The Geography of Genius Summary

The Geography of Genius Summary

A Search for the World’s Most Creative Places From Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley

Are you ready to travel around the world in… well, 400 pages and few days? No? What about in thousand words and merely ten minutes?

Sounds better, we know.

So, without a further ado, the summary of “The Geography of Genius.”

Who Should Read “The Geography of Genius”? And Why?

“The Geography of Genius” is a weird kind of a personal travelogue.

Why?

Because its mission is to answer a strange question. Namely, why do geniuses cluster around specific places at specific moments in history?

However, people who have read Eric Weiner’s previous book, “The Geography of Bliss” – his attempt to discover the world’s happiest places – rather than surprised, will be in rubbing-hands mood.

“The Geography of Genius” is unpretentious and funny, interesting and charming. So, additionally it should be a treat for anyone interested in the interrelation of history and geography.

Or, geniuses, for that matter.

About Eric Weiner

Eric WeinerEric Weiner is a respected journalist and bestselling writer. A former longtime correspondent for the NPR, he has authored three part-memoirs part-travelogues whose overarching mission is a personal quest for answers to some fairly difficult questions.

The Geography of Bliss” tackles an interesting problem: which is the happiest country in the world and why. “Man Seeks God” explores different aspects of many world religions. Finally, “The Geography of Genius,” uncovers how and why is genius related to geography.

“The Geography of Genius Summary”

Our thousands-of-years long and thousands-of-kilometers wide story begins with Keith Simonton, a professor of psychology at the University of California.

One of the topics which interest him the most: geniuses. And one of the concepts he has worked on the longest: genius clusters.

In the past, most people believed that genius is hereditary. Great men beget great man, and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

Nowadays, however, people tend to talk about collaboration. Or, even more, about how there’s nothing great in the great men of history, since they were mere products of some circumstances, and any genius could have been the next person.

Genius clusters are some middle ground. It seems that, as a rule, a genius appears not only at the same time with another genius, but also at the same place.

Sometimes, a place goes into genius-overload mode.

That’s a genius cluster.

And after talking to Keith Simonton, Eric Weiner decides to visit few such genius clusters and explore their history. His main goal: to uncover why they had become genius clusters.

And where should one start exploring genius clusters if not in Athens?

The place where Western civilization was born. The birthplace of Socrates and Plato as well. And the place where Aristotle moved in his teenage years. Why?

Well, because Plato’s Academy was there. And the Magnetic Theory of Genius may not be an exact science, but it is a fairly intuitive one for that matter: geniuses go where other geniuses are. Because, how would a misfit find his place if he doesn’t find other misfits?

Athens had another advantage: it was located where the trading routes between Phoenicia, Egypt and Babylonia crossed. So, it got the best of all worlds.

Millennium and a half later, while under the Song dynasty, Chinese Hangzhou became a cultural center.

Its comparative advantage?

Emperor-poets.

Plato believed that cities would prosper under enlightened rulers. Had he lived in the 12th century AD, he would have used Hangzhou as an example.

He wouldn’t have been so bowled over by the next city on our list: Florence.

Not because of a lack of genius, though. But, because Florence proved to the world that while geniuses may magnetically attract other geniuses, they are, in turn, as magnetically attracted by money.

A banking family, the Medicis had an abundance of it and didn’t save a penny when it came to science and art. Why would they? If they paid for a church, the Pope (in time, a Medici member himself) would grant them a safe trip to heaven.

The memorable artworks dedicated to them was a little extra on the side.

Just a few centuries later, an unlikely place, Scotland’s Edinburgh, became the genius’ center of the world. Robert Burns, Adam Smith, David Hume, Dugald Stewart, James Young Simpson – you name a great man of the period and the Scots got him.

They also got two other things which worked towards the blossoming of the Scottish Enlightenment. One was a practical mindset embodied in the motto: “Surely, there must be a better way…” And the other was thinkers’ gatherings.

Because, that’s how ideas spread. After all, about this time, just few hundred kilometers to the south, the French Revolution started in their coffeehouses.

And back in Asia, Calcutta started experiencing what Florence did in the 15th century: the Bengali renaissance. Interestingly enough, it had something to do with both Scotland and thinkers’ gettogethers.

How so?

Well, it was a Scottish philanthropist, David Hare, who established the School Book Society which started printed books in both Bengali and English. And these books were later discussed at intellectual Q&A forums, called addas.

OK, not so much “&A”: the addas were all about the questions. Not the goal, but the search for meaning.

 

No list of genius clusters would be fulfilled if there’s no Vienna in it. In Weiner’s list, it’s present twice. Once because of its musical heritage (Mozart, Beethoven, Mozart) and the second time because of the revolution that was psychoanalysis (Freud, Mahler, Klimt, Mach).

In each case, Vienna serves as evidence for one of the oldest theories on geniuses. Interestingly enough, quite often, these people don’t become geniuses in their birthplaces. And where they do become exceptional – they are immigrants, questioned by everybody but themselves.

Last but not least, the Silicon Valley.

It’s certainly the place to be at the moment if you are member of the creative class.

And, that, in itself, explains how its genius cluster was formed.

After all, Elon Musk didn’t want to go anywhere else.

Key Lessons from “The Geography of Genius”

1.      Geniuses Cluster Around Specific Places
2.      Genius Is Not Born in Isolation
3.      It’s Not Nature vs. Nurture: It’s Both

Geniuses Cluster Around Specific Places

Whether it’s Athena of 5th century BC, Vienna at the turn of the century or nowadays, the Silicon Valley, some places seem to have a magnetic grip on geniuses. So, they cluster around them.

It’s not exactly an easy thing to tell always whether it’s because of the geographical environment or because of the people, but, it seems that once the genius count of a certain place reaches a tipping point, an enlightenment flourishes.

Genius Is Not Born in Isolation

OK, some are. But, they are the exception which proves the rule.

And the rule is this. Wherever there’s a genius cluster, there’s also an abundance of profound and meaningful discussion. ( (Or even not so meaningful if you’re in Calcutta.)

In Athens – they had the agora, and in Florence – the bottegas. In India, they have the addas, and in Paris and Vienna – the coffeehouses.

And, today, in Silicon Valley they have… well, the internet.

Genius clusters are going to be all virtual in the future!

It’s Not Nature vs. Nurture: It’s Both

The general wisdom is that geniuses are either born or made.

Eric Weiner’s trip around the world concludes: it’s both. Geniuses are created at the intersections of people and places. Because, creativity itself, is nothing but a relationship.

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“The Geography of Genius” Quotes

Rather than asking “What is creativity?” a better question is “Where is creativity?” Click To Tweet Culture is the enormous yet invisible ocean in which we swim. Or, to put it in modern, digital terms, culture is a shared IT network. Click To Tweet Geniuses do not pop up randomly—one in Siberia, another in Bolivia—but in groupings. Genius clusters. Click To Tweet Creativity is a relationship, one that unfolds at the intersection of person and place. Click To Tweet Genius, like charity, begins at home. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Both a memoir and a personal odyssey, “The Geography of Genius” is, as its author claims himself, “a colossal fools’ experiment.” But, the world needs these kinds of experiments, exactly because the world is shaped by people who do crazy things.

True, other than suggesting the application of the book’s finds in your home, “The Geography of Genius” doesn’t reach some final conclusion. But, just like a Bengali adda, it doesn’t need to. The trip is what matters.

And with such a witty and funny guide as Eric Weiner, it can be nothing short o unforgettable.

   Get this Summary in PDF:   

The Evolution of Everything Summary

The Evolution of Everything Summary

How New Ideas Emerge, aka How Small Things Transform the World

By now, you already know that evolution is how all life came to be on this planet. What you don’t know is that evolution may be responsible for everything else, whether it’s language or government.

Don’t believe us?

Why don’t we just let Matt Ridley tell you a thing or two.

Who Should Read “The Evolution of Everything”? And Why?

Good ideas don’t just happen in isolation. There are so many things which contribute to their formulation and even more which turn them into theories and trends. Matt Ridley claims that this happens haphazardly, in an unplanned manner.

And you should give heed to his words if you want to know more about how the present world was shaped. It would make an even better read if you like to read about evolution and similar concepts. But, be warned: don’t come unprepared for this trip.

About Matt Ridley

Matt RidleyMatt Ridley is a British biologist and writer, a peer in the House of Lords since 2013. He obtained his Ph.D. in zoology in 1983, before becoming a science editor for “The Economist” and a regular columnist for “The Telegraph.”

He has written several well-received scientific books, including “The Red Queen,” and “The Rational Optimist.”

“The Evolution of Everything Summary”

For the most part of human history, the majority of people genuinely believed that a supreme being created the universe. After all, everything looked so orderly and beautiful that this seemed like a no-brainer.!

In fact, when Isaac Newton formulated the laws of motion and gravitation, he was convinced that he had uncovered the ultimate evidence of intelligent design. If the universe worked like a clockwork mechanism, then it’s only natural that we supposed that someone had built this machine.

His name: God. The Ultimate Watchmaker.

But, about two centuries ago, an unexpected thing happened. Namely, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace uncovered something even more fascinating than God. They found evidence that the natural world, with all its beauty and complexity, created itself, through an ages-long process of “trial and error.”

Its name: Natural Selection. The Blind Watchmaker.

And this changed everything.

Suddenly, we started seeing patterns and realized that the theory of evolution can be applied to many fields of human knowledge.

And Matt Ridley isn’t a kind of person who would argue this. After all, just look at the title of his book! He can’t get enough of evolution. His argument: because that’s the way everything works. Yes, that includes society as well!

We think we have some control over the processes which govern progress – but, no, we don’t! Just like each and every species, everything we see around us evolves in an incremental, unplanned manner.

Everything? Really?

It can’t be!

Yes, it can. A quick glance at the contents of Ridley’s book shows that he intends to stop at nothing! “The Evolution of Everything” comprises of a prologue and an epilogue and sixteen standalone chapters, which cover the evolution of… well, everything.

The universe, the life, genes – OK, that’s physics and biology and pretty much expected! The economy, the education, the government – I see your point, and you can make a case of it. But, leadership, culture, religion – even these?

And what about personality, morality, the mind? Now, you’ve got to be kidding me!

And yes, even technology and the Internet.

Wait a minute, you say?

But, you just mentioned Darwin, Wallace, Newton! You want me to believe that they didn’t do nothing special. You can’t possibly be saying that! After all, they were great men, and, if nothing else, they are responsible for some giant evolutionary leaps!

You’ve got to give me that, at least.

But, Matt Ridley is merciless. As exceptional as they may seem to you – he says triumphantly – they were nothing more but a case of the right person at the right time. In other words, the theories of gravity and evolution would have been formulated by someone else if not by one of these three.

But, how do we know it?

Well, consider something historians of science refer to as “simultaneous invention.” It happens so often that hardly any Nobel Prize (other than the one in literature) is awarded to a single person. Some scientists, however, have gone a step further. They hypothesize that “multiple discoveries” happen not only often, but every time.

Here are some examples for you that are sure to make you wonder!

Have you ever wondered, say, how is it possible that the blast furnace or the crossbow were developed independently in China, Africa, and Europe? Or how did all of Carl Wilhelm Scheele, Joseph Priestley, and Antoine Lavoisier discovered oxygen at around the same time in three different countries? What about evolution, and Darwin and Wallace?

And Ridley has one even better: in the 1870s, no less than 23 people around the globe worked on inventing the light bulb!

You know why?

Because all of the basic elements (glass, electricity, vacuum, and filaments) were there, and because, in Ridley’s opinion, an invention is not exactly a leap, but a recombination. Albert Einstein was the first one to conceptualize the theory of relativity, but had he didn’t, Hendrik Lorentz would have been a name you’d hear much more often.

Because the world was prepared for such a theory.

Now, don’t get us – and Ridley – wrong!

The powerful will always be able to influence the weak. In many cases, they can do just about enough to hurdle things past the tipping point and cause an avalanche of extraordinary events.

However, this doesn’t happen as often as history books – and Malcolm Gladwell – would have us believe.

Quite the opposite: just like God did once, great men receive too much credit. Moreover, we would have been better off without them: just as Lord Acton once wrote, “great men are almost always bad men.”

In other words: they are just interfering with an evolution of everything which tends to make things better.

They are not great suns who lighten up the world. They are much more akin to earthquakes or avalanches.

We’ll adapt either way.

Nobody, but the blind watchmaker knows how.

Key Lessons from “The Evolution of Everything”

1.      Positive Trends Are Products of Evolution
2.      All Inventions Were Inevitable
3.      Enough with the Great Men

Positive Trends Are Products of Evolution

You can plan a thing as much as you like to – it won’t happen unless it was meant to be. Or you can just leave evolution do its work – and hope for the best.

Because, in the long run, the best will come. Step-by-step bottom-up progress is Matt Ridley’s vision of the history of everything, whether it’s the Industrial Revolution or the reduction of science and poverty.

It will happen ­– when the time comes.

All Inventions Were Inevitable

You may think of Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin as scientists who knew so much more than the rest of the world in their heyday, but – news flash – it isn’t so! Did you know, for example, that Gottfried Leibnitz developed the calculus simultaneously with (or even before) Newton?

And that Darwin received a letter from Alfred Russel Wallace explicating the whole theory of evolution while he was working on the publication of “The Origin of Species”?

These are not isolated cases. Inventions because the time was right. And because of the Zeitgeist. Not because of the great people who we celebrate.

That’s why…

Enough with the Great Men

Just like God did for most of human history, the great men we learn about receive just too much credit.

If anything, most of them were a nuisance, impeding the gradual process of bottom-up evolution which got us to where we are. Our world wouldn’t have been that much different even without Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein. Sooner or later, someone else would have discovered what they did.

But, how much more beautiful it would have been without Alexander the Great or Hitler?

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“The Evolution of Everything” Quotes

Change in human institutions, artefacts and habits is incremental, inexorable and inevitable. Click To Tweet If there is one dominant myth about the world, one huge mistake we all make, one blind spot, it is that we all go around assuming the world is much more of a planned place than it is. Click To Tweet We describe the world as if people and institutions were always in charge, when often they are not. Click To Tweet Today we are still in thrall to Great Man history, if only because we like reading biography. Click To Tweet For far too long we have underestimated the power of spontaneous, organic and constructive change driven from below, in our obsession with designing change from above. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“The Evolution of Everything” is a modern, more nuanced and better researched version of Herbert Spencer’s theory of social Darwinism. It’s an ambitious undertaking, since it covers everything from the universe to the Internet, from language and the mind to morality and personality.

To say that, even so, it doesn’t disappoint would be an understatement. It’s nothing short of brilliant. It’s, however, intended for analytical, well-read readers with a wide-ranging knowledge and a deep focus, so it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. After all, each chapter of the book begins with a quote by Lucretius.

If you don’t know him – don’t bother. Because he may be the least of your problems.

   Get this Summary in PDF:   

The Tipping Point Summary

The Tipping Point SummaryHow Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Some say that significant changes don’t happen abruptly. For example, there are internal mechanisms which regulate if the name of a certain actress will become a popular choice among parents or not.

However, Malcolm Gladwell is more a butterfly-effect kind of a sociologist. In his opinion, disruptions happen all the time and they spread around like viruses. Because, just like avalanches, after they reach a certain tipping point, events suddenly turn into trends.

And there are numerous examples which prove this.

Who Should Read “The Tipping Point”? And Why?

“The Tipping Point” was Gladwell’s 2000 debut and, just like many before us have noted, it was, ironically, the tipping point of his career. Suddenly, the “New York Times” staff writer became a name, and that name soon ended up on the cover of four more bestsellers in the two decades which followed.

So, not knowing Malcolm Gladwell today is not too dissimilar from not knowing, say, who Stephen Hawking is. He is another one of those few scientists whose words both matter and resonate among the general public.

Named one of the best books of the decade, “The Tipping Point” is one of those few scientific works which may act like a shortcut for the general reader to the complicated world of scholarship.

Don’t read it only if you want to be left behind. It’s a book for everybody.

About Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell is an English-born Canadian author. He has worked for “The New York Times” since 1996. In 2000, he published “The Tipping Point” which became an instant success.

The book was followed by four more bestsellers: “Blink” (2005), “Outliers” (2008), “What the Dog Saw: and Other Adventures” (2009), and “David and Goliath” (2013).

In 2016, Gladwell created the podcast “Revisionist History,” currently expected to enter its third season.

“The Tipping Point Summary”

The tipping point is the moment when a snowball turns into an avalanche.

It’s the exact instant when a disease becomes an epidemic, when an idea becomes a philosophy. It’s what makes the difference between “oh, this looks nice” and “I got to have it, everyone has it!”

You know when you suddenly start seeing something that you either haven’t noticed before or have noticed it, but didn’t realize its importance?

Well, what happened was that that thing moved past its tipping point in the meantime.

You can’t really pinpoint this moment in time, but you can rest assured that it didn’t necessarily happen because of the inherent value of the thing itself. According to Malcolm Gladwell, epidemics happen because of the opinion of only few people, not because of objective judgements.

Economists call this the 80/20 principle, and it works in other areas, as well. In our case, it means that only 20 percent of the people will do 80 percent of the job.

In layman’s terms:

Michael Jordan wears Air Jordan Nikes? I got to get me some too, right away.

And these 20 percent of the people belong in one of these three categories: connectors, mavens, or salesman.

Connectors, obviously, are the people with the right connections. They know a lot of people around and function as the social equivalent of a hub in a network. They are the people who can link you with the person you want to get to.

Want an example?

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. What, you say?

It’s a game based on the principle “six degrees of separation.” Because Bacon has appeared in so many films, participants believe that you can link any other famous person to him in no more than six steps.

Now, turn that around. If so many people rotate around Kevin Bacon, what he endorses will probably resonate much more than what, let’s say, you advocate.

The world is not fair, right?

Mavens form the second group of epidemic-makers. Just like their name suggests, they are some sort of experts. They know many things about many topics, or almost everything about a single one. And everybody listens to them.

Consequently, mavens start “word-of-mouth epidemics” even if they don’t want to. Because, people believe – or have to know – almost every word they say.

For example, you’ve heard something about string theory, right? And how many physics books have you read, again? Also, do you know that that’s just one of the many concepts to explain the birth of our universe?

You can blame this guy for the popularity of string theory. He never tried to force it upon us. He’s just that good that whatever he says – he educates.

Speaking of forcing things upon us –

Salesmen form the third group. They are the persuaders, those loveable, charismatic people you’ll take at their words even when trying to sell you snake oil.  And they’re so good, that even after disproved, they lose nothing of the influence.

Want an example of all three?

Malcolm Gladwell.

First, a maven whose books are bought by millions, and whose talks are attentively listened to by so many more.

Then, a salesman questioned by many sociologists who, nevertheless, are ignored by the general public.

And, finally, nowadays, a connector who mingles with both scientists, celebrities, and ordinary people.

Key Lessons from “The Tipping Point”

1.      he Tipping Point
2.      The Rule of the Few
3.      The Stickiness Factor

The Tipping Point

“The Tipping Point” harnesses the power of sociology to analyze how trends are born. Its conclusion: that trends rarely depend on the objective value of the thing which trends.

The only thing that needs to happen for something to become an epidemic is that something to pass the tipping point, to reach the critical mass of people using it.

So, in other words, it’s not “the thing” which starts an epidemic, but the few people who endorse it.

The Rule of the Few

And these few are, quite literally, few.

80 percent of a trend is created by merely 20 percent of the participants. They can be celebrities, or scientists, or merely “people who know some people at high places.”

Either way, they belong to one of three groups of individuals. They are either connectors, i.e. people who know the right people, mavens, i.e. people who know the right information, or salesmen, i.e. people who are charismatic enough to influence the right people.

And the wheel goes round and round…

The Stickiness Factor

The stickiness factor is something inexplicable which some things have. No matter what you do, they stick in your mind and stay there. Many commercials have this. But, also, some ideas.

Malcolm Gladwell’s – any one of them – for sure.

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“The Tipping Point” Quotes

The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Click To Tweet Emotion is contagious. Click To Tweet There are exceptional people out there who are capable of starting epidemics. All you have to do is find them. Click To Tweet That is the paradox of the epidemic: that in order to create one contagious movement, you often have to create many small movements first. Click To Tweet There is a simple way to package information that, under the right circumstances, can make it irresistible. All you have to do is find it. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Malcolm Gladwell is a phenomenon: almost everything he writes turns to gold. “The Tipping Point” was published in 2000 and since then he has authored four more books. All five have become “New York Times” bestsellers.

Even more: his surname has turned into an adjective. “Gladwellism.” True, most of the people who use it, use it in a derogatory manner, but many of them have hardly ever set an eye on a book written by Gladwell.

Don’t be one of those who criticize an author without having read the books. Even if you’re not interested in sociology, reading “The Tipping Point” will be a refreshing experience for you. You may not like it, but you’ll hardly be able to remain indifferent to it. We didn’t.

And, of course, the sceptics that we are, we started rummaging through Wikipedia for the referenced studies. Don’t be surprised if you end up doing this as well after finishing “The Tipping Point.”

 

   Get this Summary in PDF:   

Superintelligence Summary

Superintelligence SummaryPaths, Dangers, Strategies

We have seen many movies about what could happen to the world if a superintelligent AI gets introduced.

Is it all fiction?

In our summary of “Superintelligence,” we give you all the reasons you should be hyped about the future, along with all the dangers that come with it.

Read on.

Who Should Read “Superintelligence”? and Why?

Nick Bostrom, the author of “Superintelligence,” suggests that artificial intelligence does bring the promise of a more prosperous, smarter and safer world. However, he argues, humanity may not succeed in bringing all AI’s promises to life.

The further you enter the book’s deconstructions of public opinion about AI, the more you will start to believe that people completely lack the capabilities and imagination to redesign the world from what we know as a human-lead reality, to a reality that superintelligent machines could dominate (and even threaten).

Furthermore, he explains not only the positive aspects and possibilities but also the concerns that pop into mind when thinking of superintelligent AI agents.

We recommend this powerful, morally complex book to all futurists, inventors, students, high-tech enthusiasts, and policymakers.

About Nick Bostrom

Nick BostromNick Bostrom is an author, a professor at Oxford University and the founding director of the Future of Humanity Institute.

“Superintelligence Summary”

At Dartmouth College in the late spring of 1956, a gathering of researchers started charting another course for the world’s future.

They started out with the idea that machines could recreate parts of human intelligence.

As you can already notice all around you, their effort evolved and “expert systems” thrived in the 80s, along with the promise of artificial intelligence.

However, at that point advances came to a plateau and hence, the funding subsided.

In the 90s, the “genetic algorithms” and “neural networks,” pushed the idea to take off once again.

However, how do scientists measure the power of AI?

Well, for starters, by measuring how well specifically designed machines play games such as chess, poker Scrabble, Go and Jeopardy. For instance, a machine with successful algorithms and calculations will beat the best human Go player in about ten years.

But, that is not all – games are just the beginning.

AI’s applications do not stop at games. They stretch out to listening devices, face and speech recognition, scheduling and planning, diagnostics, navigation, inventory management and a wide range of industrial robots.

It sounds nice, doesn’t it?

In spite of AI’s increasing fame and possibilities of utilization, indications of its confinements are rising.

For example, in the “Flash Crash” of 2010, algorithmic traders coincidentally made a descending spiral that cost the market a trillion dollars in moments.

However, we have to bear in mind that the innovation that caused the crisis in the first place was the one that ultimately helped to solve it.

In any case, the question remains: will AI’s curve take after the transforming pattern of human intelligence?

As a matter of fact, AI’s evolution may follow several paths.

Researchers believe that one day AI will evolve into “superintelligence,” which would be a profoundly different sort of intelligence.

This brings up another question:

Would such superintelligence be able to produce human feelings? And if that is the case, how?

A superintelligence could take up three forms.

First, “speed superintelligence” which could imitate human intelligence, but work more quickly.

Second, “collective superintelligence” which would be a network of subsystems that could autonomously take care of discrete issues that are a part of a larger undertaking.

The third is ambiguously defined as “quality superintelligence.” It alludes to an AI of such high caliber that it is as superior to human’s intellect as humans are too, say – dolphins.

With respect to how quick science could make another intelligence, the appropriate response relies upon “optimization power and system recalcitrance,” or willingness to comply.

Key Lessons from “Superintelligence”:

1.      “Orthogonality”
2.      AI Architecture and Scenarios
3.      Moral Character

“Orthogonality”

Keep in mind that the character of superintelligence is not exactly human.

Do not get into fantasies about humanized AI. Although it may sound counterintuitive, the orthogonality thesis states that levels of intelligence do not correlate with final objectives.

In fact, more intelligence does not mean that the number of shared or collective objectives among different AIs will increase.

However, one thing is sure: an AI’s motivation will inevitably consist of some “instrumental goals” such as achieving technological perfection.

AI Architecture and Scenarios

To study different possible scenarios in which the world will function after the widespread introduction of superintelligence, just think of how the new technologies influenced the horse.

Just some time ago, carriages increased the horse’s capabilities, but when the cars were introduced, they almost completely replaced it. As a result, horse populations rapidly declined.

If that is the case, what will happen to people when superintelligence replaces many of their abilities? Humans have property, capital, and political power, but many of those advantages may become unimportant when superintelligent AIs enter the scene.

Moral Character

Scientists have practical strategies that could help them develop a moral character inside an AI.

When we say moral character, it does not necessarily mean that these values will match those of people. Instead, think of a moral which will be unique for superintelligence.

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“Superintelligence” Quotes

There is no reason to expect a generic AI to be motivated by love or hate or pride or other such common human sentiments. Click To Tweet An artificial intelligence can be far less human-like in its motivations than a green scaly alien. Click To Tweet Before the prospect of an intelligence explosion, we humans are like small children playing with a bomb. Click To Tweet Go-playing programs have been improving at a rate of about 1 dan/year. If this rate of improvement continues, they might beat the human world champion in about a decade. Click To Tweet There is a pivot point at which a strategy that has previously worked excellently suddenly starts to backfire. We may call the phenomenon the treacherous turn. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Superintelligence” by Nick Bostrom is filled with insight and backed information, and offers a lot of variables to contemplate on. Readers deeply interested in technology and all of its what-ifs will find this book valuable and intriguing.

   Get this Summary in PDF:   

Originals Summary

Originals SummaryHow Non-Conformists Move The World

It is hard to be original when there is so much skepticism surrounding you.

In our summary of “Originals,” we show you how you can “package” your originality so others will see it. We cast a light on how tactical and strategic you have to be to thrive in an organization.

Who Should Read “Originals”? and Why?

In “Originals”, bestselling author, consultant and Wharton School professor Adam Grant raises the question of originality in the workplace. He explores the subject through a presentation of business histories, anecdotes and studies, that show how an original can thrive in an organization.

The truth is, even the most future-oriented companies are prone to resisting originality. Such is the case because the idea is not the only thing that is important – a good presentation is essential as well.

Grant motivates readers by giving them numerous examples of originals who somehow managed to turn their ideas into reality.

We recommend this book to all creative thinkers who still haven’t found a way to express their originality.

About Adam Grant

Adam Grant

Adam Grant is the Wharton School’s highest-rated professor and the youngest tenured faculty member. He is a former advertising director and a junior Olympian.

“Originals Summary”

Grant starts “Originals” by referring to the remarkable accomplishments of online eyeglass creator Warby Parker.

He shows his respect of the inventiveness of the organization’s founders, which were all Wharton students. The founders offered Grant an opportunity to contribute, before their launch.

However, he turned them down because Luxottica controlled over 80% of the eyeglass market. Hence, he did not feel that a group of students just starting out could profit.

Warby Parker, however, took a unique path. He allowed customers to buy glasses on the web and, if they did not like them, send them back.

Its launch was a great success.

The founders primarily thought they would offer three sets per day, yet they sold a year’s worth in less than a month and needed to create a 20,000 person waiting list.

Grant is genuine about his failure to invest. He observes it as his “worst financial decision” ever.

This book sprang from his wish to fathom his failure to grasp inventiveness when it was right in front of his nose.

Grant presents the delicacy of coalitions and shows that allied enemies can persevere through longer than one of the friendly back-stabbers, or how he calls them “frenemies.”

He furthermore utilizes the historical backdrop of the suffragette development as a significant example of the way adversaries concede their ill will but are willing to participate in common purposes.

Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was the first American woman to hold her original last name after marriage, the first Massachusetts woman to get a professional education and the first American that became a full-time speaker on women’s rights.

She published Woman’s Journal, which survived for half a century. Starting in 1853, Stone worked for 15 years with well known early women’s activists, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

However, in 1869, Stone experienced a severe split from Anthony and Stanton.

They opened rival associations and published rival newspapers. After some time, Anthony and Stanton “wrote Stone out” of their coverage of the historical backdrop of women’s journey for the vote.

Grant reports that the issue that sundered Anthony and Stanton from Stone was African-American suffrage.

Anthony and Stanton figured it is out of line to give dark men a chance to vote when white women could not, so they did not accept suffrage for colored men. Furthermore, Anthony regarded Stone’s support for giving dark men the right to vote as a disloyalty to the women’s cause.

They never got together again and fought until the very end.

Grant utilizes their story to indicate why you should know your partners and maybe even believe them less than your adversaries, who, at least will show consistent behavior.

He cautions readers that in a partnership, particularly in a business one, shared objectives are not sufficient to keep the partners together.

Shared values are great to have, but you additionally should concur on procedures and strategies.

Key Lessons from “Originals”

1.      Get Prepared for Skepticism
2.      Two Roads to Success
3.      Embrace Your Flaws

Get Prepared for Skepticism

Being original in the business world is difficult.

Many original people present themselves and the ideas they come up with in a way that undermines their position in the eyes of others. They do not understand that most of the people they contact will be a skeptic.

Original thinkers must be prepared to encounter skepticism and be ready to defeat it.

Two Roads to Success

Simply put, you can take two routes to success: originality or conformity.

Conformity is being like everyone else.

Originality, on the other hand, is not merely having fresh ideas. That is only the beginning. To be original, you have to fight to bring those ideas into life.

Embrace Your Flaws

As we already discussed, people will regard you with skepticism and cynism. Most of the time the listeners to your pitchers will stand ready to attack. You will not get much encouragement from them. On the contrary, they will try to beat you down using every flaw they can find.

Originals are aware of it. So, to stay protected, embrace your flaws and explain to them to anyone else can. Mentioning only positive sides to people raises their skepticism.

Because, in the end, we all know that nothing is perfect, don’t we?

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“Originals” Quotes

In the deepest sense of the word, a friend is someone who sees more potential in you than you see in yourself, someone who helps you become the best version of yourself. Click To Tweet Argue like you’re right and listen like you’re wrong. Click To Tweet Practice makes perfect, but it doesn’t make new. Click To Tweet Being original doesn’t require being first. It just means being different and better. Click To Tweet To become original, you have to try something new, which means accepting some measure of risk. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Most of the business authors usually provide exercises and workbooks at the end of each chapter, or they offer summarized steps that readers can take to practice what they learned.

However, Grant takes a fresh, original approach to giving readers the needed tools, by giving direct and workable guidance at the end of his captivating book “Originals”.

   Get this Summary in PDF:   

A Matter of Taste Summary

A Matter of Taste SummaryHow Names, Fashions, and Culture Change

It’s quite paradoxical, when you think about it!

In a world which has acknowledged Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” as its unofficial anthem, it’s getting harder to be unique! Fashion styles seem to come and go incessantly: blink, and you’ll miss the last one.

A Matter of Taste” teaches you a thing or two about the reasons which make some things fashionable and render others outdated.

And we’ll summarize the key points here.

Who Should Read “A Matter of Taste”? And Why?

“A Matter of Taste” is not exactly your typical book about fashion. After all, its author, by the looks of his portfolio, seems much more likely to watch NatGeo over FashionTV any day of the year.

With that being said, “A Matter of Taste” may be still interesting to fad followers and fashion designers. The reason? It tries to uncover the secret ways, “the pure mechanisms” by which fashion operates. To do this, the book studies carefully how first name popularities change over time and why.

Consequently, even if you are simply in the process of choosing your child’s name, you might get an interesting insight from Lieberson’s research.

About Stanley Lieberson

Stanley LiebersonStanley Lieberson is a Montreal-born sociologist whose focus is mostly the American society. He obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago and currently works as Research Professor at Harvard.

He has written books on numerous subjects, the most important among them “A Piece of the Pie,” and “From Many Strands.” Lieberson is one of the most eminent currently active sociologists.

“A Matter of Taste Summary”

De gustibus non disputandum est.

These are probably the only few words in Latin you remember. Their meaning? You know that full well too: “In matter of taste, there can be no disputes.”

Lieberson says: “Oh, really?”

And that’s how the dispute commences.

To begin with, it seems that it’s hard to define taste and fashion. We know the two are related, but it’s hard to really pinpoint how. What is that which dictates fashion? And how something becomes fashionable? Finally, why is it that sometimes having a taste means going against the grain?

Lieberson doesn’t really study fashion per se. Clothing, makeup, hairstyle, etc. are merely afterthoughts here. His interest lies somewhere else entirely. Namely, in the changing fashions of first names. By studying them, he thinks, he can learn more about fashion in general.

Why?

Well, firstly, because, unlike other fashion practices which are less tangible and measurable, first names are always carefully recorded. Data about them is readily available at all times. And secondly, because first names are rarely influenced by economic factors.

After all, who would benefit from launching a campaign to name your son Charlie? And is anyone restricted by his class or upbringing when choosing a name?

Consequently, Lieberson may have a point! Studying the changing fashions of first names is a good way to study the “pure mechanisms” of fashion itself.

We can rephrase this even better! We’ll just need few questions.

If you can name your child any way you like, then what makes you choose a certain name? Is it your parents and religion? Or is it the fashion of today? Or, something else entirely?

In general, the exhausting process of choosing the right name for a child is a modern practice.

It was much simpler before the advent of modern societies. A name was all but chosen before the birth of a child, dictated by traditions and religion. That’s why almost every second Roman male in your history books was called Gaius. Possibly Lucius or Marcus.

Now, compare and contrast with a modern fact.

Ready?

In the 1980s in France, almost 3 of the ten most popular girl’s names dropped out of the list on a yearly basis!

Naming became a matter of taste once education became free and ubiquitous. It was only then that religion and traditions made way for individuality and uniqueness.

Even so, it was a practice still affected by many external events!

For example, there are many American Franklins born in the 1930s! Why? Because of the popularity of Franklin Roosevelt after he started tackling the Great Depression. If his name had been Peter, Lieberson says, your grandfather’s name would probably have been Peter. Of course, if his name is Franklin now.

However, external forces shape name fashions only to a certain extent. That’s because they are regulated by some internal mechanisms.

How does that work?

Well, even when disruptive, external events usually can’t change naming practices radically. Unless they are appended to some existing custom and further develop it in the same direction. That’s why it’s hard to think of a newborn girl named Barbra! Streisand is so 1960s!

Barbra itself was a name which caught up because Barbara was there before it. This is another of fashion’s regulating internal mechanisms. It’s called the logic of incremental change. The name Tonya comes to mind when you hear the name Latonya. That’s why Latonya is a possibility. But no name can act as the basis for some future Jabberwockies!

A plant flourishes only on a fertile ground. You must be a real optimist if you expect a banana to grow in Siberia!

In fact, this is why immigrants choose names which will help them better assimilate. Have you thought about that? They can just import their heritage with them, but they don’t.

Of course, internal mechanisms still regulate the process. That’s why Mexican-Americans don’t name their children Joshua. You see, in Spanish, the “a” ending is reserved for girls.

This is also why popular culture only marginally influences naming practices. According to Lieberson, even movie stars rarely disrupt the naming practices. Even in that case, there has to be some precedent for an influence on work.

For example, Marylin gained in popularity after Marylin Monroe. However, Humphrey Bogart did nothing for the popularity of his name despite his stellar status.

The reason?

Humphrey was an unpopular name, to begin with.

Key Lessons from “A Matter of Taste”

1.      Naming Practices Are a Great Way to Study Fashion
2.      External Events Influence Fashion; Internal Mechanisms Regulate It
3.      Even so, Sometimes, an External Event Is Just Too Disruptive

Naming Practices Are a Great Way to Study Fashion

You’d never associate naming practices with catwalks, but Lieberson does! And he proves that by studying what’s fashionable and what’s not in the world of first names, we can discern how fashion evolves.

Names are better than clothes. First of all, because there is much more readily available data about them. Secondly, because the demands of the market do not influenced their changes. Finally, because everyone is free to name his children any way he likes. Regardless of how much money he or she has.

External Events Influence Fashion; Internal Mechanisms Regulate It

Fashion is not immune to external events. As many other things, it’s merely adaptive. And even though, usually, an external event doesn’t disrupt fashion radically, it may influence it in such a manner that it’s both visible and measurable.

Don’t believe us? Then ask yourself: how many black children were named Barack during Obama’s presidency?

However, it’s important to note that not many were afterward. It’s because Barack is an unusual name and because internal mechanisms regulate naming practices. The most important among them: the logic of incremental change.

In laymen’s terms: even though some things may seem alien in the world of fashion, they are almost definitely a product of some evolution. If, however, they really are disruptions – they won’t last.

Believe us.

Even so, Sometimes, an External Event Is Just Too Disruptive

OK, there are some exceptions to this rule. But, they are few and really, really exceptional! Because, of course, very few Germans and almost no French people would name their firstborn son Adolf!

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“A Matter of Taste” Quotes

The social order matters, but more is going on. Click To Tweet People in the United States do very well in guessing the gender of children who are given an invented name. Click To Tweet The influence of collective processes on tastes becomes powerful, and ignorance about choices being made will generate highly volatile shifts. Click To Tweet The analysis of a cultural surface involves the initial occurrence and growth of each element; its continuation in the likely event that the initial causes no longer operate; and the forces that cause other earlier elements to decline or… Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Make no mistake: “A Matter of Taste” lives up to its subtitle! It is a fascinating study in how names, fashions, and culture change and what dictates these changes. Its writing, however, is dry and erudite, and it’s not exactly an easy read. And its conclusions, ultimately, are too obvious to begin with.

Read the book if you’re a fan of sociology. Read our summary if you merely want to learn what it is about.

   Get this Summary in PDF:   

Where Does It Hurt Summary

Where Does It Hurt SummaryAn Entrepreneur’s Guide to Fixing Health Care

Sick of going on those dreary hospital visits?

Not much you can do about the first part of that sentence! As long as you’re alive, you’ll have to visit your doctor from time to time.

But, there’s many things you can do about the dreariness of hospitals! Especially, if you’re an entrepreneur, current or would-be.

Where Does It Hurt?” is a book for you. And this summary is just the preview you need.

Who Should Read “Where Does It Hurt”? And Why?

“Where Does It Hurt?” targets at least three different groups of people.

In the first place, those who are in any way interested in the United States’ healthcare system. Secondly, those who are interested in business opportunities and practical business advice for the future.

Finally and especially, those who are both: entrepreneurs willing to disrupt and improve America’s healthcare system by launching medical start-ups in the recent future.

About Jonathan Bush and Stephen Baker

Jonathan BushJonathan S. Bush is an American entrepreneur, most famous as the cofounder and CEO of athenahealth.com, a publicly traded company which provides digital apps and services for hospitals throughout the United States.

Stephen BakerStephen L. Baker is an American journalist and author. He has written articles for “The New York Times,” and “The Wall Street Journal,” in addition to few non-fiction books. He has also authored a novel, the techno-thriller, “The Boost.”

“Where Does It Hurt Summary”

Time for a quick Jeopardy round:

This country’s GDP accounts for a quarter of the world’s nominal GDP, and yet its healthcare system was ranked by WHO as worse than the ones of Cyprus and Costa Rica?

The correct question is:

What, in earth’s name, is wrong with USA’s healthcare?

Jonathan Bush says: quite about everything.

First of all, no matter how sick you are, it’s hard to even reach the hospital. Parking is so bad that sometimes you need to park very far from the premises. Then, you’ll be lucky if your medical record is found promptly – or, even found at all. And even if this goes well, you’ll still need to wait quite few hours before you reach your doctor.

No, we won’t even mention the bills! An interesting stat says much more: even though America’s healthcare system is ranked as the 37th best in the world, the expenditure per capita is the world’s highest!

In other words: if you live in the United States, you pay more and get less than most of the developed countries in the world.

Bush’s question: but, how has this not resulted in a competitive field?

It’s not like we don’t have precedents.

For example, when the LASIK eye correction surgery first arrived in the beginning of the 1990s, the operation wasn’t covered by insurance. So, people had to pay. And providers had to make the service as best as possible and as cheap as feasible.

Three decades later, this has resulted in a 95 percent satisfaction rate. Or, to put this in a more memorable way: in a world of competitors, the customer is the one who wins the most.

Consequently, hospitals will be better off if run like businesses. Bush himself should know this best, since his company, athenahealth, is a pioneer in the field. By offering patients information giant hospitals don’t, it has attracted a host of customers.

The same holds true for Cerberus Capital, which bought six Catholic community hospitals in 2010 and turned them into for-profit clinics. They now have 11 – so their model probably works! Very well, in fact.

And why shouldn’t it?

Say, you want to get a CT scan. You go to a hospital and they tell you there that it costs $500. A private-owned company with new equipment offers CT scans for five times less. Wouldn’t you opt for the second choice?

That’s right:

Competition results in alternatives, and alternatives mean lower prices and better service. In time, a more structured service as well.

In fact, Bush says that this is also a serious problem in the American healthcare system. It’s not structured properly, so many people visit specialists when they can be treated at a much lower level.

Primary healthcare is virtually non-existent in the United States, and, as Rushika Fernandopulle has found out, it solves many problems and saves everybody a lot of money.

How, you wonder?

Well, Fernandopulle worked with Boeing and realized that the company spent fortune on hospital bills for its employees, for health issues they were able to treat by themselves. Coaching them some proper preventive measures resulted not only in better health for the Boeing’s staff members, but also in drastically reduced costs for the company!

Primary healthcare is a good way for entrepreneurs to disrupt the market, but a health-oriented digital start-up is an even better one!

Case in point: Beyond Lucid and RegisterPatient.com are two such startups which have already shown great results. They considerably improve a patient’s experience by letting him or her sign up for appointments online and sending relevant data and records straight to doctors before the patient’s arrival.

Technology is great at doing these things. Interestingly enough, hospitals still don’t have it.

Entrepreneurs of America, unite: there’s your chance to make some change!

Key Lessons from “Where Does It Hurt”

1.      USA’s Healthcare System Is Out of Sorts
2.      Competition May Make America Healthier
3.      You Can Be Healthier If You Visit Your Primary Doctor

USA’s Healthcare System Is Out of Sorts

Something’s rotten in the state of… America. The people are sick, but much more than of some illness – they are sick of its hospitals! Because, USA’s healthcare system has been under the weather for decades now.

Parking is impossible, medical records unattainable, bills unpayable.  And it’s not because of the lack of money. There is plenty of money, in fact! It’s the competition that’s lacking.

Competition May Make America Healthier

It’s the basic logic of the market: when there are competitors and alternatives, the service gets better and cheaper and the customer always leaves satisfied.

The healthcare market should be disrupted by private entrepreneurs. In fact, says Bush. this is the only thing which will make it better. If hospitals are run like businesses, it’s not only the current patients which will benefit.

Competition will also result in the advancement of proper technology. So, basically, the sooner the healthcare system becomes a competitive field, the earlier we’ll find a cure for cancer.

You Can Be Healthier If You Visit Your Primary Doctor

It may sound a bit paradoxical, but if you want to be healthy, you’ve got to get something out of your head: don’t go to the hospital as often! Visit your primary doctor instead. Because your primary doctor will send you to the right kind of specialist when – and if – such a problem arises.

In every other case – he will teach you how to solve it. Nice and neat. And probably pain-free.

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“Where Does It Hurt” Quotes

The fabulous market opportunity is not in replacing bad with better. The trick instead is to provide something the customers simply don’t have. Click To Tweet With the expansion of health data, insurance carriers will increasingly be in a position to offer customized rates. Click To Tweet is this freedom to make choices that will lead to a real health care market, one with many providers, many customers, and many options. Click To Tweet The industries we care about least innovate at the highest speeds, while those we hold dearest to our heart innovate hardly at all. Education, for example, is perhaps our most precious industry. Click To Tweet Consumers participate in a kind of informal laboratory. This could be one of the pathways leading toward personalized medicine. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

You’ll probably won’t love “Where Does It Hurt?” It’s not that well-researched, makes some unfounded comparisons (choosing healthcare providers should work the same as choosing washing machines?), and doesn’t’ really add an argument to the table.

However, just like in the case of “True Enough,” your answer will depend on whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat. And you’ll either like it or hate it. We, personally, found inside it both inspirational and falsely premised ideas.

   Get this Summary in PDF:   

Why is Sex Fun Summary

Why is Sex Fun SummaryThe Evolution of Human Sexuality

Why Is Sex Fun?” is a book about sex!

That’s it: you’re all hooked up now!

We’re gussing there’s no need for an introductory paragraph.

Who Should Read “Why is Sex Fun”? And Why?

A good way to answer this question is by giving an answer to its opposite: anyone who thinks that the title “Why Is Sex Fun?” isn’t interesting enough shouldn’t leaf through the pages of this book. And, in this summary, we’ll try to make even those five guys out there reconsider.

About Jared Diamond

Jared DiamondJared Mason Diamond is an American polymath (physiologist, geographer, ecologist, biologist, anthropologist) and the author of many popular science books, such as “Collapse,” The World Until Yesterday,“ and the Pulitzer-Prize winning “Guns, Germs, and Steel.”

A professor of geography at UCLA, he was recently ranked as the 9th most influential public intellectual in a joint poll by “Foreign Policy” and “Prospect”. Read more at his personal website: http://www.jareddiamond.org

“Why is Sex Fun Summary”

It’s just like that old Salt-n-Pepa song says:

Let’s talk about sex!

And, boy, there’s so much we need to talk about it! S good place to start is certainly the one you’ve never even thought about a single second of your life. Now – wait a second – how should we phrase it?

Let’s pick up a trick of Jared Diamond’s book and try asking you something from the perspective of your dog. We’ll even try to use its dog language:

“Woof, master, woof! I have a question for you, bow-wow… now, ruff, why are you doing it so weird?”

“Weird?!,” you shriek in disgust, still bamboozled at the fact that your Golden Retriever can talk! “It’s you who’s the weird one, Buddy! You have sex in public with whoever you want!”

Cue the sound of a mic drop. You smirk in victory.

But, let’s get that smile off your face.

In “Why Is Sex Fun?,” Jared Diamond – and he’s the expert about this – says that your dog is, in fact, very right. Not one single animal shares the human sex standards. It’s us who are the weird ones in more than one aspect.

First of all, the human species is the only kind who has sex behind closed doors and with the lights out. Secondly, it is the only species which practices random sex, irrespective of whether the females are fertile or not. Finally, human males are the only animals which can go on having sex with a female even after impregnating her.

The reason?

Look at the title of the book: because sex, for humans, is a fun activity. And because nowadays it has very little to do with what it was originally all about: passing on your selfish genes.

Of course, this tells only a small part of the whole story. After all, it’s evolution! So, even the fun has to be in some way related to reproduction.

And, indeed it is.

You see, even though some say that monogamy is counter-evolutive, we’ve evolved to be monogamous exactly because it was better for our genes. And it all started with ovulation in female humans.

Have you ever wondered why ovulation is hidden from view only in humans? It’s there in plain sight even in our closest relatives. Just look at the baboons!

In fact, almost all animals have sex only when they know that sex may lead to pregnancy. Because of this, there are obvious signals who show when females are fertile in most of them. Somehow, human females evolved to hide this crucial fact from their male partners.

And get this: that’s exactly how monogamy was born!

You see, human males had no way of knowing when it’s the right time to have sex to impregnate females. So, they started having sex with the same female over and over again. And since they were able to have recreational sex, male humans gradually lost the desire to seek other females to copulate!

After all, how would they know if they are fertile? It made no difference to them whether they had sex with the partner beside them or the partner somewhere out there in the wild!

Moreover, you could even argue that staying had a comparative advantage in terms of their genes. Because, human females are physically connected with their children. Males are not: theoretically, they can leave the moment they impregnate a female.

And yet, they don’t! Why is that?

Because, in humans – as in many other animals – males are the more muscular kind. They are the hunters who fight and they are the ones who can protect the females while they are breastfeeding. Leaving a female alone while breastfeeding may spell disaster both for her and your child.

Now, we know you don’t like that much bodybuilders showing off their muscles, but there’s an evolutionary reason why they do this.

And it’s because men with muscles, in the eyes of your ancient female predecessors, were the Batmans to their Gothams. They offered them the best protection from the evil lurking around.

And, to them, that was the equivalent of love.

Key Lessons from “Why is Sex Fun”

1.      Today’s Societies Exist Because of Monogamy
2.      You Live Longer Because of Monogamy… And Menopause
3.      Size Matters… In a Way

Today’s Societies Exist Because of Monogamy

Concealed ovulation was the reason why people became monogamous. Simply put, after invisible ovulation became the fad of the pre-homo sapiens times, the best chance for a human male to impregnate a woman was to have sex with a single member of the group as often as possible for at least few months.

Of course, this led to stronger bonds, which grew even stronger after impregnation, because, unlike other animals, humans are virtually helpless during the first few years of their lives. That’s why monogamous families exist.

And that’s the foundation for a human society.

You Live Longer Because of Monogamy… And Menopause

Both impregnating a woman and pregnancy itself are energy-draining processes. Studies have shown that the less they happen in a male or a female, the longer that male or a female lives.

Mice don’t really have a choice: they spent all of their energy reproducing, because many of their children will. Their best chance at passing on their genes is by having as many children as possible.

In humans, it’s the other way around: the more energy they save from the process of creating a baby, the more energy they have for raising it properly. That’s why human females are the only animals which stop being fertile at a certain age.

They need to live longer and care for their children.

Size Matters… In a Way

Male peacocks have tails; human males have penises. In what way are they similar?

Well, evolutionary biology says that large and flashy tails should be detrimental to a peacocks’ chances for survival. Then, why are they interesting to females? Exactly because of that. The bigger and flashier they are the more they say “hey, look how great I am: despite this disadvantage, I made it this far!”

It’s the same with male penises. The more well-endowed a man is the more capable he is of producing healthy offspring. His words: “I’m so vigorous and fit throughout, that my body can focus so much of my energy on my reproductive organ.”

So, in a way – sorry to disappoint you, guys – for a completely different reason, size does matter.

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“Why is Sex Fun” Quotes

Our standards of sexual conduct are especially warped, species-ist, and human-centric because human sexuality is so abnormal by the standards of the world's thirty million other animal species. Click To Tweet Perhaps our greatest distinction as a species is our capacity, unique among animals, to make counter-evolutionary choices. Click To Tweet Sex is costly in energy, time, and risk of injury or death Click To Tweet By the criterion of services offered to mates and children, males of most mammal species are good for nothing except injecting sperm. Click To Tweet We quickly sense who attracts us physically and who doesn't. That quick sense is based on ‘sex appeal’, which just means the sum of the body signals to which we respond, largely unconsciously. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Why Is Sex Fun?” is part of “The Science Masters Series” – a fact which says many things about it. Number one: it’s written by a leading scientist. Number two: it’s written for the general audience. And number three: there’s not one single alternative fact inside.

“Why Is Sex Fun?” goes many steps further: it’s interesting, enjoyable, and enlightening. In fact, it has only one drawback: it’s short. We, for one, could have read Diamond talking about sex for at least couple hundred pages more.

   Get this Summary in PDF:   

Lean In Summary

Lean In SummaryWomen, Work, and the Will to Lead

Sometimes it is not easy being a woman. This is especially true when it comes to the workplace.

We are all aware that many women do not get the same treatment as men, although they are doing the same jobs.

In our summary of “Lean In” we let you know why that is the case, and what you can do to change the treatment you get.

Who Should Read “Lean In”? And Why?

The talk that surrounded Facebook Coo’s “Lean In” which targets women in the workplace started even before the book was published.

Many of those that critiqued it worried that a successful billionaire executive would blame for workplace inequality on lower income, worker-class women. They expected that she would not make a distinction between educated women like herself, and those that did not have the same privileges.

However, their worries were unfounded and premature. We find that Sandberg’s “Lean In” pushes all the right buttons when it comes to the subject it touches.

We recommend it to all women who strive to be successful and fight for equal rights in the workplace.

About Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl SandbergSheryl Sandberg worked in the US Treasury Department, and was a vice president of global online sales and operations at Google, before becoming the COO of Facebook.

“Lean In Summary”

Sheryl Sandberg was a Harvard graduate who worked for her mentor, Lawrence Summers. First, she worked at the World Bank, and after she earned an MBA and put in a year with McKinsey, she became his head of staff when he was US Treasury secretary.

She was Google’s VP of worldwide online sales and operations before getting to be a head operating officer at Facebook.

She uses Facebook as a platform for this book.

“Lean In”’s open commotion that surrounded it pre and post its publication, demonstrated a pivotal point:

The role of women in the work environment is an inconceivably emotional topic.

It sure as hell pushes some buttons. Take, for example, the strain amongst stay-at-home and working moms, the professional penalties that women pay for giving time to their families, sexism in the working environment, and corporate foreswearing of the way that monetary concerns and child-bearing limits women’s’ options.

Furthermore, “Lean In” also underlines on one of Sandberg’s declarations:

The shortage of females in the highest levels of leadership puts the couple of women who get to positions of power under in-depth examination, transforming them into representatives for their whole gender, regardless of whether they want to play that part or not.

As an illustrative case, let’s take note of the firestorm of negative feedback aimed at the president and CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer after she declared that she would do her job all throughout her maternity leave.

Sandberg herself admits that she was initially reluctant to talk about gender orientated issues, realizing that doing as such would put her at the focal point of a brutally unforgiving spotlight.

Her friends and acquaintances cautioned her that she would be pigeonholed as another feminist official as opposed to being known as Facebook’s COO.

In addition, talking from the stage made her powerless against similar reactions pointed at any woman who decides to call attention to the imbalance in the work environment.

In other words, close-minded men may start seeing her as a caricature of a humorless, man-hating female, who is merely looking for special treatment in the workplace or threatening taking legal action.

Key Lessons from “Lean In”:

1.      Climbing Leadership Ladder
2.      Are You Blocking Your Own Progress?
3.      Suggestions to Overcome Internal Barriers

Climbing Leadership Ladder

The core issue of Sandberg’s book: the lack of females in positions of high authority in business and government, although a bit controversial, is undeniable.

The provided information says a lot.

In 2007, women held somewhere around 17% of seats on US corporate boards of directors. Similar numbers are present in government as well. At the point when Sandberg’s book initially came out, women held just 18% of the seats in the US Congress.

Sanders merely asks: Why is that the case?

As a response, she determines and studies the obstacles that keep the executive suite out of women’s reach.

The sad truth is that the conditions that foil women’s ascent to the top still exist.

Each day, in workplaces around the world, women confront segregation, sexism, and badgering.

The absence of alternatives for child care constrains them to pick between their families and their professions.

Moreover, Sandberg says, women have a more difficult time than men discovering mentors, and they should work harder to win the same acknowledgment.

Are You Blocking Your Own Progress?

Sandberg raises a caution of the self-made limits women put in front of themselves. However, while doing that she does not miss to mention that she was liable for similar conduct.

Women are not in possession of enough self-confidence and are inclined to underestimate themselves. They are less decisive, as well, and feel more hesitant to self-promote and negotiate for themselves as opposed to their male partners.

Lastly, they want people to like them, which, as Sandberg clarifies, can hamper their power.

Suggestions to Overcome Internal Barriers

Sandberg urges the woman to sit at the table, lean in and speak up. According to her, women should not be afraid to make sure their voices are heard. She does not stop at the workplace. She further advised women to make real partners out of their partners and try to develop an equal distribution of labor at home.

Lastly, until you decide that it is time to leave, stay fully engaged.

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“Lean In” Quotes

What would you do if you weren't afraid? Click To Tweet Done is better than perfect. Click To Tweet In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders. Click To Tweet We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change. Click To Tweet There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

In “Lean In” Sandberg gives women some excellent advice for fighting internal barriers, but a significant portion of it any informed, a feminist social scientist could provide.

Additionally, she fails to mention the benefits corporations get whenever they add a bigger percentage of women to their top levels. Readers may also feel that they did not get enough personal strategies to achieve female equality.

However, Sandberg’s style is personal and “Lean In” is a book filled with anecdotes. Hence, the book is much more than just a statement of facts and formal corporate analysis.

   Get this Summary in PDF:   

Without You There Is No Us Summary

Without You There Is No Us Summary

Undercover Among the Sons of North Korea’s Elite

If you’ve ever read Orwell’s “1984,” you’ve probably raged more than once at the Orwellian nature of today’s world. Just wait till you hear a thing or two about North Korea!

After reading the summary of “Without You There Is No Us”, instead of blaming your country – whichever it is – you’ll probably feel grateful. Yes, it’s that bad.

Read for yourself if you don’t trust us.

Who Should Read “Without You, There Is No Us”? And Why?

North Korea is the most enigmatic country in the world. And people like enigmas. Those interested in political enigmas – will certainly enjoy the book. As will anyone intrigued by a country which, even in the 21st century, looks too fictional to be real.

About Suki Kim

Suki KimSuki Kim is an American New-York-based author of Korean descent, and a recipient of Guggenheim and Fulbright fellowships. She has written for “The New York Times” and “The New York Review of Books.” She is also the author of an award-winning novel, “The Interpreter.”

“Without You There Is No Us Summary”

Looking at the title, one might suppose that it’s a romantic novel or, better yet, a melodramatic family tale!

The subtitle makes it all much clearer. “Without You, There Is No Us” is not something children say to their parents, but a verse from a patriotic hymn which North Korean students sing twice a day to their glorious leader, Kim Jong-Il.

Welcome to North Korea!

Yes, this summary’s going to be as bizarre and as depressing as it gets.

For example, did you see what we did above? We tried writing an introductory paragraph to entice you and motivate you to read further.

According to Suki Kim, the concept is alien to North Korean students. The very idea of writing an essay – so, an appealingly written paper stating one’s personal opinions – is intelligible even to the brightest students.

Because, there’s no “I” in “North Korea.” And, in their case, this is not a good thing. Regrettably, it’s also merely the beginning.

Fortunately, for the first time, we have the whole story.

Notoriously isolated, North Korea is visited rarely by foreigners, and, even rarer, by foreign journalists. In fact, up to recently, Suki Kim was the only journalist to have ever lived in North Korea.

How did she do it?

By going undercover, of course.

She went in with a group of Christian missionaries, disguised as an English teacher. And she got a job at the prestigious Pyongyang University of Science & Technology (PUST).

And this is where things started getting really weird.

For one thing, she was instantly assigned a driver and something she calls a minder. His job? You’ve guessed it: keeping a close eye on what Suki Kim did.

And when we say “close” we do mean “close”: it was his regular full-time job. He was always around her, watching each and every one of her steps. For example, if she wanted to go and eat lunch somewhere, she was obliged to take her driver and her minder with her.

And yes: she did have to pay for their lunch as well!

Looking retroactively, paying for the lunch of her minder was the least of her concerns. The more important was – going to great lengths to adhere to the strict North Korean ideology.

Because in North Korea, almost anything can get you into prison!

Taking photographs, for example, is really difficult. Especially if they are from children or the military. Listening to rock n’ roll music is also not allowed. Watching a foreign TV channel (which is all but impossible, since there’s no internet) might get you executed.

And wrapping your lunch in newspaper page with the image of Kim Jong-Il – now, that’s a seriously big “no-no.”

Even jogging is frowned upon! It’s just too crazy to expect from Kim to go into details why would jogging bother anybody.

Yet, it does. Combined with the other two hundred thousand possible offenses (who can count them, really?), it results in millions of executed people and hundreds of thousands rotting in the twenty North Korean gulags.

This is not an exaggeration. These are official UN and Human Rights Watch numbers.

And they’re nothing when compared to the number of North Koreans who have died because of poverty and hunger. Just for an illustration: during the four years between 1994 and 1998, it is estimated that 3 million North Koreans (about a tenth of the population) died because of famine.

The North Koreans call it the Arduous March. We’ll call it: bad government. But only in a whisper and only here, on safe.

Of course, we’re not planning to go to North Korea!

Ever.

Key Lessons from “Without You, There Is No Us”

1.      North Korea Is a Country with Many Problems
2.      Respect Journalists: You Owe a Lot of What You Know to Them
3.      Be Yourself: Individualism Is More Than Any Government Can Take

North Korea Is a Country with Many Problems

Not that we didn’t know this, but it’s always good to here the truth from someone able to share it with you firsthand: North Korea is one of the worst countries in the world.

The well-known cult of the Great Leader is a small problem when compared to monitoring and economic failures, to isolation and lack of individualism.

For example, nobody in North Korea will ever read this. Because they don’t even have internet.

Respect Journalists: You Owe a Lot of What You Know to Them

It’s extremely difficult to get into North Korea. Consequently, you would have known nothing about it – let alone the students at PUST – if there were no journalists willing to risk their lives and well-being to tell you the North Korean story.

Almost everything you know about North Korea is because of them. Don’t forget it the next time you generalize and blame the media for all the lies around.

Be Yourself: Individualism Is More Than Any Government Can Take

If there’s one thing you should be grateful for, it’s the fact that you can be yourself. You can choose to do what you like, and you can say “no” whenever you feel like. Hell, you can even wrap your lunch inside an image of Donald Trump and nobody would say anything to you!

Powerful governments are afraid of unique people. They need conformists.

Don’t ever become one.

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“Without You, There Is No Us” Quotes

For a place shrouded in rumors of violence, Pyongyang always appears surprisingly gentle, at least at first. Click To Tweet At times my students revealed a cluelessness that surprised me. Once a student asked me if it was true that everyone in the world spoke Korean. Click To Tweet When I saw my students marching, I thought of the word soldiers. There they were, every direction we turned: soldiers and slaves. Click To Tweet The only two English-language writers I ever heard them mention were Sidney Sheldon and Margaret Mitchell. Click To Tweet Their Great Leaders were always compared to the sun—Kim Il-sung’s birthday was Sun’s Day and Kim Jong-il was called “the Sun of the 21st century”—but there was no warmth from that sun. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Without You, There Is No Us” is one of the few books about North Korea written from an insider’s perspective. That’s a reason too many to read it. However, at least to us, it seems that the book fails to fulfill the initial expectations.

Because it’s much more personal and melodramatic than you would expect it to be. Consequently, there’s less inside it about North Korea than about Suki Kim. Worth the read, nevertheless.

   Get this Summary in PDF: