1. 34

Meta: I took the liberty of starting this instance because (a) I haven’t seen it in a while; (b) I wanted to share the book I just started reading. :)

So I’ll go first: You Are Not A Gadget by Jaron Larnier. So far seems very insightful and well-written: most of the times, reading a single paragraph makes me feel like pausing and considering: “wow, that was a really good point/argument” (in a way, that contrast’s testament to the kinds of shallow conversations we’re used to on the web – and what kinds of discussions such content inspires us to AFK).

It talks about how changes in technology can change the way perceive the world. Changing the perceptions of a significant amount of people at scale has been a “desirable” goal for a long time, but for the most of our history, it’s only been achieved through argumentation. In contrast, technologists can make us interact with artificial content in a way that makes us change our perceptions “from the inside out”. Well, that’s about as far as I’ve read, as I’ve been reading this for just a couple hours. Would love to hear more from other lobsters.

    1. 21

      Currently most of my reading has been juggling political philosophy books.

      My main list is: The Origins of Capitalism, Carceral Capitalism, Why I’ve Stopped Talking (To White People) About Race, and October (by Mieville)

      However, I usually keep on having to stop reading these, because, in the case of Meiksins’ book, the density, and in the case of the rest, people have a habit of being disgusting creatures when The System tells them it’s acceptable. One part of October describes how, in the run-up to the revolution, a right-wing ‘protest’ where they locked a town-full of jewish people inside a church and set it alight…

      So for the inter-rim between those books, I’ve been ripping through Whipping Girl, it’s ridiculously accessible and a very good deconstruction of gender and how society deals with it. I also recently obtained a copy of Bruce Lee’s “Fighting Method” for fitness reasons.

      Another book I obtained recently was Morton’s “Humankind: Solidarity with non-human people”, which rather surprisingly turned out to be a Marxist argument for the better-treatment of animals. The first five pages demonstrate the author has clearly done his philosophical research, however, so I am rather looking forward to it.

      1. 4

        The Origins of Capitalism is an excellent book. The way it traces the development and solidification of institutions, and the way they channel human behavior and potential, dissolved a whole bunch of my preconceived notions about the nature of things.

        You might also like A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey

      2. 4

        I’m doing 52 for 52. I read a sci-fi book every week in an effort to relearn(?) focus which social media and the internet has almost certainly destroyed. I’m currently reading “The Dispossessed” by Ursula K. Le Guin.

      3. 3

        Been looking for some books like this (and the Mieville has been on my list for some time), those look worth a shot - thanks. I have the same problem with political/history books, for what it’s worth’ I can only take so much depressing history before I need to clear my head with something lighter.

    2. 13

      How to Solve It - G. Polya.

      1. 6

        The only thing I ever remember about that book is, paraphrased, if there’s a problem you can’t solve, there’s also a smaller problem you can’t solve. Find that smaller problem and solve it first.

        1. 2

          Sounds like a good summary, but for much broader meaning of the word “problem” that would seem from it. The book gives a list of questions designed to explore the space around your problem from many different perspectives, hopefully guiding you towards a different problem that’s easier to solve, and will contribute necessary insight or data into your main one.

        2. 1

          The idea is called divide and conquer.

          1. 3

            Divide and conquer is a specific instance of that tactic. It’s one where solving the smaller problem actually gives you part of the solution of the larger problem. But in mathematics you often solve a truly simpler version of a problem to discover a strategy to attack the larger problem. The solution to the simpler problem itself is not used any more.

      1. 4

        Ahh! I’ve been waiting for him to finish that book. Thank you for reminding me.

        Have you read Ellen Wood’s book “The Origins of Capitalism”? I found it to be adjacently interesting.

        1. 3

          Haven’t heard of that one, sounds interesting.

      2. 1

        I really liked this book, but only to a certain extent, after which it became a bit repetitive at times. But overall very fun read with incredible stories from the folks who work in bullshit jobs themselves.

        1. 1

          Good to hear you liked it, I look forward to reading it.

      1. 1

        Is Timeless Way your first Christopher Alexander book? How are you liking it?

        1. 2

          I read Notes on the Synthesis of Form before, which I loved the first half, the second half sounded like a formalization of the first and wasn’t that interesting.

          Regarding “The Timeless Way” I like it, I haven’t read “A Pattern Language” yet, but I have the impression this one is better since it explains the concept of patterns and some examples without going to the formalization that “A Pattern Language” seems to go, which was the part I didn’t like about “Notes on the Synthesis of Form” :)

          1. 2

            I enjoy the conceptual stuff too, although I’ve been reading Alexander’s later books and not the early ones. Pattern Language is interesting, but it’s mostly a collection of ~200 specific patterns for physical buildings.

            I once read an book review that described The Timeless Way of Building as “underbaked,” A Pattern Language as “just right,” and The Nature of Order as “overbaked.” I’m inclined to agree, but overbaked is how I like it! Design patterns are already abstractions, but in TNOO Alexander really digs in and tries to determine what makes a good pattern. Here’s a thread from a couple years ago.

            1. 2

              A Pattern Language gives you examples of patterns from the level of countries all the way down to rooms in your house. It’s filled with fascinating, humanistic reasons for each pattern. Some of my favorites:

              1. Have little hiding spaces in your house because kids like to hide in things.
              2. As a teen gets older, give them a space of their own, perhaps a room they can go into without coming through the rest of the house. That approach develops independence with age.
              3. There’s a really beautiful passage about building a marital bed and how it symbolizes coming together for the long future.
              4. It’s better to build cities where cars move slowly until they get to a fast highway. Not every little road needs to be super fast or wide. You actually end up losing little time in this situation, but you gain quieter and nicer spaces.
              5. Mixed residential and commercial development is the way to go. Downtowns are death because they are unused for half the day.

              etc etc. I recommend getting it and reading a bit at a time, like a work of poetry.

              1. 7

                Alexander wrote the following in his preface to Richard P. Gabriel’s book Patterns of Software:

                In my life as an architect, I find that the single thing which inhibits young professionals, new students most severely, is their acceptance of standards that are too low. If I ask a student whether her design is as good as Chartres, she often smiles tolerantly at me as if to say, “Of course not, that isn’t what I am trying to do. . . . I could never do that.”

                Then, I express my disagreement, and tell her: “That standard must be our standard. If you are going to be a builder, no other standard is worthwhile. That is what I expect of myself in my own buildings, and it is what I expect of my students.” Gradually, I show the students that they have a right to ask this of themselves, and must ask this of themselves. Once that level of standard is in their minds, they will be able to figure out, for themselves, how to do better, how to make something that is as profound as that.

                Two things emanate from this changed standard. First, the work becomes more fun. It is deeper, it never gets tiresome or boring, because one can never really attain this standard. One’s work becomes a lifelong work, and one keeps trying and trying. So it becomes very fulfilling, to live in the light of a goal like this. But secondly, it does change what people are trying to do. It takes away from them the everyday, lower-level aspiration that is purely technical in nature, (and which we have come to accept) and replaces it with something deep, which will make a real difference to all of us that inhabit the earth.

                I would like, in the spirit of Richard Gabriel’s searching questions, to ask the same of the software people who read this book. But at once I run into a problem. For a programmer, what is a comparable goal? What is the Chartres of programming? What task is at a high enough level to inspire people writing programs, to reach for the stars? Can you write a computer program on the same level as Fermat’s last theorem? Can you write a program which has the enabling power of Dr. Johnson’s dictionary? Can you write a program which has the productive power of Watt’s steam engine? Can you write a program which overcomes the gulf between the technical culture of our civilization, and which inserts itself into our human life as deeply as Eliot’s poems of the wasteland or Virginia Woolf’s “The Waves”?

                1. 3

                  This passage is really beautiful and encouraging, thank you!

            2. 1

              Sounds like I will skip A Pattern Language and go with The Nature of Order then :)


    3. 8

      Job Application Forms. I got a “promotion” that comes with a $2/hr wage cut, so I have lots of reading to do.

    4. 7

      Lord of Light, by Roger Zelazny (1967).

      1. 2

        I can’t recommend Zelazny highly enough for those moments when one needs to just absolutely step outside of reality for a few hours.

    5. 7

      I pretty much always have three books going, so currently:

      • Light reading: Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke. Risk, uncertainty, heuristics. I’m not usually a fan of books with the structure “I did X for 20 years so let me apply that to all of life”, but this one’s hitting the books for its research and I’m a sucker for poker stories.
      • Dense reading: Discourses, Fragments, Handbook by Epictetus, translated by Robin Hard. On a stoicism kick. Reading around the dualism of book one has made this a slog and I may skip ahead or move on to Seneca.
      • Programming: Domain Modeling Made Functional, Scott Wlaschin. Still working on this one.
      1. 2

        That’s exactly my strategy as well (one light, one dense and one technical), I find it means I’m always in the mood to read something (otherwise I’ll resort to shallow articles and silly tutorials online).

        I’ve also found the full Discourses more “diluted” than the Enchiridion and didn’t finish it. I definitely suggest you pick up the latter, if you haven’t already.

        1. 1

          I’m also trying this:

          • One light/escapism: Fool’s Errand - Robin Hobb
          • One heavy: Selected Non-Fictions - Borges
          • One research: The Search for the Perfect Language - Umberto Eco
    6. 6

      I usually read a weird mixed bag of books about computer history and cyberculture books from the ‘90s where everyone thinks the future is awesome or the future is scary.

      I’m currently reading Net Slaves 2.0, from the website of the same name, focusing on little stories from the dot-com crash, https://www.amazon.com/Net-Slaves-2-0-Tales-Surviving/dp/1581152841

      1. 4

        Have you read Stephen Johnson’s Interface Culture? It’s my favorite in that genre.

        1. 1

          That one’s new to me. Thanks for the recommendation!

    7. 5
      • The Elements of Computing Systems: Building a Modern Computer from First Principles - By Noam Nisan and Shimon Schocken

      • Ghost in the Wires - Kevin Mitnick

      1. 2

        The first book is usually called “Nand to Tetris”, right? I’m interested in how you’re getting on with that. I personally kind of, baulked at the mathematics, and ended up winding my own path to operating systems development via osdev.org :)

        1. 1

          Yeah, right ! Well i just started it , so i don’t have a strong opinion on it but i will give you proper feedback later. Thanks for the osdev tip ;)

      1. 1

        Dealers of Lightning is one of my favorite books. How do you like Where Wizards Stay Up Late?

        1. 2

          i am still going through it, and will be done in a 2-3 days, will post here then.

      2. 1

        I thought wizards was too disjointed. “Inventing the Internet” by Janet Abbate was a more coherent history. Really enjoyed that book.

        1. 1

          ah ! thanks for the suggestion, will check that one out as well :)

    8. 4

      I’ve mostly been reading History of Western Philosophy. I like it so far, if only for the attempt at historical summary, but I feel like there’s some bias in the analysis. It’s not going very quickly, though (I’m about halfway), so I’ve gotten through a number of Agatha Christie novels along the way, as well.

    9. 4

      About 25% into Bad Blood, which is the insane story of the biotech startup Theranos, from it’s early days all the way up into the ongoing investigation into how it faked it’s way into tens of millions of dollars in funding from VCs without a working product.

    10. 4

      Full Catastrophe Living - take care of yourselves out there folks.

    11. 4

      I just finished Moby Dick today! It is a very good book, and I’d take it to with me to a desert island. Around the start and the end, where the foreshadowing is thickest, it reminded me a lot of Dracula – that’s the romantic influence, I suppose. It is also very funny in many places :-D

    12. 4

      blood, sweat and pixels. each chapter is about a different game and it’s been interesting enough but not great, i’d say. mostly because it seems a bit repetitive. the chapter on stardew valley was the most interesting so far.

    13. 4

      In progress….

      • https://personalmba.com/ - If you’re like me and think most trilogies should be singles, and most novels should be short stories….. and just want the meat of an MBA without all the waffle.

      • Skin in the Game, Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Has some good points, also a bunch of foaming at the mouth. A book to read when one feels patient enough to sort through which is which.

      Given up on… https://www.amazon.com/Patterns-Network-Architecture-Fundamentals-paperback/dp/0137063385 Way way way too much foaming at the mouth about the hideous bureaucratic abortion that was OSI. The poor guy is scarred for life. I think he has some good ideas down there somewhere.

    14. 4

      Right now, The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise by R.D. Laing, which seems to match quite ok with the one you recommend. It talks about how the way we experience things is related with mental conditions and social structures; but it is masterfully explained which makes it entertaining and very accessible.

      1. 2

        I just picked this up as well while on vacation.

        I’ve been enjoying working through Project Euler doing the solutions in Rust.

        Creating actual working code with Rust has been a lot of fun!

    15. 3

      Right now:

      • The Count of Monte Cristo - Project Gutenberg is a great resource for classics.

      Future reading:

      • The Rust Programming Language - My local library had this one!
      • Low-Level Programming by Igor Zhirkov - Bought this a while ago and still haven’t found the time to setup the development environment for it.
    16. 3

      Blow-up by Julio Cortazar - a magical realist/surrealist Argentine short story collection. The title story “Blow-up” beautifully captures what it means to take a photo, from preparation, the spontaneity, your intrusion in the scene, the ethics of taking photos of other people, how we see photos after we take them, how they have a life of their own.

    17. 3

      I recently finished Karel Čapek’s “War With the Newts”, which I highly recommend. Fantastic sci-fi satire.

      Now I’m in reading limbo. I’ve read a few chapters into several books that seem interesting (on fluid simulation, computer vision, knot theory, computation geometry), but haven’t had one really capture my interest yet. At some point I’ll just have to pick one.

      1. 1

        If you’re into early 20th century political sci-fi satire, may I recommend The Clockwork Man by E. V. Odle? I found it surprisingly modern in its prose style & pretty amusing. (If you don’t feel like buying it & don’t mind reading online, hilobrow.com serialized it about a decade ago as a prelude to printing their new edition.)

        1. 2

          Thanks! I’m going to start reading it tonight.

          I couldn’t find it from their front page, but the hilobrow.com version is still online http://hilobrow.com/2013/03/20/the-clockwork-man-1/.

    18. 3

      Non-Fiction: I’ve just started A Field Guide to Genetic Programming, and I can at least say that the first part is understandable enough for a person with minimal experience. Additionally, I’m currently continuing The Rust Programming Language after having have taken a brake for a while.

      Fiction: Karl May’s “Durchs Wilde Kurdistan” and Kafka’s “Das Schloss”, both in german, both with longer breaks in between.

    19. 3
      • Graphical Linear Algebra, by Pawel Sobocinski. With online textbooks, I normally get distracted and then forget about them, but I love the writing style here – this one has me hooked.
      • Sin egen herre, by Tore Rem – a biography of author Jens Bjørneboe. Didn’t really know the author before, don’t really feel like reading more of his stuff after getting to know about his life, but it is fascinating how many weird beliefs it is possible to acquire while still being seemingly quite smart.
      • Worm, by Wildbow. Addictive fun.
    20. 3

      In progress:

      Recently finished:

      • Building E-commerce Applications, a complete waste of money and basically just a lazy compilation of undedited blog posts. Booooo.

      • Come and Take It: The Gun Printer’s Guide to Thinking Free, by Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed fame. I finished this probably a week before the current kerfluffle started. There’s a whoooole lot of self-congratulatory bullshit and bluster in this, as Wilson is first and foremost (in my opinion) an attention whore, but buried in there are a couple of good reflections on the role of toolmakers in the pursuit of independence.

      • Come as You Are, a delightful book by Emily Nagoski that I heard about through OhJoySexToy (webcomic about sexual health and practices). It covers a lot of interesting academic information about sex, attraction, and romance, and can help in debugging certain failure modes of relationships or in preemptively being a better partner.

      1. 3

        buried in there are a couple of good reflections on the role of toolmakers in the pursuit of independence.

        We cannot be free until we control the means of production? That sounds like a good reflection, all right :-)

        (Note: this may sound like I’m trying to rile you. I’m not, I am genuinely amused to see Marx echoed in this unexpected context.)

        1. 4

          As the good Chairman once said, “Political power grows out of the barrel of the gun…”.

          A lot of Marxists, communists, and libertarians I think would actually have a lot to talk to each other about if they weren’t so busy engaging in culture war these days.

          1. 3

            It isn’t too surprising, since all three sprang from the same philosophical tradition.

            A funny aside: a friend of mine recently noted, with regard to economics, we’re all Marxists now.

            1. 3

              Yup! Certain groups don’t really like to think about it, but because Marx did the first serious systematic analysis of how economies worked on a global scale (and coined the word “capitalism”, although contrary to popular opinion he did not coin but merely redefined “communism”), all modern economics owes a debt to Marx at least as big as the one it owes to Von Neumann. Even those opposed to Marx’s conclusions are using methods he pioneered to fight them. (Or, to be more direct: “economics begins with Marx” / “Karl Marx invented capitalism”)

              1. 2

                You might like this recent podcast episode from BBC Thinking Allowed: Marx and Marxism: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b2kpm0

      2. 3

        Come and Take It: The Gun Printer’s Guide to Thinking Free, by Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed fame. I finished this probably a week before the current kerfluffle started. There’s a whoooole lot of self-congratulatory bullshit and bluster in this, as Wilson is first and foremost (in my opinion) an attention whore, but buried in there are a couple of good reflections on the role of toolmakers in the pursuit of independence.

        This was on my reading list; but, after I did the ’ol Amazon “Look Inside,” I took it off because it looked like the signal/noise would be unacceptable. Please give a shout if it ends up being worthwhile. I watched a few of his pre-DD/early-DD lectures on philosopy, and the guy gave me stuff to chew on.

        1. 2

          So, again, having finished it I think the same points could be handled in a pamphlet instead of the drawn-out narrative Wilson attenpts.

          1. 1

            Thanks for humouring my obviously lacking reading comprehension skills. 🤦🏾‍♂️

        2. 1

          Lectures on philosophy? Had no idea he was into that, mind sharing some links?

          1. 2

            Cody Wilson Philosophy, Part I is the first of a two part series.

            Why I printed a gun is short and sweet; but, doesn’t get too deep.

    21. 3

      Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men (Amazon) which has been surprisingly eye opening on the habits and motivations of abusive men.

      I just got through Why We Sleep (Amazon), which was good, but surprisingly not that much of an improvement over listening to the Joe Rogan Experience #1109 with Matthew Walker, the author of the book.

    22. 3
      1. Getting Clojure by Russ Olsen
      2. The Rust Programming Book by Steve Klabnik

      (3.) Finished William Gibson’s Neuromancer few days ago.

      1. 1

        How are you finding Getting Clojure? I’m looking for a Clojure book that doesn’t start with “functional x imperative” and assumes I already know some stuff. Learning a new language is hard because there’s few books that meet you there, but I’ve found that to be even more so with Clojure.

        1. 3

          I have to say that this could be the best book I’ve read on Clojure (in aspects of learning it). It really has that Clojure vibe, concise, expressive, to the point! I really like it, because I often felt overwhelmed by possibilities of writing simple things. This book explained many aspects of Clojure and functional programming in Clojure (not in general, that’s important) very well, where I had that “ahaa!” moment. Plus it has examples from real world code (open source Clojure projects). If you ask me, go for it, you won’t regret it! This is the book to get to untangle your mind about clj.

    23. 3

      Wrapping up Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought, by Jonathan Rauch. It was written 25 years ago, but is vitally relevant today. It’s a fiercely argued treatise that defends the principles of free speech and liberal science. This is certainly one I’ll return to again.

      Send me a friend request if you use Goodreads. The friend activity feed is a good way to discover new books, so it’s a good platform for friend collecting.

    24. 3

      I’ve just finished Infomocracy by Malka Older. It was entertaining as “political intrigue + gadgets” but really lacking in terms of scientific plausibility, character development and other kinds of depth, so it didn’t live up to the recommendations I’ve seen for it. But then, I have a strong preference for hard sci-fi so it’s not totally unexpected.

      Before that, I read The Arrows of Time by Greg Egan, the last book in his Orthogonal theory. That was fascinating, like all of his books I’ve read, and takes place in a universe with different physics. Egan also wrote a ~250 page primer on those physics. It blows my mind that somebody can take literary research to such levels.

      Now I’m back to Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. I keep stepping away from it because it’s just so uncomfortable to see how deeply irrational we are. Lots to think about.

      1. 1

        The Orthogonal trilogy is a great introduction to General Relativity.

    25. 3

      Just finished Raven Rock, by Garrett Graff. It’s the history of the US’s continuity of government/continuity of operations/continuity of the presidency plans (primarily in the context of nuclear war), from Truman through the Obama Administration.

      It’s a fascinating combination of politics, technology, and social issues. If you’ve ever found the “football” or the “gold card” to be a neat idea, you’ll like this book.

      And the opening chapter is the perfect story to drag you in: someone doing radio ops/control tower work for Air Force one, on the day Nixon resigns, hearing that the plane is changing call site from Air Force One to USAF 27000 at 12:00:30pm, and only finding out what the deal was when he gets home and sees the news.

    26. 3

      I recently started Occulture, an essay collection by Carl Abrahamsson. I haven’t heard of the guy, but Erik Davis, Gary Lachmann, and Mitch Horowitz have all given it the thumbs-up (and they are my go-to authors for clear-eyed, unobscurantist histories of the impact of occult ideas on wider society).

      I’m slowly working my way through Baudrillard’s Simulation and Simulacra, which though short is very dense. I’m pretty sure I’ve read the whole thing before, but I didn’t have the historical context to really understand some of the examples given back then. It’s easier to understand once you’ve read Society of the Spectacle or become familiar with the ideas of semiotics. The tendency among midcentury french thinkers to look down on signalling as shallow rubs me the wrong way, but I’m sure there’s stuff in here that hasn’t yet been reinvented in cogsci, so it’s worth diving in.

      I’ve been slowly plodding my way through Playing at the World for nearly a year. It’s an exhaustive history of D&D (emphasis on exhaustive), and it covers a lot of interesting material just by digging very deep. The part I’m on right now is an extensive history of the prussian tradition in wargaming and its influence on the marketing of british toy soldier accessories.

      I recently finished Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation, and before that, the VanderMeers’ anthology The New Weird.

    27. 3

      “Essential Worship” by Greg Sheer. It’s a little shallow and broad but still good. Churches in my sphere have been struggling with diversity versus identity politics. Music is a natural battlegrounds.

      I really enjoyed You Are Not A Gadget. Dystopic technologist non-fiction is a favorite genre for me.

      1. 1

        Interesting, I’ll add that one to my list. I hadn’t thought of that, even though I’ve experienced the “division” (in worship music style) myself. Moving to England, with the stronger high church tradition, has been pretty great in that sense.

        1. 1

          To be honest I don’t think the book brings much to the table. Almost through it, and he seems to believe there’s a dichotomy to be clarified as false at every intersection, and is a general-use book for worship leaders. Our worship leader asked us to read it. But I’ve had a couple hard conversations with others about diversity/outward appearance/who I’m worshiping with not being foundational to my faith, and I’m looking forward to more!

    28. 2
      • How to think like a mathematician by Kevin Houston. It’s a basic maths/logic text in the vein of How to Solve It but more aimed at people looking to read maths at university. It’s been on my list since somebody posted a free extract here and I’m finally getting stuck into it.
      • Stalin’s Nose by Rory MacLean. It’s a fictionialised travel story in which the main character travels post-Communist Europe in a Trabant, with his toothless aunt and the pig that killed his uncle. I’m finding it a little drier than the author’s second book, The Oatmeal Ark, but still a good read.

      I’m looking forward to reading Gnomon next on the fiction side, I hear good things.

    29. 2
      • Confessions of an Economic Hitman
      • The Rosie Project
      • The Rust Programming Language
    30. 2

      The Information Diet by Clay Johnson

    31. 2

      Namely two books:

      • Is Marriage for White People by Ralph Richard Banks.
      • Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart by Alice Walker.
    32. 2

      I’m on a holiday with lots of driving so I’ve stocked up on audiobooks. Currently reading Ho Chi Minh Down With Colonialism!, up next is Adam Fisher Valley of Genius.

      Print: I just ordered Martin Empson ‘Kill all the Gentlemen’ Class struggle and change in the English countryside from Bookmarks, the socialist bookshop in London that was trashed by fascists today.

    33. 2
      • Pleasure: Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
      • Book Club: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
      • Learning: The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year by Armin A. Brott
    34. 2

      Johan Huizinga’s The Autumn of the Middle Ages

    35. 2

      I’m rereading The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. Some of the finest science fantasy I’ve ever read, cannot recommend it highly enough.

      “[We] wore the gaudy armor of barbarians–you wore his heart.”

    36. 2

      I usually have one ‘fun’ fiction and a couple of heavier things going on at once, but I’ve run out of fun at the moment:

      • Beyond Good and Evil - Nietzsche
      • The Souls of Black Folk - Du Bois
      • Nausea - Sartre
      • The Gulag Archipelago - Solzhenitsyn
      1. 2

        On the same note as The Gulag Archipelago, have you looked at Escape From Camp 14? I haven’t read it, but it’s been highly recommended to me. It’s about the labour camps in North Korea from the perspective of a defector. Probably not as reliable as a source as Solzhenitsyn is, but the excepts I’ve read seem to make it a “lighter” read (quotes because we’re talking about the life history of a man who claims he didn’t know that the outside world existed).

    37. 2

      El Principe see niebla to try to up my Spanish skills

    38. 2

      My last book was King Leopold’s Ghost. It’s the story of how Belgium— or more specifically, their king— colonised the Congo. To the author’s credit, he doesn’t shy away from the horrors of history; but, he also is clear about his contemporary moral judgements too.

      I’m half-way through Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down. The author, J.E. Gordon, has been called one of the founders of materials science. This book is a layman’s introduction to structural and materials engineering. The highest compliment I can give is that Gordon’s way of explaining his subject is Feynman-esque.

      Next up: Getting Past No and Getting To Yes, two infamous texts on negotiation that came from Harvard Law School. I’ve absorbed bits and pieces of their valuable advice throughout my years in consulting. It’s long-past time for me to give them a proper read.

    39. 2

      On Writing Well

      I had been looking to improve my non-fiction writing. Initially I wanted to take up an online course, but there are way too many of those (at least on Udemy) and it’s difficult to filter out the bad ones.

      I think I read someone recommend this book on HN, so I picked it up. So far so good!

    40. 2

      Currently reading “Start with why” by Simon Sinek!

    41. 2

      Roads to Infinity: The Mathematics of Truth and Proof - John C. Stillwell

    42. 1
      • “Bounce” by Matthew Syed
      • “The Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility” by Stewart Brand