Weekly Listens, #1

I listen to a lot of podcasts – a lot! – and so I thought it might be fun to start a new series rounding up what I’ve listened to recently. In this first edition, a look into utopian societies throughout history, an interview with Andrew Yang on his platform as a presidential candidate, and jokes flying everywhere between John Mulaney and Conan O’Brien.

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Primates of Park Avenue – Wednesday Martin

Rating: 2/5

Let’s just start off by saying, the fact that the front cover has a quote by Amy Chua of all people basically says what you need to know about this book and its author. That is, if the zebra-print pencil skirt and cheetah-print curtain and matching cheetah-print Loubs didn’t already give it away.

Anyway, this book is NUTS! Here’s the good and the bad:

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Because Internet – Gretchen McCulloch

Rating: 3.5/5

I first heard about this book from an episode of the Ezra Klein show, but it wasn’t quite the book I expected going in – I thought it’d be more educational and that I’d learn more about how internet slang and memes and such developed, but it was more nostalgic and entertaining than anything else.

The book did a great job at putting into words things that an internet user already innately knows, but not so much at providing new information. For example, being a Full Internet Person, I already know the “anatomy” of a keysmash – usually starts with “a” or “asdf”, made up of the middle row of keys on a keyboard, doesn’t usually have the same letter repeated, if it doesn’t look genuine enough then people will often delete and do it again (that made me laugh, so real) – but I didn’t necessarily want to read about it. And the book is filled with instances like this. It was entertaining as a recap of things I totally do on the internet, but not as informative as hoped.

Most Anticipated Book Releases of Early 2020

It was SO HARD to pick just three upcoming books I’m excited about! I’ve been browsing through lists and opening a tab for every book that has sounded interesting and now I have like…40 extra tabs open and each one is so small I can barely click on it 😂 I finally went through and managed to winnow it down to three four, despite this being called Top 3 Tuesday, because I just couldn’t not include one of these.

My first two picks are both about technology and its ever-encroaching role in our lives (and where it can go so wrong), and my second two picks have to do with what I call “the unattainable, ideal Manhattan woman” – the one who’s a power professional (law, finance, consulting, etc), works out 5x a week and is perfectly toned, drinks green smoothies for breakfast, etc. I didn’t know I was so interested in these topics until now!

SO, these are the four books I’m most excited about in the first half of 2020:

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Bad Blood – John Carreyrou

Rating: 4/5

I devoured this a few weeks ago but am still reeling at just how corrupt Theranos was. Back around 2012-2014 I remember marveling at this new Elizabeth Holmes figure that every media outlet was mythologizing, and thinking how incredible it must be to be so brilliant and wishing I’d been born so talented too. When the truth came out, I was scandalized and shocked alongside everyone else, but it wasn’t until I read this book that I realized just how fraudulent the company really was.

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I can’t believe it’s already 2020 and a new decade! The past week in London has been amazing, but I’m ready to start off this year already. My resolutions include:

  • Reading: Finish 24 books, with at least 4 of those counting towards my Harvard 100 challenge
  • Career: Switch paths altogether and find a job in a new industry that I genuinely enjoy
  • Fitness: Run a half-marathon
  • Social: Respond to texts and other messages within 24 hours

I’ll check in at the end of the year to see how I did on these 🙂 Hope 2020 starts off well for everyone!

P.S. One of the best things about NYC during winter is the department store holiday windows. I make it a point to go see them every year – Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, Saks 5th Ave, Macy’s – and the one above is part of this year’s Bergdorf Goodman exhibit. It was my favorite this year!