October 16th 2017

The Sky Below. A true story of summits, space, and speed. Scott Parazynski cw Susan Flory

English: STS-120 mission specialist Scott Para...

The Sky Below. Scott Parazynski cw Susan Flory.  2017.   The author is a medical doctor, mountaineer, astronaut and free diver.  He grew up living around the world and became very adaptable. His life story is thrilling, historic, and encouraging.  Its also an easy read. There are similarities to books written by other mountaineers, who are also driven black and white people.   A good four hour flight book.

October 2nd 2017

Kitchen Confidential. Adventures in the culinary underbelly. Antony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain being interviewed in the WNYC...

Kitchen Confidential. Adventures in the culinary underbelly. Antony Bourdain. 2008.  Hilarious, cutting, pithy and all too true sounding this a book that rips the covers off kitchens and those who work there. The author makes no bones about his generations of obnoxious, dissolute, atrocious behavior. It seems to be all there.   You will come away with a new insight into the industry.

September 25th 2017

The Next Factory of the World. How Chinese Investment is Reshaping Africa. Irene Yuan Sun

The Next Factory of the World. How Chinese Investment is Reshaping Africa. Irene Yuan Sun. 2017.  ISBN 9781633692817.  A thoughtful analysis of the similarities of Africa and China in how Africa could replicate China’s jump from an agrarian to a manufacturing country in a very short order.  The author makes some very good , logical points as to how this could be achieved. IN many ways Africa is exactly like China was just one generation ago.  The same Chinese businessmen who made this jump in China are now doing the same in Africa.  And Africa does have the poverty level farmers who would see a low wage industrial job as a step up. Plus by working for these Chinese businesses the Africans can learn how to do run a factory and eventually have factories of their own. The Chinese have recent experience with corruption at home so they know how to deal with African corruption.  I was interested to read that the bulk of investment is from private Chinese firms, not the famous Chinese zombie state enterprises.   From a Western perspective we may be losing sight of how simple this could be as we are too far along the technology path. A delightful and useful read.

September 11th 2017

Use of Force. Brad Thor.

Use of Force. Brad Thor.  2017. ISBN 9780476789385, To the Cussler fans comes another author in the thriller, special forces genre. fast paced, recognizable characters and topical this is a decent book for your summer reading.  The research seems germane and the pace does not let up.

September 5th 2017

Rethinking the Internet of Things. A scalable approach to connecting everything. Francis daCosta

Rethinking the Internet of Things. A scalable approach to connecting everything. Francis daCosta. 2013. ISBN 978043025740053999.  This book won the 2014 Jolt award. It is available as a free download from Springer.    A proposed architecture of the Internet of things based on the sheer numbers of the sensors that are and will be available being not suited to a traditional TCP/IPv6 architecture. The author sees a tiered collection approach. Sensors  ( some to many ) that “chirp” connect to collectors  ( usually one way) to propagator nodes (with IPv6)  to and then on to integrator/analyzer functions.  Its a fascinating read that makes some good arguments for this type of architecture.  Does this match with the growing push for the Iot to be a bottom up, open architecture that is not tied to any vendor cw proprietary  technologies remains to be seen.

August 28th 2017

Smart Cities. Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia. Anthony Townsend

Smart Cities.  Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia. Anthony Townsend. 2013.  Slate magazine says,  “Townsend has collected fascinating stories of urban renewal and innovation from around the globe and packaged them into lessons that are neat and digestible”. Our City is pursuing an Intelligent City initiative and I found much useful information that applies in this book.   I especially found his views of bottom up initiatives  useful as that is the model my City is using.  He references many organizations and website that have some valuable ideas and programs for any City to investigate. Very much worth the read and this is an author to follow.

The introduction is available at npr.org.

August 14th 2017

Prisoners of Geography. Ten maps that explain everything about the world. Tim Marshall

Greater Middle East

Prisoners of Geography. Ten maps that explain everything about the world. Tim Marshall.  2015.  I spotted this book on the shelf at Gatwick.  A quick perusal told me I should buy it.  The author does a terrific job in explaining the simplicity and complexity in understanding Russia, China, the US, Western Europe, Africa, The Middle East, Indian * Pakistan, Korea & Japan, Latin America, and the Arctic.  He starts with the geopolitics of each area, the gifts and lacks due to geography. Then you get a quick history of how meddling nations have drawn up political maps in contradiction to history  and geography.  Further explanation shows the present difficulties on helping/hindering these areas as well as their particular hot buttons . Every US president should read this book before saying anything about these areas.  Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

August 7th 2017

Becoming Facebook. The 10 challenges that defined the company that’s disrupting the world. Michael Hoefflinger.

English: Mark Zuckerberg, Founder & CEO of Fac...

Becoming Facebook. The 10 challenges that defined the company that’s disrupting the world. Michael Hoefflinger. 2017.  The author is a Zuckerberg fanboy – but as he lays it out in this book,  there are good reasons for it.  This book has reaffirmed to me why I retain my original Facebook shares.  The author clearly shows as an insider who understands how technology business grows why Facebook should stay on a tear.  Clearly written as well.

August 2nd 2017

The Taste of Conquest. The rise and fall of the three great cities of spice. Michael Krondl.

Cover of "The Taste of Conquest: The Rise...

Cover via Amazon

The Taste of Conquest. The rise and fall of the three great cities of spice. Michael Krondl. 2007 ISBN 9780345509826.  While travelling in Portugal I read this book. Fascinating,  as it delves in the roles of Venice, Lisbon and then Amsterdam and their successive monopolies in the spice trade .  Each city had a different approach in gaining their monopolies and how they “ruled” their Indian/Indonesian sources/possessions.  So much of the gold and ornate buildings in these cities was based on spice trading ( Pepper, salt, chili, cinnamon, then coffee and sugar) . The source countries and people did not fare well under the dominion of these successive traders.  The pursuit of spice is what drove the Portuguese to sail around Africa and into the Indies.  The author does a good job of illustrating  their particular drives and business approaches. Clearly written

July 24th 2017

Homo Deus. A brief history of tomorrow. Yuval Noah Harari.

Homo Deus. A brief history of tomorrow. Yuval Noah Harari. 2017. ISBN 9780062464316.  The author wrote Sapiens,  which detailed how mankind ( Homo Sapiens) become the dominant creature on the planet. In this well thought out book, he extrapolates where mankind may take philosophy, religions and the planet if following past processes, the present interest in AI,  IoT, CRISPR leads to a logical conclusion. He hints at the potential in the exploration of consciousness ( as practiced in eastern mystics).  The conclusion of the book extends a thought that if we do not want the “logical” end, that we may want to change things.  The initial parts that extend the thoughts of Sapiens is thought provoking. The middle where he delves into more philosophies could be unsettling to many, but provocative. The ending is not necessarily dystopian , but one could go away thinking it.   A worthwhile book to cause you to think and ponder