Better than I expected, and more authentic than I would've thought. The book is at its heart a sort of memoir of the author's time at Facebook. It's a...moreBetter than I expected, and more authentic than I would've thought. The book is at its heart a sort of memoir of the author's time at Facebook. It's a good read: honest, direct, and non-gossipy about the culture that Facebook and, more broadly, Silicon Valley have created and embraced.
She touches on some big questions through the book, but doesn't delve too deeply into trying to answer those questions. I suspect that will drive a few types of readers nuts, making it seem like the book ends up going nowhere. This actually works for me. It's a memoir, and the questions and her struggle with reconciling the reality of a growing, successful company and the Silicon Valley talk of disruption and rockstar developers and glorious mission are ones that I don't think the startup community has answers for. So, I didn't expect answers. I was glad to have the book help me set aside some mental space to consider the questions.
Recommended if you want to get a sense of what it was like at Facebook from the (relatively) early days on, as well as if you're a startup person. It's a nice change from the gung ho, change-the-world titles.(less)
I finally decided to ignore sleep and finish this book last night. I'm glad I did.
By now, you've heard the standard comments about this book. Yes, it...moreI finally decided to ignore sleep and finish this book last night. I'm glad I did.
By now, you've heard the standard comments about this book. Yes, it's not flattering to Jobs. Yes, it provides a lot of insight and details that I hadn't heard anywhere else including directly from Jobs himself, and so on. Instead want to share my reasons for loving this book.
Jobs is a hero of mine. I didn't realize this until he passed away… I'm not one to have heroes, quite honestly, and I don't know if I could honestly name another. But Jobs was one, and it took his death to understand how much I respected him and how much he impacted my life and my career.
The book opened up another side of this man: his demons, his quirks, and his warts. He's not a perfect man, and that made him more real to me. I got to know this hero better than I ever did. At the end of the entire thing, I understood that these flaws are part of his success, and that his failings were human failings. He's not perfect, which makes his achievement in his professional life even more amazing.
Heroes aren't perfect, whether they're Jobs or Gandhi. Isaacson manages to humanize him without diminishing his accomplishments. Great read, and great tidbits scattered throughout.
(I went into this book a little wary based on some early reviews. I'm happy I ignored those and read it.)(less)
About the only thing to do when helping a sick child sleep is read. I ripped through the second and third books in this trilogy in record time while t...moreAbout the only thing to do when helping a sick child sleep is read. I ripped through the second and third books in this trilogy in record time while trying to help my son sleep off a cold.
The books were a perfect companion. Well paced, clever, and thoughtful. Great for what's ostensibly a YA novel.(less)
I've decided to make myself read a book for at least 30 minutes every night, and fiction in particular to get my head out of the constant programming/...moreI've decided to make myself read a book for at least 30 minutes every night, and fiction in particular to get my head out of the constant programming/news mode I'm in these days. Based on all of your ratings, I decided to borrow Hunger Games from Kindle. Better than I expected, even with all of your glowing five star reviews. There were a few parts of the main character that seemed a little uneven to me, but overall it was a good read, engrossing, and hard to put down. Recommended.(less)
**spoiler alert** If you're a runner and have always felt like you were made to run, this book should speak to you. If you're the anti-runner, who fee...more**spoiler alert** If you're a runner and have always felt like you were made to run, this book should speak to you. If you're the anti-runner, who feels like their body was NEVER meant to run, this book is even more for you. That's ultimately what makes the book so interesting: it explores whether we are a running species, and how or why it is that so many of us struggle to run.
McDougall mixes adventure story, some pop science detective work, and some compelling historical narratives to put together a case that we are indeed Born to Run, and through bad athletic science along with a misunderstanding about how to run "better," we've turned ourselves into the anti-runners.
The pop-science detective work I mentioned sparked the most interesting conversations among friends. The book focuses primarily on a indigenous tribe in Mexico called the Tarahumara. They are renowned for their running ability. Yet, they don't run with fancy shoes or with high altitude training or power bars. Their diet, their footwear, and their "training" all challenge a lot of things we take for granted. It's interesting, and has made me look more closely at my own diet & equipment in cycling. Heck, I'm considering a road race for the first time ever because of this book.
The most famous conclusion of the book, of course, is the idea that barefoot running is better than wearing expensive running shoes. I think this has come up in every interview I've seen. What the interviews don't really convey is the state of science in confirming this. Injury rates that correlate with the price of shoes, for example, or the fact that marathon times haven't changed dramatically in the last 40 years are eye opening. What other sport is that true for? Perhaps the Tarahumara can teach us more than Nike or current sport science, at least about running.
And that's why I completely recommend this book: he's not a zealot, doesn't hammer these things hard, but just lays it out for you to read. Great stuff.(less)
This is the second Sawyer book I've read, after picking up Flash Forward because of the TV show. I found both books to be more about deep philosophica...moreThis is the second Sawyer book I've read, after picking up Flash Forward because of the TV show. I found both books to be more about deep philosophical questions over action or drama or whatever. Flash Forward tackled some interesting questions about fate and choice. Calculating God takes on the proposition of a intelligent design that's compatible with science.
The thing with Sawyer's books is that they aren't page turners because of drama or suspense or action. Instead, I keep coming back because I know that each chapter will provide another opportunity for an interesting conversation or deep thought about whatever idea Sawyer is exploring.
In this particular book, the main character is an atheist paleontologist who is dying of cancer. An alien comes to visit earth on a research mission. The alien is a fellow scientist who believes in evolution and the scientific method, but he's also a firm believer in God. Not only does he believe in God, but he does so because science and research have led him to conclude that there must be a God. The two spend most of the book discussing the nature of God, different interpretations, and how an atheist can come to grips with the idea that God must exist.
It's a surprisingly thought provoking read. Like Flash Forward, it led to some great conversations with folks who haven't even read the book.
Sawyer does have a tendency to throw in some action bits to create a climax. At least, he did so in both this book and Flash Forward. The action sort of comes out of nowhere and simply provides a catalyst for the story to enter the home stretch. It's not bad, just always an unusual segue.
The other minor gripe is that he does try to finish the story and answer the main deep question. In this case, we do get to find out the nature of God in this story's universe. Not sure if he needed to finish it that way, but it does wrap the story up into a nice bow (and also did provide another interesting thing to think about after the story was done).
I really enjoyed the book, and totally recommend it. Neither of the last two items really detract from the book at all.(less)
I read this because I was intrigued by the ideas raised by the tv adaptation of this novel. The book did not disappoint, though I wasn't fond of the e...moreI read this because I was intrigued by the ideas raised by the tv adaptation of this novel. The book did not disappoint, though I wasn't fond of the ending. He just took it a step too far, focusing the limits of consciousness and mortality.(less)
If you like Warren Ellis, you're going to like this. It's as unusual and crazy and scandalous as his other work. I love the feel of this book, and the...moreIf you like Warren Ellis, you're going to like this. It's as unusual and crazy and scandalous as his other work. I love the feel of this book, and the randomness of the fetishes/compulsions of the characters.(less)
This is a really solid graphic novel. Better than I expected. I only started reading it because of the movie coming out. While I found the overall pre...moreThis is a really solid graphic novel. Better than I expected. I only started reading it because of the movie coming out. While I found the overall premise of the universe a tiny bit unbelievable (within 12 years, 92% own surrogates? really?), it didn't matter. Characters were interesting, and the art itself feels dystopian. It felt 'right' all around. Recommended. Now on to Volume 2.(less)
This is one of my favorite books ever. Ostensibly a critique of history textbook procurement and writing, it's also serves as a interesting look at th...moreThis is one of my favorite books ever. Ostensibly a critique of history textbook procurement and writing, it's also serves as a interesting look at the history you don't learn in school. It becomes clearer how the themes of history are chosen and reinforced in school and why college feels so different.(less)
I got through this book, but barely. It started out with a lot of interesting threads, but nothing really every came together for me. It felt like Ste...moreI got through this book, but barely. It started out with a lot of interesting threads, but nothing really every came together for me. It felt like Stephenson had a clever idea about mixing historical fiction with neat little historical details and research and got too caught up jamming it all in without any coherent narrative.(less)