This month poker, the climate crisis, self-compassion, and curry.
1/ Maria Konnikova – The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Take Control and Master the Odds
A book about poker doesn’t sound all that appealing but trust me, this is a great book. The author is a psychologist, interested in distinguishing between what we can control in life and what we can’t, and the dynamics of human decision-making. She approaches a poker pro and sets about learning the game as the ultimate lesson in decision-making and chance. The book is full of insights such as why we make the decisions we do. And her journey from poker novice to World Series is extremely engaging.
2/ Adam Curtis – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head (Documentary – BBC iPlayer)
Ok it’s not a book but at 8 hours, this documentary is book-like in terms of time commitment. And I have to recommend it as I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since I saw it. It weaves together a wide range of seemingly disparate historical stories that tell the tale of how we got here, to these strange times. It’s dark, unsettling, unforgettable and uncomfortable viewing. But it will really make you think – something increasingly rare on TV these days,
3/ Bill Gates – How To Avoid A Climate Disaster
It had to be read and overall I’m really pleased I did. I have a lot of friends who are climate scientists and I can’t always keep up with the science. But this book is really clear & easy on the science and the statistics. I didn’t know, for example, that flying only accounts for 3% of emissions. I also didn’t realise how big a deal concrete is. Bill Gates seems to think that technology can fix it all – I think we need some more fundamental changes as well in terms of lifestyle, society, economics and politics. But he’s a nerd, and this is the nerd solution – I don’t agree with all of it but am much better informed for reading it.
4/ Kristin Neff – Self Compassion
Usually I’d run a mile from a book like this but I’m due to do a course later this year and this was one of the suggested books. And I have to admit it’s a really good self-help book, backed up by research and fact rather than wishful thinking. If you have a strong inner critic, are worn down living in this competitive, pressurised culture, or lack self-confidence then this book will address the narrative & where it came from, and give you practical ways to start being kinder and less judgemental to yourself and to others.
5/ Meera Sodha – Fresh India
This isn’t vegan (vegetarian) but there are enough vegan recipes and recipes that can be amended easily to make this one of my favourite cookbooks. The recipes are easy and mostly healthy, and will make great additions to your Indian dish repertoire.
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