Three Fun Reads

You Are Not A Gadget by Jaron Lanier

The line between a quack and a great thinker is very thin. I found much of this book hard to follow, but if you just let the ideas wash over you Jaron has a lot to offer. His critique of current digital trends, especially in the web 2.0 world, are definitely worth pondering. He is in direct opposition to people like Clay Shirky, whom he calls hive enthusiasts. Lanier believes The Hive will never amount to anything because of the old computer science adage: Garbage In, Garbage Out. His remarks that for all the hoopla about our “new” digital world, things are not that much fundamentally different from when he first started in this field more than 20 years ago, were interesting as well.

What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell

More great and thought provoking essays. There is always a lot of fascinating stuff to learn from a Malcolm Gladwell book. This one is a collection of shorter essays, they don’t loose anything in their brevity and you get a lot more breadth. So far I was fascinated to learn why there are so many brands of mustard but really only one ketchup brand and more about the Popeil family history and their secret to success.

Death By Black Hole by Neil DeGrasse Tyson

A great, fun, and science filled romp through the cosmos. Not only do you get a detailed description of what happens when you fall into a black hole, you get some kind of scientific inquiry into almost any apsect of our cosmos. As an astrophysicist Neil touches on everything from our five senses, which in retrospect, seem to be very limited, all the way to the far reaches of the cosmos, which now seems even more mysterious and sublime.

p.s. some really good thoughts in this review of lanier’s book.