2. How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer. I didn't really think I'd enjoy this as much as I have. Tons of great anecdotes, though the science is better than Malcolm Gladwell (though both share The New Yorker style, which makes sense since both write frequently for the magazine). Neuroscience and behavioral economics have been much on my mind recently (no pun intended), and I intend to elaborate further on how I think their insights relate to football and my general disposition towards more rationality is better. I remain unconvinced that the non-quantitative, non-analytical approach to scouting, evaluating players, and decisionmaking in football in general is appropriate.
But football is the best of all sports for a reason: each play gives every coach and player the opportunity for a few brief moments to gather their thoughts and plan, but the ultimate results are all decided in the heat of the moment -- the quarterback cannot explain exactly why a player was open, but he doesn't have to. He turns, sees the receiver, and if it feels right, he throws it. He might not have time to break all that down analytically -- any more than the middle linebacker has time to explain why he thought the draw was a draw and not a pass play -- but the brain is sophisticated enough to give him the cues. Dopamine and all that good stuff. That said, our brain makes a lot of systematic errors, typically in the form of relying on certain heuristics, but they can often be overcome. Anyway, more on this later.
3. John Rawls's religion?
4. What makes us happy?
5. I got my copy of the The New Yorker summer fiction issue. Also check out this article whether creative writing should [can?] be taught.
6. Not reading, but a good place to waste several hours: lectures from the world's top scholars.
7. I haven't actually read it yet, but I keep seeing reviews for this book everywhere. (I have probably reached the tipping point of reviews; once you've read three or four of them in full it's hard to justify reading the stupid book, no matter how good it might be.) Anyway, quote:
This book grows out of an attempt to understand the greater sense of agency and competence I have always felt doing manual work, compared to other jobs that were officially recognized as "knowledge work." Perhaps most surprisingly, I often find manual work more engaging intellectually. This book is an attempt to understand why this should be so.
The book is Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford, a guy with a Ph.d. in political philosophy from the University of Chicago who runs a motorcycle repair shop (and writes books, obviously). (Ht Marginal Revolution.)