What books are you reading or have finished lately


I just finished the “Matthews Men” last week. Hard to put down and finished it really quick. Amazing the shear amount of sailors and merchant tonnage lost due to the German U-boats and the guys kept going back out to sea.

Just started “The Merchant Marine and World Frontiers” by Robert Earle Anderson in 1945. He led the US Martime Commission from 1938 through WW II. So far it’s very interesting and talks about all the options possible for the surplus tonnage left over after the war and what to do with it.

Also picked up the “Calendar Epic”, “Lifeline, The ships & men of our merchant marine at war” by Robert Carse , and “What you should know about the Merchant Marine” by Carl D Lane, to read this hitch.


I’m about half-way through it now and also recommend it. I had sailed with a Captain who was torpedoed 8 times, all on tankers going up the east coast, each time he went immediately back to another.


Just finished the Undoing Project and also recommend it. Reading it near the time of the El Faro final report and discussion here is informative with respect to what biases may have been at work within Davidsion’s thinking, among the crew and perhaps within that unique corporate organization. Kahneman and Taversky’s insights to how the mind may work while exposed to uncertainty seem valuable and if one is aware of what biases may be at play there is the possibility to think more clearly or deliberately during times of uncertainty. This is the sort of thing that needs to be in resource management courses.

Some quotes/paraphrases/thoughts…
“Once we have adopted a particular hypothesis or interpretation, we grossly exaggerate the likelihood of that hypothesis and find it very difficult to see things any other way”

We construct scenarios (often from memories) and these effectively replace probability judgements. The production of a compelling scenario is likely to constrain future thinking.

The brain is limited. There are gaps in our attention. The mind contrives to make those gaps invisible to us. Seems to fill in the gaps with a story it creates until more or new information comes in. But it seems just having created the story in the first place also inhibits ability to accept new information.

I also noted that Taversky was consulted by Delta airlines and it sure sounded like his work was one of the basis of that industries cockpit resource management approach. It seems he took the idea that it would be very hard to change the effects of these heuristic mechanisms in any one person (the pilot) so you had to change the environment within which the judgements/predictions/decisions were being made in.

El Faro - An Overview
El Faro - An Overview

A post was split to a new topic: El Faro - An Overview


Need to figure out what’s ahead:

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction I was put off by the title but this book covers a lot of ground, including the Biases of Kahneman and Taversky’ but also an approach to help overcome the bias - Informal Bayesian Inference. Bayesian logic is used when information is uncertain and is the basis for how Kalman filters work.

Now other people have to be convinced:

Language Intelligence: Lessons on persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga - by Joseph Romm

Romm demonstrates that you don’t have to be an expert to vastly improve your ability to communicate. He has pulled together the secrets of the greatest communicators in history to show how you can apply these tools to your writing, speaking, blogging — even your Tweeting. The book also looks at the language intelligence of President Obama and Governor Romney.

Still need to shake loose some more money out of the PE

Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion
Jay Heinrichs

Thank You for Arguing is your master class in the art of persuasion, taught by professors ranging from Bart Simpson to Winston Churchill. -


Just finished the Dark Tower series by Stephen King? Not nautical or self help-ish but a great read, if a bit grim. Keeps your brain occupied and active har har har