Listing books in the Art of Mentoring series
|Full title||Letters to a Young Contrarian [permalink]|
|Author||Christopher Hitchens (author)|
|Categories||Journalism and philosophy|
|Series||Art of Mentoring (1/14)|
|Original publication year||2001|
|ISBN||978-0-465-03033-0 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]|
A collection of imaginary letters to a young contrarian. The beginning of each letter imagines that the reader has sent a reply to the previous one, and the current one is a reply to that, so that reading the book seems to be a conversation. The book deals with how to be a public intellectual with contrary views, and how to deal with all the hardships that come with that obligation.
It's a very short book, and once started, it's very hard to put it down. Hitchens is a very eloquent writer, besides being knowledgeable and engaged. In the book he deals a little bit with his public confrontations (his criticism of Mother Theresa and Henry Kissinger, for instance), really as examples for pontificating on the life of a contrarian. There's a little part of the book that I liked where he explores various words for a contrarian, such as rebel, revolutionary, and an "angry young man".
|Full title||Letters to a Young Mathematician [permalink]|
|Author||Ian Stewart (author)|
|Categories||Mathematics and science|
|Series||Art of Mentoring (11/14)|
|Original publication year||2006|
|ISBN||978-0-465-08232-2 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]|
Letters to a Young Mathematician is written as an update on G. H. Hardy's classic A Mathematician's Apology, but the book is not an exercise in apologetics.
It follows an imaginary girl, Meg, from her school years through her ensuing career, and each chapter is a letter to her at crucial steps in her career. Some parts are musings on math (pure vs applied) while others are specific career tips (solitary work vs collaboration). The book is virtually devoid of any actual math, so I think it's safe for mathophobes. In fact, for this very reason, it might even help to partially cure the phobia of those unfortunately inflicted.
I really liked the light-hearted way the book is written. Perhaps someone who is planning on embarking on a mathematical career would enjoy it even more.