I thought this book was great. If there is one key takeaway, it's that the Wright Brothers put the modern definition of "dog fooding" ones own productI thought this book was great. If there is one key takeaway, it's that the Wright Brothers put the modern definition of "dog fooding" ones own product to shame. It's one thing to have fun playing with your own iOS app. Another thing to strap yourself into some crazy kite-shaped contraption, attach a home made motor, turn on the propeller you just invented, and fling yourself 20 stories in the air, hoping to land.
Also full of interesting anecdotes about their lives, the painful and rewarding process of invention, travels through Europe to demonstrate their new "flying machine", and amazingly, how long it took to get people to believe them once they had actually invented flying. (they couldn't exactly take a video and post it to Instagram.)
Great read. A testament to true ingenuity and entrepreneurship. Would highly recommend.
Great book. Very intense. But of course that's the way it should be. Or at least what I should have expected.
I'll admit, I started it with all but a vGreat book. Very intense. But of course that's the way it should be. Or at least what I should have expected.
I'll admit, I started it with all but a vague interest. Popped up in my newsfeed, I had a very superficial interest- along the lines of, "it's been a while since I read a good war book." When I started the first chapter, my immediate reaction was, wow - this is way too real. Not sure I want to read this now. Then I realized, of course it's intense, it's a war book. And if marines lived it, the least I can do is read it.
So I read it, and every story in this book makes you think. The characters feel very real. The brutality and senselessness of war is palpable. And it takes you deep into the psychology of young soldiers - what is it like to live every day, completely removed from your previous reality, wondering if you'll make it to the next? And then, what's it like, afterwards, to try to revert back to your life before- even though it will never be the same?
No matter where one falls on the political spectrum, this is one book that's hard to read without leaving the reader with a deep appreciation for the cruelty of war and the mental and physical sacrifices our troops make to protect us.
I highly recommend. But not for the faint of heart. ...more
This was an enjoyable book based on the true-story of how 4 high-schoolers at Carl Hayden Community High school in Phoenix unseated some of the top coThis was an enjoyable book based on the true-story of how 4 high-schoolers at Carl Hayden Community High school in Phoenix unseated some of the top collegiate engineering teams at a national underwater robotics competition. At its core is the well worn, root for the underdog storyline. But this time the protagonists are 4 underprivileged, Hispanic high-schoolers who beyond all odds, form a robotics team, enter a national marine-robotics competition, scrape together a small budget, put together their ROV (remote operated vehicle) with a bunch of spare parts, and ultimately go head-to-head with some of the best collegiate engineering teams in the country, including M.I.T.
But aside from the heartfelt triumph, what made this story great was:
* While the competition is the main theme of the book, the ups and downs of the contest ultimately seem trivial compared to the constant battle the high-schoolers face with poverty, home instability, and in some cases, fear of deportation * The author spends a lot of time helping really understand where the characters come from, their family history, and what they deal with even to show up to school, much less learn and compete in robotics * The competition isn't the end point. The real power of this book isn't just showing the power of a few to overcome, it's the focus on what becomes of the high schoolers after the competition
It's an easy read and it delivers the expected underdog victory punch. But more importantly, it makes you think deeply about policy in the US, failures in our current system, and how we fail to develop what could be a great source of talent for our country....more
I enjoyed this book. Man stranded on Mars and how he attempts to survive, and uses his knowledge of science to conquer the hurdles the red planet andI enjoyed this book. Man stranded on Mars and how he attempts to survive, and uses his knowledge of science to conquer the hurdles the red planet and his limited equipment throw at him every day (or in Mars parlance, every sol). Fast read & immersive. Castaway + Apollo 13 + Macgyver. I found it an entertaining story about the human instinct for survival and ingenuity. Would definitely recommend to a friend.
With that said, my big gripe is that while this was a fun book, it could have been a great book if Weir invested more in character development. Supporting characters were totally flat. Watney himself showed shockingly little emotion for a man stranded by himself on Mars. While it was interesting to watch him logically think through every problem thrown at him (although sometimes this got a little repetitious), sometimes you just would have expected him to break down weeping, fight some sort of depression, or include some sort of internal battle between desperation and hope in his daily log entries. If you were stranded on Mars and writing a journal (okay, a lot of suspension of disbelief already), there might be some passages about feeling small, what is human existence, what is life? Possibly some fear? What if he wasn't really alone?? No internal questioning of his crew mates decision to abandon him? Maybe an occasional description of an awe-inspiring panorama of Mars? Best we got was a bunch of "oh shit" moments, logical dissection of the next problem, and moving on. He'd often diffuse a stressful situation with humor - although the extent of that humor was often no deeper than the equivalent of a yo-mama/fart joke to his counterparts at NASA.
Feels like there just could have been more, and that would have been a great book.
Again, all in all, I enjoyed it. Gets 4 stars for the fun read it was. Not 5 stars for the book it could've been. But have to hand it to Weir, very cool premise, awesome grasp of science, and kept me turning pages. And a movie deal. Looking forward to the movie- with some awesome special effects and a little more emotion, it'll be a hit. ...more
abandoned this one a while ago. not that it wasn't interesting- it was. some very impressive stuff happening around this. makes you realize how manufaabandoned this one a while ago. not that it wasn't interesting- it was. some very impressive stuff happening around this. makes you realize how manufacturing is ripe for disruption. just got very busy in Jan 2013 :) - and never seemed worth my time to finish.
now i'm getting unbusy enough to write a review, but don't feel like picking back up.