Paul E. McKenney (paulmck) wrote,
Paul E. McKenney

Exit Libris, Take Two

Still the same number of bookshelves, and although I do have a smartphone, I have not yet succumbed to the ereader habit. So some books must go!

  • Books about science and computing, in some cases rather loosely speaking:

    • “The Rocks Don't Lie”, David R. Montgomery. Great story of how geologists spent a great many years rediscovering the second century's received wisdom that the Book of Genesis should not be given a literal interpretation, specifically the part regarding Noah's Flood. Only to spend the rest of their lives resisting J. Harlen Bretz's work on the catastrophic floods that shaped the Columbia Gorge. The book also covers a number of other suspected catastrophic floods, showing how science sometimes catches up with folklore. Well w-orth a read, but discarded in favor of a biography focusing on J. Harlen Bretz. Which is around here somewhere...
    • “This Book Warps Space and Time”, Normal Sperling. Nice collection of science-related humor. Of course, they say that every book warps space and time.
    • “Scarcity: The True Cost of not Having Enough”, Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir. Not a bad book for its genre, for example, covering more than mere money. Interesting proposals, but less validation of the proposals than one might hope. (Yes, I do write and validate software. Why do you ask?)
    • “the smartest kids in the world, and how they got that way”, amanda ripley [sic]. Classic case of generalizing from too little data taken over too short a time. But kudos to a book about education with a punctuation-free all-lowercase front cover, I suppose...
    • “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, Daniel Kahneman. Classic book, well worth reading, but it takes up a lot of space on a shelf.
    • “The Information, A Theory, A History, A Flood”, James Gleick. Ditto.
    • “The Human-Computer Interaction Handbook”, Julie A. Jacko and Andrew Sears. This is the textbook from the last university class I took back in 2004. I have kept almost all of my textbooks, but this one is quite large, is a collection of independent papers (most of which are not exactly timeless), and way outside my field.
    • “The Two-Mile Time Machine, Richard B. Alley”. Account of the learnings from ice cores collected in Greenland, whose two-mile-thick ice sheets give the book its name.
    • “Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations”, David R. Montgomery. If you didn't grow up in a farming community, read this book so you can learn that dirt does in fact matter a great deal.
    • “Advanced Topics in Broadband ATM Networks”, Ender Ayanoglu and Malathi Veeraraghanavan. Yes, Asynchronous Transfer Mode networks were going to take over the entirety of the computing world, and anyone who said otherwise just wasn't with it. (Ender looked too old to have been named after the protagonist of “Ender's Game” so your guess is as good as mine.)
    • “Recent Advances in the Algorithmic Analysis of Queues”, David M. Lucantoni. I had been hoping to apply this to my mid-90s analysis work, but no joy. On the other hand, if I remember correctly, this was the session in which an academic reproached me for understanding the material despite being from industry rather than academia, a situation that she felt was totally reprehensible and not to be tolerated. Philistine that I am, I still feel no shame. ;-)
    • “The Principia”, Isaac Newton. A great man, but there are more accessible sources of this information. Besides, the copy I have is not the original text, but rather an English translation.

  • Related to my recent change of employer:

    • “Roget's Thesaurus in Dictionary Form”, C.O. Sylvester Mawson. Duplicate, and largely obsoleted by the world wide web.
    • “Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (College Edition)”. Ditto. This one is only a year older than I am, in contract with the thesaurus which is more than 20 years older than I am.
    • “Guide to LaTeX, Fourth Edition”, Helmut Kopka and Patrick W. Daly. Ditto, though much younger.
    • “Pattern Languages of Program Design, Book 2”, Edited by John M. Vlissides, James O. Coplien, and Norman L. Kerth. Ditto.
    • “Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture Volume 2: Patterns for Concurrent and Networked Objects”, Douglas Schmidt, Michael Stal, Hans Rohnert, and Frank Buschmann. Ditto.
    • “Strengths Finder 2.0”, Tom Rath. Ditto.
    • Books on IBM: “IBM Redux”, Doug Garr; “Saving Big Blue”, Robert Slater; “Who's Afraid of Big Blue”, Regis McKenna; “After the Merger”, Max M. Habeck, Fritz Kroeger, and Michael R. Traem. Worth a read, but not quite of as much interest as they were previously. But I am keeping Louis Gerstner's classic “Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?”

  • Self-help books, in some cases very loosely speaking:

    • “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In”, by Roger Fisher and William Ury. A classic, but I somehow ended up with two of them, and both at home.
    • “How to Make People Think You're Normal”, Ben Goode.
    • “Geezerhood: What to expect from life now that you're as old as dirt”, Ben Goode.
    • “So You Think You Can ’Geezer’: Instructions for becoming the old coot you have always dreamed of”, Ben Goode.
    • “The Challenger Customer”, Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon, Pat Spenner, and Nick Toman. Good insights on how tough customers can help you get to the next level and how to work with them, but numerous alternative sources.
    • “The Innovator's Solution”, Clayton M. Christensen and Michael E. Raynor. Not bad, but keeping “The Innovator's Dilemma” instead.

  • Recent USA miltary writings:

    • “Back in Action”, Captain David Rozelle
    • “Imperial Grunts”, Robert D. Kaplan
    • “Shadow War”, Richard Miniter
    • “Imperial Hubris”, Anonymous
    • “American Heroes”, Oliver North

    A good set of widely ranging opinions, but I am keeping David Kilcullen's series. Kilcullen was actually there (as was Rozelle and to some extent Kaplan) and has much more experience and a broader perspective than the above five. Yes, Anonymous is unknown, but that book was published in 2004 as compared to Kilcullen's series that spans the Bush and Obama administrations. You get to decide whether Kilcullen's being Australian is a plus or a minus. Choose wisely! ;-)

  • Brain teasers:

    • “The Riddle of Scheherazade and Other Amazing Puzzles”, Raymond Smullyan
    • “Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step”, Edward de Bono
    • “The Great IQ Challenge”, Philip J. Carter and Ken A. Russell

  • Social commentary:

    • “A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation”, Peter Singer
    • “Rigged”, Ben Mezrich
    • “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants”, Robin Wall Kimmerer
    • “Injustice”, J. Christian Adams
    • “The Intimidation Game”, Kimberley Strassel

Tags: readings

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