The Math Gene
How Mathematical Thinking Evolved and Why Numbers Are Like Gossip
by Keith Devlin
Professor Keith Devlin is really interesting. i’ve gotten to know him over the last two years and have always enjoyed his analysis of science, math, and public policy. Devlin’s book, The Math Gene, is a joy. (it is also a small book … very easy for plane travel)
The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World by Alan Greenspan
finally finished this book. the second half was definitely better than the autobiographical first half. it is especially interesting to see what one of the world’s most influential people over the last two decades thinks.
King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild
this is a must read for anyone that wants to understand Africa. The book is about the forming of the Congo and one man’s (King Leopold of Belgium) narcissistic quest, following all Machiavelli’s rules, to build himself an empire.
The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk.
This is a fantastic history of Afghanistan in the 1800s and the cold war that Russia and Great Britain played with each other for influence there. This book is full with amazing spy stories, daring adventurers, intrigue, deception, and more. I highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to get a better handle on what went on with Russia and Great Britain at the time … and to anyone that wants to have a better understanding of Central Asia.
The End of Medicine by Andy Kessler.
Andy Kessler continues to be a smart, witty, and captivating writer of technology and current events. In the End of Medicine, Kessler gives us an insight to what is going on with U.S. healthcare (and its soaring costs), and the new developments in medicine, pharma, and biotech.
Link: Amazon.com: Applebee’s America: How Successful Political, Business, and Religious Leaders Connect with the New American Community: Books: Ron Fournier,Douglas B. Sosnik,Matthew J. Dowd.
this is a good book about microtargeting. worth reading — especially if you are interested in the most innovative technology in the 2004 election (and sure to be widely used in 2008).
Blind Side — by Michael Lewis
This is the tale about football but also about overcoming obstacles and an inspiring story of Michael Oher — currently the left tackle at Ole Miss and likely future first-round NFL first-round draft pick. Michael Lewis is also the author of Moneyball, Liar’s Poker, and the New New Thing — he continues to be one of my favorite authors (my other two favorites are Malcolm Gladwell and Niall Ferguson).
I highly recommend this book.
The Dust of Empire: The Race for Mastery in the Asian Heartland
by Karl Meyer
this is a great book on the stans, India, Pakistan, Iran, Georgia, and Central Asia overall. I’m reading The Great Game at the same time as this book. highly recommend it
Jonathan Zittrain gave me a an advanced copy of his new book book, The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It, to look over and comment on.
This is a fantastic book and it will be an important read for years to come. I’m not going to talk about it yet (as I don’t think it is bloggable yet) but I will highlight one very interesting thing that I learned from the privacy chapter …
In 1973, the U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare commission a blue-ribbon panel on computers and privacy. Their conclusions are still relevant 34 years later. They suggested five key points to follow to protect privacy:
– There must be no personal-data record-keeping systems whose very existence is secret.
– There must be a way for an individual, to find out what information about him is in a record and how it is used.
– There must be a way for an individual to prevent information about him obtained for one purpose from being used or made available for other purposes without his consent.
– There must be a way for an individual to correct or amend a record of identifiable information about him.
– Any organization creating, maintaining, using, or disseminating records of identifiable personal data must assure the reliability of the data for their intended use and must take reasonable precautions to prevent misuse of the data.
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
By Nassim Nicholas Taleb
I’m a big fan of Nassim Taleb and loved his first book, Fooled by Randomness.
His second book, The Black Swan, was given to me by Patrick McKenna. While the book was occasionally a little too intellectual, it is definitely one of the best books I have read this year. Read more about it on Amazon. Highly recommend it.
Geography of Thought
How Asians and Westerners Think Differently … and Why
By Richard Nisbett
This book was a very insightful collection of psychology studies comparing people in the United States and Europe to counterparts in Asia (mostly Japan, Korea, and China). The book was given to me by Courtney Smith last year and I finally got around to reading it. It was a quick read (one airplane ride) and the book was quite insightful. I recommend picking this up – especially if you are doing business in Asia.
Just finished Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman via audible. worth the listen has it has some good insights into human behavior, stress, etc.