stef_tm: Stef looking to her right suspiciously (Default)
Cross posted the 50 book challenge

Really behind on these updates!

Book 4: Anthem by Ayn Rand
The most succinct rendition of Rand's philosophy.

Book 5: Free Will by Sam Harris
A forty page essay which states that Free Will is an illusion (and has caused a great debate between him and the philosopher (and his friend,) Daniel Dennett.

Book 6: Hackers and Painters by Paul Graham
My review just posted on GoodReads:

Paul Graham is an early web innovator (creating the first online store company, ViaWeb, which was later sold to Yahoo!) He clearly foresees technology trends (the iPhone and Cloud Computing, for example) and is righteously opinionated - something important for creative, entrepreneurial people as he writes in one of the book's earliest essays.

PG is a libertarian and sees the world through those lenses (it happens to be a lens I share to some degree, so it was a refreshing read.) If you dislike libertarian thought the book can be a challenge as that flavor permeates nearly every essay.

I am scientist but not a computer programmer (I last programmed in both Basic and IDLE in the 80s.) PG's explanations of programming languages and the strength of LISP in particular were illuminating and enjoyable. It's inspired me to take a programming class at a local university this summer.
stef_tm: Stef looking to her right suspiciously (drama)
(xposted to [ profile] 50bookchallenge)

Ghost: Confessions of a Counter-Terrorism Expert
by Fred Burton
288 pages

Where to begin with this book?

Fascinating content, candid description of how a the US counter-terrorism portion of the diplomatic service originally had 3 overworked agent, 2 of them fresh out of training. Interesting anecdotes about the writer's career.

However, two huge flaws:
(1) Cluttered writing
The author repeats himself ad nauseum - the type of warm jacket he wears, the car he drives, the fact that he sees the world as black and white and the nature of his work is shades of gray.

(2) No narrative
Counter-terrorism grows across agencies, his own organization blossoms, technology changes - but these are mere punctuation and not part of the story. Ugh.

What was truly interesting came in quick glimpses of a mere second or two -
How does one reconcile letting a killer go free (and be on the payroll) for information which may save lives in the future. How does one balance family with vocation?

It's difficult to recommend this book - if you have an interest in espionage or terrorism perhaps.
stef_tm: Stef looking to her right suspiciously (ramones)
This may be the book with the longest and silliest subtitle:

Convict conditioning: How to Bust Free of All Weakness Using the Lost Secrets of Supreme Survival Strength

Premise: Strength through progressive calisthenics using body weight as told by a former prison inmate.

Actuality: A body-weight approach to fitness. Very sound tips on injury, great explanation of forms (starting with very beginner (e.g. wall push-ups) to cross-fit games exercises (e.g. hand-stand push-ups.) The prison story? Likely fake given the following disclaimer "names, histories and circumstances have been changed partially or completely."

Quick read, sound advice, and realistic work out schedules (emphasis on going slowly as joints, tendons, and ligaments do not strengthen as quickly as muscles.) For some reason the paper book is outrageously expensive on Amazon but the Kindle price was significantly less. Recommended to me by a Fitocracy pal in the UK. I love it.

(Note, I am 43, female, and a recovering couch potato.)

Unique featureDiscussion and photos of early 20th century strongmen. 6 pack abs before the invention of the "crunch"!

This is likely going to join the pantheon of fitness books that focus on body-weight exercises and/or non-gym training.
stef_tm: Stef looking to her right suspiciously (Default)
I recently finished The End of Days; Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount by Gershom Gorenberg. It was a good read. a poorly written facebook visual bookshelf review under here. )

Tom V Morris is a public philosopher (hey, that's what his byline says) and wrote a good blog on self-deception and goals; click here to go to his HuffPo blog.


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