jump to navigation

Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Good progress

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

I made good progress on my topic revision, in prep for turning in the second assignment in RSH9104B. The more I work on this topic, the more I believe it is do-able. It is not my first choice of topic, but my goal is to get my PhD, and then I can work on other topics that interest me. I ordered some books this week and will be working to publish some reviews. I finished up Environmentalism and the New Logic of Business by R. Edward Freeman, Jessica Pierce, and Richard H. Dodd as well as Writing Your Dissertation by Derek Swetnam.

Environmentalism and the New Logic of Business was interesting because it spelled out some of the critical problems facing us on the environmental front. I particularly like the “Shade of Green” idea; firms might be “legal green or light green,” “market green,” “stakeholder green,” “dark green,” or any combination of those.

Writing Your Dissertation was such a high-level overview of the process that it was not relevant to me in my situation. I should have read this book two years ago. If you are a new graduate student or considering grad school, the book may interest you. Otherwise, choose another book. In contrast, I am now reading Destination Dissertation: A Traveler’s Guid to a Done Dissertation, and I am finding this book much more relevant.

Tomorrow morning my goal is to grade papers for the GEN/480 class I am teaching now, and finish up the second assignment in RSH9104B. I hope to also start and finish the first assignment in that class as well.

A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

I just finished reading A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar, the poignant story of mathematical genius John Nash. The book chronicles Nash’s life and troubles as he succombs to mental illness, interrupting a promising career in research. As Nash falls deeper into the chasm of paranoid schizophrenia, those around him fail to see the clues until it is too late. He is hospitalized several times and his work is put on hold as he struggles with unseen threats that are very real to him. Most do not recover from demons like those that possess Nash, but somehow through will, determination and the love of his family he slowly returns to a semblance of sanity which allows him to function in society. Nash is best known for game theory studies and it is interesting to read how the governing body of the Nobel prize struggled with some of the same choices important to game theory.

The book reminds us how tenuous sanity can be and forces us to think about how we interpret the actions of others with mental illness. The things that Nash did while sick were unacceptable to society, yet most chose to ignore him when it was not fashionable or beneficial for themselves. The screenplay of the same name takes a small piece of Nash’s life and expands on his delusions. Nasar’s book is far more interesting and the reader is left with the unshakeable feeling that Nash is a far greater and beautiful mind…not because of his brilliance in mathematics or game theory…but because of his unbelieveable steps backward from debilitating mental illness.

I recommend A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar as a reminder of the fragility of our minds and the strength of our wills.