My style of picking books is heavily influenced by my field of work, and on I also have a bizarre taste, and think I need self help books still. So past few months have seen some reasonable reading, and ranged across 4 themes of Complexity, Human Mind, Fiction offbeat and self help.
I had been introduced to the complexity world by Dave Snowden, I did attend one of his accreditation courses in Chennai last year and he had given me a bunch of references. And Nature of Technology figured on top. This book changed my way of thinking about technology, succinct explanation of the complex trends that technology evolution follows.
Fits perfectly in sequence to Harnessing Complexity (Axelrod 2000).
Thinking on how the economy is created by technology, how re-domaining takes radical forms and how by pushing scientific limits by adding sub systems increases overall complexity is all very fascinating.
Axelrod in his primer Harnessing Complexity had cited opensource as the biggest complexity project in action and I wanted to dig more.
What better way to start than reading Linus’ autobiography. It was a fun read and I am more of a believer that laziness is the mother of invention.
Next book in line is Cathedral and the Bazaar
Sources of Power by Klein, it is not comparable with “Working Minds” which was the first book on CTA (Cognitive Task Analysis) I read. This one is much lighter but serves as an intro into the area well.
I picked Man and His symbols at Pune airport on a return journey, purely as an accident. It was actually the last of Jung’s creations.
The significant move away from Freud by Jung and the development further by his followers were all explored here in a great introductory form. I see a great vacant conceptual space in using motifs as way of deriving archetypes and the stories that are cited are very fascinating, made me look more closely on karma/re-birth (still not completely convinced).
David Rock is a business author turning to cognition to write books like “5 strategies to tame information overload” type stuff. Mid way while me and my colleague were reading this book, we lost the book, did get the drift of the book. The metaphor of stage was used to explain the limits of our cognition, specifically pre-frontal cortex. Some strategies were powerful.
Making of Intelligence is a great take on 2 large ‘snake oil’ movements of this century, viz. IQ and Bell Curve.
Richardson rips apart both in a very systematic manner and provides more viable and plausible explanations of intelligence (naturally led from complexity thinking) based on a set of regulations as layers on above the other (genomic, cognitive and socio) and interacting. Actually the entire series Maps of the Mind except for pure clinical stuff like pain science is awesome, Steven Rose does a great job being the series editor.
But for some reason you get the feeling that Richardson is one dis-gruntled professor with real strong opinions and would not take any unfounded expo on anything.
Not sure how I got interested in Murakami but was a great find.
The thin line between reality and imagination or for that matter realities of different people is explored in an original fiction form in The Wind up Bird Chronicle.
The setting of urban neighborhood and life, and war makes the narrative even more richer with many layers.
OFOCN is a long time overdue and possibly the hang over from naive thinking on anti-establishment from my college days. Nevertheless great read and a much better form than the movie as usual.
Self Help Reads
Becoming entrepreneur on sustainable business possibly ego less is my job utopia. I follow Dave’s blog at http://howtosavetheworld.ca/ and got inspired by his thinking and self exposition ventures. Recommend the book only for the hedgehog model construction and the tools the book gives for reflection and self discovery. Last part was too preachy to really act on anything concrete. Looking forward to the workbook that Dave promised (hope it is upcoming). Case studies were awesome through out the book.