Summary of reading: October – December 2012

December 29th, 2012 at 6:00 am
  • "The complete stories, Vol 1" by Isaac Asimov – a nice collection of short stories from Asimov (a few dozens). Some of my favorites in this volume are: "The dead past", "Profession", "The last question".
  • "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins – Meh.
  • "The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine" by Michael Lewis – although this book is written in an entertaining style, it’s disappointing. The author claims that subprime mortgage bonds are so complex that most of the people on Wall Street and around it didn’t really understand them. I have a feeling that the author himself doesn’t really understand them, because he fails to explain the causes of the crisis in a coherent manner, resolving instead to tabloid-style personal stories of people who were involved in the market to fill the pages of the book.
  • "Thomas Jefferson" by R. B. Bernstein – a well-written biography of Thomas Jefferson.
  • "The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates" by Wes Moore – an interesting autobiographic account by a guy named Wes Moore who succeeded in life, comparing his life path with a less fortunate Wes Moore who is about the same age and came from the same environment. Through the book, the author tries to understand what made the directions their lives took different. Not too surprisingly, he doesn’t have a clear conclusion, but the book makes for a pretty good read, exposing the inner lives of some American communities many readers may not be familiar with.
  • "The Linux Programming Interface" by Michael Kerrisk – many books have tried to be the successors to Richard Stevens’ legendary APUE. I think that "The Linux Programming Interface" is one of the very few successes in that endeavor. This 1552 book has truly encyclopedic scope, although it focuses only on the Linux flavor of Unix. It’s best treated as a reference, rather than a tutorial to read from cover to cover. That said, I read a good portion of its chapters whole (in addition to skimming through the rest), and the book is so well written it makes a very pleasant read. It explains many complex topics in great depth; even topics which don’t have good coverage in other places, like pseudo-terminals. I enjoyed reading, and I will definitely use it as a reference when the opportunity presents itself.

Related posts:

  1. Summary of reading: October – December 2010
  2. Summary of reading: October – December 2011
  3. Summary of reading: April – June 2012
  4. Summary of reading: January – March 2012
  5. Summary of reading: July – September 2012

2 Responses to “Summary of reading: October – December 2012”

  1. Nick CoghlanNo Gravatar Says:

    If you want some decent books about the Wall Street mess, I recommend Matt Taibbi’s Griftopia and Nicholas Nassim Taleb’s Fooled By Randomness and The Black Swan (FBR is fairly old now – TBS is the one he wrote more than a decade later after he had refined many of the core ideas based on the many interesting exchanges he had had in the interim)

  2. elibenNo Gravatar Says:

    @Nick, thanks for the tip. I’ll check those out.

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