Science is not a purely additive process. New facts and theories are not simply added to the pile of existing ones. New knowledge and understanding often requires abandoning or drastically reconceiving old theories and observations. Kuhn explores this in great detail, and I found it fascinating and insightful.
For example, prior to the invention of the telescope, the celestial sphere was viewed as fundamentally different from the earthly sphere. But a simple look at the moon in Galileo's telescope reveals it to be a body that is very similar to the Earth. It has mountains which cast shadows as the light moves across them, and so on.
The "moon" must now be be viewed as a rather different concept, and this new conception is invoked every time one looks at it. This new "paradigm" affects other observations, such as those of Jupiter and Saturn. They are not pure, static points of light like stars, and some color and a circular shape can be see with the new telescope. Must they be bodies like that of the Moon or Earth as well?
In the book, as Kuhn presents his analysis, it seems we are also taking a deep look at epistemology, and the subtleties and differences between how something is perceived and how it is conceived. Grounded in the historical narrative of scientific advancement, I found this investigation of those difficult and elusive topics to be more enlightening than usual.
I believe that some criticize Kuhn for how sharp and discontinuous he describes his paradigm shifts to be. For me, this was not a main point. I enjoyed his detailed analysis of how paradigms change in general, and why this is a more accurate description of how science progresses, compared to additive models.
The incredible true story of the card-counting mathematics professor who taught the world how to beat the dealer and, as the first of the great quantitative investors, ushered in a revolution on Wall Street.
This is the best book published in 2017 bar none and a great inspiration to booth...
Seconded. I started reading the book last night and it's a can't-put-down. You just sense the genius and greatness of the man shine through with every page you covered.
I however wouldn't go so far as say it is the "best book published in 2017 bar none"
Designing Data Intensive Applications by Martin Kleppmann. This book really made stream processing and Kafka click for me.
Excellently written, impactful stories, solid science and a scandal as big as Big Tobacco... I couldn't put it down and read the whole thing in a weekend.
Absorbing and disturbing. I used to glorify Iron Mike back in the day. Hearing his story and that of his family trying to take care of him as his cognitive function deteriorated was heart-wrenching. All the while as the NFL suppressed data and fought him tooth and nail from paying disability.
Key takeaway: Letting your kids play football is akin to child abuse.
It’s a concise history of humans. Common for books to aim at this, rare to hit it.
The most interesting thought I took from the book is that humans and civilizations biggest advancement was the ability to accept collective fictions to assemble greater than just small tribes. Nations, currencies, religions, morality.
The concept has been stuck in my head like me moving a smooth stone slowly around my mouth.
The description on the conflict and resolution between Neanderthal and Homo Sapiens was interesting as well.
Truly an all around masterpiece. I've been to Japan once before and now I want to go back based entirely on reading this book. I feel like I'll see the country (and it's people) in a whole new light now.
I have ways of making money that you know nothing of - John D Rockefeller.
Pretty amazing take on how to run a business when compared to how we see things happening now. And prophetic in it's critique of how Wall Street and stock holders change the human values of how businesses are run, especially considering the position he held and his comparative and actual counterparts now.
It's a short book and an easy read, but it's very well thought out and articulated and it covers some very important aspects of the responsibilities of big business that seem to be popular to ignore right now.
I highly recommend it.
I heard about it through the excellent Reply All episode from late last year, and the book is even better.