Friday Links: 03/03/17


For the first time in forever, I wrote something outside of this blog:

How to Save the NBA All-Star Game


Almost finished Chaos Monkeys (a good read but I doubt I’d read it again). Next up, When Breath Becomes Air.


Realised how daft it was to try to clear my Pocket queue. I’ve now embraced its unfinishedness. Since my last post, I’ve read:


Friday Links: 4th November



Warren Buffett biography — Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist

Bought: A few ebooks going cheap on Amazon:
The Richest Man in Babylon (99p)
The Way to Wealth (99p)
Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice (£1.99)

(I’ve decided that, if an ebook I’m interested in is cheap (under £2) I’ll almost certainly buy it. Because I’d regret it if I didn’t and it went back up in price, and it doesn’t take up any physical space (unlike a paperback, which would sit on my shelf and scream Why aren’t you reading me!)


Another reminder that Lebron James is a magnificent basketball player
Wired reports on the trials occurring within two companies leading Hyperloop development



Friday Links: 28th October

A bumper edition as I didn’t post last week:


Reading: Venture Deals, by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson (I didn’t pay anything close to this price)
Bought: Deep Work, by Cal Newport


My obsession continues. This time, travel:

Crash: how computers are setting us up for disaster. This article is adapted from Tim Harford’s new book, Messy. I wasn’t interested in the book until reading that article. My Amazon wishlists are going to collapse under the strain.

The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos. I’d never heard of Brian Greene until listening to this. I feel like I should have — he’s great, a deepy scientific mind, but as appealing to the everyman as Jon Stewart.

Try not to laugh. I failed the test within seconds. Damn you, Will Ferrell.

Friday Links: 14th October


About to start reading The Straight-A Conspiracy, by Hunter Maats and Katie O’Brien (yes, it is aimed at teenagers. Yes, I am not one of them. Shut up).

Finished reading Think Like An Engineer, by Guru Madhavan. A little disappointed. The writing is a bit ADD — too much switching between topics to keep the reader interested (a la Smartcuts, by Shane Snow). I didn’t learn as much about engineering concepts as I wanted. Plenty of terms are used and emphasised, but not clearly explained.

Obama’s essay from an issue of Wired he guest-edited (I’m cynical about how much was truly him, but whatever)

You generally have to be mental to think you can succeed in the restaurant business. Particularly in NYC

What my current Amazon wishlist looks like (edited to remove Kindle and second-hand books for simplicity, in case my parents use it to buy my Christmas presents)


Friday Links (on a Monday), 05/09


An excellent Sam Harris podcast in which he reads from an ISIS magazine
Harris again, this time in conversation with Eric Weinstein
(Right now I’m fascinated by Eric Weinstein, a man who’s the MD of a hedge fund without having ever taken an economics class, and had also held positions in the fields of science and mathematics. His interview with Tim Ferriss is great too)

Films watched:

The Martian, Inside Out, Chappie, Going Clear


Books read:
The Man in the High Castle (unimpressive)
Why Nations Fail 

To read next:
Prisoner’s Dilemma
Leaving Microsoft to Change the World

Online: continues to be amazing. Here’s a post on sound and one on the Hyperloop

Unrequested Update: November

The Dice Man by ‘Luke Rhinehart’ (again)
A Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs
The Knowledge by Lewis Dartnell
Continuing to slug away at Alan Moore’s Voice of the Fire.
Have finished (and recommend) The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

Euroleague basketball as a poor replacement for the NBA
How It’s Made, a show about—incredibly—how things are made. Did you know bus seats are essentially knife-proof?
Brain Games, as I have a man-crush on its host Jason Silva

Hitman: Absolution, in short sessions (not the ideal way to play a Hitman game)
And still inching through Half-Life 2

Wellness – November is No Chocolate or Fizzy Drinks Six Days a Week Month. Not the catchiest of names, I know. After the first week I felt healthier. Since then I haven’t noticed a difference, and I wonder if what I felt initially was a placebo effect. I’m also doing a bit more mobility work (following the Leopard King’s instructions), which is working to combat the effects of sitting at a desk all day.

I’m intrigued by big idea people at the moment: Elon Musk trying to colonise Mars. Kevin Kelly wants to bring back the mammoth. Tony Robbins is trying to provide 100 million meals for the poor. 100 million.

Reading is Situational

I tried to read S, by Doug Dorst and JJ Abrams but found it uninteresting. The main story’s writing style was dull (though there’s a theory that that was intentional, which is curious) and I lost interest in the side-story. But I think my enjoyment of S was hindered by where I read it.

I read in three places:

  1. on my train commute to and from work
  2. in the library at lunchtime
  3. in bed at night.

Given the paraphernalia that comes with S—postcards, memos, scraps of paper jammed variously between pages—I was never going to read it on the train, recognising how many pieces would end up on the floor, lost down the sides of seats, in the laps of my unimpressed fellow passengers. And the book that travels to work with me is the same one I read at lunchtime. So that left bedtime. Unsurprisingly, I’m not at my cognitive best at night, and sleepiness rolls over me quickly. I struggled to follow the jumps from S’s main story to the sidenotes and back, trying to keep track of what S (the main character) knew. I’ve read David Foster Wallace, I can handle jumping between main text and footnotes. But S has the reader jumping from body text to the page’s top, back and off to the side, all over, following scribbled notes around the pages. After a few dozen pages I was lost. I quit.

I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed S in any situation. But I wonder if I would’ve taken in more had the book accompanied me to work, allowing me to read it for ninety minutes a day instead of ten, at a time when I was more awake and able to process the dual storylines.

I’m not going to read it again, so we’ll never know