What I’m Reading

by F.

A partial list:

  1. Against the Gods. For almost ten years, I had a little note in one of my journals reminding me to read this book. Finally, I got it from the library. There are few books I would like to write. This is one. This book is awesome.
  2. The Poker Face of Wall Street. Like many Wiley books, this one lacks coherence. It has one or two good ideas, though, and if you know poker, I’m sure it would be even more fun.
  3. The Number Sense. I love this book. It’s a little out-of-date, given that it is ten years’ old, and brain imaging has come a long way in that time. But still. If you ever thought Platonism in mathematics was crazy, you’ll love this book.
  4. Probabilities: The Little Numbers that Rule our Lives. The math is good, but this author is not a writer. The part of the book that isn’t formulas and demonstrations is so cliche filled, it’s insane. When a mathematician can write, it’s such a joy (Russell, say). When he or she can’t, it’s like watching Napolean Dynamite try to hit on Jessica Biel. (Just sad.)
  5. Sudoku for Dummies. I thought I’d finally give these little puzzles a try. They are reasonably fun. I’m going to do 75 of them (one a day–the easy ones take less that 30:00) and then assess whether I like them or not. Stay tuned.
  6. The White Man’s Burden. Very entertaining, though Easterly’s writing has gotten much better since he wrote it. (His pieces in the WSJ lately are the evidence.)
  7. Culture and Prosperity. I love the way John Kay writes, but the blurbs on this book on idiotic: there’s nary an original idea in it. That’s not what the book is about: it’s a basic “principles of economics” book, focusing on trade. It’s a little like Martin Wolf’s Why Globalization Works.

Note to prefrontal cortex: must write now. Make rest of brain obey. Please.

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