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I think there are any number of lists that would help getting started. The basic results are "multiple perspectives" and the sense that not all perspectives are equally powerful for given contexts. That list was for adult "business people". One would come up with other lists for children, etc.

An important idea about reading is that part of the pleasure (maybe even more than that) is one's choice of "this book, now". I had read many hundreds of books a year by the time I got to high school, but I balked at reading books chosen for me in a class. I suggested instead that the classes deal with themes and that there should be several thousand good books in the library that students could choose for themselves. This would make the discussions of the themes quite interesting, etc. But no go, so I wound up -- for their chosen books only -- reading "Classic Comics" like most of the rest of the students (I did get around to reading the "chosen books" later in life.)

The approach of lots of books and themes was used by Mortimer Adler in putting together "The Great Books of the Western World" (now 60 of them). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Books_of_the_Western_Wor... Besides these books he picked 102 "Great Ideas", wrote an essay on each one, cross indexed the ideas through the "Great Books", and published the essays as the two volume "Syntopicon".

In this sense, the reading list I came up with for Anderson Consulting was too short -- it wasn't a decent library size. And this is true of the "Great Books": it's too short as well.

Another idea is the "Oxbridge" approach: pick "4" important as orthogonal as possible large subjects, and go deep on them until they meet in "the good stuff".

Simplest heuristic: read a lot.




I've heard you say that Rocky's Boots was one of your favorite computer games. Please, off the top of your head, what's your top-n list of inspiring games that you think people learning to program should play?

I've been playing Factorio [1] [2], which I think would resonate with your love of Rocky's Boots, cellular automata, queuing theory, visual programming, system dynamics and distributed control systems. It's in the spirit of John von Neumann's 29 state cellular automata [3] and universal constructor. [4]

[1] Factorio: https://www.factorio.com/

[2] HN Factorio discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11266471

[3] John von Neumann's 29 state cellular automata: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Von_Neumann_cellular_automaton

[4] JvN Universal Constructor: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Von_Neumann_universal_construc...


Hi Don

I think I'm so out of context wrt video games here and now that I can't come up with a worthwhile reply. I liked Rocky's Boots because of the brilliant combination of the content and the idea behind the game play -- and they were well matched up. I liked the idea of its successor "Robot Odyssey" a lot, but advised the TLC folks to use something like Logo for the robot language rather than the Rocky's circuit diagrams (which were now not well matched up to the needs). As you know I really tried to get the Maxis people to make "Sim City" a rule based system that children could program in so they could both understand the generators and to change them (no luck there).

If I were to look around today, I'd look for something where the underlying content was really "good" for children -- I doubt that cellular automata would be in my top 10 -- and then would also have good to great game play.




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