a trip to the search engine: http://www.metastatic.org/text/This%20is%20Water.pdf
I have not known the source of this garbage, so I hope it's a simplification of the actual source, but I will listen carefully :)
I'm in the middle of making the switch towards maximizing positive outcomes for others, having realized that I have enough for myself. The author paints a description of self-awareness here that I'll be sure to return to every now and again.
I can imagine everyone in traffic, or in the grocery store has a perfectly legitimate reason for why they're acting whatever bothersome way they're acting. But how does that help me accomplish my goal any more efficiently?
The idea is not that there's a profound insight hidden in there. In fact, the essay repeats several times that there's no trite lesson or platitude to walk away with, and that the basic idea is already obvious - the world doesn't revolve around any given person. What's not obvious is exerting the mental effort to consider that fact when you feel like you're the only person who has any self-awareness in a crowded grocery store.
On a more practical level, if you're looking for a lesson then this is close to it - you get in your own way, intellectually speaking, by defaulting to the easy path of discounting the myriad reasons for other peoples' behavior while rationalizing your own. We tend not to think about the things that are so obvious they're dreadfully mundane, but because of that we close ourselves off to insights that could be very helpful but for the fact that we're locked into our first-person perspective.
More succinctly: if you find yourself thinking that you're surrounded by people who lack self-awareness, you might be lacking some of it yourself.
The Three Body problem.
The Lathe of Heaven.
And while I haven't read Parable of the Sower yet, everything I've read of Octavia Butler has ranged from really good to some of my favorite books ever, so I'm sure it's a good one.
One anti-recommendation (kind of): I recently read Finite and Infinite Games, after many (many) recommendations for it, and didn't particularly like it. Obviously I'm in the minority on this, but I really wonder what other people saw in it.
I found this book fascinating how the cultural revolution was weaved in to the story. It really highlighted my ignorance of recent Chinese history, and many times found myself turning to Wikipedia to learn more of the specific events mentioned. The English translation also includes several lengthy footnotes and see-also's when historical characters or events are mentioned, as I'm sure many western readers are less familiar with the details of the events and historical characters.
Without giving away anything, I also found the Egyptian scene truly awesome.
I’ve read the first book, I really enjoyed it.
Also read it recently and was disappointed. It's written in a style that I associate with continental philosophy. Obtuse language that can be difficult to follow.
That wouldn't be the end of the world if the underlying ideas were really brilliant, but I wasn't convinced.
But question - when you say cultural importance, do you mean in terms of what it talks about? Or was the book itself important culturally? (I'm not sure how well-known the book itself was, I've always gotten the impression that Octavia Butler is a less-known SF author).
A few others I would really like to see on this list would be:
- Principles by Ray Dalio
- Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
IDK, the world is under great stress on so many levels. The people at YC are wonderfully bright and well educated. Is this really the best they could come up with?
It's a mediocre teen-fiction, that starts off strong, but completely loses itself into an endless list of standard story tropes by the end. (trying not to spoiler, here)
It's only still popular now because the film has just left cinemas.
> An incredible primary-source portrait on a brilliant (but obviously deeply flawed) individual.
What is the obviously deeply flawed characteristic about him that Altman is referring to? I read Napoleon: A Life a few years ago and found him fascinating with character flaws like every other human being, but nothing that particularly struck me as "deeply flawed."
And thanks for the link.
- Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World
- Escape From The Deep: The Epic Story of a Legendary Submarine and Her Courageous Crew
- Ruthless River: Love and Survival by Raft on the Amazon's Relentless Madre de Dios (not as good but still worth reading).
I thought it sounded super interesting, but I'm getting mixed impressions from Amazon reviews.
I found the book accessible and compelling.
I gave up reading this book about halfway through. It drags out a lot with needless fluff; she spent about 3 pages just naming the bird! She seemed to really hate T.H. White's 'The Goshawk' so I decided to give it a read. I much preferred it (he names his bird in one sentence) and felt she'd read between the lines much more than there was in the book.
The three body problem:
This is a brilliant book until the end, which basically solves all of the interesting problems it's been building up to throughout the book with 'magic supercomputers that can do anything!', which is a shame because it had me hooked.
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
SPOILER FOR THE FIRST NOVEL
The whole paradigm of Earth defense changes so dramatically, as people realize sophons can see everything people do. I highly recommend continuing, as you see society changes in the series.
It's also really, really, really long. I highly recommend the audiobook if you drive a lot.
Adversaries into Allies: Master the Art of Ultimate Influence
Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box
Rejection Proof: 100 Days of Rejection, or How to Ask Anything of Anyone at Anytime
Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen
The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life's Perfection
“Science have already proven we can grow all kinds of animal protein in labs. This book is the founding story of a revolution that will how we eat and the planet forever.” – Gustaf Alstromer
I believe it should be This book is the founding story of a revolution that will change how we eat and the planet forever.”
End of World War II true story of a plane crash into remote New Guinea.
The survival/rescue/recovery mission is remarkable.
If you like Robinson Crusoe, The Martian, and Lost In Space, you’ll enjoy this remarkable true story.
But when you're talking about reading materials that promote a certain world view, certain values, a certain political position, or instill in an individual a certain kind of "cognitive programming" (for lack of a better word), like psychological self-help books and the like, that's a whole different story.
This is one thing that I distinctly remember as a negative about the young entrepreneurs' scene back at university, that so much of it bordered on brainwashing.
Now, if I were an angel investor and I had gathered around myself a group of such people who look up to me for mentoring and education and who might depend on me for financing their lives' ambitions, I don't think it would be quite appropriate for me to say, even just by innuendo, "By the way: Here is how I feel about xyz [political issue]..."
I was very disappointed with this book.
The book TLDR : Current solar technology is great but will flat-line at XX% of energy usage. We need new stuff.
In fact, this book could have been written 10 or 20 years ago. It pushes all sort of mythical solutions and still-in-lab technologies. And it hand-waves away the entire progress in solar/battery/EVs in the last 10 years.
Whilst it's a bit out of date and focuses mostly on the UK, it contains a wealth of figures and references for all possible renewable sources. It covers the topic in a neutral and non-biased way presenting the numbers and graphs to make the point that the transition to renewable will have to require a number of technologies as well as huge energy savings in transportation and heating.