If you get to know [people] a little better and work up a degree of human warmth toward them, you can judge them without the influence and control of unseen forces. — Kindle location 1081
I feel like Kari Byron needs no introduction, but that means I’m wrong. She’s worked on a number of more-or-less scientific-method based TV shows, including most famously Mythbusters. I don’t always like her — she can be portrayed a little meaner than I’m comfortable with, in particular toward Mythbusters and White Rabbit Project co-host Tory Belleci (The bike and little-red-wagon moment always, always makes me cringe) — but I definitely found this memoir a worthwhile read.
Byron’s writing voice is very like her Mythbusters persona — forthright and clear, and sardonic and both goofy and somewhat wise. All of which, she explains throughout the book, is intentional.
My message is to elevate experimentation and bring it from my life lab to your living room, and my goal is for the reading experience itself to be free-form and fun. — Loc. 95
Overall, I’d say she manages her goal quite well.
Rather than a strictly chronological structure, the chapters address different areas of her life (such as career, money, love, and style) through the lens of the scientific method (question, hypothesize, experiment, analyze, conclude). There are fewer Mythbusters anecdotes than one might expect, but then Byron has always been more than just ‘the female Mythbuster’ and she’s not going to let anyone forget that, either. It’s an intentional choice.
Dirty hands + dirty clothes = bliss. I’d dreamed of a career where I’d be covered in paint and plaster, and when I got there, I was overjoyed. –Loc. 1449
Byron also talks about her experiences being homeless (not entirely by choice) as a teen, and also about her experience with depression.
I wish I believed in heaven so that Carrie Fisher could see herself become a symbol for strong women who will not be silenced or shamed for anything their bodies or minds might do. — Loc. 1977
Overall, if you’re a fan of MythBusters, White Rabbit Project, Punkin Chunkin, or any of Byron’s other projects, or you like reading about women in STEM, or you like autobiographies, I think you’d probably enjoy this book.
If not for novelist Mary Shelley, we wouldn’t have the grandmother of science fiction. Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, a mathematician, had the idea of using numbers to make pictures, and basically invented the foundation of digital computing. Use both sides of your brain. Foster art, combine it with science, and you’ll get something that is truly groundbreaking. — Loc. 2469