Current Book: Einstein biography by Walter Isaacson

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One of my New Years resolutions is to read more this year. The book I’m currently reading is Einstein, His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson. I haven’t actually finished the book yet. I’m close to finished and do recommend reading this book. I enjoyed Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Job so much I decided to see what else this author had written and found this as well as a biography of Benjamin Franklin.
I enjoy Walter’s writing style and this book has made me think way more than I planned on. When he writes about Einstein’s theories he gets very technical and in depth. Sometimes it’s almost a physics or math text book in the explanations but done so in a much more enjoyable way than I remember physics and math being in school! This is a great biography that gives great detail into the life of Albert Einstein.

New book i’m reading

This is a new book I’m reading called Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software. I picked it up a couple of weeks ago while I was in Seattle for a Microsoft conference. It’s a good book that looks at computer code in a different light.

Must read book – Who controls the internet: Illusions of a borderless world

ControlI ran into the library to drop off some stuff my kids had checked out. If you have kids the library should be in the top 10 list of places to frequent for a number of reasons. First of all, kids are like sponges that soak up information and learning and you should be constantly feeding that habit and books are not cheap. It’s summer time and instead of letting your kid zone out and play video games all day long it’s better to channel some of that energy into learning. I’m not talking about rigorous school, but at least something to keep those brain cells growing. The library offers a constant stream of this for free. Secondly, at least our library, has regular activities and sessions to entertain kids. Unless you drop your kids off at daycare staying home with them all day long can be a challenge to give them something useful to do. It can also get expensive. Ok, enough of my preaching about using the public library, back to a book I picked up at the library.

I was browsing the new non-fiction section and saw this book called “Who controls the internet: Illusions of a borderless world.” The geek in me was immediately interested so I grabbed it. It’s very good reading and it raises some interesting discussions about the internet and who is really in control of it.

Although the internet has it’s beginnings tracing back to the late sixties it really began it’s widespread growth and development in the early 80’s. When it really took off from an end user standpoint was in the 90’s with the World Wide Web (which is not the same as the internet).

When the telegraph was invented and began to be used for long distance communications it was said that it would break down barriers and lead to borderless nations. That didn’t really happen and the same has been said with the popularity and reach of the internet. This book goes in and examines this question of control and the idea that the internet is a borderless self governing entity.

In this provocative new book, Jack Goldsmith and Tim Wu tell the fascinating story of the Internet’s challenge to governmental rule in the 1990s, and the ensuing battles with governments around the world. It’s a book about the fate of one idea–that the Internet might liberate us forever from government, borders, and even our physical selves. We learn of Google’s struggles with the French government and Yahoo’s capitulation to the Chinese regime; of how the European Union sets privacy standards on the Net for the entire world; and of eBay’s struggles with fraud and how it slowly learned to trust the FBI. In a decade of events the original vision is uprooted, as governments time and time again assert their power to direct the future of the Internet. The destiny of the Internet over the next decades, argue Goldsmith and Wu, will reflect the interests of powerful nations and the conflicts within and between them.

I have really enjoyed reading this book and for me it’s been one of those that I don’t hardly want to put down.

Must read book – Learning to see creatively

CreativeI’ve picked up numerous books from the library on photography and most haven’t been much help. They either talk about film concepts, which I could care less about (I don’t know film and don’t want to learn it), or they talk about concepts and things which either don’t make sense or aren’t explained very well.

This book I really like so far. Bryan Peterson does an excellent job of helping you to see things in a creative way to improve your photography skills. He doesn’t go into the technical matter of photography as far as exposure and lighting and aperature. To me these concepts are better learned by practice than a book. But he gives great advice on composition and color and point of view.

For example here is an exercise in learning your lenses. Take one of your lenses that is capable of viewing at 35mm. Pick a subject and get far enough away from the subject that it is in the center of the view finder with alot of space on all sides. Take 5 steps forward, re-focus and snap, take 5 steps forward, re-focus and snap. Keep doing this until you get so close to the subject that you can’t focus on it any longer. Now go back to where you started and do the process again, this time on your knees. Now go back to where you started and do it again, this time on your belly. Do this process at 35mm, 50mm, 60mm, 70mm, 80mm and 105mm. He says if you do this once a week for 3 months you will gain a knowledge of your lenses that 90% of photographers do not have.

I ordered the book from Half.com for $15.00 used and think it’s one of the few photography books that really will help in shooting. One of the other things that impressed me was that the examples in the book truly are good shots that I would love to be able to capture. So often you look at a photography how-to book and the person telling you how to shoot better has crappy shots.

Must read book – As A Man Thinketh

Thinketh I like to go to flea-markets every now and then and just walk around. You can often see some interesting stuff. I’ve often thought how many cool shots could I get if I could just wander around one of these places with my camera and no one else around to bother me.One day I was in one and I picked up this old looking book and the title was “As a Man Thinketh.” I opened it up and read the first couple of pages and thought wow!

Thinketh2It’s a small book it doesn’t take very long at all to read it, but it’s message is really good and really powerful. The book was written by James Allen somewhere around 1902. James says in the forward “This little volume is not intended as an exhaustive treatise on the much-written-upon subject of the power of thought. It is suggestive rather than explanatory, it’s object being to stimulate men and women to the discovery and perception of the truth that “They themselves are makers of themselves.”

Think3I got to poking around on the internet and found this site which offers the book as a free pdf. The ebook gives permission to duplicate and distribute copies so, you can download it from my site here.

I challenge you to take the brief time it takes to read it and see what you think.  I’m not trying to indoctrinate anyone to a particular way route of thinking, but I do believe most people are not pushed and don’t push themselves to become better human beings and when we stop trying to better ourselves we begin to degrade as a civilization.