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Matt K

mttktz@bookwyrm.social

Joined 1 year, 7 months ago

Hiya! I'm also hostux.social/@mattk for talking about more than books

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Matt K's books

Currently Reading (View all 5)

2024 Reading Goal

25% complete! Matt K has read 5 of 20 books.

Bent Flyvbjerg: How Big Things Get Done (Hardcover, 2023, Crown Currency) 4 stars

The secrets to successfully planning and delivering projects on any scale—from home renovation to space …

Why big things don't get done

4 stars

If the title is a question, Brent has collected data across thousands of large projects and found an answer that he reveals early. Big things get done over budget, late, and deliver less value than people expected. Or they don't get done. For the most part. Not by a little bit, either - big things fail by a lot. In a database of "16,000 projecgts from 20-plus different fields in 136 countries" he finds that "99.5 precent of projects go over budget, over schedule, under benefits, or some combination of these."

And it shouldn't be this way for big things. These are HUGE EXPENDITURES. Stuff like dams, nuclear power plants, healthcare.gov, and similar massive projects that people depend on succeeding. There should be lots of incentives to get it right.

Brent explores why this happens over and over again. He doesn't duck the question, he has real answers, like:

  • Many …
Robert A. Caro: The Power Broker (Paperback, 1975) 5 stars

One of the most acclaimed books of our time, winner of both the Pulitzer and …

And they partied on a scale the New World had seldom seen, outdoing themselves with swimming pools bearing thousands of orchids, diamond tiaras for lady guests, cigarettes wrapped, and designed to be smoked, in hundred-dollar bills, until an awed America named the North Shore "The GoldCoast."

And if their displays of wealth were awesome, so were their displays of selfishness. The robber barons intended to keep their world for themselves.

The Power Broker by  (Page 11)

Just absolutely reviling these people, setting us up to side with Moses.

I have a feeling Caro comes back to this - I know he will show us that after beating the powerful Moses is not going to shy away from turning his power on the poor that he considers beneath the value of his aesthetic

Robert A. Caro: The Power Broker (Paperback, 1975) 5 stars

One of the most acclaimed books of our time, winner of both the Pulitzer and …

the men who, building their empires on the toil of millions of immigrant laborers, had kept wages low, hours long, and had crushed the unions. Their creed was summed up in two quotes: Commodore Vanderbilt's "Law? What do I care for law? Hain't I got the power?" and J. P. Morgan's "I owe the public nothing."

The Power Broker by  (11%)

I love what Caro is doing here. The antagonists to Moses are real SOBs.

We get to understand how they get the land that will be stolen back from them. The devil fighting the devil. And the outcomes are the beautiful parks I get to go to.

Bent Flyvbjerg: How Big Things Get Done (Hardcover, 2023, Crown Currency) 4 stars

The secrets to successfully planning and delivering projects on any scale—from home renovation to space …

Wow - the simple concepts here are really powerful and obvious when laid out like this. Loved to see mentions of other things I've learned or am learning about, like the construction of the Pentagon building, Robert Caro's writing of The Power Broker, the Sydney Opera House construction, the Pixar process and then see it broken down into issues of poor estimation, lack of a reference class for estimation, starting too soon and lack of modular small pieces - spending too long in Long Arcs rather than little loops of iteration. This book rang like a bell for me.

Naomi Novik: The Golden Enclaves (EBook, 2022, Random House Publishing Group) 4 stars

The one thing you never talk about while you’re in the Scholomance is what you’ll …

A Golden Ending

4 stars

This is the conclusion of Naomi Novik's Scholomance series. In the first two, El gets to realize she's not alone, she's connected. She realizes she needs help and that when she works with others, she can do more than she can alone. Her school learns the same. Massive battles are fought, huge sacrifices are made. El has grown powerful and early on was offered a place in an Enclave - which used to be her childhood goal. In the world of the Scholomance wizards are delicious to monsters. That's why they don't just rule everything. There are two ways to get the power for a spell - a hard way and an easy way. The easy way is.. dark. And that darkness makes monsters. And those monsters love to eat wizards. Wizard children are especially delicious - that's what drives the creation of a school for wizard children where it's …

reviewed The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik

Naomi Novik: The Last Graduate (Hardcover, 2021, Del Ray) 4 stars

Return to the Scholomance - and face an even deadlier graduation - in the stunning …

A Blast Graduate

4 stars

Ok - the previous book ends so well, and drops a huge cliffhanger in the final paragraph. I'm glad I was reading these after they were all done because I'd HATE to wait a year for the next book

This is the graduating year for El in the Scholomance, the murderous school for wizards with deadly monsters around every corner. It really starts to heighten the tension between the tenets of Realpolitik and Mutualism. The world of wizards is brutal realpolitik. Every thing is a dismal trade - no one will help anyone without a benefit because every resource is hoarded against the day of graduation, where every single advantage is needed to improve your odds of not dying or worse. Worse is definitely a real possibility. In comes El and she does not need to trade. She destroys the economics by being able to do more.

I really enjoyed …

Bent Flyvbjerg: How Big Things Get Done (Hardcover, 2023, Crown Currency) 4 stars

The secrets to successfully planning and delivering projects on any scale—from home renovation to space …

their preliminary numbers were so dismal that they said it would take a big improvement for IT projects to rise to the level of awfulness of transportation projects. I laughed. It seemed impossible that IT could be that bad. But I worked with McKinsey, and indeed we found that IT disasters were even worse than transportation disasters.

How Big Things Get Done by  (5%)

I am not shocked and not laughing.