Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

Discover the art of memory through the personal experience of Joshua Foer. It relates the experiment set by the author to train for the US memory champioship helped by one of the greatest Masterminds in the world.

In this book we explore the hidden and ancient techniques, known and practiced by mnemonists, in order to submit large amount of information into memory. Discover the powerful tool known as Memory Palace, Major System and others, that uses our innate capacities to memorize images and places.

It is not a book that teaches memory techniques, it is rather a description of the milieu, and great journalistic work with tremendous examples and references to and from the History of the art of memory.

Out Of Our Minds: Learning to be creative

What is creativity? Is it a talent? Can we learn to be creative? …

In this inspiring book, Sir Ken Robinson gives the answer to all theses questions and many others. The biggest concern here is about the future of education; How can we change and evolve all our inherited misconceptions: the fact that art is not considered as an academic component; the fact that the education is still driven by the industrial needs, a model that was valid after the renaissance and the industrial revolution, but that is no longer good for our decades with all its changes and the speed they come. What are the limit of intelligence tests, like the IQ test, and does it really measure intelligence, or just a certain kind of skills?

With a beautiful writing style, this book exposes first all the problems that poison the current education systems, and in the main time it present some of the start solutions and concepts toward a better and more modern education, toward “A new Renaissance”.

Here is the TED speech made by Sir Ken Robinson about the issues cited in the book.

All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis

I’ve been looking for a book that would explains what really happend during the 2008 financial crisis -which is still impacting our life now- and more importantly, How we got there?

In this book, we find a very detailed story of all artifacts and backdoor stories that shaped the financial world as we know it -or rather as we don’t. The most important thing is that it explains all the mystical vocabular that everyone heard of and is repeating without really getting a head of it: CDOs, subprime loans, credit swaps, derivatives …

At the present moment there is no propre conclusion to what happened during the recession, banks started making profits again thanks to huge bailouts, some of them even claim that after all they didn’t need any of that. Millions of people have lost their houses and there are some others who will -all of whom that contracted suprime loans.

The most problematic issue is Regulation, there was some laws that were voted to assure systematic regulation in order to prevent worst case scenarios – or at least theoretically, but as it is well explained on the book, regulations means nothing if regulators aren’t looking deep enough.

There is also a documentary movie “The Inside Job” that explains well -but in less details than is the book- the amount of madness that led to this.

Are We Still Evolving?

Six Million years ago, animals appeared adding a new branch to the huge landscape of the Tree of Life. Humans emerged short after, as a result of the so called Natural Selection.

Evolution is not always a very long process, one example of that are the earth worms found near an arsenic mine in the Devon Countryside in Britain, due to the high concentration of arsenic in the earth there should be no living organisms in it, surprisingly however warms have evolved to support this kind of environment, and all this in only 100 years.

Humains out of other animals, found a way to protect themselves from nature, using basic technologies at first that evolved to all we know now: Agriculture, Medicine, Engineering and Culture, all of this somehow stopped the influence of the hidden hands of natural selection on us, or at least on our outside look. In fact, when scientists started listing the human genoms they discovered new regions of our DNA that shows signs of natural selection, mutations related to weather, to diet and to deseases.

With the technological knowledge that we have now however, we’re about to open a new chapter of our own evolution. Medicine enabled the vast majority of us to live long enough to pass their gene, slowing on its way the natural selection process as we knew it. But, and probably the most tool that will change our future is the ability to really choose it. Genetic Engineering in fact, enabled a lot of people to have babies where they couldn’t before, but now, it’s enabling us to choose the sex of our children, even the hair and eyes color, and only imagination will predict what we can do in a near future, creating somehow a Cultural Selection.

So are we still evolving? – faster than ever :)

Related Links:

Here is a  TED talk about the same subject

Inspired from a BBC Horizon program

What temperature really is ?

Liquid helium film

Temperature, or what we commonly know as heat, was and still is one of the subjects that scientists struggle most with.

At the very beginning, it was thought that it is some kind of a strange fluid that spreads into and through matter, and with that, temperature would be defined as the density of this mystical substance.

But with the coming of new ideas in science, the definition has changed, and it began with a known experiment conducted by “Joules”, one of the fathers of physics. His idea was that temperature (or heat) is the result of a much deeper phenomena, something that is happening at the heart of matter, at the molecule level. In fact he showed that temperature do increases with movement; This introduced the modern definition of temperature which is nothing less than the mesure of the speed of molecules that compose matter; the more it gets messy the more it gets hot.

As we know it now, there is in fact no such thing as heat, it is not energy as might some of us think. It is only what happens when molecules gets more exited ;)

Inspired from a BBC Horizon program

How to Win Friends and Influence People

In this amazing book, Dale Carnegie illustrates, using real and inspiring stories, the basic rules of human interactions.

The book is structured on three parts, each one contains one principle per chapter.

At first sight we may think that this is a manipulating people to get what we want kind of book, it is absolutely not the case. In fact all principles presented demand a high level of sincerity, empathy and a great deal of modesty.

In few words, this book shows us how we can acquire the best of people by getting more interested in them and putting aside our oversized ego.