Mike Dariano

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My Stroke of Insight (book review)

My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey.

I remember sitting in the public library parking lot listening to an interview with Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. My youngest daughter and I were ready to head in for the children’s program and I resolved to look for the book afterwards. Four years later I remembered to find it and I read (listened to) it.

Like most of the other books I’ve read about stories and journeys, Taylor’s is no different. She’s a brain scientist struck by a stroke, the dichotomy almost too real to believe. Thankfully it is, because the depths she enters and the story she tells mind boggling.

Taylor describes the morning of her stroke like a toker’s high, feeling at one with the world and more liquid than solid.

8 Books that Changed the Way I Work and Live in Graduate School

On The Tao of Graduate School

I'm always searching for the books that actually matter, for those books that will make a significant change to my life. Indeed, one of my favorite openers in a conversation is "What books have changed your life?" It makes for interesting conversation, but the question also acts as a filter, allowing me to vet certain books based on personal recommendations.

Consider me your filter. Through my research and conversations with students and faculty across the curriculum, I've found some fantastic resources to which I turn time and time again. What follows are the cream of the crop, the books that will stand the test of time and change the lives of those who read them.

Writing

The Elements of Style, Strunk and White

Originally written in 1918, but with a ton of new editions along the way, this book single-handedly changed the way I thought about writing. I've read it a zillion times, and I find myself coming back to it often. Now, you'd think that an old book on writing, having the gumption to name itself The Elements of Style, would be boring and pedantic. Let me assure you: it's exactly the opposite. It's practical and, at times, hilarious. For example, the authors intentionally break their own rules in order to make a point (and, I think, to jab the reader). They do this so subtly that many critics argue the authors don't follow their own advice. For me, these mistakes are purposeful. I kept it in the bathroom for a year, as it makes for great morning reading! (Yes, I know. Crazy.)

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