Sunday, June 18, 2017

More good stuff for your mind

There is a steady flow of good stuff that is worth attention.  I realize that I can't read or watch it all.  There is just too much. About this time of the week, I get a summary of notable TED talks: This link goes to a copy of the TED talk summary of the week.

I visit the UWSP library every now and then and I can't pass by the New Books shelf without taking a look.  Several have gotten my attention that might interest you, too. Whenever you have professional and experienced librarians choosing books for an active library, it seems wise to pause and take advantage of their work and judgment.  Maintenance of the collection is no small task and librarians work at trying to stay aware of the latest worthwhile books and make good selections with limited funds.

"Data for the People" by Andreas Weigend, the former chief data scientist for Amazon, is well-written and interesting.  I am reading it now and will probably post some highlights soon.  If you follow me on Twitter, I am @olderkirby and I have posted three times about the book.

Other books seem worth mentioning.  "The Girl in the Baggage Claim" is an explanation by Gish Jen, an experienced Chinese-American author of the difference in outlook and practice between Western people and Eastern people.

I have written before about "Sapiens" by Yuval Noah Harari, an Israeli historian.  That is probably the best book, the one that keeps coming back to mind the most, that I have read in the last five years.  Harari has a new book, "Homo Deus" (Latin for "Man, the God").  At first I thought the author simply could not write a 2nd book so worth reading.  But there it was on the New Books shelf so I took a look.  Even though it, like many excellent ebooks, costs about double the cost of many Amazon downloads, I bought it.  It was passages like this that caught me up:

True, there are still notable failures; but when faced with such failures we no longer shrug our shoulders and say, 'Well, that's the way things work in our imperfect world' or 'God's will be done'. Rather, when famine, plague or war break out of our control, we feel that somebody must have screwed up, we set up a commission of inquiry, and promise ourselves that next time we'll do better. And it actually works. Such calamities indeed happen less and less often. For the first time in history, more people die today from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals combined.

Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (p. 2). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

I recently enjoyed two novels by Brian D. Meeks.  He has many books but these two related to the story of Arthur Byrnes, an English professor who has not published in a long time and, with the help of friends, assistants and girlfriends, discovers the world of social media and electronic communication.  The stories are "Underwood, Scotch and Wry" and "Underwood, Scotch and Cry", both available only as inexpensive ebooks.


Popular Posts

Follow @olderkirby