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"Having translated The Diamond Sutra and The Heart Sutra, and following with The Platform Sutra, …

Review of 'Lankavatara sutra' on Goodreads

5 stars

The Lankavatara Sutra is an investigation into reality as we perceive it. The Sutra attempts to point to an ultimate reality (bhutakoti) from within our perceived reality. Many who read this book will get caught on the thing doing the pointing (the sutra) and not the thing itself (bhutakoti) because the text is attempting to describe an ungraspable and unteachable thing.

The evasiveness of the concept makes the Sutra a necessarily difficult read. I do not believe it is a good place to start for curious philosophers or nascent Buddhists. However, it offers a tremendous amount for the prepared mind and Red Pine's footnotes are invaluable.

Neither the Sutra nor the translator are afraid of repeating themselves. This was tremendously helpful for me. For example, consider the attributes of knowledge - how learning changes the way we act and think. The Lankavatara Sutra claims that fully embodying the Dharma has …

Joseph Brodsky: Watermark (2013, Penguin PressClassics) 3 stars

Review of 'Watermark' on Goodreads

2 stars

I enjoy essays on cities. I picked this up while visiting Venice as a nice way to remember my experience.

Brodsky is romantic. He is preoccupied by visual beauty. The author sees water as reflecting beauty while embodying the essence of time. Venice is the perfect muse. Time is accused of stealing beauty from each and every one of us. But Venice seems to exist outside of time. The city has only become more precious and beautiful.

In the end, I don't resonate with Brodsky's life philosophy. I have fallen into many of the same traps. I can see his Venice. Nothing here feels aspirational nor particularly traumatic.

The essay captures a particular aesthetic. It's a fine essay and a nice record of 1980s wintertime Venice. But Venice has a profundity that reaches beyond beauty. Brodsky does not even attempt to stretch this far. The essay is a skin-deep read …

Review of 'Wabi-sabi' on Goodreads

3 stars

Definitely a companion to Koren's earlier Wabi-Sabi book rather than a work to be engaged independently. Further Thoughts has its highlights. It is interesting to read Koren's hard stance against Wabi-Sabi's possible existence in the digital realm. Much of which I agree with, but it's quite limited and doesn't take into account more organic growth in the digital world such as networked computing.

I particularly love the inclusion of Persimmions, a 13th-century black and white ink painting attributed to Mu Ch'i (known in Japanese as Mokkei).

Fyodor Dostoevsky: The House of the Dead or Prison Life in Siberia (Paperback, 2004, Kessinger Publishing) 4 stars

The House of the Dead (Russian: Записки из Мёртвого дома, Zapiski iz Myortvovo doma) is …

Review of 'The House of the Dead or Prison Life in Siberia' on Goodreads

5 stars

‪Dostoevsky’s “The House of the Dead” is one of the most profound books on life, prison, and the passage of time I’ve ever read. Prison undoubtedly changed him, and the book embodies the full ugliness of his transition. ‬

Review of 'Peripheral vision' on Goodreads

3 stars

This is an important book. As we shape with our tools, our tools shape us. Mid-century computer generated art is misunderstood because the process is so foreign. It is not immediate like painting, it is not common like using an iPad. The author does an excellent job of detailing how these images were created.

The book has a little difficulty knowing what it is about, but that’s something that happens with most platform studies. Regardless, there will be parts that seem less relevant or meander.

David E. Sanger: Perfect Weapon (2019, Crown/Archetype) 4 stars

Review of 'Perfect Weapon' on Goodreads

4 stars

Sanger manages to cover the issue of cyberconflict broadly while also offering the most comprehensive account of what occurred during the 2016 election. He rarely infers, basing the accounts contained within on his sources from the top levels of the United States government.

Considering the role contractors play in the intelligence industrial complex, it would have been nice to have a greater representation of non-government sources, but the book never suffers from a lack of credibility.

It reads like a very long New York Times article with an op-ed at the end. This isn't necessarily I enjoyed, but I appreciate the author's pragmatism.

If you want to understand what's been happening at the dawn of information warfare, this is your book.

Amir Levine: Attached (2010, Jeremy P. Tarcher) 4 stars

Introduces the theory of adult attachment as an advanced relationship science that can enable individuals …

Review of 'Attached' on Goodreads

3 stars

Clearly written and example-driven. I think this would appeal to many people. However, it felt verbose to me and I would have appreciated a bigger picture analysis based on empirical studies.