I came across this book while listening to the a podcast where the author was interviewed about his upcoming presidential candidacy in the TranshumaniI came across this book while listening to the a podcast where the author was interviewed about his upcoming presidential candidacy in the Transhumanist Party. The interview was pretty good, a little far fetched at times, but interesting and thought-provoking. I decided to check out the book since the author talked about how long it was and how he spent so much time over so many years writing it and developing the philosophy behind it.
First of all, the book is not long, let's just clear the air there. This is a novella. Second, despite the time Istzan spent on it, at this point, he is an author and a thinker, but he is far from worthy of being called a writer. I don't say that to disparage him, everyone starts somewhere, but this book is quite obviously amateur. If you're only interested in his transhumanist ideas, you may still enjoy reading it. If you're principally interested in good storytelling and writing, skip it....more
Just so you know, this book really will bring you down. You'll get your prescribed dose of insight into Paris, Parisians and what it's like to live anJust so you know, this book really will bring you down. You'll get your prescribed dose of insight into Paris, Parisians and what it's like to live and work in Paris. You'll laugh some and learn how to avoid some French faux pas, but along with it all, you will walk away feeling kind of depressed. You've been warned....more
Steel World held my attention all the way through, but I didn't find it to be particularly outstanding. The writing is decent, the story is fun and thSteel World held my attention all the way through, but I didn't find it to be particularly outstanding. The writing is decent, the story is fun and there are a few intriguing ideas, notably the way new bodies are grown when a soldier is killed. I may finish the series up since I am slavishly compelled to do so by some unknown internal drive, but it won't be because I'm on the edge of my seat....more
Well, I probably could have learned a decent amount of French in the time it took me to read this, but I don’t regret the distraction. Flirting With FWell, I probably could have learned a decent amount of French in the time it took me to read this, but I don’t regret the distraction. Flirting With French is a fun story of a late-middle-aged guy who takes on picking up French as a serious hobby. There are great tangents on linguistics, travel, food and his health that keep the story interesting and personal. ...more
For me, this book came after a long line of other books written in its vein, this despite the fact that Vagabonding was written before most of them. HFor me, this book came after a long line of other books written in its vein, this despite the fact that Vagabonding was written before most of them. Having read it so late in my independent travel reading career, I found it less than revolutionary, but I can easily see how it is an oft recommended book. The content is a very good mix of practical tips, motivational stories and inspirational quotes to help young travelers with some savings work up to long term traveling. I say young travelers because while there are some token nods to families and older travelers, but younger people without kids will get the most benefit from Vagabonding. If you feel like you could use an extra boost to get the courage up to go see the world, definitely give this a read....more
I can’t imagine a book that could portray everyday life more faithfully and more poetically than Crossing to Safety. Some of my admiration for the booI can’t imagine a book that could portray everyday life more faithfully and more poetically than Crossing to Safety. Some of my admiration for the book probably comes from the fact that I fall right in the middle of the target audience. I’m white, married with children, middle class, about the same age as the main characters are for a large part of the story, went to college and have lived in both the East and Western United States. Being so perfectly aligned with the demographics of the main characters in the book, I felt that with every page and every scene, something that could have happened to me or to my friends or family was happening. The only difference was the time period in which the story takes place, and this difference was enough to take what otherwise could have been mundane and made it fascinating and intimate. I felt I was transported back a couple generations to what life could have been for me.
I don’t know how this book would be received by someone from another country or someone who grew up differently in the US, but for me, it’s a story of friendships and experiences that I are close enough to home as to make them something I can aspire to live for myself....more
He's a fascinating guy but unfortunately a terrible writer. I'd love to read a bio by someone who could get more from depth from him through good inteHe's a fascinating guy but unfortunately a terrible writer. I'd love to read a bio by someone who could get more from depth from him through good interviews....more
This book is the work of a connoisseur, an aficionado, a cognoscente. There are a lot of how-to books written by people whose knowledge hardly qualifiThis book is the work of a connoisseur, an aficionado, a cognoscente. There are a lot of how-to books written by people whose knowledge hardly qualifies them to be giving advice. This is not the case with Fluent Forever. It is a best in class guide to picking up another language efficiently.
It's not a book of shortcuts, it's a book for the serious learner who is willing to invest time in the pursuit of polyglotism (is that a word?). I've been using it as a guide for my study of French for awhile and can definitely say that since starting to use the techniques in Fluent Forever, my study has become more directed, more fun and rewarding. ...more
No review, just one quote about children from the essay "Nature": Read it, it's kind of funny.
The child with his sweet pranks, the fool of his senses,
No review, just one quote about children from the essay "Nature": Read it, it's kind of funny.
The child with his sweet pranks, the fool of his senses, commanded by every sight and sound, without any power to compare and rank his sensations, abandoned to a whistle or a painted chip, to a lead dragoon or a gingerbread-dog, individualizing everything, generalizing nothing, delighted with every new thing, lies down at night overpowered by the fatigue which this day of continual pretty madness has incurred. But Nature has answered her purpose with the curly, dimpled lunatic. She has tasked every faculty, and has secured the symmetrical growth of the bodily frame by all these attitudes and exertions,— an end of the first importance, which could not be trusted to any care less perfect than her own. This glitter, this opaline lustre plays round the top of every toy to his eye to insure his fidelity, and he is deceived to his good. We are made alive and kept alive by the same arts. Let the stoics say what they please, we do not eat for the good of living, but because the meat is savory and the appetite is keen.
Platform is a good book to get you up to speed with how to blog and build an online presence. Most of what's here is very basic, with occasional insigPlatform is a good book to get you up to speed with how to blog and build an online presence. Most of what's here is very basic, with occasional insights that make reading it worth it to people who have been around a bit. It's not so much that there is any major aha moment, but there are some tips on how to determine post length, handle guest posts, post frequency, post title. How to get started on Twitter and maybe even get a few followers. How to keep your personal brand coherent across the various social media sites. etc.
I should say that I started this expecting a book on how to build a product that becomes a platform. Clearly that is not what this book is about. If someone has a recommendation for a book about building software platforms, I'd love to hear about it....more
My Kindle was lying under a thin layer of dust on a set of metal Ikea Helmer drawers. The cream drawers were next to my bed and sat on small plastic cMy Kindle was lying under a thin layer of dust on a set of metal Ikea Helmer drawers. The cream drawers were next to my bed and sat on small plastic casters. I reached for it. The drawers rolled slightly as I bumped them with my elbow in my clumsy attempt to grab the device without sitting up. The improvised night stand was not new and was heavy with pens and books and tools and various items that I had filled it with over the years. Still, the force of my arm hitting it was enough to cause it to move. Until this moment it was situated parallel to my bed, now it was not. I did not bother to move the drawers back after I had the Kindle in my hand. It was dusk and the sun was more red than usual causing the cream to appear pink, but my thoughts were not focused on the sun or on the evening. I was thinking about reading a book. I was interested in starting something new despite having recently started many other books that were good, any one of which I could have picked up and finished without needing to make the effort of finding a new book to read. I pushed the button on the bottom of the electronic reader. Nothing happened. I pushed it again. This time the screen flickered once, then twice, and a third time as the monochromatic advertisement for a romance novel featuring a shirtless man holding a busty woman leaning back in his arms was replaced by the text of the last book I read. The book was about consciousness and its origins. Last time I read I felt motivated to read something difficult and scientific. On this evening, I wanted to read something that would make me feel something more, something to bring back the emotion I felt as a child reading Old Yeller or A Wrinkle in Time. I pressed the embossed button on the front of the Kindle to return to the list of books the device contained. I did not want to read about consciousness or to think of it at all. I was alive and conscious. That was enough. In the future I would not be conscious or alive but as for now, I was. I wanted to start a book I could read that would require minimal effort and yet hold my attention while at the same time being at least somewhat literary. Also, I wanted to read something that would make me feel more. I jabbed at the screen with my left index finger to replace the initial list of titles which were displayed in the order they were added. None of them appealed to me. After three more swipes of my finger, the list of books showed the title of a book that I had recently seen reviewed by someone called Manny whose review of the book I enjoyed reading. I knew that if I was going to eventually write a review myself that I would need to read the book. I tapped the book and after the customary flickers of the screen, the text of My Struggle appeared and I began reading about the heart and about death. I immediately knew that it was a book that I would finish. It was just the book for that night. I was happy about that....more
Shantaram is not what I would call literary fiction. It's something similar, which is probably why it gets a lot of flack. People seem to read it expeShantaram is not what I would call literary fiction. It's something similar, which is probably why it gets a lot of flack. People seem to read it expecting flawless style and writing, and while there's no doubt that the writing is better than many similar books, you shouldn't read it for style.
Read it because it is an expansive story in so many ways. Read it for the vivid descriptions of Bombay, war-torn Afghanistan and many other places. For the range of the human condition that is explored, the very believable portrayal of the life of an escape prisoner at the edges of society and the multitude of characters he encounters. All these are bright and believable. It's more than that though. Scattered among the sometimes trite aphorisms are some real gems. There are lessons hard learned that are painful and powerful in their retelling.
I was captivated by Shantaram. While the book is not strictly autobiographical, the storytelling is convincing enough that it feels like it could be. You can tell that Roberts is, in a montaignesque way, really trying to know and represent himself as faithfully as possible. It's impressive how he is able to return to his past self's state of mind--it reminds me of Proust in that sense, the realization that who he is now isn't who he was, but at the same time, trying to accurately identify with that past self....more