April 28, 2020

Summary reading: March - April 2020

I follow Eli Bendersky blog and he produces a very simple and not so detailed summary of all his book readings from time to time. This is very useful because I like to read and one of the most difficult tasks for me is searching what to read (you know, time is limited).

Therefore, I decided to do the same. I also try to keep track of my to-read and read books since 2016 at Goodreads, I hope to help someone else choosing the next book.

   

1. Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman! - by Richard P. Feynman

You should go to some other school. You should find out how the rest of the world it. — Professor Slate

  • Link: Amazon

  • Rated: 5/5

  • Read again? Yes

 

  • I postponed this reading for a long time, but what a bad decision!. This book is very nice! As a previous (geo)physicist student, I very often you read and listened about the great work of some scientists and Feynman was definitely one of them.

  • I study at Universidade de São Paulo and Feynman came to Brazil and was there for a while (there is even a chapter about that!!) so he was the figure!

  • This book shows how human Feynman was! He had an incredible curiosity and willpower to act upon his experiments. So many funny histories.

  • He described one of this presentation about his academic work and on the audience was Einstein, Oppenheimer, Norris Russell, von Neumann, and many others. Wow! I personally relate to that because in 2014 I presented my findings in Houston to many great geophysicist that I had only met before by reading their work on journals. The feeling is great, rush of adrenaline when you start talking about the subject that you have been investigating for 2 years in a row .. you think you are the expert.

So I have just one wish to you — the good luck to be somewhere where you are free to maintain the kind of integrity I have described, and where you do not feel forced by a need to maintain your position in the organization, or financial support, or so on, to lose your integrity. May you have that freedom.

 

2. The Complete Problem Solver - by John R. Hayes

People can influence their own learning processes and have a great deal to gain by doing so. By 1. choosing to distribute practice, 2. select appropriate learning strategies, and 3. using evaluation of progress to control study.
  • Link: Amazon

  • Rated: 3/5

  • Read again? No

 

  • More detail and technical explanation about the components involved at solving problems such as memory, proper problem representation, learning, creativity and decision making.

  • It is indeed interesting, but I think if you are into some of these subjects you already know 80% of this book. However, if you are only interested in starting, this is a very dense read. Therefore, I do not find it worthy.

  • There is a nice study about creativity though.

[…​] These results do not mean that there is no such thing as genius. They do not mean that just anyone with 10 to 25 years of experience can write great music. They do mean that even a person endowed with the genius of Mozart or Beethoven will need 10 years or more of intense preparation to be creative.

3. The Clean Coder - by Robert C. Martin (Uncle Bob)

All professionals practice their art by engaging in skill-sharpening exercises. Musicians rehearse scales, Football players run through tires, Doctors practice sutures and surgical techniques, Lawyers practice arguments. When performance matters, professionals practice.
  • Link: Amazon

  • Rated: 4/5

  • Read again? Yes

 

  • Easy and good to read, the message is harsh towards programmer’s profissionalism and very eye opener.

  • It starts with a history about a project where the business manager was paired up with the technical leader and they were kicking in all the obstacles to deliver all the features, working really intense hours to deliver on time.

  • However, at the release date the legal department could not finish a necessary contract to go live.

  • The technical leader says to the business manager: "ok, let’s do our thing again and go there and ask them to finish this two pages by the end of the day!" and the answer caught the technical leader with great surprise: "we cannot do this, they are real professionals"

  • Wait a moment! Wait a moment…​!! What am I? Wait a moment.

  • The software development has processes, rituals and ways at we can act and perform like professionals and most of the time we should not violate these principles because of our work ethics.

  • We might negotiate with business people the correct estimates to deliver everything, and we are professionals, we want to deliver the product, we are a member of this organization, we work on the company’s side. There are no reasons for me to be lying.

  • This is difficult. Because the developers itself does not take themselves serious enough, how can the management do it so?

A Language of commitment: Say. Mean. Do.  — Roy Osherove.

 

4. The Joy of Clojure - by Michael Fogus

If you give someone Fortran, he has Fortran. If you give someone Lisp, he has any language he pleases. — Guy Steele
  • Link: Amazon

  • Rated: 5/5

  • Read again? Always reaching out!

 

  • Sometimes is not clear to people when I say that I am studying Clojure. The language itself has lots of interesting bits, but very often the subjects that interest me most are the reasoning behind how Clojure was design and how it is used.

  • Fogus goes deep in each aspect of the language and provides several valuable references to papers or books in order to improve our understanding about the concepts.

  • The fact that Clojure was designed "by/to experienced programmers" makes it very interesting to me. I haven’t participated in communities with such a high quality discussions and support.

It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious. — Alfred North Whitehead

5. Meditations - by Marcus Aurelius

The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.
  • Link: Amazon

  • Rated: 4/5

  • Read again? Maybe

 

  • Very easy read, Marcus Aurelius was an Roman Emperor and also a Stoic Philosopher.

  • I read this book right after reading the Zen Mind, which is a book about Zen Practice and Buddhism, and I was astonished to notice so many similarities.

  • This is basically a Twitter Account from 120d.C. Amazing to see how he thinks and his priorities back them, also some chad of light about society. You should definitely read it.

Remember two things:
  1. that everything has always been the same, and keeps recurring, and it makes no difference whether you see the same things recur in a hundred years or two hundred, or in an infinite period;

  2. that the longest-lived and those who will die soonest lose the same thing. The present is all that they can give up, since that is all you have, and what you do not have you cannot lose.

   

Happy reading!

Tags: reading summary