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McNamara's Folly: The Use of Low-IQ Troops in the Vietnam War
4.34
really liked it

(Ebook; ~2h. See also Gregory's 2016 talk & Low-Aptitude Men In The Military: Who Profits, Who Pays?, Laurence & Ramberger 1991.) It’s not wel

...more
Mar 22, 2018
Mar 19, 2018
 
The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World
3.80
it was ok
Domingos wants to cover all of machine learning for the layman, but it winds up being a big mess.

The level of explanation veers wildly from ridiculous
...more
Oct 24, 2015
Oct 24, 2015
 
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
4.47
really liked it
Bad Blood is a straightforward read about the rise and fall of Theranos, done in chronological order in third-person up until Carreyrou becomes person ...more
Jun 15, 2018
Jun 17, 2018
 
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
4.19
really liked it
Fascinating account of a Gilded Age titan much worse known than Carnegie.

His charming but scheming wandering bigamist con-artist father reminds me of
...more
May 03, 2016
Apr 29, 2016
 
The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at M.I.T.
4.05
liked it
Well-done bit of technological investigation & prognostication, now dated & historical. Enough time has passed since 1988 to enable us to judg ...more
Jan 2010
Jul 21, 2012
 
Stories of Your Life and Others
4.26
it was amazing
What's there to say about Chiang that all the others don't say? He is the closest thing to a modern Jorge Luis Borges in melding high concepts with li ...more
Dec 12, 2012
not set
Jul 16, 2012
 
Worm
4.66
it was amazing
Worm (Table of Contents/official summary/TvTropes/Reddit/post-interview) is addictive superhero SF posing as fantasy; it is long, of consistently hi ...more
Aug 13, 2014
Jan 16, 2014
 
Quantum Computing Since Democritus
4.14
really liked it
Aaronson's book is based off his online lecture notes which I hadn't read before though I've read his blog for years. I was really excited when the bo ...more
Jun 17, 2013
Apr 07, 2013
 
Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money
4.17
really liked it
Popper delivers a whirlwind tour of almost all dramatis personae in the rise of Bitcoin over the past 5 years. He seems to have gotten access to and i ...more
Nov 12, 2015
Apr 23, 2015
 
Selected Nonfictions
4.43
it was amazing

"I owe to De Quincey (to whom my debt is so vast that to point out only one part of it may appear to repudiate or silence the others) my first notice
...more
Jul 07, 2017
Jul 01, 2017
 
Hive Mind: How Your Nation's IQ Matters So Much More Than Your Own
3.70
liked it
Pop sci, which reads more like overgrown blog posts. Very weak overview of IQ's connection to income: poor overview of what IQ is, all its correlates, ...more
Feb 24, 2016
Nov 04, 2015
 
The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography from the Revolution to the First World War
4.02
it was amazing
Discovery of France charts the transition of the region covered by modern France into the unified cultural/political/geographic entity of today. This ...more
Oct 24, 2013
Jul 16, 2012
 
On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt
4.38
liked it

Sequel to Proving History; Carrier’s smug style continue to grate, and the Bayesian framework, as I expected in my review of the first one, turned out

...more
May 07, 2018
Jun 17, 2018
 
Berkshire Hathaway Letters to Shareholders
4.59
liked it

(online letters) The famous annual letters of Buffett laying out the progress of Berkshire Hathaway and his & Munger’s investment beliefs. Apropos

...more
Mar 24, 2017
Apr 03, 2017
 
Echopraxia (Firefall, #2)
3.88
really liked it
**spoiler alert** We've been waiting for this since Blindsight came out in 2006 and blew away all its readers. It's been a long wait and those who r ...more
Aug 15, 2014
Aug 15, 2014
 
Fortune's Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System That Beat the Casinos and Wall Street
4.18
really liked it

An engaging multi-biography/history of the repeatedly-reinvented Kelly criterion, mixed in with overviews of Claude Shannon, John Larry Kelly, Jr., Ed

...more
Aug 21, 2016
Aug 21, 2016
 
Pact
3.81
really liked it
Pact (~950k words; 3 days; TvTropes) takes the Worm formula but this time heads to modern urban Western occult fantasy. Where Worm tried to rational ...more
Mar 16, 2015
Aug 15, 2014
 
Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation
3.66
liked it
Followup to The Great Stagnation, AiO takes the same format awkwardly straddling the territory between overgrown Marginal Revolution blog posts and fu ...more
Jul 24, 2016
Jul 27, 2016
 
A History of Life-Extensionism in the Twentieth Century
3.60
really liked it
(Online fulltext: HTML, PDF; 280k words)

Official description sums it well: an ambitious survey of life-extension movements and researchers from the la
...more
Aug 31, 2015
Aug 19, 2015
 
Intellectuals and Society
4.21
it was ok
I started this hoping that it would be a bit like Scott's _Seeing Like A State_, which is one of my favorite books, or if not exactly like that, at le ...more
not set
Sep 19, 2012
 
The Remains of the Day
4.11
it was amazing
Of Ishiguro's novels, this is the most elegant, most restrained, and most English. The prose is so smooth that like Gene Wolfe's, it becomes invisible ...more
Jul 21, 2012
not set
not set
Jul 16, 2012
 
Unsong
4.41
really liked it

(~233k words) Unsong is a Kabbalah-punk adventure serial in ~72 chapters by Scott Alexander, generally better known for his nonfiction essays/blog-pos

...more
May 19, 2017
May 17, 2017
May 11, 2017
 
The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank
3.50
really liked it

Millionaire Robert Graham’s Repository for Germinal Choice (1980-1999) sperm bank was founded as a form of positive eugenics in order to encourage spe

...more
Jul 11, 2016
Jul 20, 2012
 
Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance
3.42
liked it
(56k words, 1-2h read) Popularizing overview of Luca Pacioli's publication of double-entry bookkeeping, and some historical tracing of its subsequent ...more
Oct 31, 2014
Oct 30, 2014
 
Japan as Number One Lessons for America
3.37
liked it

(Scan) A historical throwback, one of the books most cited in the Japan panic of the 1980s/1990s which has such an echo in a China panic these days; V

...more
Mar 17, 2018
not set
Apr 08, 2018
 
Debt: The First 5,000 Years
4.16
really liked it
Mixed feelings: many interesting little tidbits and quotes, but overall I get the feel of a vast thesis made up of confirmation bias and unreliable ev ...more
Sep 24, 2011
Jul 16, 2012
 
The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III: Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, and the Meltdown of a Nuclear Family
3.96
really liked it
(~140k words, 4h read) Before reading, my knowledge of Hugh Everett was limited to basically the following sketch: a young American male who post-WWII ...more
Nov 08, 2014
Jul 20, 2012
 
Radiance: A Novel
3.66
it was amazing
(Quotes are extracted from my annotated ebook edition of Radiance; see also my list of other review & excerpts from them.)

Publisher summary:

Somewh
...more
Feb 20, 2014
Jul 16, 2012
 
A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History
3.72
liked it
Wade's book is a short fairly breezy overview of population genetics, combined with some long overviews of a few previous works speculating on possibl ...more
Sep 24, 2014
Sep 21, 2014
 
Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime — from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door
3.72
liked it

(2h; ~73k words) Journalistic account of Brian Krebs’s (Wikipedia, blog) experience with some Russian spammers & associates.


Krebs has been engaged

...more
Jan 11, 2015
Jan 11, 2015
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