I had a vacation for these two weeks to rest and breath in 🙂 When I leave internet, more time appears to read and that is my favourite activity after swimming. I write small book reviews here and there, so I decided to group the books from this vacation in this post, maybe someone finds any of them interesting…
Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!
A famous physicist and nobel prize winner, Richard Feynman, tells us very funny and adventurous stories – childhood memories, working on the atomic bomb, cracking safes, evil jokes, papers in biology, participating in musicians’ festival at the Brazilian carnaval, selling own paintings, giving lectures, researches and ‘aha!’ moments. How did he found time for all this I have no idea :)) I even became interested in physics.
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
A dream is unreal and unreachable, isn’t it? Lately, I had one to build an electromobile factory in Georgia. This book ruined it :)) as I clearly saw how much non-human work and finances are required.
The book itself is a great source of motivation. It contains lots of stories about creation and development of SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity – failures, lucky events and overcoming difficulties. Building and launching the SpaceX rocket with huge technological and managerial leaps is especially impressive. I think not only programmers, electronic engineers and managers will enjoy this adventurous book.
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
The author of this book is Peter Thiel, co-founder of Paypal. This and good reviews were the reasons to select it, but I could not even reach the middle. It was a bit disappointing. Maybe it had nothing new for me about startups. Also, I could not agree on several points (e.g. when he says that competition on market only ruins everything). Rework by Jason Fried still remains my favourite book about this topic.
Bredbury and also this book in particular have been on my list for a while. I saw it now, but to tell the truth, it was a bit disappointing, too. While reading I always had a feeling of lacking information about that world. I could not see what replaced the books and what problems those people were facing. They would not have been able to move totally to verbal communication. 1984 by Orwel was far more realistic for me.
By the way, as time passes, I’m abandoning fiction more and more. It’s sad. I don’t know why, but I often get angry about the characters :)) or maybe the real stories are so interesting, that I cannot stop reading non-fiction.
I love medical books, where complex topics are explained in simple language for us, mere mortals. This book is my most favourite. Mr. Sapolsky writes not only clearly, but also with humour and describes how our brains and body work.
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
Pixar and Disney are two unique and superior companies for me, where superior people create superior films.
Ed Catmull is a co-founder of Pixar and currently is a president of Pixar and Disney. He, as a software developer, played a great role in the development of computer graphics and moved this field into the movie industry. (E.g. he is often attributed for inventing the Z-buffer concept, which now is in every computer and mobile device.) Catmull writes about under-the-hood stuff while working on animated movies – difficulties they faced, how they started and what does the culture look like in a company, whose every movie is better that its previous one. I think a half of this book is unnecessary, but there are good pearls here and there.
iOS 8 Programming Fundamentals with Swift
I mentioned in my previous posts, that lately I had been working on iOS and their new programming language. Apple has a good book published – The Swift Programming Language which describes the language in depth, but after reading it I was lacking the best practices part and I was still struggling for writing good code. Generally, I don’t like wasting time like this and that is why I start learning a new language from books. Let me introduce Matt Neuburg. He fills his books with real project examples and personal experience, so he made lots of things easier for me. If you are starting this language, I would recommend his books.
Programming iOS 8: Dive Deep into Views, View Controllers, and Frameworks
This is a Matt Neuburg book, too, (with relatively advanced topics) and he describes the basics in depth. This one also contains real project examples and lots and lots of solutions. I haven’t yet completed all thousand pages, but I already regret not reading it earlier.