What I’m Reading – 4/13 – Seveneves; Asylum; SuperBetter

Seveneves: A Novel, Neal Stephenson

This is going to make a great movie, but I’m not sure I would call it a great book. One thing Stephenson does a lot, that I don’t love, is write long explanations about scientific phenomena that serve more to show That the Author Has Done a Lot of Research and Knows about Science, but do not move the story along or develop the characters. It is impressive in a sense, but I don’t read fiction for its information density, which is invariably low, no matter how much explanation is involved.

The book a very ambitious project, and is to be respected for that alone. It is on occasion captivating, but at times pedantic. Stephenson is an epic writer, but if I had been the editor, I would have insisted on a lot more editing.

Asylum, William Seabrook

This book was highly recommended by Ryan Holiday, whom I admire. It’s perhaps more interesting as a memoir of someone who was in a mental institution in the 1930s than as a book with lessons for the modern day, but it was an enjoyable and easy read. Sporadically insightful and very well written, but I don’t recommend it unless you’re an alcoholic or if you have a particular interest in the history of mental institutions.

SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver, and More Resilient – Powered by the Goddess of Games, Jane McGonigal

When you read a lot, sometimes the books that are the least interesting are the ones with which you agree the most. I agree with, and strongly advocate, almost everything McGonigal says in this book. And if you are struggling with a major problem, and the idea of gaming a solution to the problem is novel to you, then maybe this book could be a life-saver for you. But I didn’t get much out it.