B. de Mesquita and Smith: The Dictator’s Handbook

For most of my life, I was not really interested in politics. I think, perhaps, this disinterest originated in my affinity for mechanistic and abstract theories that reflect the real world, and politics always seemed everything but mechanistic and abstract – just a huge mess of opinions and empty talk. I changed my view on […]

Douglas: The Reader’s Brain

Throughout my life in academia, I have received much advice on how I should and shouldn’t write. Countless books have been written on the topic, but The Reader’s Brain is special. Instead of just telling people what to do, Yellowlees Douglas actually explains why it is good to write one way or another, based on […]

West: Scale

Why do we die? Why does any animal die? How old can we expect an average individual of any species to become, and what does that have to do with its body size or heart rate? In “Scale”, Geoffrey West outlines a simple mathematical model that answers all of the questions above with amazing predictive […]

Christian & Griffiths: Algorithms to live by

This month’s book is “Algorithms to live by”, by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths. I dread reading my postal mail. Bills here, adverts there, and worst of all: forms to fill out. It feels like such a waste of time! Which is why I sometimes let letters stay in my inbox for several months. Reading […]