By the end of the book I realized that what makes it great are not the many (many) particular insights that Holt dishes out or his clear writing styleBy the end of the book I realized that what makes it great are not the many (many) particular insights that Holt dishes out or his clear writing style that's for some reason associated with 1960s in my mind, but the fact that he loves children and cares about them: it shines through the whole book, overpowers his desire to accept that he is a great teacher instead of digging deeper and figuring out whether children have actually learned anything or just pretended to (included are lots of examples of children guessing a teacher's answer and the teacher is happy to believe them), whether whatever he taught changed a student's world model or was forgotten after the following test (pre-announced, of course, could you imagine giving an unexpected test on the whole college class so far: the prof would be eaten alive; what does it say about education?).
Come for the insights, stay for the excellent display of "caring so much that you can't fool yourself"....more
Perfect book for its goal: a quick intro to basics of accounting. I learned a lot. Filling out a bunch of balance sheets, income and cash flow statemePerfect book for its goal: a quick intro to basics of accounting. I learned a lot. Filling out a bunch of balance sheets, income and cash flow statements was fun!...more
A beautiful meandering book, it really makes you appreciate the secondary roads, the back alleys, the mundane and unnoticeable parts of our built enviA beautiful meandering book, it really makes you appreciate the secondary roads, the back alleys, the mundane and unnoticeable parts of our built environment that your eyes glide over but that reveal a lot if you pause and pay attention. Now I want to get on a bike and ride across the US from one coast to the other, following the right-of-ways under electric lines, along abandoned railroads, finding similarities among the Main streets and Second streets of small towns I pass along the way, noticing patterns in locations of the inns and motels. For now I'll just be more attentive and maybe less focused when I am outside: I've found that a small discovery can make my day. It does make the world a bit more magical indeed....more
Incredibly thought-provoking and thus enjoyable. Fun to spot the sprouts of Alexander's later works here.Incredibly thought-provoking and thus enjoyable. Fun to spot the sprouts of Alexander's later works here....more
Malcolm McLean's fundamental insight, commonplace today but quite radical in the 195os, was that the shipping industry's buisiness was moving cargo, n
Malcolm McLean's fundamental insight, commonplace today but quite radical in the 195os, was that the shipping industry's buisiness was moving cargo, not sailing ships. That insight led him to a concept of containerization quite different from anything that had come before. McLean understood that reducing the cost of shipping goods required not just a metal box but an entire new way of handling freight. Every part of the system—ports, ships, cranes, storage facilities, trucks, trains, and the operations of the shippers themselves—would have to change. In that understanding, he was years ahead of almost everyone else in the transportation industry.
There is so much happening in this book that a coherent summary would take tens of pages. The story of container shipping is fascinating and there are so many moving pieces. Starting from Malcolm McLean — the entrepreneur who comes up with the idea of moving the same container on a truck and then loading it directly onto a container ship. At that time ships were loaded by stevedores, carrying bags/boxes/barrels of cargo off a train/truck onto the ship, which is wildly inefficient.
Shipping costs were actually increasing over time, and the US international trade was actually smaller in 1960 than it had been in 1950, or even in the Depression year of 1930. Containers allowed for fast and cheap transfer between a truck or train and the ship. But for it to be profitable, container needs scale — ports need shipping cranes and areas for storing containers, ships have to be retrofitted to hold containers or built from scratch just for them, trucks and trains need to support the container. Ships need to make as few stops as possible, as this makes them less efficient, which creates the winner-takes-all dynamics among ports. Before ships would call at several ports, because the cost of actually sailing the cargo would be a small fraction of the overall shipping cost. Many ports had to close down because most of the ships eventually went to another large port in the vicinity.
Container as a disruptive technology? Check. A successful entrepreneur risking it all on containers and winning big? Check. Containerization bubble and its blow-up in the 70s? Check. The impact of containerization on Vietnam war? Check. Unions pushing for unloading cargo off a pallet and loading it back onto the same pallet just so the longshoremen have something to do? Check. Engineering and bureaucratic challenges on the way towards standardizing containers? Check check check....more
I don't know any economics, but I enjoyed this book a lot (and I think understood most of it) and want to learn macroeconomics now. The writing is greI don't know any economics, but I enjoyed this book a lot (and I think understood most of it) and want to learn macroeconomics now. The writing is great, I was laughing every couple pages....more