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D. A.

Joined 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Software engineer from 🇨🇭

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Model (Hardcover, 1995, William Morrow & Co) 5 stars

Review of 'Model' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This book tells the story of the modeling agency business from its inception to the present day, with a focus on the US and Europe.

Interesting fact: I was surprised to learn that the very first modeling agency was created in the US, and not in France or Italy.

The book tells about how Eileen Ford, the founder of the Ford agency, besides providing modeling jobs to her models, also wanted to act as a matchmaker between models and suitable parties, who were often rich middle-aged men.

As it turns out, people working in the modeling industry, be it photographers, agents or scouts had other ideas. Why act as middlemen when they could be themselves the suitable parties, even if they were not so much. The book singles out the European fashion scene, and in particular Italy and France. The Elite agency deserves a special, unfortunately negative, mention here.

As …

Brave New World (Paperback, 1998, HarperPerennial / Perennial Classics) 4 stars

Brave New World is a dystopian social science fiction novel by English author Aldous Huxley, …

Review of 'Brave New World' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

In this book, the author tries to imagine a stable human society where individual suffering is abolished.

In this society:
There is a cast system similar to the one that exists in India (or has existed?).
People's embryos are interfered with in order to make them conform to this cast system at the biological level.
Colleagues in workplaces are clones of oneself, which reduces frictions.
Sentimental exclusivity is banished in a hippy-like fashion.
* Drugs and indoctrination are used for making people forcibly conform to this societal framework. The author thinks that this is preferable to using religion for that very same purpose.

Ultimately, such society proves incompatible with human nature. Indeed, a man who was raised amongst savages and was unhappy amongst them ends up committing suicide when he emigrates to this advanced society.

In final analysis, this story seems to make the case that the very concept of …

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a fantasy novel written by British author …

Review of 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' on 'Goodreads'

1 star

Although this book has the merit of pointing at a global pandemic, unfortunately there is little evidence that the methods presented here are effective, as far as I am aware.

The incredible thing is that the medical profession still cannot say what causes myopia (check out the medical literature like I did)!

In terms of preventing myopia, it seems to me that one environmental/behavioural avenue that hasn't been explored yet is the possibility that the optic nerve may be pulling on the eye when the eye's exterior muscles (the rectus muscles, maybe also the obliques) contract to move the gaze direction away from its resting position. When this pull happens for prolonged periods, this could contribute to elongating the eye durably, and this could explain the onset of myopia.

Alternatively, the exterior muscle contractions could by themselves be contributing to eye deformation. In either case, preventative measures that reduce the …

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007, Bloomsbury Publishing) 4 stars

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a fantasy novel written by British author J. …

Review of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Did you know that:
Plants and (also animals) do not want to be eaten?
They defend themselves by enveloping their tissues in a class of protein called "lectin"?
Gluten is only one type of lectin, but there are many others?
Consuming lectins in high doses is harmful to humans?
Lectin concentrations vary significantly between nutrition sources?
Cooking high-lectin foods can render them edible again?
Many high-lectin food sources are also highly nutritious?

Find out here:
What those high-lectin foods are,
How to pre-process them to make them suitable for consumption,
What types of illnesses can be caused by high lectin consumption.

Essential reading.

en panne sèche (French language) 5 stars

Review of 'en panne sèche' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Was wird passieren, wenn die globalen Öl-Reserven sich dem Ende zuneigen? Soll man nach neuen Öl-Beständen suchen, oder in eine ganz andere Richtung aufbrechen? Dieses Buch gibt eine mögliche Antwort dazu.

Der Autor ist der Ansicht, dass die Menschheit zu sehr von Öl abhängig ist, obwohl es keine ökologisch tragbare Energiequelle ist. Daher soll die hiesige Öl-basierte Zivilisation in der nahen Zukunft verschwinden und demzufolge soll ein wirtschaftlicher Rückgang zustandekommen.

Das ganze liest sich auch als das Zertrümmern des "American Dream"s. Die Hauptfigur ist ein Deutscher, der in die USA emigriert, um dort an Ruhm und Reichtum zu gelangen. Sein Traum ist es, möglichst rasch ein großes Unternehmen zu gründen.

Dazu setzt er erstmal eine "OPI-OPM"-Strategie ein (other people's idea, other people's money). Zufällig begegnet er einem vermeintlichen Erfinder, der behauptet, eine Methode entwickelt zu haben, um neue Ölquellen unter der Erde aufzufinden. Er holt sich auch Investoren, die den …

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (British English language, 2003, Bloomsbury Publishing) 4 stars

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a fantasy novel written by British …

Review of 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

The book does a great job of overviewing the blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies and ecosystems.

The authors are working for well established companies, and their opinions are predictably conservative and pro-government regarding the potential upside of these technologies.

They think that blockchains will primarily be used internally by big companies, and that cryptocurrencies will find a marginal use only in international money transfers.

The presented argumentations are also slightly nationalistic in that the dominance of the Chinese in this space is presented in a negative light, arguing that a technology that was supposed to encourage decentralization has instead led to a centralized ecosystem that is led by the Chinese. Indeed, the biggest cryptocurrency mining company and the biggest producer of cryptocurrency mining hardware and the biggest cryptocurrency exchange are all Chinese.

Surprisingly, the biggest story that everybody including this book seems to miss is that cryptocurrencies could lead to a …

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (British English language, 2003, Bloomsbury Publishing) 4 stars

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a fantasy novel written by British …

Review of 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Working for an investment fund of funds, the authors present their view of how to invest in technology companies in general, and in blockchain in particular.

A case is made here that investors should diversify their investments, and that investing in a fund of funds is a move in the right direction.

In reading this book, one gets a sense of how inventing a foundational technology is widely different from reaping benefits from that technology, and how financial rewards in those latest stages of play generally go to those who are most skilled at war games.

For those interested in the theory of technology investments, this is a good book. If you are looking for a frontline account of what’s happening in the blockchain space, look somewhere else.

Winter of the World (2014) 4 stars

Winter of the World is a historical novel written by the Welsh-born author Ken Follett, …

Review of 'Winter of the World' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

The author makes the case that the role of marketers in subscription businesses differs markedly from the traditional role that marketers have in traditional transactional businesses.

The author argues that the role of marketers should evolve towards subscription marketing even in transactional businesses that wish to maintain an ongoing relation with individual customers through membership programs or similar measures.

According to the author, subscription marketing is different from "transactional" marketing in that:

Marketing activities are not limited to the pre-sales part of the customer journey.

Marketers engage with customers throughout the customer journey, from after-sales onwards using what the author calls "value nurturing" activities, the intent being to remind the customer of the value he/she is getting from the subscription.

The argument made here is that, with the rise of the subscription model that the economy is currently experiencing, the marketing role will naturally expand to include other after-sales activities. …

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (British English language, 2005, Pan Books) 4 stars

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the first of six books in the Hitchhiker's …

Review of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1)" on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

The book mainly talks about transforming existing transaction-based businesses into subscription businesses, the goal being to acquire a loyal customer base and maximize CLV (customer lifetime value) rather than short term profit.

This desire to be sticky with customers makes sense in business sectors that are not innovative and where there are many competitors. This is the type of business that the book mainly delves into, although the subscription model is legitimately applicable to other business sectors where the product being sold depreciates quickly and needs ongoing updates, such as software.

If a company is transitioning to a subscription model, that can be a red signal for the customer, as the company might be willing to hang on to its customers at all costs. Indeed, malpractices abound, and the book mentions some of them. Many businesses make it unduly difficult for customers to unsubscribe by hiding the “unsubscribe” button or …