Feel-Good Productivity, Ali Abdaal

I’ve long been suspicious of Abdaal’s role in promoting hustle culture, and so I went into this book with great scepticism. Happily he preaches a somewhat different message in the book from the stuff in his youtube content. Unhappily, it’s shallow and largely unoriginal messages. I cannot help but feel the same book from an author without his fan base would not have been published.ย 

42 Reasons to Hate the Universe, Wade David Fairclough et al

A book with a sense of humour that somehow makes Family Guy seem witty and profound. I’ve never experienced a book as painfully unfunny as thisโ€”it was truly mystifying and appalling. Almost as disappointing was the substantive content which was repetitive, shallow and largely uninteresting. The authors set up the universe as something with anthropomorphic intent, which might be a fine premise if they ever took the time to actually explain, no the universe doesn’t actually want to kill you. I hated this and read in a state of disbelief tinged with horror.ย 

Quietly Confident, Kate James

If you’ve never read a book in this genre, or had no therapy, this book might be a good start. For me though, this book was just reheated insights I’ve read quite a lot of already. There’s not much new or compelling about this one.ย If this genre interests you, start with Dr Guha’s book instead.

The Pattern Seekers, Simon Baron-Cohen

Dense – the central argument is a powerful one, but the presentation is not favourable to engaging with the ideas. I applaud his conclusion that people with autism deserve better support and opportunities to participate in the workforceโ€”I just think it unlikely that this book would convince anyone who wasn’t already receptive to his message.ย 

The Patriarchs, Angela Saini

The first half of this book was repetitive and in search of a thesis. I found the second half better: clearer and with less repetition, but it wasn’t enough to salvage the book. I am still interested in the topic of how it came to be that patriarchal systems became dominant when there is nothing certain or inevitable about that fate.

The Buddhist and the Ethicist, Shih Chao-Hwei and Peter Singer

I found this dense and the formatโ€”a conversation between the two authorsโ€”did not work for me. Not that I think it couldn’t have worked, it just didn’t work in this book. I am torn because some ideas in the exchange are deeply information and thought provoking, and I like the obvious respect and admiration between the authors. Yet I cannot possibly recommend this in its current form.ย 

Edition K, 1000 piece puzzle

During the pandemic I had the idea of getting into jigsaw puzzles. I saw this for sale and bought it. It sat in a cupboard in the intervening time, which has actually turned out to be quite a good thing, for the quality of this puzzle is so low it may well have put me off the idea of jigsaw puzzles entirely if it was the first I tackled. So many pieces were bent, and even when they weren’t, they didn’t always fit together well. The board had a horrible chemical smell, and the cutting of the puzzle made it harder than it should of been.

Three Body Problem, season one

This had so much potential but the end result was often quite silly: poor acting, too much exposition, ham-fisted attempts at being emotionally relevant; bad pacing. I love the amount of sci-fi being made these days, so it’s just a shame I don’t think this one is a particular successful example.

Inside, Vasilis Katsoupis

There are many reasons to watch this movie, but the quality of the narrative, the pacing, or the overall cinematic value are sadly not them. So I guess really you’re just here for a fancy house and some art on the walls.

Best Wishes, Richard Glover

I read this in a state of disbelief; it was exactly every Boomer trope you’ve ever heard, one right after the other. The definition of failing upwards is this book.ย 

Leave the World Behind, Sam Esmail

Oh boy, this film was too long, too unsure of itself, and trying to be too clever for its own good. Ethan Hawke and Julia Roberts felt like they were acting in different movies, and the constant misdirection about what was actually happening began to feel quite cheap and pointless. And itโ€™s a pity because I love the genre of the world falling apart type films.

Trigun Stampede, season one

This lost me. It was a little more action heavy that I have the stomach for and although I found the world spectacularly interesting, the worldbuilding wasnโ€™t enough for me. I kept watching out of hope and because the art was rather mostly good.