Go beyond happy

Scientifically studying how humans get to be and stay happy is one of modern psychology’s success stories. Positive psychology, with its insights into pleasure and achievement, has benefited millions. But there should be  more to life than happy. And this new powerful book, The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters, by Emily Esfahani Smith (2017), is a gateway to getting there. Moving beyond a happy life to a meaningful life. It’s a very readable story, which considering the serious ground it covers, citing loads of scientific studies as well as ‘heavy hitters’ like Buddha, Kant, Aristotle and Viktor Frankl, is … Continue reading Go beyond happy

Spaceman Mike Massimino

I just finished the great book Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe by Mike Massimino. (It came out earlier this month, hardcopy, kindle, iBooks.) It’s an easy engaging read, the personal story of his cool travels through colleges, companies, and on to two amazing Hubble rescue missions on the Space Shuttle. Best astronaut book I’ve read in a while. Along the way, ‘Mass’ shares some of the secrets learnt getting a PhD from MIT, learning to be an astronaut, and actually fixing the Hubble telescope in high Earth orbit. Here are some of my … Continue reading Spaceman Mike Massimino

Test pilot airmanship

I finally got around to reading a book that’s been sitting in one of the towering piles on my desk for, maybe months? years? A View From The Hover: My Life in Aviation by British test pilot John Farley. I should have read it sooner. It’s great. An engaging tour of a top test pilot’s professional life, with hard-won flying insights sprinkled in. “Flying is an exercise in risk management.” There are way too many pilot autobiographies that drudge through personal life, lists of planes flown, favorite sandwiches, and generally are not worth reading. This is not the case here. John, … Continue reading Test pilot airmanship

Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

There are loads of self-help books. Boat loads, as they say. Some are good. Most are not. This new book—part self-help, part popular science—won’t help you lose weight or find inner peace; but if you want to learn to fly, or get better at piloting, or be the best pilot in the world in some airplane or mission—this is the best book you will read this year. It’s written by Anders Ericsson, the lead psychology researcher who’s spent his career studying how humans acquire expertise, and Robert Pool, a science writer. How the good become great. It was his research … Continue reading Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

Standard checklists

Despite the emergency checklists provided for abnormalities, it’s the standard checklists that you use before you begin your flight that often determine whether you live or come crashing down in a pile of mistakes. Erika Armstrong from her new book ‘A Chick in the Cockpit.’ The book has some good flying stuff in it, but is more about her personal life journey. One of the most engaging books I’ve read this year.