This Is Your Brain On Music: Understanding a Human Obsession
Daniel J. Levitin
Understanding why we like music and what draws us to it is a window on the essence of human nature
Even when music doesn’t transport us to an emotional place that is transcendent, music can change our mood.
Stevie Wonder told me in 1996 that when he’s performing, he tries to get himself into the same frame of mind and “frame of heart” that he was in when he wrote the song; he tries to capture the same feelings and sentiment, and that helps him to deliver the performance. What this means in terms of how he sings or plays differently is something no one knows. From a neuroscientific perspective, though, this makes perfect sense. As we’ve seen, remembering music involves setting the neurons that were originally active in the perception of a piece of music back to their original state—reactivating their particular pattern of connectivity, and getting the firing rates as close as possible to their original levels.
An essential point bears repeating, however: All of us are expert musical listeners, able to make quite subtle determinations of what we like and don’t like, even when we’re unable to articulate the reasons why.
Più vado avanti nella vita, più mi rendo conto di essere fisicamente dipendente dalla musica. Nel senso che spesso anche se arrivo a casa la sera stanco morto, bisogna che prima di dormire mi ascolti una mezz’oretta di musica camminando in tondo.
Questo libro è uno dei più incredibili che abbia mai letto, e spiega come reagiamo alla musica, cosa la musica rappresenta per noi, la storia del rapporto tra la musica e l’uomo, eccetera.
In alcuni punti è abbastanza tecnico (sia in termini musicali, sia in termini neurologici), ma si riesce a seguire sempre e… ne vale la pena.
Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition
Robert N. Proctor
Mechanization and addiction are the two principal reasons cigarettes are among the most lucrative products ever sold. Hence again that famous comment from Warren Buffett, defending his takeover of R. J. Reynolds: “I’ll tell you why I like the cigarette business. It costs a penny to make. Sell it for a dollar. It’s addictive.”
“Most people will be surprised to learn that tobacco was a large part of the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe. The total value of all goods shipped to Europe from 1947 through 1951 was about $13 billion, about $1 billion of which was tobacco. Nearly a third (!) of all “food-related” funding in the plan went for tobacco.”
Goerlitz then asked whether any of the company’s executives smoke and got this answer: “Are you kidding? We reserve that right for the poor, the young, the black and the stupid.”
“There’s an old saying in the food business, that people will eat almost anything if you grind it up fine enough.”
“What difference does it really make that a company is adding dangerous chemicals if “natural” tobacco is already super-deadly? American Spirit’s much-hyped “natural” cigarettes are no less deadly than any other kind, despite having a Native American on the pack.”
” Of course given how low the bar is for cigarette safety, almost anything will appear “safer” by comparison. Talk of “safer cigarettes” is rather like talking about safer terrorism, or safer smallpox, or safer forms of drowning: it’s oxymoronic. “
Questo libro è stato un toccasana in un mese in cui sulla mia bacheca facebook sembrava fossero tutti intenditori di trivelle, diritto marittimo, idrocarburi, eccetera. Mi ha ricordato che quando si tratta di ripulirsi la coscienza con una crocetta sono tutti in prima linea, quando invece si può fare qualcosa di concreto (e complesso) nella propria vita, stranamente non si vede nessuno.
The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible
It’s a beautiful passage, but I feel odd uttering it. I’ve rarely said the word Lord, unless it’s followed by of the Rings. I don’t often say God without preceding it with Oh my.
In short, I don’t think I can be debated into believing in God. Which presents a problem, because the Bible commands you not only to believe in God but to love Him. It commands this over and over again. So how do I follow that? Can I turn on a belief as if it flows out of a spiritual spigot?
Here’s my plan: In college I also learned about the theory of cognitive dissonance. This says, in part, if you behave in a certain way, your beliefs will eventually change to conform to your behavior. So that’s what I’m trying to do. If I act like I’m faithful and God loving for several months, then maybe I’ll become faithful and God loving. If I pray every day, then maybe I’ll start to believe in the Being to whom I’m praying.
That’s one thing I’ve noticed this year. I can rationalize almost anything.
Per farsi un’idea di quanto possa essere divertente il libro, consiglio questo video su Youtube in cui si vede Jacobs durante il suo anno biblico.
Tullio Pinelli, Leo Benvenuti, Piero De Bernardi
Post lungo ma fantastico in cui Tim Ferriss parla di come ha costruito il suo podcast.
Ogni tanto me lo rileggo sempre volentieri: uno dei migliori violinisti del mondo si veste da barbone, prende il suo Stradivari, va a suonare nella metro di Washington… E guadagna la bellezza di 32,17 dollari.