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精選文章 (Top picks)

The man who mistook David for Brad

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(N.B. This article was originally published in the April 2015 issue of the Mensa World Journal , the official publication of Mensa International.) In the comic Naruto , there is a character who cannot remember other people's faces, and he is usually being made fun out of that. It may well be that this idea stemmed from somebody whom the author had encountered. Indeed, there is a formal medical term for this disability in the real world – prosopagnosia . Prosopagnosia, or face blindness in laymen terms, is a condition where individuals have difficulties in identifying people's faces. Of course, everybody has some problems with remembering faces at times, so the condition can be understood as performing below a certain threshold of a spectrum of varying degrees of facial recognition abilities. However, if you are prosopagnosiac you would easily have problems with following the dialogues of protagonists in a movie, and rely heavily on non-facial features such as hair style,

A reflection of ideas from Thinking: Fast and slow.

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If I were to include a handful of books to in the "must-read" list in the past decade, Thinking: fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman would definitely be on top of it.  As a psychology graduate myself, I have always been fascinated by the theories and experiments which try to unravel the mysterious innerworkings of our brains. On the other hand, traditional economists try to understand how homo economicus make decisions to maximize the value of utility of his/her resources, assuming humans are always rational without questioning this fundamental premise. How this book debunks the myth behind this assumption is a great eye-opener. To pay a tribute to this, I am writing this article to reflect on some of my thoughts inspired by it. I think everybody can relate, using his own words, with "cognitive ease", the concepts of System 1 vs System 2 introduced in the first section. It is the common intuitive vs deliberate, slow vs fast, rational vs emotional dichotomy. Although t

Book Review: Thinking, fast and slow

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Author:       Daniel Kahneman Subject:      Behavioral economics, decision-making Year:           2011 ISBN:          9780374275631 The title well deserved the acclaim as a landmark work in the realm of economics.    Consolidating decades of research finding in behavioural and cognitive psychology, Kahneman, along with his lifelong fellow Amos Tversky, shapely pinpointed the shortcomings of the contemporary doctrine of economics, i.e. the ideation of human being to the so-called "Econ", someone who is always consistent in his or her preferences and know exactly what he or she wants all the time. As demonstrated by the monumental evidence in the book, human beings are, through the instinctive "System I" and to some degree the endorsement of the deliberative "System 2", far from rantional in that sense. Numerous phenomena under which these errors could occur have been addressed, including priming, framing, the illusion of memory, the halo effect, "What

Book review: Twisted tales - My life as a Mongolian contortionist

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   Author:         Otgo Waller Subject:        autobiography; contortion Year:              2017 ISBN:             9781504378611 Originally expecting to read stuff about contortion per se , only to later realize - to a delighted surprise - it is an autobiography of how a legendary Mongolian contortionist came to shine in Las Vegas.  Despite some word phrases found to be a bit odd, it is a truly enjoyable book. The writer has the feat to convey her genuine feelings to the readers without holding back. The beginning chapter of the backdrop against which she came to this world was almost like a fairy tale, so touching and poetic. Then came the stories of her loving family - her sister, parents and 'Grandpa', all so beautifully portrayed so readers can almost sense their presence. Then the dark episodes of sexual harassment, patriarchal societal control, trauma and losses, etc. She takes readers along with her personal journey with splendid narratives. Readers can easily immerse th

《第一次下圍棋就上手》書評

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  作者: 劉至平 出版: 台北 易博士 年份:2017 ISBN: 9789864800254 作為一本介紹圍棋的入門書,這是一個上佳的選擇。 坊間有很多講述圍棋的書籍,但由於大多由擁有多年經驗的老棋手編纂,內容普遍傾向艱澀難懂,令一眾有意學習圍棋的初學者卻步。而本書則如其所言,從「第一次下圍棋」的新手角度設想內容,採用適合初學者學習的九路小棋盤去講述圍棋知識,並用最少且易懂的文字說明基本規則、勝負計算、常用術語、攻守策略、實用戰術以至於下棋禮儀等等。全書章節編排清晰、圖文並茂,並很少校對錯誤——本人曾見過十分多手文之誤的圍棋書,對初學者帶來很大的學習困難——因此本書實為初學習圍棋者的推介之作。 唯一要說的是,希望該書能講多一些分勝負的方法,因該書只介紹了中國的數子法,沒有介紹日本的比目法,也沒有講解「貼目」這一重要概念;或者其可以在書尾以附註的方式簡略介紹一下,全書內容就會更完整了。

Book review: Never split the difference - Negotiating as if your life depended on it

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  Author:         Chris Voss Subject:        Negotiation Year:              2016 ISBN:             9780062407801 If someone envisions a master of negotiation as an alpha male like Donald Trump who speaks the loudest to threaten everyone else into submission, this book will definitely turn your understanding upside down.  As a veteran FBI hostage negotiator for many years, the author has all the credibility to speak on this topic. In contrary to the traditional, rational problem solving approach which aims to separate emotional elements from the issue in order to arrive at a so-called "win-win" situation, he argues that humans are irrational beasts who more often than not act on impulsive feelings rather than meticulous calculation. And he also sees that such insight is not only for crisis handling but can also be applied to business and daily-life interactions. By borrowing concepts from counselling such as tactical empathy, active listening, emotional labelling etc., the aut

《心態致勝:全新成功心理學》書評

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作者:卡蘿.杜維克 (Carol S. Dweck) 出版: 台北天下文化 初版:2019 ISBN: 9789864791897 作為擁有多年經驗的心理學家,杜維克博士以其數十年的豐富臨床經驗,認為人們於面對挑戰時會展現出「定型心態」和「成長心態」兩種不同的想法,從而導致不同的對應行為。 抱有定型心態的人,認為我們的本質例如智力、身體協調和藝術才華等特質基本上固定不變,也因為如此,當他們遇上失敗時,便會將其解讀為個人的缺憾,所以他們害怕面對失敗,經常要一再證明自己以維護自尊;相反,抱有成長心態的人認為儘管每個人的初始天膩不同,但都可以透過努力和嘗試達到成功,因此他們會更願意接受失敗,不會很容易被其摧毀信心。 作者續在書中不同的章節,以實例探討抱有這兩種心態的人士在運動、企業、以至於人際關係層面的不同表現。誠然,她亦指出兩種心態也不是單純的二元分類,而比較像一個連續的光譜,並且各人於不同的時空、不同的領域,都會展示出不同程度的混合心態,但基本原則是,愈是抱成長心態的人,愈能夠面對逆境,也愈大機會取得的成功。 最後的章節,作者介紹了如何可以改變心態,並輔以大腦可塑性的研究,佐證人的確是可以透過改變心態而獲得成長。她闡釋了父母或老師如何能以透過讚美孩子的努力,培養其成長心態,及如何要適切運用,不能讚賞不存在的努力,以免變成只是維護孩子自尊的虛言,無助於事。

《我的第一本西班牙語課本》書評

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作者:魏巍,阿曼豆 出版: 台北書泉 初版:2010 ISBN: 9789866077371 本書共由三個部份組成:主書、文化手冊和光碟。 主書利用了西班牙的代表動物—牛—作為漫畫角色去為讀者做旁述,附以冷笑話,而效果則見人見智了。它先講解西語字母發音規則,然後每章以簡單日常會話開首作引子,探討一些文法課題,並附以西班牙的歷史和文化知識介紹,這頗能吸引想了解更多關於西班牙背景的讀者。此種鋪排,好處是感覺實用性強,活學活用,而每章以對話再切入講解比較抽象的文法,又可進行比較深入的學習;壞處是讀者不能預先了解每章的文法學習重點;不過,文化手冊可以彌補這方面的問題。 最後,想挑剔一下讀本和光碟的校對工作,當中有不少錯誤,尤其是第20章開首的會話,後半部把說話的人都搞錯了。