Profile for Ilya Grigorik > Reviews

Browse

Ilya Grigorik's Profile

Customer Reviews: 487
Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,870
Helpful Votes: 1034




Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Ilya Grigorik "igrigorik" RSS Feed (San Francisco, CA, USA)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much
Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $12.74

4.0 out of 5 stars The mental tax of scarcity and its implications..., July 6, 2014
Scarcity of time, money, or any resources for that matter forces us to "tunnel" on the problem at hand. This focused attention can help, but it also consumes much of our "mental bandwidth", which means that other things (both trivial and critical) may receive insufficient attention. The trick, and the central question of the book, is to figure out the implications of these competing forces: focus is good, focusing on the wrong things is bad, what forces us to tunnel, and how can tunneling affect our decision making processes.

For example, could it be that the reason some people fail to invest into the future (e.g. savings, retirement, etc.) is better explained by scarcity of mental bandwidth, than lack of financial education? That's not to say it's one or the other, but perhaps forcing these individuals to "learn how to plan, or learn about financial planning" is not the whole story.

An interesting read, even if a little drawn out, with plenty of illustrative stories sprinkled throughout. Perhaps the one area that's lacking is an equal analysis of how to balance the pros and cons created by scarcity.


Autopilot: The Art and Science of Doing Nothing
Autopilot: The Art and Science of Doing Nothing
Price: $7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Idleness is not laziness, June 28, 2014
Idleness is not laziness. In fact, idleness may be an important and necessary condition for processing and synthesizing information to create new ideas and connections. The key observation and premise of the book is that latest experiments in neuroscience indicate that our brain is, in fact, extremely active when we are "idle", and that the involved regions may play an important role in helping with "creativity". As such, perhaps in our quest to fill our calendars we may have inadvertently blocked ourselves from the creative breakthroughs that we all seek?

The book is based on limited studies (and our overall understanding of this space is poor, to say the least), so the conclusions are to be taken with a grain of salt. Similarly, the used language is imprecise and at times simply wrong (e.g., the many comparisons of linear vs. nonlinear systems), but despite all that, still a thought provoking and very interesting read.


How to Find Fulfilling Work (The School of Life)
How to Find Fulfilling Work (The School of Life)
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $8.89

4.0 out of 5 stars Practical and actionable advice, June 28, 2014
Practical and actionable advice to get you moving on the path of discovering fulfilling work (paid or otherwise). As the author points out, many of us put up with unsatisfying jobs due to "sunk cost bias," external expectations, and worst of all, our own lack of imagination and willingness to explore the available options. How do you start? You don't have to drop everything and turn your life upside down - in fact, that's probably a bad idea. However, it is important to act and experiment: finding a great job is like dating, there is no formula and you have to find out what works by engaging with it.

You won't find "the answer" here - no book will give you that - but it should give you enough to get you on your way towards exploring the available options.


Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $11.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Hard won wisdom on cultivating creativity, June 22, 2014
If your job or aspiration is to manage a team, then I hope this book finds its way to your bookshelf. Ed Catmull provides a fascinating look behind the curtains of Pixar: how they came to be, and in equal parts the mistakes, the successes, and the lessons learned. For example, how do you minimize risk in an organization? Wrong question. The managers job is to make the cost of mistakes as low as possible and make it safe for others to experiment. You can't learn without making mistakes and neither can your organization.

If you're interested in the history of Pixar, you'll love this book. If you're interested in insights that will help you build a stronger and more innovative team, you'll also love this book. Combine the two, and that's why it's a bestseller.


Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel
Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel
Price: $9.45

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The wonders of our brain..., June 7, 2014
This is not a book about math, or "genius". Rather, this is a book about synesthesia: a neurological phenomenon where multiple senses are involved when interpreting certain stimuli - e.g. letters or numbers are associated with certain colors, shapes, and so on. In the case of Jason Padgett, he acquires mathematical synesthesia following a traumatic brain injury, which leads him to see geometric shapes everywhere around him.

This is part personal (and an inspiring) story about Jason and his recovery, and part an expose on synesthesia, which as it turns out is not as uncommon as we might think - many go throughout their entire lives without ever discovering the name! If you're interested in learning about synesthesia, or about our brain in general, this is a fascinating read.


Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace
Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $11.84

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evolution of work and the workplace, June 7, 2014
The subtitle sells the book short. The author covers a myriad of interlinked stories: evolution of work, from birth of the "white collar" worker, to the rise of the middle class, entrance of women into the workforce and its impact and implications, to the evolution of the architecture, office layout (including the history of how the cubicle farms came to be), and much more.

Surprisingly, all of these threads do come together to form one coherent and entertaining narrative. Great read.


The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
Price: $5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Captivating storytelling, questionable conclusions, June 1, 2014
The core premise is captivating: you achieve "flow" when your brain enters that elusive state where you lose track of time, your relevant senses override other inputs, and effectively, you are "superman". How do you get there? Well, as the author claims, the action sports athletes may have the best answer because they expose themselves to elements where this state is a matter of life and death: you don't have the luxury to contemplate other things when you are soloing a nearly impossible cliff, or trying to conquer a wave the size of an apartment building.

On the surface, this is a premise that is hard to disagree with. That said, ultimately the book oversells the concept. The storytelling is captivating, and the book is worth picking up just for that, but objectively it is hard to judge how much of the success of these athletes is due to "flow" vs. dozens of other recent factors: advances in technology, funding, new global audiences, and so on. And don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to take anything away from the athletes - they are, by my standards, super(wo)men.


Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Developing clarity and understanding of what truly matters, June 1, 2014
Another jam-packed day at work, you're on your way back home (no doubt, at late hour), but you can't shake that feeling that despite all the busywork, something is missing. Then it hits you: despite all the effort, you haven't made any progress on the few things that actually matter to your long-term success. Worst of all, this appears to be the norm, not an exception. Sounds familiar? That's how most of us operate.

Essentialism is not simply about "doing less", or "saying no" more often, but having the clarity of understanding of what truly matters, and prioritizing that over the rest. This is hard. It's far easier to just go with the flow and occupy your days with the urgent busywork... but you'll get nowhere. If you need to get out of this rut (who doesn't?), this book is a great place to start.


Dynasties of the Sea: The Shipowners and Financiers Who Expanded the Era of Free Trade
Dynasties of the Sea: The Shipowners and Financiers Who Expanded the Era of Free Trade
Price: $9.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Lacks a narrative, but interesting nonetheless., May 18, 2014
A collection of essays chronicling the evolution of various power-players of the industry. For someone who's not in the field, it was both an interesting and a challenging read. Interesting because it provides a good overview of how the industry operates (at the finance / business level), and challenging because the book doesn't provide much in terms of a framework or a coherent narrative -- the reader is left on their own to identify trends, pattern match between them, and so on.


The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It
The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $9.74

5.0 out of 5 stars Gambling at the world's largest casino, May 18, 2014
Time first time you encounter a reference comparing Wall Street to the world's largest casino, you get a good chuckle. Then, by the time you're halfway through the book, you realize that this statement is anything but a joke - it really is. The people involved, the strategies, and yes, even the math, are all one and the same. Well, almost, the bets are much bigger on Wall Street, and the blowups as well.

The book is light on actual technical details, but provides a great historical narrative of the evolution of major hedge funds and the people behind them. The short version is: early money made on statistical arbitrage, later through new instruments like CMO/CDO; as more players join the margins shrink and leverage rises; high leverage and intertwined instruments lead to "unprecedented" deleverage which nearly wipes out the global economy. However, nothing to fear, the quants are back and making more money as ever... The cycle repeats. 


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20