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19 June 2008 / erikduval

Holiday reading

Probably like many of you, I am beginning to think of what to read over the Summer Break…

Typically, I try to avoid books that are too closely connected to work stuff. My tired eyes betray that I may be doing too much of that kind of reading anyway. And the Summer Break for me is very much a moment to log off, take some distance, enjoy my family and reflect on Life, the Universe, and Everything.

That said, if you do want a recommendation for a Really Good Book strongly related to what this blog is concerned with, then Everything is Miscellaneous by David Weinberger is a book I can confidently recommend. This gem is very well written, full of nice stories and contains numerous Great Quotes:

“Facts are that about which we no longer argue”

“Information is easy. Space, time and atoms are hard.”

The fundamental insight (for me) is that we should impose order on the way out, as we need it, rather than on the way in, which always constrains us to a classification structure that works well for some goals but not for other. David also explores some of the deeper ramifications and philosophical implications for how we think about knowledge and truth. Definitely recommended!

However, to return to my original point, I am beginning to collect ideas on what I will read over summer. An easy one (for me) is Gibson’s Spook Country. I always enjoy what William Gibson writes and am very much looking forward to his latest. A somewhat different one is Popper‘s The Open Society and Its Enemies. Most of you will know that I care quite a bit about open standards, open content, open source, etc. For me, openness is a means to an end, or rather, a way to avoid barriers that closed systems impose (note to self: explain in more detail in another post!). But I do want to better understand some of the philosophical and social implications. And I’ve always had a soft spot for Popper – I still think  that falsifiability is such a neat way to characterize the essence of science.

Anyway, I hope to read more than two books over Summer and I’d be very interested in what you plan to read. Or what do you suggest I should read? There may be better ways to do this – can’t believe there would not be some fully web2.0-tagging-included-social-linking-enabled-and-cool-in-so-many-other-ways tool to share this kind of recommendations?

Really, seriously and again: suggestions welcome!

Actually, I twittered the same question recently and Mo Stefaner was so kind to suggest Clay Shirky’s Here comes Everybody (“a great read. Won’t cover the whole summer though, more something for a long weekend”. Mo also mentioned that, for task management, Things is the thing!

William Gibson recommends Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother:

Speaking of which, I’ve not previously expressed my admiration for Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother. As Wm. Burroughs was fond of saying, “young boys need it special”. In the case of Cory’s book, though, young girls need it special too.

And Stephen Hawking recommends The Drunkard’s Walk by Leonard Mlodinow

In The Drunkard’s Walk Leonard Mlodinow provides readers with a wonderfully readable guide to how the mathematical laws of randomness affect our lives. 

Finally, my Great Friend Wayne recommends back of the napkin by Dan Roam and The adventures of Johnny Bunko by Dan Pink.

I’m sure that YOU have some suggestions too?

 

3 Comments

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  1. Scott Leslie / Jun 19 2008 9:25 am

    Well, if you haven’t read (it’s a couple of years’ old now) I highly recommend Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End as a companion piece to Gibson’s Spook Country (it just so happens I read them back to back). Set in the not too distant future, it takes many current trends and dials them up a notch. Scarily and fascinatingly plausible.

  2. Hans de Zwart / Jun 19 2008 11:56 pm

    Popper’s Open Society heb ik een aantal jaren geleden met heel veel plezier gelezen… Waar ik op dit moment van geniet is Kevin Kelly’s Out of Control:

    http://www.amazon.com/Out-Control-Biology-Machines-Economic/dp/0201483408

    Even though it is from 1995 I still think it is visionary. Half of the things he writes about as being in the future have now arrived other things are still on their way…

  3. erikduval / Jun 21 2008 2:00 pm

    Thanks to Wayne, I’ve discovered librarything: http://www.librarything.com/profile/erik.duval. This seems a nice way to share what you’ve read, but not necessarily what you want to read?

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