What I've been reading lately.

I’ve been on a bit of a reading tear lately.  Partially because my wife and kids got me a Kindle Paperwhite, and partially because I finally broke down and got myself a subscription to audible.com (which I know isn’t technically reading, but I think it accomplishes much the same thing so I’m counting it).

Anyway, here’s a quick list of the books I’ve recently completed:

Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas

This was a recommendation from Albert Wenger and was what finally put me over the edge to giving audible.com a try (I was being too lazy to actually *read* this whole book). In any case, I really enjoyed the experience and the content.

The gist (to me) was to think about the world in terms of fragile vs. antifragile and to just really be aware of when you are in one situation vs. the other.  There is of course a ton of great data, examples, and stories throughout the book to explain this concept and I think it’s all well worth the time to check out.

The Search by John Battelle

This was my second audible.com download and was another one that I really enjoyed. It’s a bit dated now (orig. published in 2005), but the overall subject is still very useful and interesting (to me).  Being that gawk.it is a search play, I also found myself inspired throughout the book (and had many ideas sparked while reading through it all).

I’m not sure the average person would be all that interested in this book, but if you’re trying to build something on the internet (and haven’t read this yet), I would highly recommend it to you. It’s good to know your history (especially if, like me, you didn’t recognize/realize it while you were actually living through it all).

The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver

I’ve had this book on my wife’s kindle for a most of the year now, and just finally finished it.  It took me a *really* long time because honestly, it’s pretty dry reading.  I like the overall point of the book, and I think there are some useful thoughts throughout it, but mostly it just took too long to get through all the related fields and details to hammer home the basic points he tries to make throughout the book.

If you’re into *big data* (I am) or economics (I’m not), then it’s probably a good idea to read this one…but it will take some focus and dedication.

Contagious by Jonah Berger

I put this on my new Kindle just before hopping on the plan home from Florida and ended up finishing it the very next day. I might be the exception because I kinda love marketing books, but I just found so many great nuggets and ideas throughout this book that I couldn’t put it down.  I’m sure I’ll go back to it a number of times, and I’ve already started working on implementing some of the ideas for many of my projects.

How to create a mind by Ray Kurzweil

This is another book I have had on my wife’s kindle for most of the year and it’s a topic that I find really fascinating. But it also moves a bit slow throughout, and so it took me a really long time to find the focus and dedication to get through it all.

If nothing else though, it has put a number of thoughts/ideas into my head and I’ve found myself thinking about some of the theories/predictions mentioned throughout this book many times since reading them.  I’m especially fascinated by the idea of downloading a brain to the internet, and then what it means for immortality.

If you’re into those sort of philosophical debates/thoughts, then this is a great book for you to pick up.

The way to go by Ivo Balbaert

The Go programming language has been around since 2007, and I’ve had some friends chatting about it pretty much since the beginning, but it seems to have really picked up some steam as of late. The way I generally like to learn a new language is to just pick a project or idea and try to use the language for it, but sometimes I don’t always have a project that fits well for the language I want to learn (or the time to force it). This is, sort of, one of those times. So when that happens, I like to grab a book and at least try to get a high level overview of the language and what it’s thought to be good/bad for.

This book does a great job of explaining the basics of Go and the thoughts behind it. Though I haven’t put any of it to use (yet), I do feel like I have a pretty solid understanding of where/when to use it now and could work it into the appropriate situation with little effort whenever needed.  So if you’re the type of programmer who likes to learn languages by reading, this is a great book for you.

The next two books in my queue:

Red Thread Thinking by Debra Kaye

This is supposed to be a book on innovation and coming up with brilliant ideas…which, like marketing, is an area I really enjoy *thinking* about a lot. I just put it on my Kindle today, so I’ll likely be starting it tonight. The reviews are good, so I have high hopes.

Wizard: The life and times of Nikola Tesla by Marc Seifer

I’m waiting for my next audible.com credit to become available (19 days), and when it does this is what I intend to use it on. I hear it can be dry at points and a bit long winded, but that it has a lot of really good details and stories throughout it as well (which seems like a perfect fit for an audiobook to me).  My original interest in this book came about from a story that is mentioned in The Search book (listed above).

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This is the personal blog of Kevin Marshall (a.k.a Falicon) where he often digs into side projects he's working on for digdownlabs.com and other random thoughts he's got on his mind.

Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.

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