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What are you reading?
72 points by brownegg 2655 days ago | hide | past | web | 214 comments | favorite
I don't ever see this discussed here. The level and focus of discourse here should make for great recommendations.

<edit> Should this be restricted to "on topic" material? </edit>

Me, recently and currently:

http://www.amazon.com/About-Face-2-0-Essentials-Interaction/dp/0764526413/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1251767831&sr=8-12

http://www.amazon.com/Matter-Great-Design-People-Company/dp/0137142447/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1251767882&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Positioning-Battle-Your-Mind-Anniversary/dp/0071359168/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1251767926&sr=1-1




Assessment of Children: Cognitive Foundations by Jerome Sattler

http://www.amazon.com/Assessment-Children-Foundations-Jerome...

Assessing Adolescent and Adult Intelligence, Third Edition by Alan S. Kaufman and Elizabeth O. Lichtenberger

http://www.amazon.com/Assessing-Adolescent-Adult-Intelligenc...

What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought by Keith Stanovich

http://www.amazon.com/What-Intelligence-Tests-Miss-Psycholog...

What Is Intelligence?: Beyond the Flynn Effect by James R. Flynn

http://www.amazon.com/What-Intelligence-Beyond-Flynn-Effect/...

Handbook of Intelligence edited by Robert Sternberg

http://www.amazon.com/Handbook-Intelligence-Robert-Sternberg...

and a host of related books about IQ testing and what it means, to prepare a working paper on the latest research on IQ testing.


Do you know if baby size at birth is correlated to higher intelligence later in life? Also, what about the amount of hair a child is born with? Any correlation there?


This is a paper by an eminent researcher in the discipline (I have read one of his books and have another at hand) that I Googled up:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi...


Thank you! Through your link, I gathered a few keywords and found this: http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/322/7280/199

Birth weight was also associated with education, with those of higher birth weight more likely to have achieved higher qualifications, and this effect was accounted for partly by cognitive function at age 8.

Small size at birth is associated with a range of adverse health outcomes, including poor cognitive development, an effect that is largely unconfounded by features of the family environment, such as socioeconomic status and birth order.


Finishing "Atlas Shrugged". While ideas and the spirit of the book have aged only slightly, the way of writing seems way too pretentious for our times. But overall the book is interesting. From historic and ideological point of view.


Ayn Rand was able to name so much of what I've felt growing up. While she may have used the literary technique of exaggeration to heighten the contrast between her philosophical views of moral vs. immoral, I don't think she took it "too far" as others are commenting. I think that's like saying Philip K. Dick took the ideas of technological advances and psychic ability too far in his story, "Minority Report", or like saying Pablo Picasso took multi-perspective simplicity too far in his Cubist paintings. Of course they did, it's part of their literary freedom. Exaggeration helps to make an underlaying principle become self-evident by speeding along conclusions that could eventually be drawn from observation.


I don't think she was exaggerating.

Atlas Shrugged was a formative influence during my late teens, but Rand is above all things an extremist. Still, she had some good ideas, she communicated them well, and she got me into philosophy. If you take the best parts of Rand and leave the rest, you'll be well served.


I took her meritocratic stance seriously until I heard her defend inherited wealth, which is ridiculously inconsistent.


"Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth--the man who would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it serves him; if not, it destroys him." - I think she's still basing it on merit. While I disagree with some of what she says, and she says a lot, she does a decent job of staying consistent.


Rather teleological argument from Ms Rand. If the heir manages to keep the inheritance, then they deserved it, however if they lose it, they weren't worthy. Perhaps a new "Ayn Rand" inheritance tax is in order; those heirs who fail to double their inheritance within, say, 5 years, must donate them to needy, friendless orphans, these then have their chance for five years. Imagine all the stimulating entrepreneurship! Now excuse me while I go patent some alloys.


It would be consistent if everyone who was fit to inherit actually did inherit. But that is not the case. Some of those who are fit do not inherit and others do. What is the basis for this inequality? Birth.

She destroys the idea of meritocracy that she herself presented so eloquently and discredits libertarianism as yet another excuse for those born wealthy to keep their wealth.

If an hair is not equal to his money it destroys him? Come on, what does it even mean to be "equal to money"? And how can someone who does not inherit wealth even prove that he or she is "equal to the money"? That's just the kind of fluffy nonsense that moral philosophers are so infamous for.


I don't think you would enjoy reading Rand (either you haven't yet read any of her work and are going based solely on what you read in this thread, or you just completely didn't understand her work).

As she argues, money is a means of trading human production and value. To be equal to your money is to provide production and value to society equal to the value of your money. According to Rand, if one who is barely capable of ever making more than $30k per year were to inherit $5m, it would not end well. And actually lottery statistics support this pretty consistently.


How does that explain why it is consistent that some get the opportunity to start out wealthy and some do not?

You don't seem to get what I'm saying at all. Among those who are willing and able to provide production value are some who get a boost from inherited wealth and some who do not.

Do you consider that fair or consistent with a merit based society? I do get perfectly well what Ayn Rand says in her books, and based on that her stance on inheritance is grotesque.


I think that according to Rand, fairness is a moot point when it comes to this situation. She is saying that if you are capable of achieving wealth, then you will achieve it no matter where you start from in our society. She also explains that those who are capable of achieving are concerned only with their own achievements and awards, and those of others only so far as they help to achieve their own.

If you put all of this together, you end up with the person of achievement not caring where others started (or what they inherited) in relation to themselves. Fairness only holds value when the person getting shafted cares enough to give it value.

Besides, Rand's argument is that over the long run, it really doesn't matter, as the person who is capable of producing great wealth will do so, with or without an inheritance. The person who is not will quickly squander it all and end up right back where they started. Her point is simply that an inheritance does not change one's ability to produce.


Well, she's a fiction writer. Me shrugs.


Her defense of inherited wealth amounted to the right of the creator of the wealth to dispose of it as he/she chooses. If he leaves it to his children, fine, if he gives it to a house for stray cats, fine,it's HIS choice because he earned it.


That's self defeating. It's like saying that a democratic society has the right to democratically abolish democracy.


Ayn Rand's philosophy is that of a free economy that stresses the importance of the individual. A democracy is a political institution that stresses the rule of the majority. Rand idealized the self-sustaining individual. A democracy by definition cannot be sustained by one individual. So, it's a difficult analogy to make.

A better analogy would be like saying that a king has a right to abolish his monarchy.

Also, it is only self-defeating if the original goal was only to amass the wealth.

To continue the analogy to this point, a king abolishing his monarchy would only be self-defeating if his only goal was to be a king. However, if his goal as king was to make life better for his country, then abolishing his monarchy in favor of a democracy would be a very good move and not self-defeating at all.

Likewise, if the person's original goal was to produce and then dispose of the rewards as he wished, then doing so is not self-defeating. It's only self-defeating if his original goal was to simply have wealth.

<edit> The other part of Rand's argument is that the individual has the right to dispose of their wealth however they please, because they produced it and they own it. A democracy would only have a right to dispose of itself provided it was the democracy that created itself in the first place. </edit>


That's a pretty fatalistic argument. I think meritocracy has merit and I don't want it to self destruct. That's why, like other principles, this one needs exceptions as too.

Set theory is very useful but it needs an exception to survive Russel's paradox. You can't let useful things become useless just to uphold some moral rule.


For a time, I considered this my bible. But it's too idealistic, and goes a long way on some fairly iffy assumptions.

It's still compelling as hell, though.


Ayn Rand was a philosopher. And like most philosophers, she started out with some good ideas and over applied them to everything in life, which leads to some scary conclusions.

My favorite Rand book was Anthem. It was short and therefore didn't have space to extrapolate Rand's ideas to their scary conclusion.

I just finished reading Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo. It is just as long and pompous as Atlas Shrugged, but of the exact opposite philosophy. Those two books make for some interesting comparisons.


I once listened to a 80-hour overview of the world's great philosophers, given by modern professors.

What amazed me was how many of them came up with a good idea that was new and revolutionary -- and then spent the rest of their life taking the damn thing too far. I guess great people fall so much in love with their great ideas that it never occurs to them that the most important piece is finding the boundaries for where their work applies and where it does not.


>I guess great people fall so much in love with their great ideas that it never occurs to them that the most important piece is finding the boundaries for where their work applies and where it does not.

Well said.

I think many ("normal") people would benefit from listening to this, but more importantly, by practicing it.


Link for those who requested: http://www.teach12.com/ttcx/CourseDescLong2.aspx?cid=470

Looks like it's on sale -- you download audio or pick up the CDs for around a hundred bucks (DVD also available)


Then there's Wittgenstein, who did the same thing, except twice and with entirely separate ideas. He's the philosophical equivalent of one of those bands that makes a major stylistic change halfway through their career, lose a bunch of their fans, and pick up an entirely different set of fans.


Link for the interview?


What's the series called?


What's interesting is that Ayn Rand thought Victor Hugo was the best novelist ever. She also thought that the philosophy in Les Miserables was at odds with his "sense of life".


She also thought that Frank Lloyd Wright's philosophical and political ideas were at odds with his architecture.


Reading the same thing at the moment. But right after reading The Fountain Head, which I like way more. Maybe because than these ideas were all fresh and new for me. But now it is just too romantic. I can understand why she takes this idealistic approach, but it is just that it doesn't read that good in this great length. I am at the point where she discovers Atlantis and they think they live in the old US.


I'm reading Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson for the third time, and understanding it more than the second time. It has wonderful technical digressions that seem aimed precisely at geeks/hackers. In fact, on the the main characters is a programmer, and another is a code-breaker in the military who sees an opportunity for geeky analysis in everything he sees. (There are also many accounts of military battles from a soldier's point of view to break the talking up.)


I'm about halfway through this. Not sure I liked it at first, because his style seemed a bit too heavy-handed, as if he were a 16 year old with a really big thesaurus, trying to allude to as many different things as possible. It's grown on me though, over the last far-too-many pages. Still not totally happy, but it's interesting.


A third of the way in. While I find it definitely entertaining, and like both the military adventures and geeky bits, I do not—so far—feel actually engaged with it. However this could be because it's hard to read while in bed: tiny type and bulky (at 900+ pages).

Recently read "On Intelligence" by Jeff Hawkins. The middle part was quite dense for me, but in the end I gained new appreciation for the AI field, which before really seemed like much pie in the sky nonsense, and after reading this book I am a believer.

Gearing up for something completely different now as the 12th installment of the WoT series is coming out in a few weeks.


I'm almost half way through it, I love most of the technical details he has described so far. Interesting on the whole, but I somehow lose interest and switch to another book for a couple of days before coming back to it.

I am also reading "Awaken the Giant within" by Anthony Robbins, the first third seemed to be pretty solid, though I am not sure the NAC stuff works as well as he says.


I recently read _Cryptonomicon_ after having put it down last year. It was fun, and overall it was definitely worth it. I'm reading his _Snow Crash_ now. It was published in 1992, before the Web, and it predicts a time close to present day. It's interesting to see what he got right, and what he got wrong. It's also a fun read if you are generous with the disbelief suspension.


. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

. Programming Clojure

. Little Schemer (re-reading)

. Evidence-Based Technical Analysis: Applying the Scientific Method and Statistical Inference to Trading Signals by David Aronson


+1 on ZAMM, very interesting book...do you plan on moving on to Lila, the "sequel"? I've read that very few have a full understanding of the point of the second book...I never got around to reading it after the first...


That book caused me no end of confusion, when I read it as a teenager. By the time Lila came out, it was no surprise to me that in it he repudiates much of what he said in ZAMM.

People should avoid reading it, because it's useless, and if they do read it, they should take it a lot less seriously than it does itself, because it's clear from the sequel that the author himself does.


Actually I don't know :), I usually avoid reading a lot of books from the same author, but, who knows :)


Rereading How to Win Friends and Influence People (once again). That book never ages. May very well be the best book ever written. I'm guessing most of you have read it, but if you haven't, I urge you to order it right away! It will be your best purchase in a long time.

Also just finished Genome (http://www.amazon.com/Genome-Autobiography-Species-Chapters-...). Good read, but there are better books in the category.


"How to Get Rich" by Felix Dennis ( http://www.amazon.com/How-Get-Rich-Felix-Dennis/dp/009191265... ) THE best get rich how-to guides that I've read (not that I've read too many of them, though :)


Best advice: "If it floats, flies or fornicates, better to rent it than own it."

I wonder how Dennis would feel about the fractional ownership model for each of those items.


In other words: Never own ducks.


Let us know how the advice seems after you've made your money.


Actually, a very likely outcome of reading that book is that you give up the idea of getting rich. The book is good, though.


Make sure to polish it up with a selection of Robb's Report :) Gotta be prepared, you know.


I got books like sheiks got oil. I'm swimming in them. I try to read a little from at least four books every day. (You'll have to look up these links yourself)

-----------------------------------------------------------

On my Kindle:

Anna Karenina, Tolstoy; Clean Code, Uncle Bob; Palm WebOS; Antoninus Meditations, Marcus Aurelius, Emperor; Never Eat Alone, and Other Secrets to Success, Ferrazzi

-----------------------------------------------------------

In my stack:

Daniel-X, James Patterson; Born To Run, Christopher McDougall; The Existential Jesus, John Carroll; Fear and Trembling - Repetition, Soren Kierkegaard

-----------------------------------------------------------

On the way in from Amazon: The Trusted Advisor, Maister; Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully, Weinberg; Rain Making: Attract New Clients No Matter What Your Field, Harding

-----------------------------------------------------------

I'm thinking about growing another pair of eyeballs so I can read two books at once. I'll let you know how the genetic engineering goes. (grin)


Why do you try to read from four books every day?


It's an interesting phenomenon. Now that I have my Kindle, I find I can "parallel read" instead of sequentially reading. It's really easy to flip between several books, and the Kindle keeps track of what percentage I have completed of each book.

I'm finding that the Kindle might not be so good with technical books -- why, I don't know. But for fiction and "light" books it's great. I wished I had read Tolstoy many years ago. That guy can really write!



On the (sort of) same topic, I'm in the middle of Good Calories, Bad Calories.


I'm a total foodie, and I simply cannot read this book. I'm not sure if I need pretty pictures, or salacious kitchen anecdotes, or what, but I read a lot of food books and I've failed to get past pg. 30 on this one several times.


Me too. This book has taken me a long time to get through for some reason, but it's good, and I'm almost done :)


"The Selfish Gene" by Dawkins. This was a result of asking my Twitter friends to decide between this and Art of War for me, and this won overwhelmingly. It's been a great read so far, and I'm really looking forward to learning more about how evolution and computer science can mix.


Dawkins is eminently readable, even in books that you think you know what he's going to say. I also recommend The God Delusion.


The God Delusion was the first Dawkins book I read -- a Christmas gift from my mother. When I told her what it was about, she got made and said "that's not in the spirit of Christmas."


The real payoff in that book for computer science oriented people is the end, where Dawkins basically invents memetics as a field of study.

The Art of War is good, too, though.


"The Four Steps to the Epiphany" by Steven Gary Blank

http://www.amazon.com/Four-Steps-Epiphany-Steven-Blank/dp/09...


Me too. I am struggeling to get through it though.


It is poorly edited, but full of excellent content. The author should release it to a wiki so that some enthusiasts can clean up the typos and other formatting issues.

I keep referring back to it. I think it would be good to read in parallel with a business partner.


"Anathem", by Neal Stephenson.

Don't be put off by its size, the book is great.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anathem


Not only don't be put off by it's size, but don't be put off by the press it got from when it was released. The book is way better than anyone could possibly sum up in a blurb.


And don't be put off by the slog through the first 100 pages or so.. it does have a pay-off.


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini


That book corrupted me. I've never had an innocent conversation with a salesperson since.


Haha, I know exactly what you mean!


1. Programming Clojure (Not going too well)

2. Refactoring your Wetware (This is a very good book)

3. SICP (Just started looking into this to see if I can attempt to write the code in Clojure)


I am half the way of SICP and I also have my hand on clojure. It would be a good experiment to solve the problems with clojure.


Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software http://www.amazon.com/Dreaming-Code-Programmers-Transcendent...

The Design of Everyday Things http://www.amazon.com/Design-Everyday-Things-Donald-Norman/d...


"Dreaming in Code" was ultimately so depressing I couldn't finish it.


1. The Mythical Man Month (Some interesting essays, some dated)

2. The Art of Agile Development (First agile book to read, certainly interesting)

3. Object Oriented Perl (Very interesting stuff... I've read it a few times but keep flipping open to chapters and being in awe of the cleverness of the author)


Damn -- now I'm going to have to get Object Oriented Perl.


Maverick - By Ricardo Semler of Semco. It's a must read book for every entrepreneur. I've read few business books, but this is one of those books I'll always recommend everyone with Founders at Work and Art of the Start.

It's a real story of Semco with great business lessons.


If you are interested in democratic and effective companies this is a great story. I wish more companies had a culture like Semco. Strong leadership should never go out the door, but autocracy should.


The Reasoned Schemer by Friedman, Byrd, and Kiselyov

Purely Functional Data Structures by Okasaki

Programming Language Pragmatics, 3rd ed by Scott

Fast Analytical Techniques for Electrical and Electronic Circuits by Vorperian


I second "Programming Language Pragmatics" it is a fantastic book, and he is a very good writer, with illustrative examples and just the right balance between breadth/depth.


The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco


That is such an excellent book. If you like it, you may also enjoy "Foucault's Pendulum" by Eco as well.


Very dense, the kind of book that a book geek writes.

When i read The DaVinci Code years later, it feeled like a very decaffeinated (really "de-lots of things") version of Foucaults Pendulum. It also feels like it spawned this sort of genre of history-mystery-conspiracy-airport-and-beach-novel.


And the island of the day before


And especially Bardolino


OO i love these threads.

I am currently reading "The Power Broker" by Robert Caro and its awesome so far (~150 pgs in). Just finished Zinn's "A people's history". Next up is "Atlas Shrugged" or "The Power of Babel" by John McWhorter.


Why? Just because someone is reading something doesn't mean it's a good recommendation. I'm reading "Two years before the mast," and it's okay. There are better books.

However, here's a real recommendation: If you have a netbook, it can be used very effectively as an e-book reader if you turn it on its side while in bed, or place it upon your chest. I didn't buy it for that reason, but it is the most comfortable manner of reading books, AFAICS.


Because recommendations tend to be very specific to a certain topic (probably very technical), but asking what a person is reading now includes outside interests, hobbies and curiosities.


I like these threads, not because I'm looking for book recommendations, but because finding out what people are reading gives me some insight both into the people and into publishing.


I am reading way too many books at once. Not in danger of finishing them all, but in the last month I have read from:

  Technical:
Armstrong, Programming Erlang

Oppenheim et al, Signals and Systems

Abelson and Sussman, SICP

The Fourier Transform and its Applications

Project Management for Construction

  Nontechnical:
Russel, History of Western Philosophy

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Schelling, Strategy of Conflict

The US Army Counterinsurgency Field Manual

Araki Photofile

...

All of them are too interesting.


I only read the first chapter of Malcolm X's autobiography before I lost my copy, but boy was it ever worth reading.

I think everyone should take an hour to sit down and read the first chapter, even if they don't like books.


Edison : a Life of Invention, Paul Israel (terribly dense condensation of a 6 volume biography... but it has all the facts. I don't know if Edison was a "genius", but he had lots of ideas, and he did them. BTW Tesla isn't mentioned at all, and the AC/DC controversy only peripherally, in terms of Western Union)

Just finished iWoz, by Woz. It's extremely casually written. He comes across as ego-centric but sadly without self-awareness even here, in autobiography (incidentally, I think the appropriate comic strip to represent Steve and Steve would be Calvin and Calvin. But I digress). The guy is a genius, there's some funny bits, and he gives some great advice: being able to think objectively gives you confidence, and independence of the opinions of others. Worth being reminded of when the pressure's on.

now to join the long tail of comments


Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll

Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education by Grace Llewellyn


Just finished The Time Traveler's Wife... Working on GEB, and Ulysses (also a simple French reader and Le Petit Prince since I'm just learning French).

I also got a book about Ulysses to help me glean as much as possible out of this intellectual and physical monstrosity of a book.


Network Algorithmics - George Varghese; Back of the Napkin - Dan Roam


Good for you on Varghese. Let us know what you build.


Halfway into "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and im liking it so far, specially its hindsights on philosophy and rationality.

"Beautiful Data", a couple of chapters, i like the "Beautiful" series cause you can take any chapter as a more or less isolated topic.


Starship Troopers. Began and finished off 1984 after all the hubbub about it recently on HN.


Me too. Finished up to 9 chapters.


An introduction to probability - Vol I (William Feller)

Introduction to dynamic systems - David Luenberger


How are you finding Feller?

I've been through Shiryaev and have very mixed feelings on that one.


* Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life, by Winifred Gallagher (So-so. Pop-psychy, but interesting ideas.)

* 500 Essential Anime Movies: The Ultimate Guide, by Helen Mccarthy (Perhaps one doesn't actually read such a book, but graze.)

* Mister Blank Exhaustive Collection, by Christopher J. Hicks (Fun. Love the art.)

* Programming Cocoa with Ruby, by Brian Marick (Tonight I will likely crack this open and see how soon I can code something.)

* Where I'm Calling From: Selected Stories, by Raymond Carver (Started in, will work slowly through the stories.)

Sitting on the floor, beckoning me:

* Sunnyside, by Glen David Gold

* The Invention of Air, by Steven Johnson


The Spanish Labyrinth: An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Spanish Civil War, Brenan http://www.amazon.com/Spanish-Labyrinth-Account-Political-Ba...

Homage to Catalonia, Orwell http://www.amazon.com/Homage-Catalonia-George-Orwell/dp/0156...


Cabeza de Vaca's Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America


Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges. Always a delight, the two prefaces for the collection written decades apart are a must read (Amazon Look Inside hasn't got it. Don't know why.).


Borges its great, i find his tales super-concentrated: one tale mentions people or stories that can spawn hundreds of other tales or biographies, and that leaves me wishing to read more of him to see if that story is told somewhere else.


McMafia by Misha Glenny. Interesting read on globalization and organized crime as circumstances have materialized since the end of the Cold War.


You'd probably also be interested in the book Rogue Economics by Napoleoni. It discusses how the money from illicit activities are flowing around the world.


IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation

Imitation of Life: How Biology Is Inspiring Computing

Programming in Python 3


  The Machinery Of Freedom by David Friedman
  Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
  Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
I'm in the middle of writing a book on emulation, and I'm finding it really hard to read anything tech-wise these days. There's only so long you can see such material before you can't take it anymore, and my own book pushes me over that line most days.


1. The Annotated Turing - Charles Petzold 2. SICP (going very slow) 3. Findability - Peter Morville 4. Making Things Happen - Scott Berkun


Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight by David A. Mindell

Gray Hat Python: Python Programming for Hackers and Reverse Engineers by Justin Seitz


Okasaki's "Purely Functional Data Structures"

Giola's "The History of Jazz"

Herbert's "Chapterhouse: Dune"


Why's (poignant) guide to Ruby. I have no interest in Ruby, I just wanted to read why's thing on paper instead of on the screen. Though with hindsight, it might have been cheaper to just print it.

Fisher vs. Spassky: inside the 1972 world chess championship. It is crushing me with brute force.

consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks. War is hell.


Good Calories, Bad Calories (Taubes)

About 700 children's books (Assorted authors)


Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions

The Road to Reality (and I'll probably be able to post this for the next 3 or more threads of this type :)

Dead Until Dark (well when it comes in, certainly not going to buy this, and the library reserve goes nuts for books that spawn your popular vapire drama)


A friend of mine has been completely obsessed with the Discworld books. I just borrowed "Jingo" and was impressed with how mature it was.(Mature in the ideas presented. The humor is absurd and appropriately silly) Pratchett isn't quite as great as Douglas Adams but is certainly close enough.


Microsoft's Axum Programmers Guide (PDF). The language is beyond me, but I felt like going through it.

http://download.microsoft.com/download/B/D/5/BD51FFB2-C777-4...


Technical:

- Practical Common Lisp

- Programming Clojure

Non technical:

- Empire, Antonio Negri & Michael Hardt. A deep political and philosophical essay about the transition between modern and postmodern times.

- Various material about the International Situationist, an avant-garde political and artistic movement from the 60s.


My basic CS stuff:

Still at 'Real World Haskell'...and still not through the Monads part

Programming Clojure, started reading

Chris Okasaki's Thesis on 'Functional Data Structures'

O'Reilly's 'Algorithms in a Nutshell'

'Collective Intelligence', T. Segaran, O'Reilly

Some old Isaac Asimov books I found in my Landlord's cellar

R. L. Stevenson, re-reading 'Treasure Island' on Google Books


Psycho-Cybernetics http://www.amazon.com/Psycho-Cybernetics-New-More-Living-Lif...

probably the best self-help book I've ever read.. Teaches a lot about how to think.


A Code of Jewish Ethics, Volume 2: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself, by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin

http://www.amazon.com/Code-Jewish-Ethics-Neighbor-Yourself/d...


The correct question is, "what are you reading _for_?" and the answer is "I'm reading 'Hee Haw: The Book.'"

Actually, it's "Matrix Methods in Data Mining and Pattern Recognition." Two years ago I would have torn through the math but now I'm, uh, less smart.


I'm currently reading "Persepolis," the graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi, and MIT Press' "A History of Modern Computing." I recently acquired a copy of Steven Levy's "Hackers," which I'd like to at least start before the end of the summer.


Steven Levy is a brilliant writer. If you want to read about computer history from the position of the hackers building it then I'd also suggest reading his other books, especially 'crypto' and 'insanely great'.


Hackers is an excellent book, probably should be required reading for anyone into the programmer/entrepreneur lifestyle, or wannabe.

It gave me my first moment where I was reading a book and thought, "Yes. That's what I want to be doing. What they're doing. But me," when reading about some of the first computer game companies like Sierra, early Electronic Arts, early Apple, etc. Especially the story of Ken and Roberta Williams.

As a kid, I was using the software and hardware made by the folks described in those stories and felt that when I grew up I also wanted to be my own boss, and make and sell my own stuff. Make, sell, repeat. All other BS minimized.


That's the feeling I'm going for. Hopefully the MIT history of computing book coupled with Hackers and a full load of computer science courses in the fall will help motivate me.


I'm gonna check out that book based on your glowing review. Thanks!


Second Treatise of Government - Locke On Liberty - Mill The Communist Manifesto - Marx & Engels Eros & Civilization - Marcuse Civilization and Its Discontents - Freud The Road To Serfdom - Hayak Milestones - Qutb


Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

and

The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes


Interesting and unusual books for a hacker. Can you give us a quick mini-review of what you think so far?


The Candy Bombers, about the Berlin Airlift, the political and military conflicts surrounding the Airlift, and the Airlift pilot that started dropping candy for the kids near the airport.


The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by Alain De Botton

recommended in this thread: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=760771


Great interview with him on Marketplace of Ideas podcast (Google it).



Last three books I read were; Atlas Shrugged, Code Complete, The Mythical Man Month,

The three books I'm currently reading; flex and bison, Mastering Algorithms in C Expert C programming,

The next three books on the "to read" stack are; Cyptonomicom, The definitive guide to GCC, Managing projects with GNU make,

Did anyone else find "Code Complete" to be a bit repetitive, in places a bit redundant, and sometimes repetitive? I think the "pragmatic programmer" was a better read, and I could not put down "programming pearls"


Most recently, been doing some skill refreshing with Jon Bentley's "Programming Pearls" and Paul Graham's "ANSI Common Lisp".

Not too long ago, Pepper White's "The Idea Factory".


Growing up, I was a big fan of Robert Aspirin who wrote the Another Fine Myth series. I found out he died recently so I picked up his latest, Dragons Wild. It's a young adult novel but it was a fun, nostalgic read.

Prior to that it was House of Suns by Alistair Reynolds. Far-future sci-fi about a group of traders who travel at near-relativistic speeds from planet to planet over billions of years, watching human civilizations rise and fall.


Ulysses, haha.


I also started reading the same sometime ago. After 60 pages or so I put it down. It may be a good book (everyone keeps telling me that) but life's too short to try everything I don't like. :)

Currently on Simoqin Prophecies and the Camel book ( a fre chapters). Both are highly recommended.


Ouch.


Not entirely ouch. Much like when I read Portrait of the Artist I am pressed between wanting to stab Joyce for having obnoxious and terrible worldviews and steal his flatcap for its clearly mystical powers of English wrangling.

I guess those aren't exactly mutually exclusive.


Just finished "Heretics of Dune". Now starting "Chapterhouse: Dune". Both are Audiobooks I got from Audible.com. Great production for the whole series.


Any of the ones read by Tim Curry are excellent. His voice characterizations are very good.


Agile Web Development with Rails. I'm up to Chapter 11 or so, if I remember right. Took a break to solve some puzzles for something completely unrelated. Hopefully I can get back to a chapter a night.

After that, I'll probably crack open the Flex 3 Cookbook that Mike Potter sent over. I still feel awful about not having read through that one yet, as Flex 4 is almost ready to be released.


. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance . Harvard Business Review - all the case studies . The Innovator's Dilemma . Ayn Rand++


Reading "Q for Mortals." Highly recommend it for ideas for your next Antlr project. Whitney is a sharp character.

Also trying my best to read some fiction - it's gotten progressively more difficult to do over the years (the programmer has become programmed). Best I could muster was to re-read "The First 20 Million is Always The Hardest" by Po Bronson. Precious read.


LtU thread with Steve Apter (of nsl.com) explaining parsing of pure K: http://lambda-the-ultimate.org/node/1323#comment-15393


* The Future of the Internet -- And How to Stop It :: by Jonathan Zittrain

* The Elementary Particles :: by Michel Houellebecq


Good luck with Elementary Particles. It's was too depressing for me. "The Possibility of an Island" gets better though, with a nice sci-fi underline.


> I don't ever see this discussed here.

Nonsense :-).

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=749706

Code Complete 2 [Chapter 7] (McConnell)

Test Driven: Practical TDD and Acceptance TDD for Java Developers [Chapter 2] (Koskela)

A friend is helping me with this one:

The Rebel [Chapter 2] (Camus)


Code Complete is good stuff. The first volume changed the way I thought about code.



I'm bouncing between that book and "The Haskell School of Expression"( http://www.haskell.org/soe/ ). The second seems to be better at describing data structures and building the language in your mind while the first is more of a reference of useful ideas.


It's strange how I never heard of this one, while the other gets a lot of attention. Is it very outdated?


I had a lot of trouble trying to get the libraries they mentioned working. The code examples in the book are so straight forward it was simple to implement them in OpenGL. I have not run across wrong information yet.

On a side note, I went to the Boston Haskell Users Group and their advice was "just read the Haskell Report". I needed a little more gentle introduction before we go jumping into the deep end of the pool.


Contemplative Science by B. Alan Wallace. It's about stripping out the analytical tools of Buddhism for study of the mind and creating a robust and consistent tool set for scientific inquiry into the nature of the subjective mind. Very interesting stuff IMO.


Michel Foucault Security, Territory, Population (Lectures at the College De France)


A re-read of the Wheel of Time series - kindof following along with the tor.com re-read (Which is worth checking out if you are a WoT fan). Going to push through the last 4 books in the next 2 months as Book 12 is coming out in Nov.


I'm also finishing Atlas Shrugged finally this week, having just finished The Fountainhead. Next on my list is Anthem, then I think I'll go back to some non-fiction for the next couple books... like Outliers and Capital and Freedom.


Currently reading: "infinite jest" (wallace) "how to rock climb" (john long)

On deck for winter: "god created the integers" (hawking) "critique of pure reason" (kant) "illuminatus trilogy" "a brief history of technology" (up to 1900)


Parting the Waters : America in the King Years 1954-63 by Taylor Branch

The Hobbit

Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter by Thomas Cahill

I track my reading on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/enkrates


Pride an Prejudice, until 4 in the morning last night. I'm sleepy now at work :)


Infinite Jest, as a long slow process.

The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo/The Girl who Played with Fire, each of which I found myself burning through in a day (the new definition of the genre of Swedish crime writing, which is amazing).


What do you think about IJ? Where are you at in it? I'm ~400; was doing 75 pages a day during my summer break last week, but now that I'm working I'm down to 5 or 6 a day.


I like it, but it's a long march - I'm at about 320, and a had a similar pattern; 40 a day while on holiday, five or so while at work.

Seems like once you clear 200 pages or so, you're in it for the long haul. It's intimidatingly large, but I couldn't think of not finishing it.


Empires of the Silk Road yesterday and Inside Central Asia today. Also The Lightness of Being, A Savage War of Peace, and Confessions of an English Opium Eater.


I'm one of the ones that has too many books on my reading list.

Programming in Scala - Odersky et al. Code Complete 2- re reading, its a good read actually Godel Escher Bach - Hofstadter


Ha! I'm the only one apparently reading Melville! I'm reading Omoo, his second book. I finished Typee last week and Omoo is the semi-sequel.


Just finished:

"The Great War for Civilisation" - Robert Fisk "Life on the Mississippi" - Mark Twain "3 Commando Brigade" - Ewen Southby-Tailyour "Anathem" - Neal Stephenson


Computational Pharmacokinetics by Anders Källén

Secrets of Consulting by Gerald Weinberg

Le Ton Beau de Marot by Douglas Hofstadter

Born to Win by Muriel James and Dorothy Jongeward


Le Ton Beau de Marot by Douglas Hofstadter

How is it? please share your impressions.


I haven't liked it as much as GEB. At times, it strikes me as too clever (puns and autobiographical digressions all over the place). It's definitely interesting and thought-provoking, though. With translation as its main topic (not so interesting to me), it explores lots of tangents (of more interest to me): syntax and semantics, medium and message, constraint and discovery, all with loads of interesting examples. Most of all, it's a book about words, for people who love words. The main thing I get out of it is an appreciation for just how sophisticated the verbal part of the human mind is.


If you're interested enough to ask, then you'll probably like it. If you've read and liked any other Hofstadter, then just just go get it. A bit weird at first, but ultimately superb.


I will. I took GEB and leave it 200 pages from the end, it is great but i keep feeling im not getting something. Im starting over now. And "le ton..." would be next.


> Computational Pharmacokinetics

Woa, this sure sounds geeky. What is it about ?


It explains the mathematics describing drugs' passage into, through, and out of the body.

There are lots of books about pharmacokinetics, but this one is notable for being so clear, direct, precise, and readable. It explains the main causal factors, the not-so-obvious causal factors, the reasons behind peculiar notions in the field (e.g. a drug's "volume of distribution" might be much more than the volume of your body), and how to actually crunch the numbers. It doesn't just present results, it shows you the reasoning.

It's quite short, too: 170 pages. Nothing like those gigantic textbooks that say much less.


I just finished The Brothers Karamazov. It was excellent.


I'm just reading Poor Folk, in honour of the Recession.


Do folks here use Library Thing?

http://www.librarything.com/home/jamesbritt

(I've fallen behind in updates ...)


Fatal Revenant by Stephen Donaldson

The Art of Happiness by HH Dalai Lama


- SICP by Abelman, Sussman, and Sussman

- The Black Company I: Glittering Stone by Glen Cook

I try to stick to two books at a time -- one fiction, one nonfiction.


John von Neumann and the origins of modern computing


had my temporary fill of tech books, so:

on my bedstand is "when you are engulfed in flames"

and my next major read is probably "the gathering storm" once it comes out.


Go It Alone (http://www.brucejudson.com/) by Bruce Judson

You can read it free online.


Humpty Dumpty in Oakland by Philip K. Dick

Sometimes a little bit of fiction is nice over the usual technical / theory books one might read :)


Read through _Untimely Thoughts_ a couple of weeks ago, have been meaning to pick up _The Great Melody_ by C.C. O'Brien.


* Practical Mathematics * Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student * Foundations of Arithmetic * Emerson's Essays


The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi

Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt


Finished "Ghost" last week -- nice book!

Not as good as his first one, but well-written.

You know there's a third book in the series too, right? Not as good as the first two, but good.

What impressed me most about this author was after writing three books, he hung up the series. He said that was it, not going any father.

I gotta admire that. Most Sci-Fi Authors with a good series have to beat the thing to death before they let go.


Well, he did follow it up with Zoe's Tale, a fourth book. And there's also Jane's Diary or some other book that is tangentially related to the main trilogy.


Yikes!

Sorry about the misinformation. I said that based on how he closes "Last Colony" -- he makes it pretty clear he's done for a while.

I guess the lure of the steady paycheck is a tough thing to resist.


Infinite Jest (DFW)

Trading and Exchanges (Harris)


* Dynamics of Software Development

* Wireless Communications & Networks

* Time Management for System Administrators


Founders At Work, On Lisp, SICP, Idoru, The Art of Racing In the Rain (Garth Stein)


C# in Depth: What you need to master C# 2 and 3 & Introduction to Algorithms


Finished Amusing Ourselves to Death a week ago, now reading Cryptonomicon.


I've been trying to get through a book a week recently, and not quite succeeding. Here's the three I'm going through right now (no affiliate links):

Arabian Nights, Hussain Haddawy's translation. Hilarious and many life lessons, strongly recommended. http://www.amazon.com/Arabian-Nights-New-Deluxe/dp/039333166...

Healthy at 100, John Robbins. Just started, looks promising. http://www.amazon.com/Healthy-100-Scientifically-Healthiest-...

The Psychology of Self Esteem, Nathaniel Branden. Gosh, Branden's so smart, I just wish he'd use smaller words and sentences so I could get his general ideas faster. http://www.amazon.com/Psychology-Self-Esteem-Revolutionary-A...

I just gave up on "Execution" by Larry Bossidy, it seems good but I wasn't connecting with it right now.

I read "Katsuno's Revenge and Other Tales of the Samurai" recently, which was a good, short book. It's like 120 pages, with six stories or so. A few of them were interesting, a few didn't speak to me, but overall worth a read. You'll learn some underpinnings of Japanese culture from it. (Also, it's only $9 on Amazon right now, can just add to cart for next order) - http://www.amazon.com/Katsunos-Revenge-Other-Tales-Samurai/d...

Finished "The Samurai Banner of Furin Kazan" recently - very interesting, it's a look at the more political machinations and presents a dirtier, less ethical picture of the great strategists in the Sengoku era. http://www.amazon.com/Samurai-Banner-Classics-Japanese-Liter...

Don't start with it if you're not familiar with the era, though, you'll get the general sense wrong. I'd recommend start with Eiji Yoshikawa if you like Japanese history and want to learn more - of course, start with "Musashi", which is fantastic. If you really like it, "Taiko" is good too.

Musashi (my favorite book, huge for people who have lots of potential and are having a hard time dealing with people close to them because of it) - http://www.amazon.com/Musashi-Eiji-Yoshikawa/dp/4770019572/r...

Taiko (start with Musashi, if you like it a lot, pick up Taiko) - http://www.amazon.com/Taiko-Eiji-Yoshikawa/dp/4770026099/ref...

Also, finished The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing which is the best business book I've read in a long time. Short, simple, to the point. Highly recommended. http://www.amazon.com/22-Immutable-Laws-Marketing-Violate/dp...


"The World Without Us" by Alan Weisman

"Goedel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter


"La reine morte" (The dead queen) by Henry de Montherland.


Inside the Mind of the Shopper - Herb Sorenson Born to Run


* Gödel, Escher, Bach

* The Pragmatic Programmer

* Programming Clojure

* Pragmatic Version Control Using Git


The Lost Continent, Bill Bryson.

An amazing book, very readable.


From Beirut to Jerussalem. Thomas Friedman.


Practical Django Projects 2nd edition


Ideas and Opinions - Albert Einstein


Haroun and the Sea of Stories :)


Art of the Start - Guy Kawasaki


Making of the Atomic Bomb


Gang Leader for a Day Cracking the GRE Personal Development for Smart People The Ultimate Sales Machine Finding Your Zone: Ten Core Lessons for Achieving Peak Performance in Sports and Life

Must-read-soon: Infinite Jest; Tribes; Influence; Made to Stick; Foundation Rails 2

There aren't enough hours in the day. I'm going to shift to a wake-up-at-6-am sleep schedule so I can become a more productive person and have more time to read. Anyway, back to work.


Gang Leader for a Day --> Awesome Book!


The Brothers Karamazov. Awesome, if only for the casually violent Russian realism that I loved in Преступление и Наказание.

As far as learning goes, I'm chugging through the FARs and the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. I'm about to solo.

As far as computer tech stuff goes, I haven't picked up a book with hype (plus requisite clipart/bad drawings/abuse of color space) on the cover in years.

Edit: What's up with all the Ayn Rand? Misogyny, xenophobia and unvarnished greed aren't exactly admirable characteristics, and her books read like an apologist's how-to manual. My favorite example of a Rand fanboy now works (when last I checked) at a bowling alley in Santa Barbara, after loudly and memorably insisting that he didn't need liberal pansy friends like me, because he'd be the wealthiest tycoon alive.

Yeah.

I guess he has a stovepipe hat and a monocle now.


> What's up with all the Ayn Rand? Misogyny, xenophobia and unvarnished greed aren't exactly admirable characteristics

The big problem with Rand is that she's downright nasty to the other side. So people feel attacked and tune themselves out to her good ideas. Rand's anti-politicking, pro-individualism, pro-triumph, pro-innovation, pro-going against the grain, and so on. She rails against the very real, very nasty backroom deals that give privilege and blessing to companies who can work the political system at the expense of companies built by clueless-to-the-law engineers and scientists. She makes a heck of a lot of good points...

...but she's really nasty about it, incredibly unfriendly and unsympathetic to the motives of people who have other politics than hers. It makes it easy for people with other views to tune out everything she wrote, even though there's a lot of value in it.


Oops. I just thought it was an amusing anecdote, but this isn't a constructive direction.


It was an amusing anecdote that started with a harsh indictment of anyone who likes Ayn Rand's writing. Are you sure you didn't expect people to be offended at what you said? Are you, perhaps, being a little disingenuous here?


Ah, but if one aspires to an ego the size of Howard Roark's, he wouldn't be offended by anything whatsoever.


What does that have to do with liking Ayn Rand's writing?


Maximum City - Suketu Mehta Shantharam - Gregory David Roberts




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