This may have been one of the best books I have ever read. I found myself wishing that it would not end. Feynman's personality and curiosity should be...moreThis may have been one of the best books I have ever read. I found myself wishing that it would not end. Feynman's personality and curiosity should be admired and replicated.(less)
(TODO: Need to eventually write a better review of this).
This is a very eye opening book exploring the flaws in the feedback loop between blogs and "l...more(TODO: Need to eventually write a better review of this).
This is a very eye opening book exploring the flaws in the feedback loop between blogs and "legitimate" news media, especially pertaining the way fake, or exaggerated stories can be "traded up the chain" (his words) from a non-reputable blog to a major news organization like CNN. This should be especially interesting to anyone in the IT security industry, since this is a vulnerability at the semantic level and not one at the technological level....it is a vulnerability that is allowing people and organizations to construct a semi-fake reality that they want you to see.
That being said, this vulnerability is built into humanity and is not really anything new, but the tactics in which it is exploited in this new age of the instantaneous news cycle and "feedback journalism" is well worth understanding. Hopefully we can figure out a fix at some point (he doesn't really offer any).(less)
Solid overview of JVM tuning, performance monitoring, profiling and all of the low-level technical details of the JVM that are worth knowing when need...moreSolid overview of JVM tuning, performance monitoring, profiling and all of the low-level technical details of the JVM that are worth knowing when needing to debug performance issues. A solid book to have on hand as a reference.(less)
Solid overview of the language features and the style of clojure programming. The authors assume a lot of knowledge about functional programming and l...moreSolid overview of the language features and the style of clojure programming. The authors assume a lot of knowledge about functional programming and lisp in general so it may not be the best book to start off with if you have no experience in the functional/lisp world.(less)
This is probably one of the best animal-centric books I have ever read. The surface level plot is the analysis of a series of tiger attacks that happe...moreThis is probably one of the best animal-centric books I have ever read. The surface level plot is the analysis of a series of tiger attacks that happened in Eastern Russia in the late 1990s. After this tiger upset the balance of the forest and started eating Humans, a ready-made team was deployed to stop it. Yes, Russia has teams dedicated to stopping tiger attacks.
The actual book is written more like a new yorker article (and the author has written for the new yorker so that makes sense). It presents a detailed overview of the Primorye, which is a poor rural area of Eastern Russia that has more in common with the American west of the 1800s than it does with the "Russia" most people think about. The book presents a great analysis of the socio-economic as well as political factors that have gone into making that region what it is, as well as how the Russian spirit responds to the hardships (read: alcoholism, in most cases at least).
The book also goes into a wide variety of other areas including things such as 1) a game played in the Primorye in the early 1900s called "The Tiger Hunter" that was a mix between Russian Roulette and duck-duck goose, 2) The semiotic theories of Jakob von Uexküll, specifically his "Umwelt" concept and how that bubble of local context we all create differentiates us from animals. 3) the detailed history of the Amur Tiger's relationship with the people of East Asia, and how modernization is disrupting some of that. Vaillant goes into many other areas as well, but is able to synthesize it all into a fairly good whole by the end.
Overall, an awesome read. Just don't go into it expecting only a story about a tiger hunt.(less)
**spoiler alert** I liked this book mainly because it presents a positive outlook on the future, which is nice in the media-induced doom and gloom env...more**spoiler alert** I liked this book mainly because it presents a positive outlook on the future, which is nice in the media-induced doom and gloom environment that we live in.
That said, this book is a high level survey of all of the technological advances going on right now that are going to change the way the world works in the next few decades. Diamandis first starts out tackling the doom and gloom that most people focus on, specifically from the angle of why doom and gloom is the norm. He goes into the Cognitive Biases that Kahnemen defined in 1974 (see "Judgement Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases" paper) as well as neuroscience to help explain why it is hard for us to focus on the long-term positive versus the current-negative. Kind of boils down to the "sex and violence sells" mantra, but provides a little bit of scientific rigor to it and explains that in most cases our pessimistic views are not normally based in fact.
After the book tackles the question of why it is hard for us to see the forest for the trees, it then goes on the present the high-level problems facing the world and then uses this context to focus on the exponential technologies that will allow us to solve these problems. The survey of technologies and companies the book covers is expansive and is worth reading just for that; he talks about things ranging from 3D printing, to space travel, to biomed and nanotech, to water purification and advancements in nuclear power, as well as many other domains. Even though it is at a high level it presents enough of a map to see where things fit together and decide where to go next (either for reading or for actually doing). In other words, the book is a gold mine for start-up ideas, especially those targeted at the "rising billion" (i.e., the world's poorest people, which he claims are turning into an abundant new market).
One of the key messages of the book is the promotion of the DIY community, and the fact that basically anyone can take on global challenges. He cites examples like how a community of DIY drone builders were able to build an unmanned drone with 90% of the capabilities of a military drone for 1% of the cost. Diamandis focusses heavily on how we can be using incentive prizes to drive the DIY innovation in markets that have stagnated (i.e., space travel, Diamandis is the guy behind the X-Prize foundation).
The only negative thing I will say is that he is almost exclusively positive about all new technologies. The only point he talks about the potential downside is in a short appendix, and this is fairly watered down. He does provide a lot of data to support all of his claims, but one would have to spend a lot of time to verify everything.