User Profile


Joined 1 year, 6 months ago

My reading interests are broad and mostly non-fiction. I typically stick to topics related to nature, the environment, and science in general. However, lately I've taken an interest in cultural anthropology, history, and the sociological factors that are driving a growing mistrust in science, scientists, and scientific institutions. I have a couple of other accounts in the fediverse, which I've joined recently. But, as a reader (and recovering GR user), this little nook of the fediverse looked particularly interesting to me.

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Rick Rubin: The Creative Act (Hardcover, 2023, Canongate Books) 5 stars

From the legendary music producer, a master at helping people connect with the wellsprings of …

Anyone can be creative if they will allow themselves the freedom to be

5 stars

According to Rick Rubin's book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being, every one of us, each with our unique experiences, values, and perspectives on the world, has the capacity to tap into a rich spring of creativity in service to our own art. Creative inspiration can come from anywhere, and it can strike at any time. Our job as artists is to be receptive to it when it happens. It requires living in the moment and nurturing an awareness brought about by a child-like curiosity for everything we encounter. Inspiration is transformed into art through an ongoing process of playful experimentation, hard work, and courage to release it into the world once it's complete.

This book is less a prescriptive guide to becoming an artist and more of a philosophy of how to live like one. Although the author is an artist in his own right, this book …

Trevor Harrison, Ricardo Acuña: Anger and Angst (Paperback, Black Rose Books) 5 stars

ANGER AND ANGST critically examines the volatile years of the United Conservative Party's time in …

If the hallmarks of good political leadership were uniting people across the political spectrum, drafting sound legislation to benefit those people, and responsible fiscal management, then surely Alberta's United Conservative Party (UCP) is one of the worst political parties in Canadian history. Founded in 2017 by Jason Kenney, a prominent cabinet minister and rising star in Stephen Harper's federal government, the UCP brought together Alberta's conservatives under a single roof—from centre-right moderates to far-right, conspiratorial crackpots who would find common cause with American MAGA Republicans. This ideological blend, like bitumen and water, would later prove to be Kenney's ultimate downfall.

Anger and Angst: Jason Kenney's Legacy and Alberta's Right is a compendium of essays, masterfully compiled and edited by Professors Trevor Harrison and Ricardo Acuña, written by some of Alberta's most distinguished economic, political, and social scholars—people who Kenney himself would call "commie professors." It documents Kenney's rise as a …

Tristan Gooley: How to read nature (2017) 4 stars

"When most of us go for a walk, a single sense--sight--tends to dominate our experience. …

Changing perspective by reconnecting with nature

4 stars

These days, people spend a huge amount of time in front of screens, largely disconnected from nature. Author Tristan Gooley implores his readers to back away from their computers, take a walk outside, and start becoming familiar with the natural world around them. By becoming familiar with nature, its inhabitants, its rhythms, its interconnectedness, its beauty, and its conflicts, one begins to appreciate their own place within it. It allows for a new perspective on the world and a new way of thinking. Merely glancing at the sky and observing what clouds are present, what direction they're moving, and how they develop over time allows you to make reasonably accurate short-term weather forecasts. Knowing local plant species offers natural foraging opportunities, or insights into the animals that are present. Observing wildflowers can tell you the time of day; observing the trees can tell you the season or the month. Learning …

reviewed The Pyrocene by Stephen J. Pyne

Stephen J. Pyne: The Pyrocene (University of California Press) 4 stars

A provocative rethinking of how humans and fire have evolved together over time—and our responsibility …

The Pyrocene is a Symptom of the Anthropocene

4 stars

This book redefines a geological age, the Anthropocene, where humans have had such a profound influence over the natural world that their presence is recorded in geological strata all over the globe, to the Pyrocene, which began when people started using fire to serve their needs. As long as fuel was available on the landscape and oxygen was present in the atmosphere, the world has always known fire. Once humans came along, they learned how to control and manipulate fire to suit their needs. Because of fire's ability to integrate the complex relationships that shape ecological systems, humanity's use of fire began to reshape those systems. It opened up a greater variety of food available to people from cooking, and it allowed people to migrate into colder regions of the planet where they could use fires to keep warm. More recently, humans have learned to exploit fuels from past millennia …

Julia Cameron: Write for Life (2023, St. Martin's Press) 3 stars

Nurture your creativity and be consistent

3 stars

Write for Life is ostensibly a six-week program to lift struggling writers out of any kind of difficulty they may be having with their writing. But really, it's a set of essays that are organized in chapters that loosely relate to the weekly lesson. The author, Julia Cameron, is perhaps best known for her earlier book, The Artist's Way (1992), where she introduces the concept of Morning Pages; a regularized free-writing exercise designed to clear a writer's mind and awaken the muse. Morning Pages are the backbone of this six-week program, together with artist dates (a writer's self-indulgent interlude to spark creativity), long walks, a trusted process, and the courage to write poorly but consistently for the sake of getting words on the page. Although some of the spiritual references can be a bit off-putting to some, if you can get past that, the book has some good--if not novel--writing …

Ryan Holiday: The obstacle is the way (2014) 4 stars

"A guide to overcoming adversity by drawing on the wisdom of the ancient Stoics"--

More self-help than philosophy

2 stars

Ryan Holiday's book, The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph, has a simple theme. Rather than throwing up your hands in defeat whenever you're faced with a difficult problem, approach it with a Stoic mindset and turn it into an opportunity for personal growth. Holiday has become somewhat of a modern-day popularizer of Stoic philosophy with his many books on the subject. In fact, this book is the first in a series of three.

The book is divided into three parts, each representing overlapping elements of his plan for everyday people to incorporate Stoic philosophy into their own lives: perception, action, and will. In the final chapter, Holiday summarizes how these elements can be adopted; "See things for what they are. Do what we can. Endure and bear what we must." His view is that facing life's challenges with this tripartite ethos presents …