Lean in

by Sheryl Sandberg

Via Wikipedia: "Sheryl Sandberg released her first book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, co-authored by Nell Scovell and published by Knopf on March 11, 2013. Lean In is a book for professional women to help them achieve their career goals and for men who want to contribute to a more equitable society."

Via TIME: "In 2003, Columbia Business School professor Frank Flynn and New York University professor Cameron Anderson ran an experiment. They started with a Harvard Business School case study about a real-life entrepreneur named Heidi Roizen. It described how Roizen became a successful venture capitalist by using her 'outgoing personality … and vast personal and professional network … [which] included many of the most powerful business leaders in the technology sector.' Half the students in the experiment were assigned to read Heidi’s story. The other half got the same story with just one difference—the name was changed from Heidi to Howard.

When students were polled, they rated Heidi and Howard as equally competent. But Howard came across as a more appealing colleague. Heidi was seen as selfish and not 'the type of person you would want to hire or work for.' This experiment supports what research has already clearly shown: success and likability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women. When a man is successful, he is liked by both men and women. When a woman is successful, people of both genders like her less.

I believe this bias is at the very core of why women are held back. It is also at the very core of why women hold themselves back. When a woman excels at her job, both men and women will comment that she is accomplishing a lot but is 'not as well liked by her peers.' She is probably also too aggressive, 'not a team player', 'a bit political”; she 'can’t be trusted' or is 'difficult.' Those are all things that have been said about me and almost every senior woman I know.

The solution is making sure everyone is aware of the penalty women pay for success."

Sheryl Sandbergs TED talk: Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders

Thanks to Miriam Stein!

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The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment

by Thaddeus Golas

Via The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment: "I am a lazy man. Laziness keeps me from believing that enlightenment demands effort, discipline, strict diet, non-smoking, and other evidences of virtue. That's about the worst heresy I could propose, but I have to be honest before I can be reverent. I am doing the work of writing this book to save myself the trouble of talking about it.

There is an odd chance that this is what someone needs to read in order to feel better about himself. If you are a kind person and want to know what to expect when enlightenment strikes and why it comes to you, with or without psychedelic help, this is for you.

These are the rules of the game as I see them. I realize that many of us are opening up very fast these days, and one of the most common delusions we face is the belief that our sense of revelation is unique. The feeling of knowing the truth is not enough. My intention is not to pretend final truth, but to suggest certain simple attitudes that will work for anybody and stay with you in the most extreme freak-out or space-out, even when your mind is completely blown. These attitudes are so simple that I'm surrounding them with a picture of the universe to show why they work even when you don't believe they will.

The universe is so vast and complex that if we needed books like this to become enlightened, we'd never make it. But on the other hand the universe is so simple in design that there's no reason for anyone to be puzzled or unhappy. It's easy to control your existence, no matter how complicated it looks. I've abandoned the idea of writing this a number of times, on the ground that people didn't know it because they didn't want to. But in the end there is no more reason for not writing it than there is for writing it.

I am writing what I will want to read someday when I am stuck in a weird place. Several times on bummers I've thought: What could I say to someone in this state of mind that would mean anything? That's the kind of testing this information has had. There isn't a line in this book that is there just because it sounds beautiful. The information is practical and reliable. It has taken me and others safely through some extreme states of mind, and can be reduced to a few phrases that are simple enough to recall in any crisis. [...]

Every person who allows others to treat him as a spiritual leader has the responsibility to ask himself: Out of all the perceptions available to me in the universe, why am I emphasizing the ignorance of my brothers? What am I doing in a role where this is real? What kind of standards am I conceiving, in which so many people are seen to be in suffering, while I am the enlightened one?

These questions came to me with a great shock, and this is one way I might answer for myself: Everything that is happening in your body is happening on an infinite range of vibration levels. If you love your lack of information better than I love this knowledge, then you are on a higher level than I. There is absolutely no external evidence that will tell me how much you love yourself, because I am seeing you with the limited vision of my own vibrations. In that sense, what I see is myself."

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The Silence of Animals

by John Gray

Via Dangerous Minds: "For the so-called New Atheists, on the other hands, nothing exists you can’t just slap a word on, so their disbelief is a matter of having the word God, but not having an entity to affix it to (they’ve looked everywhere). Gray suggests an altogether more elevated position: 'Atheism does not mean rejecting belief in God. It means giving up belief in language as anything other than a practical convenience. The world is not a creation of language, but something that – like the God of the negative theologians – escapes language. Atheism is only a stage on the way to a more far-reaching scepticism.' (...)

John Gray: 'I do think of The Silence of Animals as a successor to Straw Dogs, though that only became clear to me as I wrote the book. I began it as an exploration of secular myth, especially the variety in which meaning is embodied in cumulative advance in time, but it soon became an attempt to dig deeper into the themes of the earlier book—in particular the idea of contemplation. The chief difference between the two books, from my point of view, is that by presenting contemplation as correlative to a life of action. The Silence of Animals is more positive in tone.' "

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by Hugh Raffles

Via Insectopedia: "A stunningly original exploration of the ties that bind us to the beautiful, ancient, astoundingly accomplished, largely unknown, and unfathomably different species with whom we share the world.

Organized alphabetically with one entry for each letter, weaving together brief vignettes, meditations, and extended essays, Insectopedia travels through history and science, anthropology and travel, economics, philosophy, and popular culture to show how insects have triggered our obsessions, stirred our passions, and beguiled our imaginations."

Via The New York Times: "Insects are all around us. They are the most numerous animals on earth, yet we pay them scant attention. Few of us attend to their innate beauty. More often than not, they are seen as pests sent to plague us (with the notable exception of the now threatened honey bee). 'We simply cannot find ourselves in these creatures,' Raffles writes. 'The more we look, the less we know. They are not like us. They do not respond to acts of love or mercy or remorse. It is worse than indifference. It is a deep, dead space without reciprocity, recognition or redemption.' [...]

Raffles’s approach is almost perversely eclectic. His alphabetical entries range in subject matter from the personal disgust he feels when he discovers a cockroach sharing the shower in his Manhattan apartment to epic journeys into Asia and Africa and observing cricket-betting in Shanghai and locust-eating in Niger. His essays may take up 20 pages or a mere two paragraphs. But the most satisfying ones illuminate his subject via potted biographies of men and women who are passionate about insects.

In 'Chernobyl,' for instance, Raffles offers a cameo of Cornelia Hesse-­Honegger, a contemporary artist dedicated to creating near-perfect watercolors of insects deformed by nuclear fallout. This is sci-fi stuff: flies with legs growing out of their eyes, the kind of mutations that in any other animal would elicit our horrified response, yet which, because they occur in such small creatures, seem almost excusable because almost invisible. In the act of depicting them so exactingly, Hesse-Honegger, whose own child, we are told in an upsetting aside, was born with a club foot, 'discovers that the insect is deformed in ways she hadn’t noticed before.' Her aesthetic is that of concrete art, isolated images placed in a grid; her intent is a silent rebuke, a solemn challenge to a world that, even now, is turning again to nuclear power to solve its problems. [...]

Impossible to categorize, wildly allusive and always stimulating, “Insectopedia” suggests an Enlightenment amateur wandering around the world stocking his cabinet of curiosities, unrestricted by notions of disciplines or specializations. Its author is at one moment a scientist in the field, the next an art critic, then an acute historian. His is a disconcerting, fantastical, (multi-)eye-opening journey into another existence, and one thing is for sure: You will never look at a cockroach the same way again, even if it is sharing your morning shower."

Thanks to Nicolas Langlitz!

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A Brief History of Everything

by Ken Wilber

Via Shambhala Publications: "In a breathtaking trip from the Big Bang to the Postmodern world we inhabit, Ken Wilber examines the universe and our place in it—and comes up with an accessible and entertaining account of how it all fits together. Along the way he sheds light not only on the great cosmic questions but on various contentious issues of our day, such as environmental ethics, gender relations, multiculturalism, and even the meaning of the Internet. A Brief History of Everything is the perfect introduction to the great Integral thinker at his wise and witty best."

Thanks to Ralf Neubauer!

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Codex Seraphinianus

by Luigi Serafini

Via Wikipedia: "Codex Seraphinianus, originally published in 1981, is an illustrated encyclopedia of an imaginary world, created by the Italian artist, architect and industrial designer Luigi Serafini during thirty months, from 1976 to 1978. The book is approximately 360 pages long (depending on edition), and written in a strange, generally unintelligible alphabet.

Originally published in Italy, the book has since been released in a number of different countries.

The word Codex in the title means book (from Latin caudex), and Seraphinianus is derived from the author's last name, Serafini. (In Italian, serafini refers to the seraphs.)"

Via John Coulthart: "As Hofstadter says, the mind is indeed staggered when considering the labour that went into the creation of this work, particularly for something that, in its willful hermeticism, subscribes to the Brian Eno recipe for originality: Do something that’s so time-consuming or difficult that no one else would ever bother. If this makes it sound like a slightly more involved equivalent of those Guinness Record-competing constructions made of toothpicks, then the comparison is unfair. The Taj Mahal in matchsticks operates on something like the chimps-with-typewriters principle: any number of people, given enough time, application and boxes of Swan Vesta could do as much. The Codex Seraphinianus is rather more special than that. It may be a folly but, like all the best follies, it achieves its own aesthetic apotheosis through accumulation of detail, sheer inventiveness and the ultimate conviction of its own worth; like all the best follies it is also unique. It might even be argued that the Codex Seraphinianus is one of the purest works of fantasy, one that affects no compromise with supporting narrative or histrionic drama but aims straight for the gold."

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Out of Our Heads – Why You Are Not Your Brain

by Alva Noë

Via Hill and Wang: "Our culture is obsessed with the brain—how it perceives; how it remembers; how it determines our intelligence, our morality, our likes and our dislikes. It’s widely believed that consciousness itself, that Holy Grail of science and philosophy, will soon be given a neural explanation. And yet, after decades of research, only one proposition about how the brain makes us conscious—how it gives rise to sensation, feeling, and subjectivity—has emerged unchallenged: we don’t have a clue.

In this inventive work, Noë suggests that rather than being something that happens inside us, consciousness is something we do. Debunking an outmoded philosophy that holds the scientific study of consciousness captive, Out of Our Heads is a fresh attempt at understanding our minds and how we interact with the world around us."

"As a neurologist, confronted every day by questions of mind, self, consciousness, and their basis, I find Alva Noë’s concepts—that consciousness is an organismic and not just a cerebral quality, that it is embodied in actions and not just isolated bits of brain—both astounding and convincing. Out of Our Heads is a book that should be read by everyone who thinks about thinking." —Oliver Sacks, Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center

Thanks to Constantin Rothkopf!

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Stanley Kubrick – Das Schweigen der Bilder [The Silence Of The Images]

by Kay Kirchmann


Although out of print and therefore pretty expensive I highly recommend this book if you are interested in Stanley Kubrick's work. Couldn't stop reading until the last page. Excellent.

Only available in German.


Via Schnitt: "Kirchmann untersucht das Œuvre des Regisseurs vornehmlich anhand der Bedeutung von innerer Geschlossenheit der einzelnen Filme auf der einen Seite und ihrer gleichzeitigen Einbettung in einen weltanschaulichen Gesamtkontext auf der anderen. Gerade das Motiv des Sehens wird in Das Schweigen der Bilder zum Leitfaden, der sich durch das filmische Schaffen Kubricks spannt. Der Kanon der weiteren Motive, die Kirchmann in Kubricks Werk herausgreift, reicht von der Bedeutung der Symmetrie in Kubricks Bildsprache bis hin zu seiner Vorliebe für die Adaption literarischer Vorlagen. Hierbei gelingt es dem Autor aufzuzeigen, wie Kubrick sich literarische Texte zu eigen macht und sie zum elementaren Bestandteil jener zyklischen Struktur werden läßt, die das Gesamtwerk des Regisseurs letztendlich ausmacht."


Thanks to Phillip Schulze!

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Do You See What I See?

Two books on the science of color perception

Via brain pickings: "From the fine folks behind BBC’s excellent Horizon series — who have also pondered the nature of reality, the age-old tension between science and religion, how music works, what time is, and how money came to dominate the world — comes Do You See What I See, a fascinating look at the subjectivity and divergence of how we each see the world and the surprising power colors can have on our mood, cognition, emotion, and entire lives.

For more on the science of color perception, you won’t go wrong with Mark Changizi’s fantastic The Vision Revolution: How the Latest Research Overturns Everything We Thought We Knew about Human Vision and the out-of-print but excellent Color Perception: Philosophical, Psychological, Artistic, and Computational Perspectives from Oxford University Press."

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How to Have a Number One the Easy Way

The Manual by The KLF

Via Wikipedia: "The Manual (How to Have a Number One the Easy Way) is a 1988 book by "The Timelords" (Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty), better known as The KLF. It is a step by step guide to achieving a No.1 single with no money or musical skills, and a case study of the duo's UK novelty pop No. 1 "Doctorin' the Tardis". [...]

The advice dispensed by The Manual includes: 'Firstly, you must be skint and on the dole. Anybody with a proper job or tied up with full time education will not have the time to devote to see it through... Being on the dole gives you a clearer perspective on how much of society is run... having no money sharpens the wits. Forces you never to make the wrong decision. There is no safety net to catch you when you fall.' and 'If you are already a musician stop playing your instrument. Even better, sell the junk.' The book also foretells its own imminent irrelevance, The Timelords admitting that they are writing 'a book that will be completely redundant within twelve months. An obsolete artefact. Its only use being a bit of a social history that records the aspirations of a certain strata [sic] in British society in the late eighties...'

The book is prophetic when it comes to recording technology: "It's obvious that in a very short space of time the Japanese will have delivered the technology and then brought the price of it down so that you can do the whole thing at home. Then you will be able to sod off all that crap about going into studios.'

Bill Drummond explained his motivations in an interview: 'It was an excuse to say a lot of things I wanted to say about how the industry worked. It was an excuse to go out and say to people all they can say to themselves: If you want to do something, go and do it! Don't wait to be asked, don't wait for a record company to come and want to sign you or a management company. Just go and do it. Also, it was saying: If you wanna have number one...you can have it. It won't make you rich, it won't make you happy, but you can have it.' "


Thanks to Marcus Schmickler!

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