Review of “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking

Title: A Brief History of Time
Author: Stephen Hawking
Genre: Science, Nonfiction
Length: 5 hours 46 minutes
Published: 2012, Phoenix Books (originally published 1988)
My Grade: 3.5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Stephen Hawking is one of the world’s leading cosmologists and is widely regarded as the most brilliant theoretical physicist since Einstein. Although he has been widely published within his specialized field, A Brief History of Time is the first work he has written for the non-mathematical layman. In it he explores the outer reaches of our knowledge of astrophysics and the nature of time and the universe. The result is a revelation: a book that not only serves as an introduction to today’s most important theories on the cosmos but affords a unique opportunity to experience one of the most imaginative and influential thinkers of our age.

Confined to a wheelchair for the last twenty years by a motor-neurone disease, Professor Hawking is best known for his work on black holes. But here he turns his mind to the biggest question of all: the search for a unified theory that combines general relativity and quantum mechanics.

Always in the clearest, most accessible terms, Stephen Hawking reviews the great theories of the cosmos. From Galileo and Newton to Einstein and Poincaré, and then moves on into deepest space for the greatest intellectual adventure of all. Could time run backwards? Will a “no boundary” universe replace the big bang theory? What happens in a universe with eleven dimensions? These are just some of the questions considered with devastating lucidity and brilliance in A Brief History of Time, a work that is bound to become a classic of its kind.

 

MY REVIEW

I feel that my grade for this book is not fair. But the truth is that I did not connect with the narrator (and no, it’s not THE Michael Jackson). I have never zoned out so easily during an audiobook before. It might be because of the narrator or because I’ve had so much else to think about the past week. In either case, I will reread this at one point. I feel that this book has so much more to give me than what I got.

It’s been more than 30 years since it was originally published and there has happened a lot since then. But nothing is outdated and it still feels very relevant.

I really like that Hawking involves god in all of this. I’m not a believer myself, but I do like that he as a scientist at least tries to see where such a person possibly could fit in our cosmos.

I have now listened to his first and last scientific book and both are without any formulas or mathematics in it which is great! The universe is complicated as it is. And many ideas and theories are far beyond my reach of understanding. But at least now I’m aware of some theories that I can read more about now.

I believe that the grade should be at least one more than 3.5. But my gut tells me 3.5 right now and I always go with it.

Review of “Cosmos” by Carl Sagan

Title: Cosmos – A Personal Voyage
Author: Carl Sagan
Genre: Science, Nonfiction
Length: 14 hours 31 minutes
Published: 2017, Brilliance Audio
My Grade: 4 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Cosmos has 13 heavily illustrated chapters, corresponding to the 13 episodes of the Cosmos television series. In the book, Sagan explores 15 billion years of cosmic evolution and the development of science and civilization. Cosmos traces the origins of knowledge and the scientific method, mixing science and philosophy, and speculates to the future of science. The book also discusses the underlying premises of science by providing biographical anecdotes about many prominent scientists throughout history, placing their contributions into the broader context of the development of modern science.

The book covers a broad range of topics, comprising Sagan’s reflections on anthropological, cosmological, biological, historical, and astronomical matters from antiquity to contemporary times. Sagan reiterates his position on extraterrestrial life—that the magnitude of the universe permits the existence of thousands of alien civilizations, but no credible evidence exists to demonstrate that such life has ever visited earth.

 

MY REVIEW

Sometimes I regret listening to books on astrophysics because that means I miss out on all the pictures. And I do feel that I’m not always following so I’m sure I missed a lot of good points made in this book.

First published in 1980, this book still feels very up-to-date, 40 years later. It is funny listening to Sagan talking about the US and USSR though, haha! But when it comes to the cosmos, not much changes except new discoveries. The ancient history is the same and always will be the same.

I haven’t seen the TV show, but I will now that I’ve finished the book. I think a lot of things will make more sense and it will make me remember hearing things that I probably unconsciously soaked in.

What surprised me a bit was that this was not a book strictly about planets, galaxies, and astrophysics. There was so much history in it, about communication, war, human nature. History that we need to understand in order to move forward. How will we be able to understand a possible message from an alien civilization? Who will speak for Earth when that happens? Us humans who have mass destruction weapon and kill each other for nothing?

Sagan stir up many questions. Much like Stephen Hawking does in his books. Both authors almost feel philosophical sometimes. Maybe they are? In the ancient times, the scholars were everything apparently.

After reading this, I am starting to feel the lust to listen to history books. I’m certain I would enjoy them as much!

It was a rather long book, but interesting and it makes me want to know more. I love that all of these authors that I’ve listened to lately have spurred my scientific interest again. It’s been dormant for many years. No more. Cosmos gets a strong four.

Review of “Omgiven av Motgångar” by Thomas Erikson

Title: Omgiven av Motgångar (Surrounded by Setbacks)
Author: Thomas Erikson
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction
Length: 9 hours 36 minutes
Published: 2020, Bonnier Audio
My Grade: 4 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)

The successfull author Thomas Erikson has previously dealt with idiots, psychopaths, couch potatoes and bad bosses. This time, he takes on a holistic approach on setbacks in all of its forms: problems at work, in the family, economic issues, trouble in paradise, crazy neighbors, consuming relationships… When life feels like one major uphill. As usual, Thomas uses examples that all of us recognize ourselves in. With a slight bit of humor, he guides us towards the light at the end of the tunnel and points to solutions both within and outside ourselves.

 

MY REVIEW

Compared to his other books that I recently read, Surrounded by Idiots and Surrounded by Psychopaths, this book is solely based on his own experiences and that made me a bit skeptical when I started listening to this book. But after finishing it, I’m glad I spent those ten hours doing it. I don’t think these kinds of things needs to be backed up by science and trials, it’s honestly just sense and logic. What I needed was to hear it so that I could be more aware of it. In my world, what he says makes sense and in contradiction to my blue personality, I don’t feel the need to have all of his claims to be backed up by data and science.

As with his previous books, he describes how the different colors of the disc-system, that is described in Surrounded by Psychopaths, think of setbacks and success. Even if he shortly describes the colors even here, I suggest you read Idiots first to have a greater understanding.

He gives us examples of situations, what the people thought they had to do in order to be successful and why or why not they didn’t succeed. He gives us an eight point list with things we need to have in order to be successful. But the most important thing is that success and setbacks are different for all of us. Each of us need to define what we see as a success and that’s hard when we’re surrounded by all social media and commercials and other people. I thought it was great that he mentioned Hjärnstark (The Real Happy Pill) by Anders Hansen. I love that all of the books I’ve read lately, and the class I’m taking, The Science of Well-Being, all fit together and claim the same things. It makes me feel safe somehow. And more secure in myself.

As usual, I didn’t take the exercises that he gave us. But I’ve been thinking about it, and even if I can’t say right now what success is for me, I am successful. And have been for quite some time. We all face setbacks, and I’ve definitely had my share, but I think what’s had me going is my attitude that I can make things better if I want. Sometimes I don’t want, sometimes I want to be in “Later-ville”, but as long as I don’t get stuck there and keep on going toward “winning-ville”, that’s fine.

This might not have been a science book with acclaimed facts and data, but it was definitely a go-get-it book with lots of inspiration and motivation to make me want to become a better and a happier person. If you need that, it’s definitely a good read. It therefore gets a 4 out of 5.

Review of “Factfulness” by Hans Rosling

Title: Factfulness
Author: Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction
Length: 10 hours 18 minutes
Published: 2018, Natur & Kultur
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Factfulness: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts.

When asked simple questions about global trends – why the world’s population is increasing; how many young women go to school; how many of us live in poverty – we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers.

In Factfulness, Professor of International Health and a man who can make data sing, Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens, and reveals the ten instincts that distort our perspective.

It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most.

Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories, Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world.

 

MY REVIEW

Wow. Just read it already! And don’t forget to take the test in the beginning of the book. I wish I had, but I have a general feeling that I wouldn’t have done especially well. Which means that this book was an eye-opener for me.

I stopped watching the news a while ago, I got sick and tired of all the bad things they were reporting. Never anything positive and some of the news I knew for a fact were untrue just to create a dramatic headline that would lure readers into reading. It made me angry, but also made me take distance from the overdramatized media. But I never bothered to find out about the good things, or about the things that slowly are getting better. So I have to admit that I am one of those who thought the world was getting worse. For example, I was sure that the answer to question 11 (Tigers, Giant Pandas and Black Rhinos were listed as threatened species in 1996. Since then, have any of these species become more critically endangered?) was that two of them had become more critically endangered since then. Apparently they all have increased in numbers. Who knew?

But after listening to this book and the way he lays out the evidence and data, it all makes sense. And I feel calmer now. It was worse before. We are going in the right direction.

It was not just the facts that were presented that made this book so good. The way it was presented with humor and enthusiasm as well. But also the reader, Andreas T. Olsson, did such a good job. It was easy to hear the author through his reading.

In summary (some spoilers even?), here are the ten tricks of factfulness that each chapter describes (I wish I understood from the beginning that that was how the book was outlined):

  1. The Gap Instinct – Look for the majority, the world is not divided into poor and rich most countries are in the middle.
  2. The Negativity Instinct – Expecting bad news, we take in bad news more easily than good news which fuels our misconception that the world is deteriorating when in fact it is improving.
  3. The Straight Line Instinct – Not all lines are straight, even if it looks like the world’s population is increasing but the rate of the increase is slowing down.
  4. The Fear Instinct – Calculate risks, we automatically focus on dangers and risks but it fuels the misconception that the world is more frightening than it actually is.
  5. The Size Instinct – Put things in right proportions, big numbers look big and without the right proportion and comparison, they are very misleading.
  6. The Generalization Instinct – Question your categories, we have a tendency to create categories and compare groups of things (people or countries e.g) that are in fact very different from each other.
  7. The Destiny Instinct – Observe slow changes, we often mistake slow change for no change because we assume that qualities determines the fate of people and countries.
  8. The Single Perspective Instinct – Get different tools, we like simple explanations and solutions and that makes us blind when new information is given to us that does not fit into our perspective.
  9. The Blame Instinct – Resist pointing finger, we always search for someone to blame or someone to praise for things that happen instead of searching for the cause or alternative explanations.
  10. The Urgency Instinct – Take small steps, it is rarely “now or never” and we can’t forget to think about the long-term risks that our rash actions for complex problems can cause.

Rosling ends the book by describing the six actual global threats that we face:

  1. Global pandemic
  2. Financial crisis
  3. World War III
  4. Climate Change
  5. Extreme poverty

Number one is happening right now. I definitely do not think that enough people in higher places read this book before the corona-pandemic broke lose.

These five listed threats are self-explanatory. The sixth is the unforseen event that we couldn’t even predict but still have to be prepared for.

To summarize, it was an eye-opener, and according to Rosling’s statistics, it will be for most of us. So I highly recommend it! Five out of five.

Review of “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” by Stephen Hawking

Title: Korta svar på stora frågor (Brief Answers to the Big Questions)
Author: Stephen Hawking
Genre: Science, Nonfiction
Length: 6 hours 31 minutes
Published: 2019, Mondial Förlag
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Stephen Hawking was recognized as one of the greatest minds of our time and a figure of inspiration after defying his ALS diagnosis at age twenty-one. He is known for both his breakthroughs in theoretical physics as well as his ability to make complex concepts accessible for all, and was beloved for his mischievous sense of humor. At the time of his death, Hawking was working on a final project: a book compiling his answers to the “big” questions that he was so often posed–questions that ranged beyond his academic field.

Within these pages, he provides his personal views on our biggest challenges as a human race, and where we, as a planet, are heading next. Each section will be introduced by a leading thinker offering his or her own insight into Professor Hawking’s contribution to our understanding.

 

MY REVIEW

  • Is there a God?
  • How did it all begin?
  • What is inside a black hole?
  • Can we predict the future?
  • Is time travel possible?
  • Will we survive on Earth?
  • Is there other intelligent life in the universe?
  • Should we colonize space?
  • Will artificial intelligence outsmart us?
  • How do we shape the future?

Ten questions. Ten big questions that Hawking answers really well. Many things are still theories, but I wouldn’t be surprised if those theories are to be proved in the somewhat near future. He talks about our biggest challenges, for example an asteroid collision to which we have no defense, but also about the potential annihilation through nuclear war and how AI might affect our future in many different ways. He also writes about some parts of his life. And the foreword by Eddie Redmayne (he played young Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, the biography about him) was very touching.

I’ve never read anything by Hawkings before and I’m surprised I haven’t. I guess I’ve always thought of him as a bit intimidating as he was one of the world’s smartest people. Maybe I was thinking that I wouldn’t understand anything at all. But I was wrong. Brief Answers to the Big Questions was a very easy read, or more like a very easy listen. He used words that every day people like myself could easily understand, he gave the whole picture on so many important and interesting things and I felt that I learned a lot. It might have been easier for me to understand since I listened to it in Swedish, but I honestly doubt it.

He’s funny in his writing and I could feel his positivity through his words. Optimist through and through and I’m not sure I agree with him on all his beliefs for the future. But I sure hope he is right in believing in everything good that potentially could happen.

It’s sad to think that he is no longer with us. But I’m so glad that he outlived his doctor’s predictions of only having a few years left when he was diagnosed at the age of 21. It’s incredible that he lived to be 76!

I’ve read a few books on astrophysics now. And this was the best of them. It contained more than just science. I definitely recommend everyone to read it, we all need know more things! Five out of five, easily.

Review of “Welcome to the Universe” by deGrasse Tyson, Gott, Strauss

Title: Welcome to the Universe
Author: Neil deGrasse Tyson, J. Richard Gott, Michael A. Strauss
Genre: Science, Nonfiction
Length: 17 hours 53 minutes
Published: 2017, Audible Studios
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Welcome to the Universe is a personal guided tour of the cosmos by three of today’s leading astrophysicists. Inspired by the enormously popular introductory astronomy course that Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss, and J. Richard Gott taught together at Princeton, this book covers it all–from planets, stars, and galaxies to black holes, wormholes, and time travel.

Describing the latest discoveries in astrophysics, the informative and entertaining narrative propels you from our home solar system to the outermost frontiers of space. How do stars live and die? Why did Pluto lose its planetary status? What are the prospects of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe? How did the universe begin? Why is it expanding and why is its expansion accelerating? Is our universe alone or part of an infinite multiverse? Answering these and many other questions, the authors open your eyes to the wonders of the cosmos, sharing their knowledge of how the universe works.

Breathtaking in scope and stunningly illustrated throughout, Welcome to the Universe is for those who hunger for insights into our evolving universe that only world-class astrophysicists can provide.

 

MY REVIEW

I loved this book. It was long, it was thorough, it was fascinating. And it made me feel small. And maybe a little dumb? I have always found physics interesting and actually enjoyed it in high school and I really wish that this book had been released back then. I think it would have been an awesome complement to the literature we had in school. An entertaining complement. I probably would have understood more had I read it back then compared to now. As with all non-fiction books I “read” now, this was listened to as well. Which definitely made it more complicated to follow. I couldn’t see the formulas, and hearing them in English was new to my Swedish ears (as we only used Swedish in high school). The language of physics is in Swedish for me still unfortunately. That’s why I think for me, it would have been better to physically read it, not listen to it. What also sucked was that this book had illustrations in it. There was an accompanying PDF-filen with the figures, but it was impossible to time it when they referred to a picture since the file was not following where I was in the audiobook.

Oh well, even if it was the wrong medium to take this book on, I still enjoyed it very much and it has only given me a bigger appetite when it comes to astrophysics. And there are so many books on the subject out there!

This book was written after the three of them co-taught an introductory class at Princeton for non-science majors. It was supposed to introduce everyone to science and astrophysics and everything. I assume that this book is a very compromised version of that class, but it was fast-paced and sometimes hard to follow. Still, it was entertaining, I got the bigger message even if I didn’t see the formulas in front of me and could understand where they came from, and it was interesting and left me with a bigger understanding of the universe. I think this is a book that I would want to see in my bookshelf within a not too distant future.

Even if I sometimes zoomed out and didn’t quite understand everything, it was a very well-written book that explained so many things. It even brought up time travel. I’ll definitely read that chapter again when I’m writing my sci-fi book. It gets an easy five. If space is even slightly interesting to you, please read it.

Review of “Omgiven av Psykopater” by Thomas Erikson

Title: Omgiven av Psykopater (Surrounded by Psychopaths)
Author: Thomas Erikson
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction
Length: 8 hours 39 minutes
Published: 2017, Bonnier Audio
My Grade: 4 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Charming, charismatic, and delightful or manipulative, self-serving, and cunning? Psychopaths are both and that’s exactly what makes them dangerous. Bestselling author of the international phenomenon Surrounded by Idiots, Thomas Erikson reveals how to identify the psychopaths in your life and combat their efforts to control and manipulate.

Using the same simple four-color system of behavior classification that made Surrounded by Idiots so popular, Surrounded by Psychopaths teaches readers how to deal with psychopaths in their lives by becoming aware of their own behavior and their weaknesses. Vivid example stories illustrate ways that psychopaths can take advantage of various behavior types, helping readers identify their own weaknesses and be proactive about protecting themselves. Erikson outlines some of the most common forms of manipulation used by psychopaths—and others—to influence those around them. Since manipulation can often be a feature of ordinary, non-psychopathic relationships, the book also includes practical methods and techniques to help readers confront controlling people and rehabilitate negative relationships into mutually respectful ones.

By understanding your behavior as well as the tendencies and strategies of psychopaths, Surrounded by Psychopaths will teach you to protect yourself from manipulative influence in your workplace, social life, and family.

MY REVIEW

First of all, they reader was much better in this book than Surrounded by Idiots, which made it so much easier to follow. But I had other difficulties following this one compared to his previous book. It may be because I didn’t really recognize any of the traits Erikson described. I don’t think I have any psychopaths around me. Which makes me very glad, but I might be more oblivious if there ever will be one.

He didn’t just bring up how to respond to a psychopath’s different manipulation techniques, but also how to handle the different colors’ way of trying to get their will through. He also discussed the different colors’ weaknesses and really put weight on that each and everyone of us need to be fully aware and honest about our weaknesses so we are prepared on how they can be exploited.

Since it’s easier for me to read something, I will buy this book and have it in case I ever need to get back to this information quickly. Audiobooks are great, but so much easier to look things up, for example the list at the end on how to tell a psychopath that you recognize what he or she is doing and that it’s not going to work and the different steps in that.

I’m also glad that I’m mostly blue, which is the colors that is the hardest to manipulate. I’m also green though, so I guess I need to be careful there.

Overall, almost as interesting as Surrounded by Idiots, but for me it felt a bit more off since I don’t see the relevance to anything in my life right now. But for future encounters, I’m glad to have read it. It therefore gets a four out of a possible five.

Review of “Skärmhjärnan” by Anders Hansen

Title: Skärmhjärnan (~Screen Brain)
Author: Anders Hansen
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction
Length: 4 hours 55 minutes
Published: 2019, Bonnier Audio
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)

Mental illness is taking over the great health threat in our world. The high tempo, chronic stress and this digital lifestyle with constant connection is starting to have consequences on our brains. It doesn’t matter h much you think you might enjoy scrolling your Instagram feed, watching the news on your phone or movies on your tablet, your brain is not adapted to whatever today’s society brings. It’s not synchronized with our time!

But that doesn’t mean that you’re powerless and that there are no solutions – with a little more knowledge on how the brain works, you’ll soon realize that it’s all about simple things. The human brain originate from a completely different time and we should show it some more consideration. Follow along on this exciting journey and get a whole new understanding on what’s happening inside your head!

 

MY REVIEW

Things might look different in the future when I have kids, but I feel like this is a book that I should reread when I have children of my own. It was, as Hansen’s other book Hjärnstark (The Real Happy Pill), really interesting and eye opening. They are strongly intertwined and I’m glad that I read Hjärnstark right before this one as I understood everything that he discussed.

As in his other book, he writes about so many different studies made on the subject and they all point to the same thing. Screens = bad. But that’s not entirely true either. It’s hard to tell if the depression among people increased when we got our smartphones or when depressed people use it more. Or if it is more accepted by society now to be open about mental illness. Regardless, it was interesting and in either case, screen time should be reduced. At least the unnecessary time we spend scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. I hate when I do it, but I can’t stop. I can’t really say that I feel bad doing it though. I don’t compare myself to unrealistic things posted there. I’m aware that people post the absolute best moments of their lives. I have moments like that too. And also, my feed is mostly filled with memes and cats.

It is very depressing to know that babies, not even one year old, are on the internet. Learning among kids are worsening because they use tablets and computers so much instead of learning the fine motor skills they get when writing by hand for example. They don’t play physically anymore, which is bad news for the development of their brains (which is more thoroughly described in Hjärnstark). I’ve also heard from my cousins that the digital social interactions are making kids unable to communicate in real life. That’s scary!

I am also aware that technology goes forward, and that’s great. There are benefits of having smartphones as well but the main point of both of Hansen’s books is that evolution goes much, much slower than the development of technology and our brains have not left the time when we were hunters and gatherers.

I know that I use my phone a lot. But I’m more concerned about younger generations that doesn’t know anything else. I grew up playing outside during recess at school, I built tree houses with my neighbors. What do kids do now? What will become of them in the future? This scares me.

I’m really glad I read the book. It was great! My recommendation is the same as with Hjärnstark. Please, read it! I give it five out of a possible five.

Review of “Hjärnstark” by Anders Hansen

Title: Hjärnstark (The Real Happy Pill)
Author: Anders Hansen
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction
Length: 7 hours 14 minutes
Published: 2016, Bonnier Audio
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Is there a foolproof way to reduce stress and anxiety while you boost your memory? Raise your IQ even as you slow down the aging process? Become more creative and train your ability to focus at the same time? The answer is simple: Move! Modern neuroscience and research has shown, more than ever, that physical exercise has extraordinary effects on our cognition.

Physical activity, more so than Sudoku or crossword puzzles, optimizes our mental abilities and health in a way unparalleled by any drug, medication, or food supplement. And exercise doesn’t just enhance your health, energy and mood levels, and cognitive abilities. You will also learn:

  • Why physical training is the best protection against dementia
  • What type of exercise can be used to treat depression as an antidepressant
  • How exercise increases the ability to focus in children, especially kids with ADHD
  • How children with good fitness can become better in math and reading comprehension
  • Why “runner’s high”, the natural chemicals released during jogging, improves your health and mood

With practical and concrete advice for the layman on how to reap these benefits, as well as neuroscientific research from the last five years broken down to accessible findings, The Real Happy Pill urges you to train your body and mind for a whole-body upgrade, and start to move!

MY REVIEW

I’ve heard many good things about this book for quite a while now but haven’t really felt that I wanted to prioritize reading it physically. Audiobooks has opened up a whole new world to me and I wish I would have started with it sooner.

I’ve grown up knowing that exercise is good for you. I may not have been the most active kid during recess at school, but I’ve always performed some kind of after school activity, since I was like 8 or something? But I didn’t know it had a bigger effect on the body than maintaining weight and keeping your heart healthy in the future.

But apparently, the brain benefits a lot from working out and this book explains how and why, in a simple way. He takes study after study and presents the evidence that all point to the same thing. Exercise is helping the memory, creating new brain cells, and helping you in ways that prescribed antidepressants is nowhere near doing. The problem is that no one is gaining any monetary means from promoting exercise.

Hansen is also describing how we have developed very very fast in the last two centuries and our brains have not yet adapted to it. Our brains are still thinking that we live on the savanna and hunting for food. Which is something he writes in more depth about in his next book “Skärmhjärnan” (~Screen Brain).

I have played beach volleyball for fourteen years now. I consider that a cardio workout, but I’ve always preferred lifting weights and gaining muscle (mostly because I have a genetic disorder with my calves) and stayed away from running, which is the form of exercise that Hansen exclusively writes about. I can’t run. But he also said that as long as your heart rate goes up, it’s fine. Maybe I’ll add an extra cardio workout every week in different forms. I have already started walking more, for example to and from work every day (more time to listen to books). I will also be very careful with letting my potential future kids know that exercise is good for them and make sure that they stay active and not just use the screen as a plaything.

It was an inspiring book and I do believe that the world would be a better place if everyone stayed active more. I give this book a 4.5 out of 5. Please read it!

Review of “Omgiven av Idioter” by Thomas Erikson

Title: Omgiven av Idioter (Surrounded by Idiots)
Author: Thomas Erikson
Series: –
Genre: Nonfiction
Length: 8 hours 53 minutes
Published: 2016, Word Audio Publishing
My Grade: 4 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Author Thomas Erikson explains that there are four key behavior types that define how we interact with and perceive the people around us. Understanding someone’s pattern of behavior is the key to successful communication. Erikson breaks down the four kinds of behavior types—Reds who are dominant and commanding, Yellows who are social and optimistic, Greens who are laid back and friendly, and Blues who are analytical and precise—and explains how to identify and interact with each type of person. Instead of being bogged down with overly technical categorizations, the simple four color system allows you to speedily identify a friend or coworker and adjust how you speak and share with them.

Surrounded by Idiots is full of practical information for interacting with people based on their color, including the strengths and weaknesses of all the profiles, how to give positive and negative feedback to each, and the best way to word an email when writing to someone with a different profile.

 

MY REVIEW

I’ve been meaning to read this book for years now but the time-deprived nerd that I am, I always prioritize a fantasy book before nonfiction. I’ve heard people talking about the different colors and had the basic understanding of them before picking this up. But I’m really glad that I decided that audiobooks actually was something for me. It’s perfect for the books that I don’t want to spend time reading myself. Perfect for squeezing in when I’m out and about. It is however a little difficult when taking tests for example (as in the end of this book), very hard to keep track of the questions and answers. Well well. I’m not here to review the book type, haha!

A while ago, we had an afterwork activity at the office where one girl asked questions, and depending on your answer, you took a step towards each corner of the room. At my management department (and among those who participated), I was the only one down in the blue corner. I’m not surprised. I’m very well-organized, I love lists and being prepared and doing a thorough job. After reading this book, I also think that I have some green in me and in some cases even red. But definitely blue.

In the beginning of the book, the author describes the main defining features of the four colors (red, yellow, green, and blue), then moves on to how to handle the different colors depending on situation, how to deliver criticism for example. He also said that we readers most likely got faces in front of us when he wrote the descriptions, but I didn’t really get any. Does that say anything about me as a blue person? That I’m more thing and result oriented rather than relationship oriented?

The book was not as entertaining as Introvert by Linus Jonkman was, but it was very interesting and factful. Easy to follow, lots of examples. It is however a very exaggerated book. And I think that if people think of this book in absolutes, it will not find them right. The author says that being just a single color is very rare and I also think it is hard to make people understand the bigger picture and meaning behind the colors if they are not extremes.

Erikson manages really well to stay objective though. All the colors have their pros and cons and he presents them very evenly and puts an equal amount of emphasis on all colors.

I don’t really agree that you can put labels on people. But I believe that this book’s purpose is to generally give an understanding of different human behaviors and how to handle them. I’m not sure that I’m aware enough of my surroundings and people (who doesn’t really interest me (yes, I’m blue)) to be able to tell who is acting how, but hopefully this book is the start of something new.

I’ve also realized that even if I’m blue, I’m right where I’m supposed to be at work. I have honestly wondered many times if I really fit in as a project manager in the construction sector. The perfect group of people consists of all colors. I don’t know if I’m all alone being blue, but if I am, I have a big spot to fill. Maybe this is when I start to see my own value.

All in all, this book deserves a 4! I look forward to listening to Omgiven av Psykopater (Surrounded by Psychopaths).