In a bid to decrease netflix/hulu/twitch usage I’ve started to ramp up consuming classic sci-fi books and work related material. Any good books on networking? Classic sci-fi?
So there are really two questions here: 1) What are you reading?
Work: Godel, Escher, Bach: The Eternal Golden Braid. This isn’t networking but WOW what a book. Formal systems, recursion, incompleteness theory and testability, this thing is a master work.
Also I’m nibbling at Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferris. The interviews are little bites of a few pages each, so I break one off when I want a break from the heavy lifting.
Pleasure: Jerusalem by Allan Moore. This is a mammoth book - 1.6K pages. I’m 64% through. Basically thus far it’s Moore’s Northampton UK flavored afterlife. I’m enjoying the ride but it’s LONG and I’m hoping the ending packs enough of a wallop to justify the commitment :)
Yes on both counts!
Classic Sci-Fi: Doesn’t get any more classic than the Lensman series by E.E. “Doc” Smith.
This is the archetype of science fiction books. Written from the 1930s - 1950s these books tell the story of two clashing hyper advanced alien races - the Arisians and the Boskone, and the effect they have on humanity and many other species.
This series is OLD. As a result of which, it’s sexist, ethnist, and has some really seriously wacky ideas about health and morality. HOWEVER if you can put that aside and enjoy it for the period piece that it is, IMO they’re well worth the read.
Networking: This isn’t strictly a networking book, but The Linux Programming Interface will give you a really deep understanding of how networking meshes with the gears of the OS - what’s happening at the system call, libc, sockets, etc level. Super great read with good exercises to work through:
My favourite bit from the Lensmans series is when the hero arrives at a new planet in his Faster Than Light ship……. and reaches for his trusty slide rule to calculate the orbit….
The other book from the Era of GEB is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mind%27s_I
Which introduced me to the joys of Jorge Luis Borges and Stanislaw Lem.
One of my favorites is a set of passages where they’re disparaging some drug that our hero has taken doing undercover work, where they refer to healthy wholesome substances like tobacco.
Wow 1.6k pages! And here I thought GEB was already a commitment. The Linux Programming Interface looks just about right for what I need to be reading.
GEB is definitely a commitment. Truth be told I tried and bounced off twice, but now I’m about 1/2 way through because I’m reading it with someone. We help each other get un-stuck when we can’t wrap our heads around something.
That said, the book is a sumptuous feast for the mind if you have the audacity to get through it :)
I also picked it up recently and plan on reading it. Hofstadter claims to have said (Dutch wikipedia about him), 1/10 of the people that buy it, will start it, 1/10 of those will finish it, and 1/10 of those will understand it. Those aren’t good odds ;)
I’m reading Catherine the Great for fun and Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured to prep for the upcoming EMT classes. I just finished The Storm Before the Storm, which was fantastic. I love everything Mike Duncan does.
For classic science fiction, here are some of my favorites:
I love Lord of Light, it’s one of the few books I have read more than once
EMT classes/exams aren’t too bad. Practicals/clinicals are nerve wracking. Using EMR/foosoftware is stepping on legos.
Check this out if you have five minutes emin5. Her youtube channel is filled with useful videos.
The Quantum Thief trilogy is /fantastic/. Weird, but fantastic.
I’m reading Oathbreaker by Brandon Sanderson, it’s not networking, it’s not sci-fi, but it certainly is good!
For more fantasy, I’m reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson. It’s ten books and I’m currently about to finish the sixth. Definitely a great read for anyone who loves good worldbuilding or fantasy characterization.
This series is the only fantasy blockbuster series I’ve finished. Good quality right up until maybe the end. I especially like the shift to an entirely different continent and system of magic around book 5.
I got to 6 or 7 in the series and started to lose track of what was going on. I absolutely love the world though, and definitely intend to pick them back up in the future.
How are the other books in the series ?
I really enjoyed them. I’m a big fan of Sanderson’s work generally, and this series seems to be one of his best so far.
However if you’re considering starting the series, you should know that it’s only 3/5 complete, so you’ll have a long wait to finish it!
I waited for “The Wheel of Time”. I just hope it is fun to read!
I’ve not read it, I’ll stick it on my list :)
it’s not networking, it’s not sci-fi,
it’s not networking, it’s not sci-fi,
Honestly, I’m really eager for that kind of discussion around here. I get tired of everyone recommending the same circle of tech books or science fiction.
Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll take a look!
Edit: Oh… it’s fantasy. Erm, I suppose the tribe doesn’t wander far from the community-approved genres.
If you like history, I’m still chewing on Empire of the Steppes. The book is always described as “majestic” and “sweeping”. I’ve never read another history book that provides such an encompassing view. Its scope extends from mainland China, to the silk road oasis kingdoms, to Persia, to Kiev, to Attila’s march on Rome. It’s fascinating how a military campaign in China can set off a chain reaction like billiard balls and cause an invasion in Europe.
Another amazing history is Jonathan Spence’s God’s Chinese Son, but really, you cannot go wrong with Spence. He is a magician.
Oooh, that does sound great! Thanks, I’ll definitely look for that one!
im currently reading a short book by thomas sowell, markets and minorities. it is an interesting book on the economics behind minorities in the us. it’s data are outdated by approximately four decades, but i enjoy it for sowell’s ideas on what may or may not be true given certain hypotheses or axioms.
a good networking book is the one i used in college
Forever War is an amazing book. It makes the reader experience the senselessness of war.
I’m reading Cryptonomicon at the moment. It’s a great book: all the intertwined plot lines are fascinating and I want to know what happens to the characters. As usual for Stephenson, there are frequent diversions and a lot of technical details (eg on cryptography, the physical structure of the internet). He has become one of my favourite authors.
As far as classic sci-fi goes, Alfred Bester is great. The Stars My Destination is one of my all time favourites. The Demolished Man got a Hugo award in 1953.
The Machine Stops is an amazing story by E.M. Forster all the way from 1909! It predicts the internet and videoconferencing, among other things.
Some more classics:
Heinlein seems to be recommended by a lot of people in the community so I’ll give that a read next week along with the sequel (Forever Peace) to Forever War.
Heinlein has several phases. There’s the early teen / mil sf stuff (“Farmer in the Sky” etc), the psuedo-libertarian propaganda stuff (“Moon is a Harsh Mistress”) that seems to have come along with his libertarian 2nd (3rd?) wife, then he has a stroke & a bunch of medical problems and starts writing weird huge books: “Friday”, “Stranger in a Strange Land” etc. He was also bright guy who, at least some of the time, was actually satirising the things he was writing about. So there are many Heinlines & people are probably attached to different aspects.
Honestly, I think there’s better SF being written in the modern era though. If you really get into the field, it’s worth going back & reading some of the older stuff, to see what later authors are sometimes reacting against / referring to, but reading SF from the 30s<->50s is not in any sense mandatory.
I tend to agree. Avoid Heinlein, other than maybe Starship Troopers. I will never forget his line “9 out of 10 rapes are actually the womans fault”, which is from Stranger in a Strange Land. That was such a bad book, it actually put me off reading for a while.
bleah I wish I could unread that line. Not only is it preposterously and poisonously paradox, it also disgustingly ignores the fact that by far not all rapes involve women at all.
Stranger in a Strange Land is great not just because it’s a great story, but again because it’s a window into the counter-culture / free love movement of the 60s. Same warning applies though - walking talking screaming sexism in this book. Doesn’t make it any less of a classic, but being aware is good :)
I could never get into Heinlein. I finished Starship Troopers, but couldn’t even make it half way through Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I just don’t think he’s that great a writer. I’ve heard good things about Stranger in a String land; might give that one a shot, but from what I’ve read so far, I have several other things I’d rather try to get through first.
I really enjoyed Forever Peace too, although it isn’t really a sequel.
The three companion pieces to Forever War would be Starship Troopers by Heinlin, Armor by Steakley, and then pick one of either Falkenberg’s Legion by Pournelle and Stirling or the anthology Hammer’s Slammers by Drake.
Other military sci-fi novels (say, Old Man’s War by Scalzi or a lot of the space-opera-y stuff) to me just feels too…cartoony, I guess? Like, I don’t want to go so far as grimdark 40K “FOR TEH EMPRAH ETERNAL WAAAGH”, but I also want the fighting and fighters–or the politics behind them–to be in focus instead of the technology or cutesy sci-fi tropes.
I may be in the minority in that opinion though. :)
Been reading Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood… dystopian sci-fi… so far, I’m quite fond of it.
Ooh thanks for that. Just finished the recent remake of A Handmaid’s Tale and first read the book just a few years back. She’s amazing. Will definitely look that up.
Read the sequels. I think the whole trilogy is quite good.
If you ask me for a recommendation for classic sci-fi, I would always reply: Stanisław Lem! He got famous for Solaris but I rather did not enjoy that one actually. For me, the ultimate pinnacles of Lem’s work are “The Futurological Congress” and the short stories of space travelers Pirx and Ijon Tichy. Tichy’s “Seventh Voyage” is a must-read! Also the Eighth and Twentieth. I particularly enjoyed Pirx’ “The Test”, “On Patrol”, “The Hunt”, “The Accident”.
What I like about these works are their playful paradox, comical approach to sci-fi: even that far into the future and sci-fantasy, profane details dominate the plot in unexpected ways. From hilariously funny to mind-opening, etching out sci-fi in a higher resolution.
Finally got around to reading Null States, the second book in Malka Older’s excellent “Centenal” trilogy. It’s one of those books I was anticipating very eagerly, but somehow did not get around to reading when it came out in September. Enjoying it a lot. Andy Weir’s “Artemis” queued up next.
If you’re looking for classic sf, I would recommend short stories over novels. Clarke’s “Of Time and Stars” is a superb single-author collection, for instance, as is Heinlein’s “The Past Through Tomorrow”. Anything by Groff Conklin if you want well-put-together anthologies, also the “Spectrum” series by Amis and Conquest.
If you prefer novel length, check out John Brunner (“The Shockwave Rider” is probably his most accessible book, though “Stand on Zanzibar” is better), Larry Niven (“Protector” or “Ringworld”), Harry Harrison (the “To The Stars” trilogy is great), or for older stuff, Clarke again (“The Fountains of Paradise”, “The City and the Stars”; he’s probably my favourite of that generation of writers), Andre Norton (don’t like everything she’s done, but “Star Soldiers” is superb), Asimov (a lot of his novels feel a bit dated, but “Foundation” is still a great read). Not really a fan of Heinlein’s novel-length stuff any more, though some of them are probably still worth a read (“Citizen of the Galaxy”, “Tunnel in the Sky”, “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”, “Starship Troopers” and “The Door Into Summer” are probably the ones that hold up best today, if you want to explore his work.)
I am reading Fumbling the Future and Pearls of Functional Algorithm Design.
For classic Science Fiction, I would recommend some John Brunner (The Shockwave Rider, Stand on Zanzibar…).
For networking, it really depends what you’re looking for. For instance, if you want a good reference about the main protocols of the Internet, this is pretty good. TCP/IP illustrated is also a good alternative (I only read the first edition which did not have IPv6, but this one does).
The Idea Factory may be something you’d like as well.
Last time I reported on “Convinct Conditioning” by Paul Wade. That was 2 months ago and I have been following a twice a week intro training schedule from it.
Here is a cheat sheet of the step for each exercises.
Initially the exercises didn’t look daunting. I do however approach them like the book recommends, with very slow and perfect execution (attempts ;P). I was surprised how hard even the most basic exercise can pump out of you. I’m speaking as someone who did a lot (7 years) of ju-jitsu in the past, does running and generally I consider myself in an OK shape.
A training session combines 2 of the above exercises. You pick previous steps as warm up (ie. Push-ups Step 1 2x30, Step 2 2x15) then the main step you are on.
Now to the main point. I don’t see a change in my muscularity, though wife states that some muscles are starting to shape out more prominently. I do however notice a significant change in general endurance and functional strength. I’m going to continue this training, I plan to move to more advanced schemes from the book with more days in the week but I’m trying not to rush this. I will report how it goes next time ;)
In other books. Things that I finished reading.
“Mafia” by Petra Reski - a book about the Italian mob, it’s structure, hierarchy etc. I’m disappointed, not in the content itself but in the writing style that made this book very hard to follow. Half of it is written in the present as the author goes on a trip to Italy, with sudden flashbacks to her memories from past interviews, cases, meeting with politicians and mobsters etc. This makes it very hard to follow & discern the presented facts about specific cases and actors taking part in the main topic off the book - it’s just distracting and annoying to suddenly read about a cab driver she hires when in Italy that spends most of the time doing courses for ladies playing bingo… There were a lot of interesting facts about the history of the mob in Italy but a lot of them felt not fully explored.
“Sylvia Rafael: The Life and Death of a Mossad Spy” by Ram Oren. I didn’t expect much from this book and was very nicely surprised. The narration is split into two interleaving halves - the perspective of Sylvia Rafael & her nemesis from the Black September responsible for the kidnapping and killing of the Israeli athletes during the Summer Olympics in 1972 in Munich. The book explores motives on individual and organizational level on both sides of the conflict, shallow but interesting insight into general operational security of intel agents. However the most interesting part is the accidental killing of the wrong target in Lillehammer, and not even the fact that it happened but what happened after it. The level of pressure Israel was putting on the release of it’s agents and how the goverments cooperated on that. It’s also surprising how quickly the agents were released and how that played in tandem with media attention dropping off. Recommended, entertaining read.
“Getting Things Done” by David Allen - I just recently started and I’m trying to implement the methodology as I go, using taskwarrior as my main tool and a plain pen & notebook. So far I feel slightly better organized but it’s far too soon to draw any serious conclusions on the positive/negative impact this book has. I will report back later after I’m done with it and have the system ticking for a few more cycles.
For aesthetics, a lot of results will be diet based (99%).
Agreed. I’m actually trying to gain weight (by changing my diet) as I’m 66kg while 182cm height. My skinny factor is the only reason wife sees some changes in how the muscles look.
https://equilibriabook.com/molochs-toolbox/ I think this.chapter stands alone but I may be wrong. It’s all online though.
I’ve been reading The Knitter’s Almanac again. Elizabeth Zimmerman is a fun read. I don’t plan to knit anything from it right now, but I would still recommend her works to anyone, even if you’re not a knitter.
http://akkartik.name/post/scifi. Forever War is on it :)
I’m currently reading I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett (the 38th book in the Discworld series), trying to savour the last few remaining books I haven’t yet read.
What a coincidence, I’m also reading UNIX Network Programming by W. Richard Stevens. I’ve been working with Beej’s Networking Programming along with that book.
Between fighting a cold and jury duty, not so much reading lately. I just started re-reading Alexey Radul’s thesis, Propagation Networks: A Flexible and Expressive Substrate for Computation, though.
For networking, here are a couple different books I’ve found helpful. Each has a pretty different angle, at least one will probably resonate with you.
Silence on the Wire: A Field Guide to Passive Reconnaissance and Indirect Attacks by Michael Zalewski: This one is security-focused, and provides a lot of context about TCP/IP, networking hardware, and the like while describing various historical vulnerabilities and ways to passively gather information about networks.
Networking for Systems Administrators by Michael Lucas: This is a very hands-on guide to networking, with practical advice for diagnosing and fixing many kinds of problems.
Practical Packet Analysis: Using Wireshark to Solve Real-World Network Problems by Chris Sanders: This one is all about capturing and interpreting network traffic, and covers details for several common protocols.
Beej’s Guide to Network Programming (in C) - this is the “here are three chords, now form a band” of networking books, if your goal is to start writing socket stuff in C as soon as possible. (Be safe!)
If you’re working in C, I wrote socket99, to make it simple to set up several common cases in the BSD sockets interface, using C99 designated initializers. (For example, opening a socket for an async TCP server.) The BSD socket API is especially gnarly.
(This is paraphrased from a comment I left on metafilter a while ago, FWIW.)
Also, feoh recommended The Linux Programming Interface. While it isn’t primarily a networking book, it does explain the socket interfaces and such in depth, among many other things. Stevens’ Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment covers a lot of the same material, in a less Linux-specific way (which can be a pro or con). While they mostly overlap, one or the other might seem clearer for particular topics.
Not me, but here is what Bill Gates recommends for this year - Books I read this year
I’m re-reading The Reality Dysfunction. I recommend it.
Currently reading The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder. It seems to be often recommended in threads like this.
That book was a big inspiration to me in high school.
Reading Uncle Bob’s Clean Architecture and alternating between saying “duh”, “hmm that’s good” and rolling my eyes.
alternating between saying “duh”, “hmm that’s good” and rolling my eyes
alternating between saying “duh”, “hmm that’s good” and rolling my eyes
That’s refreshing. Been meeting too many programmers (of the sect SOLIDites) recently, who seem to view it as some sort of holy tome to be revered and held aloft, as unquestionably the one way true way to programmer enlightenment. Hallelujah.
The City of Illusions by Ursula Le Guin.
I’ve been reading less the last week due to buying a mountain bike, but I’m about half way through “On Liberty” by John Stuart Mills, and a few chapters into “Numerical Methods for Scientists and Engineers” by Richard Hamming.
Off and on I’ve been re-reading some of J.G. Ballard’s sci-fi short stories. I’m particularly fond of this collection, but I enjoy his other work also.
Reading “Learning React” from O’Reilly, for obvious reasons, but more interestingly:
“Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment”
Which is a scientific perspective from an evolutionary psychologist on mindfulness and Buddhism in general. Found it via the Ezra Klein podcast, and now it’s just captured my attention. Been reading it bit-by-bit on the train into work.
The greatest stylist in American genre fiction was Jack Vance , who wrote many books of wildly varying quality, but I can recommend without reservation the Demon Princes and Planet of Adventure series (rollicking good space opera), as well as Lyonesse (high fantasy).
 To quote a review of the first Demon Princes book:
“(Vance has) a velvety elegance that rivals John Gielgud reciting poetry… One of the treasures of science fiction.”
“(Vance has) a velvety elegance that rivals John Gielgud reciting poetry… One of the treasures of science fiction.”
I’m reading Fearless Change. So far it’s pretty interesting, I don’t think I’ll necessarily gain a lot of wisdom for reading it. I’m hoping that it will fix a few bugs in the way I try to champion change in the workplace, and maybe teach this old dog a few new tricks.
I hope you’ll come back and report changes if it works !
I’m currently reading “The name of the rose”, but going slow on it, and also got hooked up on reading scp-wiki while commuting
You might consider giving this a look. I found it really enhanced my appreciation and understanding of the book.
I guess it would be really nice to understand what all the latin phrases mean
I’m reading Ender’s Shadow at the moment.
Are you going to read the whole series ?
Yes. I reread Ender’s Game a couple weeks back after reading The Swarm. Then I went back and read the First Formic War trilogy, Earth Unaware, Earth Afire, and Earth Awakens. Now I’m reading the parallel novels and then I’ll move on chronologically. I was originally planning to read them in the order published, but since Card says he wrote them to be read either way, I’m going chronological.
Classic sci-fi recs: Karel Capek’s War with the Newts is a better version of his robots story than R.U.R. I also really enjoy Kurt Vonnegut, reading his work feels a bit like role-playing a pinball if you’re into that sort of thing.
I enjoy Vonnegut’s books as literature - I appreciate the language, the way they are constructed, and the ideas he conveys - but I don’t find them particularly engaging. I read Sirens of Titan recently and it has deep thoughts about free will and the meaning of life, but all the characters in his books are just weird and not at all relatable. I guess it’s just personal preference - I like to be able to empathise with the characters.
The cover art of War with the Newts looks amazing already. Does it translate well into English?
I enjoyed the English and haven’t read the Czech :)
I’m going to start reading The Little Schemer this week, and once I’ve finished that I’m probably going to dive into either The Seasoned Schemer or SICP
If you want some fun older scifi, I’d suggest:
I’m reading a book about PostgreSQL - “Mastering PostgreSQL in Application Development” by Dimitri Fontaine - it’s to get a refresher for my SQL as I haven’t been using it for a while, and I hope to learn some of the newer features of SQL, I’ve been quite inspired by reading Markus Winands Modern-SQL.com site.
In the fiction department, I’m about to read Dan Browns latest Robert Langdon book - Origin
I’m currently reading I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Lynn Anderson Song. It’s a book about mental illness and a family in Chicago, back during a time period where we weren’t sure of the causes of schizophrenia. It’s a really interesting book that uses the POV of the patient, the mother and the psychologist.
Fiction: I just started The Wandering Earth, a collection of sci-fi short stories by Cixin Liu. I rarely read sci-fi these days, but multiple people told me that I should give him a try even if I’ve gotten tired of anglo-american sci-fi. His trilogy starting with The Three-Body Problem is also supposed to be good (it’s the first novel by an author from Asia to win the best-novel Hugo award, for whatever that’s worth). But I haven’t gotten far enough to have an opinion.
Nonfiction: Partway through Engineering Play: A Cultural History of Children’s Software by Mizuko Ito. (I was prompted to pick it up because it’s been remaindered, with hardcovers going for $6.75.) It’s an informative history so far, good overview of first-gen edutainment software and some of the context and controversies around it.
Finally reading How to Win Friends and Influence People. Can’t believe it took me this long to pick it up. Amazing book.
I’m re-reading my favorite novel The Name of the Rose for the umpteenth time. It’s been so long since I’ve simply read fiction for pleasure.
At the moment I’m reading Mastering blockchain, since I want to understand about how things work under the hood.
Neither networking or sci-fi, I’m currently reading:
The Montessori Method by Maria Montessori, and
Computer Science Teacher by Beverly Clarke
partly as I’m so fed up with $work that I’m looking at going back into teaching next year, but also to improve my coaching and teaching in general…
..but I am enjoying reading the Heroes of Olympus Series by Rick Riordan with my youngest daughter :~)
Book on networking: “Silence on the Wire” is a strange and wonderful book. Each chapter is half intro to some basic topic in networking, half essay on the passive surveillance opportunities implicit in the design. Starts with Ethernet and moves up the stack, if I remember correctly.
It’s definately on the mainstream business/life advice side, but The Principles by Ray Dalio.
Went through the first quarter which is largely an autobiography of himself - some of the advice is obvious, some against my personal goals, but has some reminders and has made me bookmark some history books to read.
This weekend, I compiled a list of some popular science fiction, fantasy, and horror from 2017, and based on that, I’ve started reading Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson.
Currently reading Faust by Goethe. It’s very interesting: he employs (or rather, the translator employs) a wide vocabulary, and makes a lot of references esp. to antiquity. Although researching everything makes for slower going, it is well-written and better than I’d expected.
I am currently reading:
‘The blue book’: Smalltalk-80: The language and its implementation by Goldberd, Anderson
‘Smalltalk with style’ by Kent Beck.
Both are thought provoking and a nice read, heartly recommended.
As for other recommendations:
The Reality Dysfunction by Peter F. Hamilton
Forever War is GREAT. I really enjoyed that one too.
I’m always reading some sort of Sci-Fi and would love to share recommendations: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/25834255-andrew
I really enjoyed, lately:
The Gone Away World - Nick Harkaway
Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur Clarke
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep - Philip Dick
The Stars are Legion - Kameron Hurley
Pushing Ice - Alastair Reynolds
Glasshouse - Charles Stross
A World out of Time - Niven
Have you read Iain Banks books? If not, read all the Culture books, and The Algebraist.
I have a request for books rather than what I’m reading.
Can anyone recommend a decent book on reverse engineering Android applications? I’ve found plenty of material on how to write apps, how to turn compiled APKs into smali and use tools like jadx to turn back into Java, but nothing really that walks you through the complete process of going from compiled app to understanding what’s going on in an app you didn’t develop yourself. Does such a thing exist?
I’m reading Red Mars trilogy by KSR, and here are a few sci-fi books I really liked.