Wednesday, August 25, 2010

(Andre Agassi, first 3 CDs)
Although I might have listened to more, this was all I had in my mitts. It's amazing to hear the 5th greatest tennis player of all time bitch, non-stop, about how his Dad forced him to be a great tennis player. My listening ended while he was still a teen ager, but there was never a moment in the narrative where he didn't portray his career as externally determined. A true biographical conundrum for Alfie Kohn, Mark Lepper, and others interested in intrinsic motivation.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Big Short
(Michael Lewis, 9:34)
This book is the very best single exposition of what's gone wrong in the American financial meltdown. Lewis manages to make the entire complex tale into a narrative of individuals, who nevertheless illuminate the dark underbelly of mortgage backed securities, synthetic CDOs, and credit default swaps.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics
(Clifford Pickover, 528pp)
Fun to page through, and like many other Pickover books, a beautiful trip through mind-space.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Clockwork Orange
(Anthony Burgess, stopped half way through 6:32)
The text is horosho, and yet, I stopped before getting to the vaunted 21st chapter. The story line is dark, fairly credible, and impossible for me to experience separate from the lens of Kubrick's treatment. I'd no idea that the book's title referenced the problem of determinism among living beings, and it's not crucial to me even now.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Super Sad True Love Story
(Gary Shteyngart, 13:25)
This hilarious novel dystopically imagines a near future, where the dollar is tenuously
pegged to the yuan, life extension consumes the money of high net worth individuals, and a person's credit score is publicized with the same abandon that their nearly naked bodies are displayed. An absurd Security Sign in the US declaims: "It is forbidden to acknowledge the existence of this checkpoint (the object). By reading this sign you have denied existence of the object and implied consent." I've been a fan of all of Shteyngart's writing. For some reason, I didn't find my zeal and delight sustained in the second half of the story. Ultimately, I fear that it reflects a failing of mine, since his intellect and wit display such superb refinement.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do)
(Gever Tulley & Julie Spiegler, 130pp)
Great little book, or perhaps an extended pamphlet. The essential message, do things with an edge/risky element, is definitely worth repeating until your kids die before you. Licking a 9 volt battery is not likely to bring them to early expiration.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Magic of Thinking Big
(David Schwarz, punted before one hour)
This audio production cannot conceal the puniness of this guidebook for egomaniacs. First came across this based on the recommendation of Timothy Ferris.