Sunday, February 4, 2024

How to Win Friends and Influence Fungi

How to Win Friends and Influence Fungi by Chris Balakrishnan, Matt Wasowski
2/20/24; 320 pages
St. Martin's Press

How to Win Friends and Influence Fungi  by Chris Balakrishnan and Matt Wasowski is a collection of STEM topics culled from various Nerd Night presentations held around the world. It is recommended for those interested in STEM topics (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The collection is illustrated by Kristen Orr.

Chris and Matt are the co-founders of the global science organization Nerd Nite, which was founded in 2003. The presentations cover a wide variety of topics from the monthly events held in over 100 cities where the presenters give a 20 minute informative and fun presentation. Those presenting are scientists, doctoral or masters students, or experts on a specific topic. The articles are short enough to read quickly, the range of topics is quirky and vast, and many are geared toward adult readers. It might help your enjoyment to stretch out reading the collection over a week or two rather than reading them back to back at one time.

As with any collection there were hits and misses in the selections for me. The wide range of topics covered make it a given that something will be appealing to individual readers. Many of the selections are informative and very funny. They were probably highly entertaining and memorable to hear in person, and I enjoyed reading them immensely. However there were also several where my inner nerd wanted some good footnotes and supporting documentation because they were missing the mark while presenting supposition as fact. Perhaps this was due to the assumption that the supportive audience wouldn't care, but as a reader I do care. (My appreciation of supporting materials has been well documented over the years.) I do understand that a short verbal presentation does not always reference supporting studies and documentation, but is some cases it was needed. Thanks to St. Martin's Press for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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