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Andrew Alden

"52 Things": Playing Cards for the Geological Mind

By January 25, 2014

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52 things geology bookI am charmed and challenged by this new book, 52 Things You Should Know About Geology. Challenged because it's aimed at working professional geoscientists, particularly in petroleum studies. Charmed because it has some novel features and lots of material that generalists and amateurs can appreciate. Of course there are many more than 52 things we should know about geology, but the 52 two-page essays in this collection, edited by consultant Matt Hall (@kwinkunks on Twitter), picked that many topics in an analogy to a deck of playing cards. They're like nibbles from a bowl of snacks, or specimens from a box of minerals. Actually, I think of them as beerpulls at a well-equipped bar: you can try any one and enjoy it or not, but all are made with integrity and meant to be tasted as many times as you care.

Essays like "Advice for a prospective geologist" and "In praise of paper and pencil" speak to everyone, while "Get to know eigenvectors" and "Old wells are gold mines" may have to wait until your skills make them more relevant. But my brain likes a good stretch, and there are plenty in this book. I give it an ace of spades. See the full review with ordering info.
Cover illustration courtesy Matt Hall

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