I am catching up on book reviews! Today I’ll share three technology and business related titles that I recently reviewed. These reviews have also appeared at PennyWise Consulting and pen at work. If you’ve already read these reviews there or at goodreads, thank you! I’ll have more reviews soon, I finished six books in the past week!
When I was browsing through the titles of new publications at NetGalley, Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy caught my eye. I knew I’d not read of these women before, I had no idea the amazing and delightful story I was to discover.
This readable history provides insight to the lives of the women code breakers of World War II. Young women arrived in Washington from the Seven Sisters colleges after passing a correspondence course in cryptography. Others first flocked to recruiting stations in small towns across the United States before alighting at Union Station. When pressed they would say they “did office work” never hinting to the vital role they played in the war. Please see my full review at PennyWise Consulting or goodreads.
Are we supposed to always buckle down in monk-like focus and silence in order to learn? In How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens Carey explores and tests recent research, in this book he shows how our growing understanding of the brain has transformed both learning and teaching. Along the way he discovers that a singular approach is not practical for actual learning. For example, spacing study sessions will create improved long-term recall. I know that the subjects I crammed for were soon forgotten after exams. Repetition and rote learning cause a steep initial curve followed by a plateau. Interleaving materials and study process will help long-term. It’s tempting to devote hours to a particular problematic area, for example a section of a concerto. Interleaving that technical passage with scales and earlier studied works will help improve that sticky passage. One of the lessons that was difficult for me to grasp for years is that naps and sleep are beneficial to recall and comprehension. Please see my full review at pen at work or goodreads.
It’s not the what we do but the how we do it that creates progress. In Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity, Charles Duhigg explores the science behind productivity. He summarizes the current work of neuroscientists, psychologists, behavioral economists. The work also explores specific transformative events that show how a difference in thinking can produce different outcomes, not limited to the growth mindset research of Carol Dweck. Please see my full review at pen at work or goodreads.