Michael Nielsen

Michael Nielsen

Searching for the numinous.

60+ Book Recommendations by Michael Nielsen

  • Very little in our human experience is truly comparable to the immensely crowded and bustling interior of a cell. Biological numeracy provides a new kind of understanding of the cellular world. This book brings together up-to-date quantitative data from the vast biological literature and uses the powerful tool of "back of the envelope" estimates to reveal fresh perspectives and insights from numbers commonly encountered in cell biology. Readers gain a feeling for the sizes, concentrations, energies, and rates that characterize the lives of cells-- thereby shedding new light on the microscopic realm.

    Thread inspired by the (terrific) book "Cell Biology by the Numbers": https://t.co/vH5Jo7f1fp

  • Biology Is Technology

    Robert H. Carlson

    17. @rob_carlson's excellent book "Biology is Technology" has a great discussion of the necessity of predictive quantitative models for design and engineering. Here's an excerpt, which repays thought IMO: https://t.co/9Ta64fFzG0

  • Tackles one of the most enduring and contentious issues of positive political economy: common pool resource management.

    It's not strictly about science, but I must also point to Elinor Ostrom's work, especially her wonderful "Governing the Commons" (https://t.co/GhKZoFVAna). It's not quite about managing a knowledge commons, like science, but is deep & wise & sufficiently close to be worth reading

  • Professor Price has enlarged his widely known and influential study of science and the humanities to include much new material, extraordinarily broad in its range: from ancient automata, talismans and symbols, to the differences of modern science and technology. Science since Babylon is now more fascinating and useful than ever to anyone concerned with the humanistic understanding of science. Originating in a series of five public lectures delivered under the auspices of the history department at Yale University in 1959, this book is an investigation of the circumstances and consequences of certain vital decisions relating to scientific crises which have the world to its present state of scientific and technological development. Not just another book on "History of Science," it is a plea, an exemplification for a whole new range of studies to take its place in the territory between the humanities and the sciences. The chapter on "Diseases of Science" has received much public attention as an analysis of the present structure and probable future of the organization of science. The author documents his study with accounts of his own researches in his specific fields of interest, relating them to the "crises" which he believes to be of paramount importance.

    15. Derek de Solla Price is often recognized (along with Eugene Garfield) as cofounder of scientometrics. He wrote many thoughtful pieces (https://t.co/JfFBLdr5uL ), including "Science Since Babylon": https://t.co/9IJP8xpJi7 https://t.co/U6exMPo6Um

  • 13. More: Herb Simon on "The Sciences of the Artificial", https://t.co/E2NcrgblwB, and @DavidDeutschOxf's "Beginning of Infinity", both of which consider the ultimate scope of human understanding and creativity: https://t.co/cTfJW8vJoL

  • A pioneer in the field of quantum computation explores the nature and progress of knowledge in the universe, arguing that humans are subject to the laws of physics but unlimited by what can be understood, controlled, and achieved.

    13. More: Herb Simon on "The Sciences of the Artificial", https://t.co/E2NcrgblwB, and @DavidDeutschOxf's "Beginning of Infinity", both of which consider the ultimate scope of human understanding and creativity: https://t.co/cTfJW8vJoL

  • "People sometimes ask me what they should read to find out about artificial intelligence. Herbert Simon's book The Sciences of the Artificial is always on the list I give them. Every page issues a challenge to conventional thinking, and the layman who digests it well will certainly understand what the field of artificial intelligence hopes to accomplish. I recommend it in the same spirit that I recommend Freud to people who ask about psychoanalysis, or Piaget to those who ask about child psychology: If you want to learn about a subject, start by reading its founding fathers." -- George A. Miller, "Complex Information Processing" Continuing his exploration of the organization of complexity and the science of design, this new edition of Herbert Simon's classic work on artificial intelligence adds a chapter that sorts out the current themes and tools -- chaos, adaptive systems, genetic algorithms -- for analyzing complexity and complex systems.

    @RhysLindmark Yes, David's book (indeed, both) are just wonderful. Reminds me of Herb Simon's "Sciences of the Artificial", another of my favorite books. I should really read Merchants of Doubt!

  • Science, Money, and Politics

    Daniel S. Greenberg

    Greenberg explores how scientific research is funded in the United States, including why the political process distributes the funds the way it does and how it can be corrupted by special interests in academia, business, and political machines.

    7. One of our best long-term observers of science and science policy was Daniel Greenberg (who passed away last year). Many possibilities to choose from, but here's one I got a lot out of: "Science, Money, and Politics": https://t.co/8QANkuL6ZA

  • Creativity in Science

    Dean Keith Simonton

    2. Dean Keith Simonton's book "Creativity in Science: Chance, Logic, Genius, and Zeitgeist". If an essentially scientometric book could be described as a fun romp through science & creativity, this would be it https://t.co/RQ935H1fKs

  • Dune

    Frank Herbert

    Follows the adventures of Paul Atreides, the son of a betrayed duke given up for dead on a treacherous desert planet and adopted by its fierce, nomadic people, who help him unravel his most unexpected destiny.

    @NatureInTheory @curiouswavefn Enjoy Stephenson - the best bits, in particular, are amazing! I enjoyed "Dune", though not the later books; I also found "Dune" quite difficult to get into, but once I did it was great! Also loved Carolyn Cherryh's "Cyteen" https://t.co/HgYHkSFFw5

  • @NatureInTheory @curiouswavefn Enjoy Stephenson - the best bits, in particular, are amazing! I enjoyed "Dune", though not the later books; I also found "Dune" quite difficult to get into, but once I did it was great! Also loved Carolyn Cherryh's "Cyteen" https://t.co/HgYHkSFFw5

  • Lyra Belacqua tries to prevent kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments, helps Will Parry search for his father, and finds that she and Will are caught in a battle between the forces of the Authority and those gathered by her uncle, Lord Asriel.

    @andy_matuschak I'm not sure the audio books "substantially upgraded" the experience, but I did very much enjoy the "His Dark Materials" audio books. Certainly, they gave a different quality to it - I can still remember many of the voices.

  • What does a chess master think when he prepares his next move? How are his thoughts organized? Which methods and strategies does he use by solving his problem of choice? To answer these questions, the author did an experimental study in 1938, to which famous chessmasters participated (Alekhine, Max Euwe and Flohr). This book is still useful for everybody who studies cognition and artificial intelligence. The studies involve participants of all chess backgrounds, from amateurs to masters. They investigate the cognitive requirements and the thought processes involved in moving a chess piece. The participants were usually required to solve a given chess problem correctly under the supervision of an experimenter and represent their thought-processes vocally so that they could be recorded. De Groot found that much of what is important in choosing a move occurs during the first few seconds of exposure to a new position. Four stages in the task of choosing the next move were noted. The first stage was the 'orientation phase', in which the subject assessed the situation and determined a general idea of what to do next. The second stage, the 'exploration phase' was manifested by looking at some branches of the game tree. The third stage, or 'investigation phase' resulted in the subject choosing a probable best move. Finally, in the fourth stage, the 'proof phase', saw the subject confirming with him/herself that the results of the investigation were valid. De Groot concurred with Alfred Binet that visual memory and visual perception are important and that problem-solving ability is of paramount importance. Memory is particularly important, according to de Groot (1965), in that there are no 'new' moves in chess and so those from personal experience or from the experience of others can be committed to memory.

    Fun early papers on this were written about chess by the great Herb Simon (eg https://t.co/x6tgiHyBm6 ) and by Adriaan de Groot (eg https://t.co/UlAMezxOTO ).

  • Lyra Belacqua tries to prevent kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments, helps Will Parry search for his father, and finds that she and Will are caught in a battle between the forces of the Authority and those gathered by her uncle, Lord Asriel.

    @robot__dreams @kanjun @InquilineKea Nice list! I liked the "His Dark Materials" books, too. Lyra's pluck is pretty amazing.

  • Technopoly

    Neil Postman

    A social critic argues that the United States has become a "technopoly"--a system that sacrifices social institutions for self-perpetuating technological advancement--and suggests ways to use technical skills to enhance our democracy

    @joaoeira @Noahpinion @bhorowitz The first few chapters of Technopoly remain a favourite. I do not get much out of Morozov, unfortunately.

  • Working in Public

    Nadia Eghbal

    Whoo! Excited to see @nayafia's book "Working in Public: The Making & Maintenance of Open Source Software" now for pre-order https://t.co/5mgd87Idp0 If you haven't seen her "Roads&Bridges: The Unseen Labor Behind Our Digital Infrastructure" it's a classic https://t.co/r42tnQMUDp

  • Congratulations to Elinor Ostrom, Co-Winner of The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2009! The governance of natural resources used by many individuals in common is an issue of increasing concern to policy analysts. Both state control and privatization of resources have been advocated, but neither the state nor the market have been uniformly successful in solving common pool resource problems. After critiquing the foundations of policy analysis as applied to natural resources, Elinor Ostrom here provides a unique body of empirical data to explore conditions under which common pool resource problems have been satisfactorily or unsatisfactorily solved. Dr. Ostrom first describes three models most frequently used as the foundation for recommending state or market solutions. She then outlines theoretical and empirical alternatives to these models in order to illustrate the diversity of possible solutions. In the following chapters she uses institutional analysis to examine different ways--both successful and unsuccessful--of governing the commons. In contrast to the proposition of the tragedy of the commons argument, common pool problems sometimes are solved by voluntary organizations rather than by a coercive state. Among the cases considered are communal tenure in meadows and forests, irrigation communities and other water rights, and fisheries.

    Lovely - Vienna is building a new park, filled with public goods, to be named after Elinor Ostrom. One of my most recommended books is Ostrom's remarkable "Governing the Commons": https://t.co/547TURB57b https://t.co/2Z5I90XEOC https://t.co/7pZ8we27sl

  • The Logic Of Failure

    Dietrich Dorner

    @zooko @bfeld @IanHathaway This is great. Reminds me of: https://t.co/wB7W3J9lZl (Which is a very good book, in addition to having a magnificent cover.)

  • @Altimor Similarly, the excellent "Logic of Failure": https://t.co/u6bOVu2eBE

  • The bestselling author of "Bombardiers" and "The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest" traveled the world in search of people who had found meaningful answers to one of life's greatest questions: What should I do with my life?"

    @sriramk @paulg Another good book with a related premise is Po Bronson's "What Should I Do With My Life?" Upon reflection, I suspect if I reread Terkel today I'd get far more out of it. At the time, I don't think I knew how to read that book well.

  • Technopoly

    Neil Postman

    A social critic argues that the United States has become a "technopoly"--a system that sacrifices social institutions for self-perpetuating technological advancement--and suggests ways to use technical skills to enhance our democracy

    @Clever_MetaName @literalbanana Neil Postman's book "Technopoly" ties together religion, technocracy, and bureaucratic control in a related way. He discusses many "transcendent narratives", from the Talmud to Marx to the belief in efficiency (narrowly defined) espoused by many bureaucracies.

  • Better

    Atul Gawande

    Explores the efforts of physicians to close the gap between best intentions and best performance in the face of insurmountable obstacles, discussing such topics as the ethical considerations of lethal injections, malpractice, and surgical errors.

    The WHO campaign to eradicate polio: a single new case comes in, & 5 days later 37,000 vaccinators have vaccinated 4.2 million children in 50,000 square miles around the initial case Done on a shoestring, & with very limited authority From Atul Gawande's excellent book "Better" https://t.co/zatOaAxaZB

  • @rememberlenny @paulg Very good choices. If you want just a taste, try "The John McPhee reader", which is a sample of some shorter essays. They ranged from extremely good to extraordinary, IMO.

  • I want to try and understand why so many people commit crimes in the name of identity,” writes Amin Maalouf. Identity is the crucible out of which we come: our background, our race, our gender, our tribal affiliations, our religion (or lack thereof), all go into making up who we are. All too often, however, the notion of identity—personal, religious, ethnic, or national—has given rise to heated passions and even massive crimes. Moving across the world’s history, faiths, and politics, he argues against an oversimplified and hostile interpretation of the concept. He cogently and persuasively examines identity in the context of the modern world, where it can be viewed as both glory and poison. Evident here are the dangers of using identity as a protective—and therefore aggressive—mechanism, the root of racial, geographical, and colonialist subjugation throughout history. Maalouf contends that many of us would reject our inherited conceptions of identity, to which we cling through habit, if only we examined them more closely. The future of society depends on accepting all identities, while recognizing our individualism.

    @eriktorenberg @glenweyl (Tangential, but Amin Maalouf's book "In the Name of Identity" has an interesting discussion of how we construct unique identities as the intersection of the communities to which we belong.)

  • Ted Chiang's first published story, "Tower of Babylon," won the Nebula Award for 1990. Now, collected for the first time, are all seven of this extraordinary writer's extraordinary stories--plus a new story written especially for this volume.

    Recently reread Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life" (for the fourth time, I think), and "Exhalation". It's such a joy to read him in real time. I suspect he's one of the great writers Apologies for the hyping, which I know can create unmet expectations. Still, I'm just blown away

  • Exhalation

    Ted Chiang

    ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR A NATIONAL BESTSELLER "Exhalation by Ted Chiang is a collection of short stories that will make you think, grapple with big questions, and feel more human. The best kind of science fiction." --Barack Obama From the acclaimed author of Stories of Your Life and Others--the basis for the Academy Award -nominated film Arrival: a groundbreaking new collection of short fiction. "THE UNIVERSE BEGAN AS AN ENORMOUS BREATH BEING HELD." In these nine stunningly original, provocative, and poignant stories, Ted Chiang tackles some of humanity's oldest questions along with new quandaries only he could imagine. In "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate," a portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and second chances. In "Exhalation," an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications that are literally universal. In "Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom," the ability to glimpse into alternate universes necessitates a radically new examination of the concepts of choice and free will. Including stories being published for the first time as well as some of his rare and classic uncollected work, Exhalation is Ted Chiang at his best: profound, sympathetic--revelatory.

    Recently reread Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life" (for the fourth time, I think), and "Exhalation". It's such a joy to read him in real time. I suspect he's one of the great writers Apologies for the hyping, which I know can create unmet expectations. Still, I'm just blown away

  • The Silmarillion

    J.R.R. Tolkien

    RIP Christopher Tolkien. "The Silmarillion" and "Unfinished Tales", two books he edited, were two of my favourite books growing up. https://t.co/0l7DJfIztq

  • RIP Christopher Tolkien. "The Silmarillion" and "Unfinished Tales", two books he edited, were two of my favourite books growing up. https://t.co/0l7DJfIztq

  • Cyteen

    C.J. Cherryh

    The Hugo Award-winning SF saga is now available in one complete trade paperback edition, containing Cyteen: The Betrayal, The Rebirth and The Vindication. "A psychological novel, a murder mystery and an examination of power on a grand scale, encompassing light years and outsize lifetimes".--Locus.

    Short reviews of books & authors is, itself, a wonderful genre. Here's a classic, Cosma Shalizi on the marvellous Carolyn Cherryh. Cherryh's "Cyteen" is one of my favourite books. https://t.co/Wj6UkDKLqB

  • Thoughtful and articulate study of the origin of ideas. Role of the unconscious in invention; the medium of ideas — do they come to mind in words? in pictures? in mathematical terms? Much more. "It is essential for the mathematician, and the layman will find it good reading." — Library Journal.

    @F_Vaggi @paulg Do you mean Hadamard's book? "The Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field"?

  • @DavidDeutschOxf One of the leads on ScopeX wrote this little book about geoengineering: https://t.co/ajG4FVoIuc

  • In Drawdown, renowned environmentalist Paul Hawken has assembled a team of over 200 scholars, scientists, policymakers, business leaders and activists to illustrate the hundred most substantive solutions to combat climate change that together will not only slow down the growth of carbon emissions, but reverse them altogether. Put into action together, these solutions will mobilise society into taking the climate change conversation from problem definition to problem solving, from fear and apathy to collaboration and regeneration.

    A few resources, which I don't necessarily have strong opinions on: Drawdown: from Paul Hawken and a large team of researchers. https://t.co/QJtGWhjW4i

  • In this classic, the world's expert on language and mind lucidly explains everything you always wanted to know about language: how it works, how children learn it, how it changes, how the brain computes it, and how it evolved. With deft use of examples of humor and wordplay, Steven Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling story: language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution. The Language Instinct received the William James Book Prize from the American Psychological Association and the Public Interest Award from the Linguistics Society of America. This edition includes an update on advances in the science of language since The Language Instinct was first published.

    One of my favourite opening lines in literature is Steven Pinker's opening to "The Language Instinct": "As you are reading these words, you are taking part in one of the wonders of the natural world."

  • The New Atlantis

    Sir Francis Bacon

    What it wasn't: Bacon's "New Atlantis". There's certainly antecedents for open science in Bacon's vision. But I don't believe he uses the term.

  • Reinventing Discovery

    Michael Nielsen

    @buirachel Now I'm shilling for my own book, "Reinventing Discovery"! https://t.co/j5mFDSrcos

  • Tackles one of the most enduring and contentious issues of positive political economy: common pool resource management.

    And Elinor Ostrom's "Governing the Commons" - my most-frequently bought book, I believe - is a wonderful book about setting up functioning commons. Not directly open science, but very relevant: https://t.co/Iivzlivrbi

  • Henry Oldenburg

    Marie Boas Hall

    May as well add: Mary Boas Hall's biography of Henry Oldenburg is a wonderful, more personal account that is wrapped up with the origins of open science. https://t.co/NvR5Rpww0m (Yeah, that price. I read a library version - then shelled out for my own copy.)

  • One of the most cited books in physics of all time, Quantum Computation and Quantum Information remains the best textbook in this exciting field of science. This 10th anniversary edition includes an introduction from the authors setting the work in context. This comprehensive textbook describes such remarkable effects as fast quantum algorithms, quantum teleportation, quantum cryptography and quantum error-correction. Quantum mechanics and computer science are introduced before moving on to describe what a quantum computer is, how it can be used to solve problems faster than 'classical' computers and its real-world implementation. It concludes with an in-depth treatment of quantum information. Containing a wealth of figures and exercises, this well-known textbook is ideal for courses on the subject, and will interest beginning graduate students and researchers in physics, computer science, mathematics, and electrical engineering.

    @_NicT_ @andy_matuschak It's explained on page 108 of my book with Ike Chuang, "Quantum Computation and Quantum Information". Depending on your background, you may need to read back in the book (it uses things like the reduced density operator and other things).

  • Against Method

    Paul Feyerabend

    Beyond Popper and Kuhn to an anarchist philosophy of science.

    @The_Lagrangian @Meaningness I read "Against Method" when I was 17, and it really got into the core of how I think about science. "Epistemological anarchist" sounds about right.

  • The macroscope

    Joël de Rosnay

    @eriktorenberg Related: I recommend Joel de Rosnay's book "The Macroscope". Not about the noosphere, but definitely related. The author has an English translation online somewhere, Google will know where.

  • Visionary theologian and evolutionary theorist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin applied his whole life, his tremendous intellect, and his great spiritual faith to building a philosophy that would reconcile religion with the scientific theory of evolution. In this timeless book, which contains the quintessence of his thought, Teilhard argues that just as living organisms sprung from inorganic matter and evolved into ever more complex thinking beings, humans are evolving toward an "omega point"—defined by Teilhard as a convergence with the Divine.

    @eriktorenberg I read part of Teilhard de Chardin's book on it, crouching in the library stacks, as a teenager. I remember the book as pretty weird and wild and interesting. IIRC it was "The Phenomenon of Man", though Wikipedia suggests "Cosmogenesis".

  • This is a practical anthology of some of the best elementary problems in different branches of mathematics. Arranged by subject, the problems highlight the most common problem-solving techniques encountered in undergraduate mathematics. This book teaches the important principles and broad strategies for coping with the experience of solving problems. It has been found very helpful for students preparing for the Putnam exam.

    @johncarlosbaez Huh. I'd forgotten that. Another book which I loved, and spent hundreds of hours with, is Larson's "Problem Solving Through Problems". More than anything I learnt the basics of discrete math from that book.

  • Concrete Mathematics

    Ronald L. Graham

    This book, updated and improved, introduces the mathematics that supports advanced computer programming and the analysis of algorithms. The primary aim of its well-known authors is to provide a solid and relevant base of mathematical skills--the skills needed to solve complex problems, to evaluate horrendous-looking sums, to solve complex recurrence relations, and to discover subtle patterns in data. It is an indispensable text and reference, not only for computer scientists but for all technical professionals in virtually every discipline.

    @johncarlosbaez I thought Graham, Knuth, and Patashnik's "Concrete Mathematics" was very good when I read (part of) it, and wished I'd come to it right when I'd started mathematics. Haven't looked at it in years.

  • The Logic Of Failure

    Dietrich Dorner

    An incisive analysis of real-life situations that helps all those involved in any kind of strategic planning recognize and avoid logical yet devastating errors.

    @DRMacIver Much less horrifying, but I quite enjoyed "The Logic of Failure". Has one of the best covers ever: https://t.co/PR8dAhB6Wa

  • Just ordered Brand's "How Buildings Learn", Illich's "Deschooling Society", Ostrom's "Governing the Commons", Adams's "Watership Down", Lakatos's "Proofs and Refutations", Gleick's "Genius". Six books I love, and hope someone else will enjoy too.

  • Tackles one of the most enduring and contentious issues of positive political economy: common pool resource management.

    Just ordered Brand's "How Buildings Learn", Illich's "Deschooling Society", Ostrom's "Governing the Commons", Adams's "Watership Down", Lakatos's "Proofs and Refutations", Gleick's "Genius". Six books I love, and hope someone else will enjoy too.

  • Illich suggests radical reforms for the education system to stop its headlong rush towards frustrated expectations and inequalities.

    Just ordered Brand's "How Buildings Learn", Illich's "Deschooling Society", Ostrom's "Governing the Commons", Adams's "Watership Down", Lakatos's "Proofs and Refutations", Gleick's "Genius". Six books I love, and hope someone else will enjoy too.

  • How Buildings Learn

    Stewart Brand

    Just ordered Brand's "How Buildings Learn", Illich's "Deschooling Society", Ostrom's "Governing the Commons", Adams's "Watership Down", Lakatos's "Proofs and Refutations", Gleick's "Genius". Six books I love, and hope someone else will enjoy too.

  • Watership Down

    Richard Adams

    WINNER of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program Now a Netflix animated miniseries starring James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, and Oscar and Grammy award-winner Sir Ben Kingsley. A worldwide bestseller for more than forty years, Watership Down is the compelling tale of a band of wild rabbits struggling to hold onto their place in the world—“a classic yarn of discovery and struggle” (The New York Times). Richard Adams’s Watership Down is a timeless classic and one of the most beloved novels of all time. Set in the Hampshire Downs in Southern England, an idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of “suspense, hot pursuit, and derring-do” (Chicago Tribune) follows a band of rabbits in flight from the incursion of man and the destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they travel forth from their native Sandleford warren through harrowing trials to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society. “A marvelous story of rebellion, exile, and survival” (Sunday Telegraph) this is an unforgettable literary classic for all ages.

    Just ordered Brand's "How Buildings Learn", Illich's "Deschooling Society", Ostrom's "Governing the Commons", Adams's "Watership Down", Lakatos's "Proofs and Refutations", Gleick's "Genius". Six books I love, and hope someone else will enjoy too.

  • Genius

    James Gleick

    A biography of the flamboyant Nobel Prize-winning scientist describes how Feynman cracked safes, played the bongos, studied the behavior of Jell-O, and conducted experiments in seduction, all in the name of science. Reprint. 125,000 first printing. $50,000 ad/promo. Tour.

    Just ordered Brand's "How Buildings Learn", Illich's "Deschooling Society", Ostrom's "Governing the Commons", Adams's "Watership Down", Lakatos's "Proofs and Refutations", Gleick's "Genius". Six books I love, and hope someone else will enjoy too.

  • This elegant book by distinguished mathematician John Milnor, provides a clear and succinct introduction to one of the most important subjects in modern mathematics. Beginning with basic concepts such as diffeomorphisms and smooth manifolds, he goes on to examine tangent spaces, oriented manifolds, and vector fields. Key concepts such as homotopy, the index number of a map, and the Pontryagin construction are discussed. The author presents proofs of Sard's theorem and the Hopf theorem.

    @braised_babbage @JaminSpeer Fun suggestion. I tried to read "Topology from the Differentiable Viewpoint" years ago, and must admit I didn't connect. I wonder how I'd enjoy it now.

  • Provides an overview of the sustainable energy crisis that is threatening the world's natural resources, explaining how energy consumption is estimated and how those numbers have been skewed by various factors and discussing alternate forms of energy that can and should be used.

    @richardtomsett @JaminSpeer Really enjoying the frequency with which McKay's name comes up; I feel there's a message here. I loved his "Sustainable Energy [etc]". I should read more.

  • Tackles one of the most enduring and contentious issues of positive political economy: common pool resource management.

    @Conaw Let me plug Ostrom's "Governing the Commons" (again) as a great book on open source, despite being written ~1990. And Schelling's book on Micromotives and Macrobehaviour is pretty great too. I read it before finishing RD, but didn't appreciate it as much as I have since come to

  • Barbarian Days

    William Finnegan

    Surfing only looks like a sport. To initiates, it is something else entirely: a beautiful addiction, a demanding course of study, a morally dangerous pastime, a way of life. Raised in California and Hawaii, Finnegan started surfing as a child. He has chased waves all over the world, wandering for years through the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, Africa. A bookish boy, and then an excessively adventurous young man, he went on to become a writer and war reporter. Barbarian Days takes us deep into unfamiliar worlds, some of them right under our noses -- off the coasts of New York and San Francisco. It immerses the reader in the edgy camaraderie of close male friendships annealed in challenging waves.

    Mavericks just before 2pm today. Good spot to finish reading William Finnegan's superb "Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life". https://t.co/rSHvxV3rrE

  • Reading Disentangled

    Favell Lee Mortimer

    This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work. This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work. As a reproduction of a historical artifact, this work may contain missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant.

    @gwern @calebmontiveros @Altimor Fun fact: I believe there are premade cards in this too, from the 19th century: https://t.co/1IHwNNApgt (My copy is still on its way, so I'm not yet sure.)

  • A study of the creator of the Dune saga, a landmark of modern science fiction.

    @simonw @timoreilly In a lovely piece of symmetry, both books are now available from Amazon: https://t.co/E62Jqn9Fwj and https://t.co/gnxJb4AAhc Just ordered the second.

  • The Maker of Dune

    Frank Herbert

    A compendium of Herbert's essays, articles, observations, reminiscences and meditations, as well as a never-before-published interview with the late writer

    @simonw @timoreilly In a lovely piece of symmetry, both books are now available from Amazon: https://t.co/E62Jqn9Fwj and https://t.co/gnxJb4AAhc Just ordered the second.

  • Ducks

    William Cook

    This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work. This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work. As a reproduction of a historical artifact, this work may contain missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant.

    @flantz It's this one: https://t.co/ET5JoU2PZe

  • Technopoly

    Neil Postman

    A social critic argues that the United States has become a "technopoly"--a system that sacrifices social institutions for self-perpetuating technological advancement--and suggests ways to use technical skills to enhance our democracy

    @glenweyl @ESYudkowsky Have you read Neil Postman's "Technopoly"? It's perhaps the most striking argument against technocracy I've seen. https://t.co/DsGQXDQ50V

  • First Man

    James R. Hansen

    Soon to be a major motion picture, this is the first—and only—definitive authorized account of Neil Armstrong, the man whose “one small step” changed history. When Apollo 11 touched down on the Moon’s surface in 1969, the first man on the Moon became a legend. In First Man, author James R. Hansen explores the life of Neil Armstrong. Based on over fifty hours of interviews with the intensely private Armstrong, who also gave Hansen exclusive access to private documents and family sources, this “magnificent panorama of the second half of the American twentieth century” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) is an unparalleled biography of an American icon. In this “compelling and nuanced portrait” (Chicago Tribune) filled with revelations, Hansen vividly recreates Armstrong’s career in flying, from his seventy-eight combat missions as a naval aviator flying over North Korea to his formative trans-atmospheric flights in the rocket-powered X-15 to his piloting Gemini VIII to the first-ever docking in space. For a pilot who cared more about flying to the Moon than he did about walking on it, Hansen asserts, Armstrong’s storied vocation exacted a dear personal toll, paid in kind by his wife and children. For the near-fifty years since the Moon landing, rumors have swirled around Armstrong concerning his dreams of space travel, his religious beliefs, and his private life. A penetrating exploration of American hero worship, Hansen addresses the complex legacy of the First Man, as an astronaut and as an individual. “First Man burrows deep into Armstrong’s past and present…What emerges is an earnest and brave man” (Houston Chronicle) who will forever be known as history’s most famous space traveler.

    @suzatweet @AlSalehSarahs I should reread both these. I enjoyed both circa age 20, but suspect I'd read them very differently now. Camus' autobiographical "The First Man" has had a lasting impact on my life.

  • This book presents a substantial part of matrix analysis that is functional analytic in spirit. Topics covered include the theory of majorization, variational principles for eigenvalues, operator monotone and convex functions, and perturbation of matrix functions and matrix inequalities. The book offers several powerful methods and techniques of wide applicability, and it discusses connections with other areas of mathematics.

    @DRMacIver Bhatia's "Matrix Analysis" and Cooks' "Ducks: And How to Make Them Pay" seem like a promising combo.

  • Ducks

    William Cook

    This book has been considered by academicians and scholars of great significance and value to literature. This forms a part of the knowledge base for future generations. So that the book is never forgotten we have represented this book in a print format as the same form as it was originally first published. Hence any marks or annotations seen are left intentionally to preserve its true nature.

    @DRMacIver Bhatia's "Matrix Analysis" and Cooks' "Ducks: And How to Make Them Pay" seem like a promising combo.

  • Tackles one of the most enduring and contentious issues of positive political economy: common pool resource management.

    @webdevMason SICP. Watership Down. Governing the Commons. How Buildings learn. Death and Life of Great American Cities. Cosmos.

  • How Buildings Learn

    Stewart Brand

    @webdevMason SICP. Watership Down. Governing the Commons. How Buildings learn. Death and Life of Great American Cities. Cosmos.

  • Penetrating analysis of the functions and organization of city neighborhoods, the forces of deterioration and regeneration, and the necessary planning innovations

    @webdevMason SICP. Watership Down. Governing the Commons. How Buildings learn. Death and Life of Great American Cities. Cosmos.

  • @devonzuegel One of my favourite things learned this year: baboons have been known to sit down, put their arms around one another, and watch the sunset together. Source: https://t.co/TMocKCIRv4

  • A Pattern Language

    Christopher Alexander

    Two hundred and fifty-three archetypal patterns consisting of problem statements, discussions, illustrations, and solutions provide lay persons with a framework for engaging in architectural design

    @melsreallife @stewartbrand @kevin2kelly I love "A Pattern Language"! Also, this note from CA is a favourite mini-essay: https://t.co/poUmHWm8uI

  • Argues that the privacy of individuals actually hampers accountability, which is the foundation of any civilized society and that openness is far more liberating than secrecy

    @juliagalef @dgkimpton David Brin's book "The Transparent Society" accepts that logic and explores the consequences of a society without privacy. It's old - mid-90s - but I enjoyed the exploration.