Audiobook Reviews Part 4

How Smart Machines Think Audiobook – Unabridged

Sean Gerrish (Author), Kevin Scott – foreword (Author), Timothy Andrés Pabon (Narrator)

To many, the inner workings of AI and smart machines might seem like magic. This book gives great insight into how the different algorithms and programs that make smart machines work actually function and therefore it is able to turn amazement into insight. The author is able to give great insight in such a way the the content is not too technically deep and therefore would be boring for the layman. This books attempts to explain highly technical concepts in simple terms without sacrificing too much detail and it is able to achieve that happy medium quite well.

The author uses the cases studies of IBM Watson, DARPA Grand challenge, the Netflix challenge, and the programs that were able to defeat world champions of boards games such as Go and Chess. This makes the topics very real and tangible to the reader/listener as we are all familiar with these examples and can relate to them.

If you are interested in the topic of how self-driving cars work, I would highly recommend this book. What this book does not contain is the formal mathematics and code behind all this technology. Since this book is not for a technical audience, I think this omission was necessary to preserve readability and for that reason, I am giving this book 4 stars.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones Audiobook – Unabridged

James Clear (Author, Narrator), Penguin Audio (Publisher)

If you haven’t read/listened to this book, do yourself a favor and do so immediately. I listened to many parts of this book twice and I have now placed it on my repeated listen list. This book can only be described as a series of one liners that seem like cliches but are so deep and meaningful that I had to pause multiple times to simply ponder what the author had said. One such gem (and I am phrasing) “you must fall in love with the process and not the product. Only then can you focus on improving constantly and achieving success everyday”. Perhaps it is not as quotable out of context but it is hard to describe how good this book really is.,

An incredible insight this book gave me is that a small incremental improvement is very difficult to notice and therefore very difficult to get motivated by. Did you eat a healthy meal? Great but the scale did not move so why bother continuing? This is the essence of the problem humans have in thier short-sightedness. Our brains are wired for immediate survival and immediate gratification and postponing gratification for the sake of an incremental reward that comes later is difficult. There were many other such insights that I had on the surface of my mind but this book managed to ingrain them deep in my psychology.

Overall, the writing style, the marration, the incredibly powerfull message and the simple yet eloquent style of the book make this book an exctreemly worthwhile read and I highly recommend it. 5 stars.

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain – Unabridged

John J. Ratey (Author), Eric Hagerman Walter Dixon (Narrator), Gildan Media, LLC (Publisher)

This book finally gave me the answer to why was I able to carry a full-time student workload, work 30 hours a week as a security guard, earn straight As and exercise regularly when I was in college. While now daily life seems overwhelming, it did not seem that way when i was much busier. It was because I was exercising that it gave me the strength to deal with the rest of the stress in my life. If the only thing I take away from this book is the lesson that exercise is not a luxury for when you have time but a necessity for which you must make time, then this book has done its job and is a life-changing book for me.

This book also goes in to lots of details about how stress and over-eating are closely related. This book does a good job of establishing a causal link between stress, liabilities, and other life threatening conditions. How stress can and will likely kill you.

If you are looking for a book to guide you on how to exercise or build an exercise regiment, this is not that book. However, if you want lots of information and perhaps that spark you need to start exercising, I hightly recommend this book

If I was to summarize this book it would be as follows; exercise if the spark of life. If you want to heal yourself , make better choices, learn faster and overcome obstacles, then start first with exercise.

One thing rather surprising that I learned from this book that (insert almost any mental ailment here) sufferers can benefits from exercising.

This book also describes how mental well being and physical activity are related but it at times goes in to too much detail about how everything works. Such details are perhaps best left to a academic study rather than a book such as this and for that reason i am deducting a star. 4 stars but a fantastic book no less.

Emotional Intelligence – Audiobook

Daniel Goleman Ph.D. (Author), Barrett Whitener (Narrator), Macmillan Audio (Publisher)

Before I listened to this book, I had a vague idea of what emotional intelligence was but this book has solififed many concepts in my head. It is a great primer for a beginner on the topic and it is sparked my curiosity about the subject. I don’t think this book will be my last book on this subject.

A simple insight I gained from this book is that we have two brains, the thinking brain and the emotional brain. Where the thinking brain is rational thinking and patient, the emotional brain is quick to action and rash. What this book emphasizes is that neither brain is useless, it is the balance of the two that makes people successful. For example, if you are in imminent danger, taking a long time to think about all the possible scenarios is a disaster in the making and therefore the emotional brain must take over. When we are stricken with panic and fear, we are instantly motivated to act. On the other hand, if the emotional brain is taking over, it will make a mess of situation where tact and thought are required (do you have any colleagues or friends that are quick to anger?). Emotional intelligence is ability to utilize our thinking brain and emotional brain appropriately for each situation.

From conflict resolution at the workplace to the ability of infants to console themselves in the cradle, this books gives detailed and insightful perspectives on the topic and how not only is emotional intelligence one of the primary factors in human success, it can also compensate for low IQ by making individuals able to better cooperate and empathize with other and thus becoming successful at professions such as HR, sales and medicine.

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