I have two books to return to the library today: Farsighted by Steven Johnson and Japanese Culture by Roger J. Davies. Until very recently I almost never read non-fiction books. I think school kind of ruined that experience for me and I’m only just now recovering.
The first of the two books, Farsighted - How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most, was a very entertaining read. It’s the kind of self help book that contains only a few small action items. Those insights are surrounded by stories and anecdotes to tell you why you should care. In general I think this actually works better than most people are willing to admit. I need those stories to reinforce my learning.
In the end, the book presents a number of modern techniques for gathering information about the inputs used to make a decision. It also describes predicting the possible outputs of that decision. You then feed the possible outputs back into the decision making process to make the final choice.
I’m not going to go into any detail on those techniques here. You can read the book or another summary for that. What I will say is that the greater process is the real key here. With this in mind I’m hoping that I can make better decisions in the future.
The second book, Japanese Culture - The Religious and Philosophical Foundations, was also a surprisingly good read.
With my anime obsession, there wasn’t a lot of new information in this book for me. However, just like Farsighted, it wrapped the different cultural facets of Japan into a narrative about how they were introduced to the country. This gave me a different view for understanding how each piece interacts and feeds off of the others to create the Japan we see today.
In addition, this book was very well written and edited. I never found myself tripped up by complex phrasing or word choices. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking to learn more about Japan. I’m hoping to pick up Roger J. Davies’ other book The Japanese Mind sometime soon.
Well that’s it for now! I need to get these books back to the library. I’ve been sitting on them both for a long time but I wanted to do at least a brief write up of each one before I returned them.