Vacuum book log E. Vielmetti bookshelf weblog music

This is a log of books read or at least browsed through. I'll try to include Dewey, Library of Congress, and Amazon links.

Some apologies: it doesn't have proper layout, it doesn't have a static left side column, it doesn't have bookshelf pictures, and it doesn't have proper links to books. Wooops.

Saturday, April 21, 2001

Tikvah means hope / written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco. Recommended by Amber Townsend.

Monday, September 25, 2000

Stephanie Winston's Getting Organized, picked up for 50 cents at the Reuse Center.

Tuesday, September 05, 2000

Wayne Baker's Achieving Success Through Social Capital, a marvelous and practical combination of the latest theories of social networks and how to apply them to practical problems like finding work and staying in touch with your community.

Emanuel Rosen's The Anatomy of Buzz, a preprint review copy sent by Valdis Krebs. Good reading about how news about products is spread by word of mouth marketing.

Saturday, August 05, 2000

From the library: Lynne Tillman's Bookstore and Paul Ormerod's Butterfly Economics.

Friday, July 14, 2000

Dava Sobel's Longitude : The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time . Recommended by Lou Rosenfeld.

Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones. I'm looking forward to reading this on the plane home, but really I should just start writing (or typing) and see what I can do to work the book around it. It promises to be less about "how to write" rules and more about a Zen "uneducation" approach how to avoid things that get in the way of writing. Recommended by Printer's Ink bookstore in Palo Alto, CA.

Thursday, July 06, 2000

Paul Duguid and John Seely Brown's The Social Life of Information. Vacuum readers should like this one. They talk at length about how computer network interactions are embedded in a broader social context, and how the folks who talk about how daily life will be reduced to a stream of interactions with brute machines totally don't get how people figure into the context of these interactions. Some of the chapters are from earlier papers they put together and published on the net, but there's a lot of new materials. A particularly interesting discussion from the authors (Brown is at Xerox Parc, Duguid is a historian at Berkeley) is of Xerox's support system for copier techs called "Eureka". This is kind of like a "frequently asked questions" or "innovative solutions to problems" database, with a couple key human touches that (they claim) cause people who are otherwise busy doing real work to contribute to and update it. (Reviewed in Vacuum 41.)

Thursday, December 23, 1999

Empire express : building the first transcontinental railroad / David Haward Bain. Published: New York : Viking, 1999. NY Times review by Robert M. Utley. "Well researched, well written, refreshingly revisionist where the sources indicate, illustrated by well-chosen photographs and studded with beautiful topographical maps indispensiable to the construction story. The book promises to endure as the standard history of the Pacific railroad."

Henry James: A life in letters ed. by Philip Horne. NY Times review by Renee Tursi. "It is remarkable how much of his own "inexhaustible sensibility" Henry James could pour into an envelope. Of the 40,000 letters the novelist is believed to have written, 12,000 or so survive, any one of which carries with it an unmistakible portion of that all-atttaching consciousness."

Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold, reviewed in a recent NY Times and WSJ. "The Russian physicist Pyotr Kapitsa was fond of saying that trying to detect the quantum nature of physical processes at room temperature was like trying to investigate the physical laws governing the collision of billiard balls on a table aboard a ship going through rough seas." By Tom Schachtman.

Sunday, December 12, 1999

Human Behavior and the Principal of Least Effort, G.K.Zipf 1949. Most frequently cited work when physicists talk about power laws and the "Zipf" distribution. See also the Zipf's Law page by wli.

Thursday, December 09, 1999

The Clock of the Long Now written by Stewart Brand on Danny Hillis's 10,000 year clock.

Sunday, October 17, 1999

The Book on the Bookshelf by Henry Petroski looks good - esp. interesting to me is the question of how the net changes the shape of the bookshelf.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell on social epidemics. Looking forward to it coming out, he's a writer for the New Yorker who has done a series of very interesting articles on social networks.

Tuesday, September 14, 1999

Inevitable Illusions by Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini. Recommended by Lindsay Marshall, on reserve at the Ann Arbor District Library

Sunday, September 12, 1999

Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono. "Creativity Step by Step". Bought it at Stacey's in Palo Alto last year. It's a tough book to pick up and make sense of in bite size pieces. Ran across it again as I was browsing through my "daily planner" brain, in which case it had the context that included "department store". Now what caused me to think of "department store" back then? Who knows. I guess that's an example of lateral thinking.

Sunday, September 05, 1999

Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. You are experiencing flow when you are tackling a tough problem that you are good at solving. A good picture is on p.31. of the paperback edition showing the following:
ch                             arousal
al                anxiety                  flow
le           worry                             control
ng                 apathy                  relaxation
es                           boredom
(does pre work here?)

The Pursuit of Wow! by Tom Peters. Bought it in a used bookstore on Palo Alto (KnowKnewBooks) when I needed a read one evening. Not really a narrative of any kind, but full of thought provoking stuff on business conduct.

Saturday, September 04, 1999

How to Solve It by George Polya. A new aspect of the mathematical method. Amazing deep insights into problem solving by way of heuristics, reusable far beyond the mathematical realm.

Sunday, August 29, 1999

Deep Change : Discovering the Leader Within by Robert E. Quinn. Due 9/25.

The Artist's Way at Work by Mark Bryan with Julia Cameron. "Twelve weeks to creative freedom". I checked it out of the library to see if it would be worth owning or just browsing through. Due 9/23.

Frozen Desire : The Meaning of Money by James Buchan. A history and psychological study of money. Due back 9/25.

Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl. Memoir of the food critic for the NY Times. Recommended by Deb. Due back 9/25.

Tuesday, August 24, 1999

A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander. Classic architecture book on forms and patterns of human experience, from the macro to the micro scale.

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