Tag Archives: Books

Book review: Commander in Cheat

Book cover for Commander in Cheat by Rick Reilly

Many years ago, a good friend of mine had me read the Michael Murphy classic, Golf in the Kingdom. I knew how to play the game, but Murphy’s book helped me understand it. On the surface, golf is a silly game. You try to hit a little white ball into a small hole with a bunch of crooked sticks. But at a deeper level, the game can teach you a lot about yourself, people around you, and the world in general. Golf in the Kingdom helped me grasp the depth of the game.

That same friend recently gave me a copy of Rick Reilly’s book, Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump. The book is a collection of stories and anecdotes detailing Trump’s involvement and interest in golf, both on and off the course. I thought it would be an interesting read to test my theories about golf being a generally good indicator of a person’s character.

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Book review: AI 2041

Book cover for AI 2041 by Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan

It’s the year 2002. I’ve lost my phone while on a business trip – a company issued Nokia 6110 that was over 3 years old and showing its age. I usually carried the phone on a belt clip, and it must have popped off while in a cab or rental car. At my next destination, I go to the nearest AT&T Wireless store and purchase the Nokia 8260. A much smaller phone, it fits neatly in my pocket. In my mind, phones have arrived. The technology has peaked.

Fast forward 20 years and it’s hard to believe how far phones have come. That device I kept in my pocket that was only good for making phone calls has evolved into an extension of my life. The advances in mobile technology has changed not only how business is done but also how our society functions. I’m not sure anyone could have had that level of foresight in 2002.

Phones are just one of many radical technology advancements over the last 20 years that have altered how we live. Given the amount of change over that time, imagine how hard it would be to predict what the future will look like 20 years from now. It’s a near impossible task, but one that authors Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan take on in their book AI 2041. Through ten short stories, they envision what the world may look in the year 2041 and the opportunities and challenges the advances in technology will present.

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Book review: Extracted

Book cover for Extracted by RR Haywood

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut reading the same authors, which is not necessarily a bad thing. For me, I enjoy peering into the imaginations of Blake Crouch, Daniel Suarez, Andy Weir, Eliot Peper, and A.G. Riddle on a regular basis. However, I also find it enjoyable to explore new authors. The storytelling changes. The ideas are different. And who knows, I might even discover a new author to add to my regular reading rotation.

For my latest author exploration, I decided to read Extracted by RR Haywood.

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Book review: Upgrade

Book cover for Upgrade by Blake Crouch

Growing up, I remember marking the calendar and patiently waiting for new movies to open in theaters. I remember waiting every fall for new seasons of my favorite television shows like Seinfeld and Cheers. Never in a million years did I think I would eagerly wait for the availability of a book. Yes, a book. Those things you read.

Well, it’s happened. I’ve become one of “those people.”

I’ve been a big fan of Blake Crouch’s writing since reading the Wayward Pines trilogy. I’ve read Dark Matter, Recursion, and short stories he’s written. I like his style, the pace of his books, and how he often weaves plausible technology and hard science fiction concepts into his stories.

So yes, I had the date circled on my calendar for the release of his latest novel, Upgrade.

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Book review: Project Hail Mary

Book cover for Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

The more science fiction I read, the more I find myself drawn to certain authors. Whether it’s their style of writing, their storytelling ability, or their imagination of what’s possible, there is something about their work that speaks to me.

One such author who I particularly enjoy reading is Andy Weir. I’ve read Artemis, Randomize (a short story from Amazon’s Forward Series), and The Martian, which is still one of my favorite books of all time.

So when Andy Weir’s latest book, Project Hail Mary, hit the shelves, it was a no-brainer to add it to my reading list, and to make sure that it ended up near the top of it.

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Book review: Tiny Habits

Book cover for Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg

To be successful, it’s imperative that you have lofty expectations and set at least one big, audacious goal. Having such a goal can be overwhelming. It begs the question, how do you go about achieving it?

The simple answer is that it’s like eating an elephant. It’s too big to eat all at once. It needs to be broken down into smaller pieces. You have to do it one small bite at a time. Still, it requires a process. That’s where Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by BJ Fogg can help.

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Book review: Qualityland

Book cover for Qualityland by Marc-Uwe Kling

With each passing day, computer algorithms are increasingly controlling and directing our lives. The big tech companies have developed algorithms that touch every part of our daily activities. They dictate our search results, filter the articles in our news feeds, show us the products we didn’t even know we want (or need), recommend places to go, suggest who our friends are, tell us who we should date, and more.

In theory, all of these computer controlled algorithms are designed to optimize our existence, but what if things go awry? What if the algorithms are wrong? What would happen if they instead made a complete mess of things?

Welcome to Qualityland by Marc-Uwe Kling.

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Book review: Metabolical

Book cover for Metabolical by Dr. Robert Lustig

Is it possible that everything we’ve been taught about nutrition is wrong?

Are the nutrition and health guidelines developed by the USDA and FDA designed to improve our health, or are they contributing to the epidemic of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, dementia, obstructive sleep apnea, autoimmune disease and others?

Are doctors being taught how to prevent sickness or how to treat symptoms?

Are “Big Food” and “Big Pharma” companies looking out for our health or are they more concerned with generating profits for their shareholders?

These are just a few of the questions that Dr. Robert Lustig explores in his book Metabolical: The Lure and the Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine.

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Book review: Uncanny Valley

Book cover for Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener

When you work in the technology space like I do, reality gets distorted. It’s easy to forget that people outside the industry don’t understand what goes on behind the scenes in the software, websites, and mobile apps they use. For example, I’m careful, some may even say paranoid, about how much information I share on social media, if any at all.

Why the paranoia? I don’t trust that any of those companies have our personal privacy and best interests at heart. As the old saying goes, if you’re not paying for the product, then you are the product.

Because I work in this echo chamber, I find it interesting when a person outside the industry shares their perspective on what goes on inside of it. That’s why I chose to read Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener.

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Book review: The Silent Patient

Book cover for The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Outside of entertainment and learning, one of the things I enjoy most about reading is discussing and sharing books with others. I especially like it when people share book recommendations with me. Nearly all my most interesting reads have come from recommendations. And while I might not get to all of my recommendations right away, eventually I manage to get to them. I know my daughter Courtney can relate.

Anyway, both Courtney and Amanda read The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides last year. They both liked it, a lot. Since they both highly recommended it, I made it a point to put it at the top of my 2022 reading list even though it isn’t in my primary reading genre of science fiction. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting into, but I figured I’d give it a shot.

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