Books and Links: February

March 04, 2019

This is a little late… but better late than… oh well. You get the point. I’m currently making this post from my highlights on Instapaper and a IFTTT recipe that makes a text file for every link that I “like” on instapaper… I need to make a script that auto-generates it or something.

I’ve been blocking some of the more distracting blogs and websites from my phone, and putting my kindle in reachable spots for the evening… the result: a lot of reading.


This month I finished Deep Work and read Extreme Ownership. Both were very influential on my behavior already… I hope to continue to grow as a result of what I read.

I think I read at least two fiction books along the way, but I’m having trouble finding the records of it. I think about halfway through the month I started making a diary of books that I’ve finished and such in vimwiki, but I haven’t been thorough.

As always… I try to save highlights from Instapaper as I read things that are interesting… I usually run out of my free five highlights around one week into the month.

Book Review: Zero to One, Slate Star Codex

“Don’t try to “disrupt” your field – if you’re “disrupting” someone, it means you’re competing with them, and making enemies who will try to hold you back. Don’t try to be the “first mover” (Yahoo was the first-mover in the search engine space), instead try to be the “last mover” whom nobody is able to supplant. Etc, etc.”

I don’t agree with the worldview of this blogger, nor the worldview or politics of the author he is summarizing, but I found some interesting gems in there.

Read more…

How to Get Startup Ideas, Paul Graham

“The way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas. It’s to look for problem s, preferably problems you have yourself.

The very best startup ideas tend to have three things in common: they’re something the founders themselves want, that they themselves can build, and that few others realize are worth doing. Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Google, and Facebook all began this way.”

This is a little in contrast with Peter Thiel’s discussion on monopolies from Zero to One earlier, but I’m not arguing. It’s an interesting counter-perspective to the previous discussion.

“When you have an idea for a startup, ask yourself: who wants this right now? Who wants this so much that they’ll use it even when it’s a crappy version one made by a two-person startup they’ve never heard of? If you can’t answer that, the idea is probably bad. [3]”

Quote of the day for me.

Read more…

Tips for Delegating, Shawn Blanc

“Actual delegation happens when you assign a task to someone while also empowering them to make any decisions related to completing that task.

Put another way, you are delegating the outcome.”

Such convicting truth.

Read more…

OOP Before OOP with Simula

I’m reading about functional programming a good bit, and while part of this was over my head, I loved this part:

He argues that we think of an object in a computer program the same way we think of a river—we imagine that the object has a fixed identity, even though many or all of the object’s properties will change over time. Doing this is a mistake, because we have no way of distinguishing between an object instance in one state and the same object instance in another state. We have no explicit notion of time in our programs. We just breezily use the same name everywhere and hope that the object is in the state we expect it to be in when we reference it. Inevitably, we write bugs.

If that intrigues you… the rest of the article may not help, it’s mostly a history. :P

Read more…

Design Thinking Is Fundamentally Conservative and Preserves the Status Quo

I did not agree with this article.

I would like to read that again, but I didn’t buy the examples… did she prove that the “bad” solution of the wall was produced by a design thinking process, and the “good” solution was produced by a different process? It seemed she was claiming that each was representative of the kinds of solutions produced, but she didn’t get as far as showing that it must produce.

There’s also a strong assumption in the article that all change from status quo = good and the status quo = bad. I’m not sure that’s always true and I’m fairly sure that’s a dangerous assumption.

I did like the challenge to rigidity… but the article basically reminded me of every argument I’ve ever read about waterfall vs. agile rather than a well though out criticism of design thinking.

I’m open to hearing other opinions though, feel free to contact me.

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The Dr. Fox Effect - Futility Closet

The researchers arranged lectures on mathematical game theory for two audiences of psychiatrists and psychologists. In one classroom the lecturer was an actual scientist, and in the other he was an actor playing “Dr. Myron L. Fox” who’d been given one day to prepare a lecture “with an excessive use of double-talk, neologisms, non sequiturs, and contradicting statements.”

When both Fox and the scientist delivered their material in an inexpressive monotone, the scientist’s students performed better on an examination. But when both spoke engagingly, the students rated the charlatan as highly as the expert.

As a UX designer for a company that presents itself unabashedly as an industry expert, this scares me not a little bit.

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Knowledge Processing System for Marketers, Creators, and Knowledge Workers

Instead of asking, “Under what topic do I store this note?” he asked, “In which CONTEXT will I want to stumble upon it again?”

I spend entirely too much time taking, re-organizing, and thinking about what I just took notes on. This article coalesced a lot of ideas I’ve had and gave me new perspective.

Read more…

Shakey Graves - Roll the Bones - Audiotree Live - YouTube

I’m on a Shakey Graves kick. Enjoy.