Book review: Steve Jobs

Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs. It is the day in Australia to be thinking about poor leadership and its sequelae. And coincidentally I’ve just finished up everyone’s favourite summer hardback brick (all hail the Kindle), the authorised Steve Jobs biography, and I just read this today too: However, sometimes really smart employees develop agendas other than improving the company. Rather than identifying weaknesses, so that he can fix them, he looks for faults to build his case. Specifically, he builds his case that the company is hopeless and run by a bunch of morons. The smarter the employee, the more destructive … Continue reading Book review: Steve Jobs

Book review: The Commission

Philip Shenon, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation This is a major contrast to Steven Levy’s In the Plex. Yes, obviously the subject matter is pretty far removed, but aside from that Shenon is all critical sources and critical distance here. If someone was involved in the 9/11 Commission, Shenon and his sources have some criticism of that person. Well, at least if someone was either a commissioner or a senior staffer, that is: it seems that a lot of his sources were more junior staffers, and so there is a touch of reverence in the treatment … Continue reading Book review: The Commission

Book review: In the Plex

Steven Levy, In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives This book started off annoying me by being a little too worshipful of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, in my opinion. So clever! So Montessori! These cheeky little geniuses will rock your world! They’re going to take over your brain and you’re going to like it! But it improved early on other histories I’ve read of Google (lest this sound like an unfortunately dull hobby of mine, I mean shorter essays over a period of ten years or so). which tend to focus on a couple of … Continue reading Book review: In the Plex

Book reviews: The Big Short, The Zeroes

Michael Lewis, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine The story of the subprime mortgage crisis, from the point of view of various traders who were betting it was all a crock for a long time. I originally learned about this book on The Daily Show. Mmm, March 2010. A good time for our local Bing Lee: we went and bought a washing machine with a decent spin cycle and I suddenly put my foot down and said that if I was going to be spending 2 hours each night putting our then young baby to sleep we were going … Continue reading Book reviews: The Big Short, The Zeroes

Book review: The Wisdom of Whores

Elizabeth Pisani, The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS I picked this up when it briefly was a free ebook giveaway in 2010. Was that less than a year ago? Seems like a long time. I had not got through Jonathan Engels, The Epidemic: A Global History of AIDS, finding it not-global and spending too much time emphasising that the AIDS activists from the gay community really should have understood that they were viewed as sinners. Or that’s how I remember it now. I’m still interesting in the story of AIDS in the US, but I … Continue reading Book review: The Wisdom of Whores

Books I haven't finished lately

A sort of an inverse book review, books I have closed, or returned to the library, without finishing them. Treason’s Harbour by Patrick O’Brien. I probably will finish the Aubrey-Maturin novels at some point, but I don’t think it’s going to be this year, and perhaps not next. I’m not sure exactly why I suddenly went off them, but I think it’s because I don’t like Jack as a character very much. He’d probably be a lovely person to complete your table for dinner (better than Stephen for many dinners), but I don’t want to read twenty novels about him … Continue reading Books I haven't finished lately