Progress Report [3]

The Progress Report

It’s been ~17 days since the last update. At the time I had just finished book #26 and was ~5 books behind pace.

Since then, things have been pretty busy. The Fall semester began, I took a five-day trip to Las Vegas, and I began volunteering to assist with a research project. So, not a lot of time for personal reading.

That said, I did manage to get two books, moving me up to #28. Which means that I’m still ~5 books behind the optimal pace. Though, I’m still not terribly worried about that deficit.

The Books

[>] Kill the Dead: The follow up to Sandman Slim, which is every bit as insanely awesome as the first one. Actually, more so, seeing as Kadrey managed to improve upon some minor pacing annoyances in the first book.

[>] The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right: Picked this up after finishing Thinking, Fast and Slow. Kahneman had mentioned it as a great example of how objective, mechanical judgment procedures can be a defense against the systematic biases in our own natural judgment.

Gawande lays out his case in one of the most enjoyable pop-psy/sci books I’ve ever read. And he strikes a great balance between illustrative anecdote and well-cited empirical research.

In The Works

[>] Lost At Sea: An interesting collection of pieces by Jon Ronson, one of my absolute favorite authors, that explore the beleifs of everyone from ICP to reclusive billionaires trying to escape the bounds of mortality via artificial intelligence.

I’m about 75% of the way through and expect to finish the book by tonight. Unless the last 25% takes an out-of-nowhere tank, I can’t see this as anything but a 5/5 rating.

[>] Déjà Dead: I’m a little hesitant to actually count this book. At only ~50 pages in, I’m already starting to get a little bored with it and questioning whether I’ll continue reading.

[>] The Wisdom of Crowds: Another book I picked up after seeing it mentioned in Thinking, Fast and Slow. I can’t say much about it at the moment, as I just started reading it a few hours ago and only made it ~10 pages in before getting distracted.

Next Time

I’m sad to say that Lost at Sea is the only book I feel confident saying I’ll finish this week.

The story in Déjà Dead is definitely interesting and my love hate relationship with the show it inspired makes me want to at least stick it out with this first book in the series, but the pacing is just so slow.

The Wisdom of Crowds, or at least what I’ve read of it, seems pretty solid. The heavy tendency toward anecdote in these early pages is a little off-putting, but I’m familiar enough with the general theories Surowiecki is exploring to know that the research does exist, even if he prefers just-so-stories. So, I guess at the moment I’m just cautiously optimistic about the book, but not so much so that I don’t wonder if it’ll be the next Invisible Hook in my endeavour and sit on a shelf for several months, partially read.

Those doubts expressed, I did order

About chaisesmith

B.A. Political Science - University of Kentucky Minor Philosophy - University of Kentucky
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