No Dark Magic

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Avoid Boring People: Lessons from a Life in Science by James D. Watson

Posted at — Oct 24, 2019

So this was pretty horrible.

The author doesn’t leave anything out. Anything. He sees a girl once, you get her full name. And the full name of the guy she ended up with. And his occupation. Surely this belongs into a book about "a life in science".

After every chapter, there are some "lessons learned". Each is usually one paragraph long, and summarizes something applicable to academia or life in general. Some are very good and can be recommended. Some not so much. There’s one where the author advises to not expect Lucia to be flirtatious (apparently he expected some action from a Swedish teenager who was brought to him to sing a kind of a christmas carol).

The chapters themselves blabber endlessly about all kinds of irrelevant, disconnected details, and of course about the 40-years-long quest to find a "suitable blonde", and all the times he didn’t get a raise and his blood boiled and he called all his friends to complain about it, or he didn’t get to sit next to a Kennedy and his blood boiled, or some other case where the world just didn’t bow to his genius. Truth be told, I only skimmed the second half of those chapters; couldn’t stand it anymore.

I would only recommend this book to someone who is studying the tiniest details of Nobel prize history.


(368 pages, ISBN: 0375412840, Worldcat, Open Library)

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