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This is the fifth in a series of annual book reviews:
I read ~113 books in 2018, and a lot of them wound up on this list. I may be giving out too many five-star ratings, but in the course of writing reviews, I remembered just how good all of these were, so… no regrets.
(My Goodreads account has a rating for every book I remember reading.)
The Best Books
I didn’t choose a cutoff point, but ten books stood out from the rest, either because of their sheer quality or because they were easier to read than competitors of similar quality.
Every link in this section goes to my full review on Goodreads.
Ridiculously good books:
- Black Lamb and Gray Falcon (free online)
- Impro (Keith Johnstone) (free online)
- Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae
- Erfworld (free online)
- Understanding Power (free online)
- Stubborn Attachments
- The Structures of Everyday Life (free online)
- George Orwell’s Essays (free online)
- Vinland Saga
- My Name is Asher Lev (free online)
Books that were merely very good:
David Edmondsdon, the former CEO of Radioshack, was fired because he falsely claimed to have a theology degree from an unaccredited Bible college.
At least, that’s what Radioshack said. There may have been other reasons, but newspapers took the college story seriously, even though it was ridiculous. Why does learning about your CEO’s lack of a theology degree matter, once you’ve seen him perform decades of competent work?
But even that story isn’t as crazy as…
The MIT Scandal
I use Genius to add comments and context to the articles I read. This is a monthly round-up of articles I did the most Genius-ing on. To see all my annotations, follow me on Genius!
If you like to think while you read, you should get an account and add the Chrome extension. The Internet needs thoughtful people like you!
(Also, without the extension, you may not see the annotations on these articles.)
Articles of Note
80 years ago, Harvard had a “Jewish quota”. They used rhetoric about “character” to limit the number of Jews they admitted, in favor of students who weren’t as book-smart but fit the Harvard ideal. Today, the same thing is happening to Asians, for the same reasons.
Controlling for other variables […] Asians need SAT scores 140 points higher than whites, 270 points higher than Hispanics, and an incredible 450 points higher than blacks (out of 1,600 points) to get into these schools.
If you want to see some ridiculously offensive statements from MIT’s Dean of Admissions, this is the article for you!
Today, I wish to share the tale of a man with a troubled past, and of a company that used a very flimsy excuse to rid themselves of this man, all for the sake of signalling.
I call it…
The RadioShack Dilemma
A few months ago, I learned about the story of David Edmondson.
Edmondson is the CEO of a company called eRecyclingCorps, but is best known for his resignation from the CEO position at RadioShack (a company with $5 billion in revenue) after it became known that he’d never actually graduated from college, despite his claims to the contrary.
This seems natural enough. After all, who wants a liar at the head of their company? (I’m assuming here that RadioShack forced Mr. Edmondson to resign.)
But certain features of RadioShack’s decision start to look very strange when you view them in the context of Edmondson’s career.