Unofficial GWJ Book Club - Thanks, All.

I'm happy to just read along without making suggestions. My goal of doing this, apart from stimulating discussion, is to be exposed to reading I might not normally seek out myself since I have a tendency to keep revisiting the same 4 or 5 genres.

Sounds good to me Mike. Things will work out in the end for sure

I've completely lost track of this. Shame, shame (on me).

That's ok, join us for next month! I'm only slightly more than halfway through "How We Decide" anyway... I've been pretty bad at keeping up with this stuff, but I tend to move slower through nonfiction because my entertainment-reading brain is a different reader than my educational-reading brain. It's harder to keep the latter engaged as long and as often.

garion333 wrote:

I've completely lost track of this. Shame, shame (on me).

Ditto, and How We Decide's been on my list forever. But, then work and personal projects kind of took over all my free time. Will have to join back in for the next round for sure, but I'll probably miss out on this one (may hop in to listen to discussion at least).

Any estimate on when the discussion might take place?

Our next discussion is scheduled for April 5 at 8:30 PM EST.

NSMike wrote:

Our next discussion is scheduled for April 5 at 8:30 PM EST.

Boo. I'm going to be in Boston, likely at the pre-PAX-Rockband-party then.

Wednesday maybe?

We can try to move it up to Wednesday or perhaps Monday the 9th, if people are prepping for PAX.

Yeah, Most likely I'm only going to be partially done on this one, but I'll still be excited to discuss it.

Moving it up to the 9th would work better for me. Not knowing my schedule for then, but I do know that I have a good chance of not making it for the 5th.
If we don't move it, I will still make effort to make it of course. Just will have to work around things a bit then.

Alright, I like the idea of April 9 better, so if there are no objections, I'm moving it up to that date, same time.

Damn. I guess that's my punishment for living where I do. Any weekday meetup is out for me. Friday and Saturday evenings or mornings US times are the only times I can do discussions. Still reading the books, though.

Not sure if I can make it on the 9th because of post-PAX travel, but I'll try. If not, will catch you guys next month!

FYI, for How We Decide, the book proper ends after about 64% on the Kindle. Much like our first nonfiction selection, most of the latter half of the book is acknowledgements, source citations, and footnotes. So, if you feel like you're not close to finishing, keep going, you're probably closer than you think.

I won't be able to make this month's meeting, but I thought I'd leave everyone with this:

Are you unable because of the date/time?

Discussion questions!

Spoiler:

So, most of the time, I felt like this book was pulling at my brain in different directions the whole time. At first, emotions were the best way to make decisions, and reason ended up being a weak point. Then, reason made sense, and emotions would bring us to a weaker conclusion. Then, suddenly, too much information and reasoning would bring us to poor decisions, and so on. Does anyone feel like the book actually clarified how we decide something? Or is true decision-making still an impenetrable aspect of humanity?

I highlighted a bit from one of the chapters that talked about the study where folks would be presented with the opportunity to offer money to another person, and they could accept or reject the offer. The overall results were that, for the most part, people were fair. However, when one subject could not see the other, people became far more selfish. In addition to this, the book discussed the wartime actions of people who refused to fire on enemy soldiers, choosing instead to endanger their own lives and not fire their weapons, rather than take another life. This was ultimately programmed out of soldiers in later wars when training focused on introducing anatomically-correct targets and other forms of training that would desensitize people to performing violent acts against others. As gamers and savvy denizens of the internet, we often hear in the media about the dangers of desensitizing children to violence, and the dangers of the impersonal nature of internet communication. Based on the results of these studies, which show that both removing the human aspect and training people to ignore the humanity of others can do exactly that, have you changed your conclusions about gaming, and the internet? Why or why not? Assuming you have experiences in the realm of the internet where the impersonal nature of the communication has caused harsh language that you know would never be repeated in mixed company, do you find it plausible that video games can perform (and perhaps have performed) the same function as the military training programs designed to make sure soldiers fire at their targets? To quell any cries of false equivalence, the US Military did invest in gaming as a platform, perhaps not so much marketed as training, but something that would draw gamers in, with America's Army.

I found the Coda section of the book to provide fascinating insight into how, in high-pressure, emotionally and intellectually taxing situations with life-and-death stakes, the best course of action is often to combine the experience of the individuals present (e.g. all crew on the flight deck of a plane contributing to solving problems, surgical teams combining their knowledge, etc.) to affect the best outcome. Studies cited in the book show that these procedures DRAMATICALLY improve odds of favorable outcomes. To raise the military, once again, does anyone think that the application of what the author terms "Cockpit Resource Management" or CRM, or, less aviation-specific, the philosophy of effectively crowd-sourcing decision making, could provide better outcomes for military situations than the typical chain of command? That is, these situations show, almost without fail, that the idea of having a commander who directs those under him (chief surgeon, captain on a fight deck) without question usually leads to bad decisions in situations no less high stakes or high pressure than combat. Do you think a combat situation specifically would or would not benefit from a similar philosophy? Why or why not?

Feel free to contribute your own. Even though that spoiler block looks big, there are only three questions there.

NSMike wrote:

Are you unable because of the date/time?

Date/time/haven't even cracked the book

Tanglebones wrote:
NSMike wrote:

Are you unable because of the date/time?

Date/time/haven't even cracked the book :P

Ah, that would do it then. Don't worry, I'll post in this thread when we pick our next book, and update the Goodreads group, so you know what we're reading and can join next time.

Sounds like a good time--I'll try to make the next one.

Froo. I thought I'd missed it for some reason. Looking forward to hanging out.

Finished it. Really an excellent choice.

A reminder for all, our discussion is tonight at 8:30 EST.

Oh, and bring your suggestions for next month. Fiction this time!

I think I will be there. Not sure, maybe....I guess...I should, right? ...so hard to decide!

You're applying too much thought! Just go with your emotional response!

GRARG.

I'm going to have to miss tonight. I'm going to try to throw together some thoughts to drop in here, because I thought the book raised a lot of good questions.

Work has reared its head.

Have fun all.

Double-post to increase embarrassment.

So far me and Mike?

No one else seems to have shown up, so I'm pushing this to Thursday evening.

Hey, I completely forgot the time change. I'm still up for discussion tonight, or joining late thursday