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Read #7: Science, clear, low countries, graduate school, English, C++

Posted on Dec 27, 2020 by Chung-hong Chan


I carelessly left this column of 3-sentence book review to pile up. Usually, I write about books when the pile hits 3. But it has been accumulated to 6. Before it becomes a even bigger pile and is impossible to write the reviews, I should first clean up the pile.

For the first two books of the list, I will have another (longer) blog post about them later.

Science Fictions: How Fraud, Bias, Negligence, and Hype Undermine the Search for Truth

Stuart Ritchie, Bodley Head (2007)

I may not have read all books about open science but this one is exceptional, because it is not aimed at practicing scientists like Transparent and Reproducible Social Science Research (Miguel et al. 2019). The public deserves the right to know how sloppy some science is practiced, but it can be a double-edged sword. I have doubt that people who has read this book might think that most of the science is no longer trustworthy, although cheaters in science are the minority of the minority.

Make It Clear: Speak and Write to Persuade and Inform

Patrick Henry Winston, MIT Press (2020)

I love the MIT lecture on how to speak by the late MIT professor Patrick Winston (1943-2019). This posthumously published book summaries all aspect of professional communication. In my recent blog posts, I am / will be trying some of his suggestions.

The next two books, which I read in November, reflect a need for improving my career.

The Low Countries: A History

Anthony Bailey, CreateSpace (2016)

I bought this book at the airport when I was waiting for my flight to Amsterdam in 2016. I though I would read the book during the flight but it sat in my Kindle for 4 years. This book is a quick read but also a bit unsatisfying because it lacks depth, e.g. Luxembourg is barely mentioned.

What They Didn’t Teach You in Graduate School: 299 Helpful Hints for Success in Your Academic Career (2nd Edition)

Paul Gray & David E. Drew, Stylus Publishing (2012)

I want to read a book about how to be a tenure track professor (who doesn’t want to be a tenure track professor?), or in general, how to be more professorial. This “niche of the niches” book introduces the life after one’s graduate school. It is a helpful resource but like many books in this topic, it is US centric and 2012 was before the major collapse of the academic job market.

Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style

Benjamin Dreyer, Random House (2019)

I always want to improve my English. After reading this book, my English is still hopeless. A fun read but I have a feeling the author has tried too hard to be funny. And Bob’s your uncle, it is not funny anymore.

A Tour of C++ (2nd Edition)

Bjarne Stroustrup, Addison-Wesley Professional (2018)

I’ve mentioned this book in another blog post and obviously, reading this was for improving my C++. It is an excellent book for one to grasp the big ideas about C++. I was also introduced to some useful online resources such as Core Guidelines.

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