The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption
by Clay A. Johnson
I expected the diet metaphor to get strained, but it actually worked better than I expected: consume less-processed information just like you consume less-processed food, and don't consume mindlessly and continuously. The author's approach to dealing with information "obesity" isn't the standard reactionary "Get off the internet! Go play outside!" but a more nuanced look at how to consume better information rather than just less. I particularly liked the looks into why headlines are terrible (overdone and outright false headlines get clicks, clicks = money), and how using your friends to filter information can result in a dangerously narrow point of view. I was less thrilled about how much of the examples were very American politics oriented, but obviously the author has to write from what he knows. And politics in America does provide some interesting examples of over-information warfare, as it were.
What's most striking about this book to me aren't the ideas, though (as a research scientist, going to the source and avoiding "junk" information is already part of my daily routine), but the fact that it's a life-hacking book that doesn't suffer from extreme bloat where the author repeats himself endlessly for 300+ pages. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, given the topic, that the author would be able to write succinctly, but after my experience trying to read volumes like The 4-Hour Workweek or Getting Things Done, this brevity and ability to get the point across in a nice slim volume were much appreciated.
XS: Small Structures, Green Architecture
by Phyllis Richardson
This is pretty much a tiny coffee table book filled with beautiful pictures of unusual architecture fitting the small structures, green architecture theme. Fun to flip through and see some unusual projects from around the world. If you're the sort of person who clicks on "look at this cool house!" links on the internet or just loves photography of strange objects d'art, this is a little treasure trove of neat things.