Friday, April 10, 2009

Continuing my recent string of legal thrillers, last night I finished Burden of Proof by Scott Turow.

Like the last Turow I read, this book is a cut above the rest of the legal thrillers. It involves Sandy Stern (the lawyer from Turow's most famous book/movie Presumed Innocent). It starts with the suicide of his wife, while his brother-in-law is being investigated for financial manipulations. Once again, Turow's characters feel like real people, with real reactions to their problems.

In retrospect, I could see how some fans of legal thrillers wouldn't like his books, since they are much more introspective than most and don't involve a lot of explicit action. But I am definitely a fan.

Monday, April 06, 2009

This morning I finished What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought by Keith E. Stanovich.

This is one of the most interesting non-fiction books I've read in a while. The basic thesis is that the concept of intelligence as commonly used is over-generalized, including both the level of skill at thinking and the ability to think rationally, and that great benefits could follow from properly bifurcating them into intelligence and rationality. The result of this over-generalization is that people are surprised when people who do well on IQ tests (which measure the former only) make stupid, irrational decisions.

Along the way, he presents a lot of research from cognitive psychology and gives a revised high level model of how the thinking mind works, and how this model can lead to bad decisions.

The writing is fairly dense, with a lot of psychological terms used freely. It is far from most of the popular science books that are out there today and it is clear that it is mainly an academically focused book. But if you are willing to do the work, it is well worth it.

Highly recommended.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

I just finished Unsigned by Julie Kaewert, one of her series of Booklover mysteries.

I wrote about one of the other books in this series here and I don't know if I have anything new to add. They are enjoyable books, even if the overall shape of the plot is very similar from book to book - protagonist discovers some kind of historical secret related to books/publishing, gets chased around while his friends keep secrets from him to protect him. Eventually he muddles through and finds out all the truth.