The World is Full of Lying Liars

Dan Ariely
HarperCollins, July 2013, RRP $19.99

Look, don’t tell anyone. This is just between you and me. I have, on occasion, fudged my timesheets. There, I’ve said it. Of course, I only ever fudged a little. A smidgen, really. Imagine the fine thickness of my fingernail; that’s the degree to which I’ve fudged the occasional timesheet.

It can be that way with casual work. If you work a longer than your scheduled shift, you write down exactly, to the minute, when you finish. But perhaps, on a shift, you finish a tad early (just a little, right?). Well, you were expecting to be paid for a full shift, so it’s only fair to round up to include those final 5 minutes, right? Or 10? Or 15? Continue reading

Judge All The Things

Chip Kidd
Simon & Schuster, June 2015, RRP $16.99

Design surrounds our day-to-day lives; from the clothes we wear, to the tools we use, to the advertising that tries to sell us more clothes to wear and tools to use. As I type this article, I use a computer that has included stages of design for hardware, operating system and word processing software, all to allow the simple task of writing a review while sitting on the couch in my tracksuit pants (an important part of the writing process).

However, while design surrounds us, it can still be quite flawed, as anyone who has tried to use a modern can opener without instructions can attest. Of course, Chip Kidd, renowned book designer and author of Judge This, wouldn’t have you passively accept the good and bad of design in the world. Instead, he advocates that we do exactly what the title of his book suggests, and judge, with a critical eye, those objects we experience every day. Continue reading

It’s Only Blood

Mona Eltahawy
Hachette, April 2015, RRP $29.99

It’s hard to not be struck by the universality of sexism and sexual abuse while reading Headscarves and Hymens, a snapshot of sexual politics in the Middle East. Eltahawy paints a picture that is all too familiar. Women mustn’t travel alone, or even walk the streets, for their own “protection”. Wives who are beaten by husbands are asked, “What did you do to provoke him?” And it seems that women everywhere walk the tightrope between purity and wantonness, virgin and slut. You’ll be judged for what you wear, and blamed for provoking any abuse you experience.

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Transformation Through The Words Of Desire

Book cover for The Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine by Krissy KneenTHE ADVENTURES OF HOLLY WHITE AND THE INCREDIBLE SEX MACHINE
Krissy Kneen
Text Publishing, April 2015, RRP $29.99

I confess. I adore Angela Carter. I adore her overblown, pretentious style mixed with her joyous embrace of the lewd and taboo. I adore that even when she failed, you know that she failed with every ounce of inspiration on the page. And yet, I was initially hesitant to read The Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine, a book influenced by Carter’s least accessible book, The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman; a book that exhausts me just at the thought of cracking the cover.

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Gorillas Everywhere

Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons
First published 2010

If you’re the kind of person who tends to think you’re always right, then this is the book for you. The Invisible Gorilla takes us bit by bit through faulty processes within the mind. Think in terms of optical illusions, but instead of our perception of an object being distorted, it’s our perception of everyday experience that gets twisted through the activity of being interpreted into thought.

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A Hopeful View Of Our Architectural Future

Marc Kushner
Simon & Schuster, March 2015, RRP $16.99

When you think about it, buildings are a little like clothes, but the kind of clothes you would need if thousands of people stood on each other to create a giant. Buildings reveal the personality of a place. Melbourne wears laneways and fractured architecture like a woman in an upcycled suit and prism necklace; a little pretentious perhaps, but also a fierce seeker of new ideas. We’re drawn to cities as an extension of self, and when the city is transformed by a new construction, we also feel the tug of change.

What we can’t know is what change will be like ahead of time. With advances in building technology and innovations in design occurring at increasing speed, we can only imagine, like the dreams of futuristic cities in science fiction, where we will find ourselves living and how we will fit within those spaces. All we see now is the current playing ground of experimental architecture and creative thinking that might lead to our tantalising future. The Future of Architecture in 100 Buildings provides a glimpse into that possible world.

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Thoughts On Impactful Altruism

the_most_good_you_can_doTHE MOST GOOD YOU CAN DO
Peter Singer
Text Publishing, March 2015, RRP $32.99

Ever noticed that when your salary increases, your spending also grows, and suddenly you can’t imagine being able to survive on anything less? We adapt to our circumstances, and the adaptation becomes the new normal. It’s a phenomenon that serves consumerist culture incredibly well.

But what if, rather than your lifestyle matching your income, you made a choice about how you want to live, how much money you need to maintain it, and donate all additional funds to charity? The more money you make, the more you can help others. Consider the impact you can have on thousands of lives. This is one of the central arguments within Peter Singer’s The Most Good You Can Do. Continue reading

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