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Brief Candle in the Dark by Richard Dawkins is a good read for how to be a good scientific person

Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science - Richard Dawkins

 

Here is one of the reasons why I started a few books at a time.

 

While I have started the Great Divide, a collection of essay on how to make world more equal, the last book of Terry Pratchett launched.

 

So, the Great Divide is put aside until I finished The Shepherd's Crown, I went back to Great Divide, only to have bought the Brief Candle in the Dark home.

 

OK, this is a review of sort. 

 

The first chapter talks about how Richard Dawkins did as a university professor. Interesting about how he viewed himself, and his own shortcoming. 

 

The first thing I learned is how he organized committee meeting. Very effective way that I thought I could use in the future. 

  

 

This is the Christmas lecture of 1991 by Richard Dawkins. Nicely done. 

 

https://youtu.be/dw4w1UsOafQ

 

The chapter on how he met his current wife (no. 3) is sweet. And it is also intimate on how he was not close to his daughter with his second wife, but yet get closer when she was sick and later died of cancer. 

 

The relationships with his publishers and agents is also intimate. His books are still in print because his publishers keep them in print. 

 

I got 6 of his books. The next one would probably be The Ancestor's Tale depends on its availability. I read his recent ones first, and now going back to read the rest. 

 

He is really a good writers. Making evolution theory available for all.

 

Getting through half of the book now.

 

It is good that he talked about not only his experience about publishing books. He got a best seller quite early. 

 

And how he become friends with his agent, and his publisher. He followed the person rather than the company. Which is a more intimate way in doing thing.


Also found out that he is quite impulsive when it comes to love and romance. He had just met his current wife Lalla in Douglas Adams 40th birthday party, and in the same week, he invited her to go to book tour with him. Of course, they hit it off and married in a year. Still, I would think a man who is very trusting, and allow to be trusting in order to let love happen this way.

 

He also talked about the persons he met who criticized him in public. In public, on camera. 


One is Lawrence Krauss, the other one is Neil DeGrasse Tylson. Both criticized him on his style of speaking. And he took it all in and now become more gentle in his style. And also, he become friend with both men.

 

That's how I want myself to be as a person. Take in the criticism and appreciate the person who pointed it out to me. Of course, the criticism has to have merit in the first place in order to convince me. But that's the point. A lot of persons I know could not take criticism at all. And that's not a good thing.

 

 

Reading this book is also like a treasure hunt.

 

See here for the e-Appendix. Load of good stuff including his last interview with Christopher Hitchens. 

 

 

I like the way he is against Templeton Prize and any scientist who accept money from it.

 

Finished.

 

The later part of the book is about his writings, and the controversy over his writing. His critics include Lawrence Krauss and Neil DeGrassee Tyson. But then they all become friends later. Why? Because they are reasonable people and they do have the love of science in common. 

 

Where is the controversy in science, and in writing? He is very critical of religion as an under-challenged concept. There is no scare concept and there should be one. Religion is so ridiculous because religious deluded are opposed to people who challenge their religious beliefs. So? That shouldn't stop reasonable people from challenging it. 

 

It got some poems in it too, from Richard Dawkins himself and his mother. The book is a bit reserve as it didn't got a lot of intimate juicy details. This is not the People magazine after all. It got something else, it go science in it. And to read that as a reminder if you already know the concept is kind of nice.

 

So, highly recommended read.

 

5 stars.