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Rory Sutherland: Alchemy (AudiobookFormat, William Morrow) 5 stars

A delightful read!

5 stars

It's refreshing to read a book that encourages exploring childlike curiosities to problems instead of relying solely on the cold, mechanical, unimaginative steady drumbeat of logic.

This passage nicely summed up the theme of the book for me (replace "messages" for ideas and it still applies beautifully):

"Quite simply, all powerful messages must contain an element of absurdity, illogicality, costliness, disproportion, inefficiency, scarcity, difficulty or extravagance - because rational behaviour and talk, for all their strengths, convey no meaning."

Michael W Lucas: Networking for Systems Administrators (Hardcover, 2019, Tilted Windmill Press) 5 stars

Good overview of networking basics

5 stars

An excellent & quick read on the basics of networking for sys admins and the rest of us mere mortals! I especially liked the chapter on using tcpdump for packet sniffing.

Michael W. Lucas (yes, it's important to put the "W." in there if you do a Google search; you'll know what I mean if you leave it out) has a humourous and engaging writing style that gets right to the heart of solving those technical woes that might await you.

Chen Qiufan: Waste Tide (Hardcover, 2019, Tor Books) 3 stars

Mimi is a 'waste girl', a member of the lowest caste on Silicon Isle.

Located …

A beautifully haunting novel

5 stars

Chen Qiufan's "The Waste Tide" is a beautifully haunting novel. A highly recommend read.

Set in the fictitious future city of Silicon Isle -- a depressing nightmare where migrant workers toil night and day to take apart e-waste in an unforgiving filthy, toxic, cancer-inducing environment.

The world-building and characters Chen captures are rich and deep. You feel for Mimi and her unfortunate migrant workers who are treated like worthless dirt by Silicon Isle's affluent & arrogant caste.

And you encounter many gems along the way, such as the fusion of Chinese myths, a spirit-powered mech of death, as well as hilarious and visually entertaining snippets:

"The woman grabbed him by the left leg and dragged the powerless Kaizong into a temporary shed filled with junked prostheses. She pulled a rubber dildo out of the pile and, with astounding arm strength, stretched it into a rope, which she used to tie …

Kai-Fu Lee: AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order (2018) 5 stars

AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order is a 2018 non-fiction book …

Great read on China's A.I. scene

5 stars

Mr. Lee makes good arguments for why China may become a dominant global powerhouse in AI. In a growing multipolar world, his arguments are very reasonable.

In essence, the arguments boil down to two major shifts:

  1. From the age of discovery (e.g., heavy research focus, primarily in the U.S. and Canada) to the age of implementation (e.g., scrappy, do-anything entrepreneurs apply research to real-world business models).

The described 'gladiator' style of entrepreneurship in China where ultra nimble founders do anything it takes to beat out the competition and tune to market demands is worth a read alone. There's even an interesting story of how search engine competitors played nasty tricks on Google China.

  1. From the age of expertise to the age of data (e.g., quantity of data is the fuel to power ever-more accurate and powerful AI algorithms).

This was the most important takeaway from the book for me. The …