Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I had this on my List because I requested it for an advanced read a couple of years ago – wasn’t selected – and decided to jump off a couple of other parallel tracks now to check it out.
It’s been my experience that lot of books like this could be reduced to a three page tract. Not so this one, but it could have been cut at least in half. I found the connection of too many of the stories – and there are a lot of stories – to the purported points rather tenuous. State a conclusion, stretch something to seemingly fit, conclude that it fits!
The short of it is that I don’t buy his premise and he didn’t convince me. People need closure (right now) to resolve ambiguity because…humans can’t handle ambiguity, so they cope? The Branch Davidian debacle happened because the FBI agents in charge couldn’t resolve David Koresh’s change in mind? Please. Continue reading
The Formula: How Algorithms Solve all our Problems … and Create More by Luke Dormehl
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Seems like a lifetime ago, but there used to be a computer language called ALGOL…short for Algorithm Language (language names meant something back then). And mearly a lifetime ago, programmers – that’s what coders where called, in the day – had to develop algorithms to generate pseudo-random numbers, quickly sort lists, compile programs (code) into the most efficient space given memory and operations per second limitations. This is not about those kinds of algorithms.
What Dormehl does do is pull together – using at least one external reference, be it book or article, per page, and more than a smattering of pop culture drops – what big and little data mining are doing for and to your world. Online dating? Matching algorithms. Shopping? Please. Some Big Brothers aren’t even trying to hide – surely you’ve noticed that if you hop over to social media after searching on Amazon that coincidentally, precisely what you were just searching for is right there! And less obvious, you feed is what BB thinks it should be sending you…not necessarily what you would be actually interested in. Continue reading
As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling by Anne Serling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I think as I get older, these types of biographies, and autobiographies… mean more; they reach deeper – have an effect a younger me wouldn’t see or understand. This is a testament – not just as daughter Anne knew him, but as so many who knew him, knew him. Rod Serling was never one-dimensional. Nor was he limited by that “fifth dimension” he invented, but too few people know of him as anything other than “that Twilight Zone guy”. I knew of some things, thanks to an off and on obsession with the show that found me my first copy of The Twilight Zone Companion (which, quite obviously from the title, focused on the series and not Serling, per se), but this an intimate share from one of the few closest to him. Uplifting, enlightening, private, …heart-wrenching – he died at age 50 when she was only 20 – there is a wealth of words here from letters and more. That should be no surprise as he was perhaps more than anything, a writer. Well, Ms. Serling does a wonderful job proving that assessment quite wrong. Rephrasing, he was perhaps known as more than anything else, as a writer. And more’s the pity, until this emerged. Continue reading
Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I got an advance read of this through First to Read and I’m happy for the opportunity.
Charming, vulnerable, human, humanitarian. Obviously quite funny, but as with his stand-up comedy, subtle. I think anyone expecting an autobiography of such a complex man… um, transgender…to mimic his standup will be disappointed. It’s a story of a life, and of how Mr. Izzard came to live that life. Continue reading