Thursday, February 7, 2008

Anger and

I lost my temper twice today. I'm very stressed right now, but that's no real excuse. The problem with losing my temper is that not only does it make other people feel bad (and generally they don't deserve it), but it makes me feel bad the rest of the day. Not only do I feel angry about whatever made me angry in the first place, but I feel guilty and upset that I've hurt the feelings of people I like and respect. It rarely accomplishes anything to get angry, except to make a bad situation worse, and it undermines the working relationship and requires lots of energy be spent to smooth things over. Getting angry gets in the way of the person getting angry, even more so than the person they've gotten angry at. All in all, it's the wrong thing to do 99% of the time.

I went looking for Anger Management books because I'm often pissed off about something. Sure, the state of the world is such that this isn't unreasonable -- but it's also not very utilitarian of me.

I know getting more exercise will help more than a book, but reading generally makes me feel better. So I went looking for books, and found this one:

Which leads to my simple discussion of how I shop on Amazon:

Search by keywords. Then, open each link in a new Firefox tab, based on:
1. I recognize the author as an authority on the subject.
2. Highest reviews with the most number of reviews contributing (the # in parenthesis next to the stars)

Usually, this nets ten to fifteen books, except on obscure topics.

I then read the reviews, always starting with the one-star reviews. If the one-star reviews all make compelling arguments for why the book is terrible, I quickly skim the five-star reviews for rebuttals. Most books get cut in this pass.

Then I "look inside" if available. If I don't think the table of contents covers sufficient ground, or if the writing samples are bad, the book gets cut.

For the three to five survivors, I read both Amazon and off-site reviews until I'm sick of them. I generally prefer off-site reviews in legitimate publications, but those can be hard to come by for many kinds of books.

Then, I buy the one or two best choices.

Often I move "almost rans" into "save for later" in my shopping cart. The idea is that I can recover those options quickly if I get the book, further reading shows that it's bad, and I decide to return it. The problem is, my "saved for later" list has grown to almost 500 books. There appears to be no tool for editing this list other than the web page checkboxes, one page at a time, with the list continually shifting under you as you remove items. This is very tedious. And it makes me angry. Which makes this post come full circle.

Anyone know of an "Amazon management" tool that would allow this, and also better management of wishlists and reviews? If so, please post in the comments.