Bret Victor

Bret Victor

paddling furiously under the surface @dynamicland1

40+ Book Recommendations by Bret Victor

  • The Grid

    Gretchen Bakke

    "Bakke [explores] the many facets of America's energy infrastructure: its most dynamic moments and its most stable ones, and its essential role in personal and national life. The grid, she argues, is an essentially American artifact, one which developed with us: a product of bold expansion, the occasional foolhardy vision, some genius technologies, and constant improvisation. Most of all, her focus is on how Americans are changing the grid right now, sometimes with gumption and big dreams and sometimes with legislation or the brandishing of guns"--Dust jacket flap.

    @mandy3284 "The Grid" by Gretchen Bakke is excellent. https://t.co/G290CI2jNY https://t.co/CB8eUxetWk

  • @modernserf a nice chaser to "From Counterculture to Cyberculture" is Theodore Roszak's "From Satori to Silicon Valley" https://t.co/prlLkmjjr5

  • @modernserf a nice chaser to "From Counterculture to Cyberculture" is Theodore Roszak's "From Satori to Silicon Valley" https://t.co/prlLkmjjr5

  • Book contains 12 computer based projects children can create to help understand concepts in Math and Science. Also contains suggestions for off-computer activities to enhance computer projects.

    @rrherr the diagram came from a book on Etoys (I *think* this one https://t.co/Yp1ggcDD1E but it's also in here https://t.co/N81mlEyLUw ) and was intended in earnest by the authors! Don't be embarrassed, it's probably good pedagogy when used well, and patronizing when used poorly.

  • https://t.co/jGfhtPK6q5

  • With the rise of science, we moderns believe, the world changed irrevocably, separating us forever from our primitive, premodern ancestors. But if we were to let go of this fond conviction, Bruno Latour asks, what would the world look like? His book, an anthropology of science, shows us how much of modernity is actually a matter of faith. What does it mean to be modern? What difference does the scientific method make? The difference, Latour explains, is in our careful distinctions between nature and society, between human and thing, distinctions that our benighted ancestors, in their world of alchemy, astrology, and phrenology, never made. But alongside this purifying practice that defines modernity, there exists another seemingly contrary one: the construction of systems that mix politics, science, technology, and nature. The ozone debate is such a hybrid, in Latour’s analysis, as are global warming, deforestation, even the idea of black holes. As these hybrids proliferate, the prospect of keeping nature and culture in their separate mental chambers becomes overwhelming—and rather than try, Latour suggests, we should rethink our distinctions, rethink the definition and constitution of modernity itself. His book offers a new explanation of science that finally recognizes the connections between nature and culture—and so, between our culture and others, past and present. Nothing short of a reworking of our mental landscape. We Have Never Been Modern blurs the boundaries among science, the humanities, and the social sciences to enhance understanding on all sides. A summation of the work of one of the most influential and provocative interpreters of science, it aims at saving what is good and valuable in modernity and replacing the rest with a broader, fairer, and finer sense of possibility.

    https://t.co/jGfhtPK6q5

  • On Physical Lines of Force

    James Clerk Maxwell

    @kragen @abecedarius I believe his 1861 paper "On Physical Lines of Force" had 20 equations in 20 cartesian component variables, and in his 1873 book "A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism" he switched to quaternion notation.

  • Volume 1 of an important foundation work of modern physics describes electrostatic phenomena and develops a mathematical theory of electricity. Topics include electrical work and energy in a system of conductors, mechanical action between two electrical systems, spherical harmonics, electric current, conduction and resistance, electrolysis, and other subjects. 1891 edition.

    @kragen @abecedarius I believe his 1861 paper "On Physical Lines of Force" had 20 equations in 20 cartesian component variables, and in his 1873 book "A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism" he switched to quaternion notation.

  • Bootstrapping

    Thierry Bardini

    This tells the story of Douglas Engelbart's revolutionary vision, reaching beyond conventional histories of Silicon Valley to probe the ideology that shaped some of the basic ingredients of contemporary life.

    @patrickc Lincoln Labs: (e.g.) https://t.co/Jt0wmuyXlV SRI: (e.g.) https://t.co/ywthYMq03l RAND Corporation: (e.g.) https://t.co/spXwjNxCtc Interval (as a cautionary tale perhaps)

  • Coding Places

    Yuri Takhteyev

    An examination of software practice in Brazil that reveals both the globalization and the localization of software development.

    @neurocy @rsnous @qaramazov did a really nice legit ethnography of Lua and programming subcultures in Rio de Janeiro. https://t.co/QbjnihwThJ

  • How Democracies Die

    Steven Levitsky

    Fateful alliances -- Gatekeeping in America -- The great Republican abdication -- Subverting democracy -- The guardrails of democracy -- The unwritten rules of American politics -- The unraveling -- Trump against the guardrails -- Saving democracy

    I guess this is the "funny" part that I'm supposed to tweet, but really, the entire book is so illuminating in its historical perspective. https://t.co/5qFELPEnDU (highly recommended) https://t.co/XRscCUsFIs

  • Perceptrons

    Marvin Minsky

    Computing Methodologies -- Artificial Intelligence.

    @Glench let's see what we can find in the Minsky/Papert "Perceptrons" book https://t.co/ONYqmbbuOU

  • Originally published in two volumes in 1980, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change is now issued in a paperback edition containing both volumes. The work is a full-scale historical treatment of the advent of printing and its importance as an agent of change. Professor Eisenstein begins by examining the general implications of the shift from script to print, and goes on to examine its part in three of the major movements of early modern times - the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the rise of modern science.

    @violinar About the printing press, the canonical work is "The Printing Press as an Agent of Change" by Elizabeth Eisenstein. "Speed of light transmission of images" probably references McLuhan.

  • Professor Goody's research in West Africa resulted in finding an alternative way of thinking about 'traditional' societies.

    @violinar About the alphabet and oral/written modes of thoughts specifically, I love "Domestication of the Savage Mind" by Jack Goody and "Orality and Literacy" by Walter Ong.

  • Walter J. Ong's classic work provides a fascinating insight into the social effects of oral, written, printed and electronic technologies, and their impact on philosophical, theological, scientific and literary thought. This thirtieth anniversary edition – coinciding with Ong's centenary year – reproduces his best-known and most influential book in full and brings it up to date with two new exploratory essays by cultural writer and critic John Hartley. Hartley provides: A scene-setting chapter that situates Ong's work within the historical and disciplinary context of post-war Americanism and the rise of communication and media studies; A closing chapter that follows up Ong's work on orality and literacy in relation to evolving media forms, with a discussion of recent criticisms of Ong's approach, and an assessment of his concept of the 'evolution of consciousness'; Extensive references to recent scholarship on orality, literacy and the study of knowledge technologies, tracing changes in how we know what we know. These illuminating essays contextualize Ong within recent intellectual history, and display his work's continuing force in the ongoing study of the relationship between literature and the media, as well as that of psychology, education and sociological thought.

    @violinar About the alphabet and oral/written modes of thoughts specifically, I love "Domestication of the Savage Mind" by Jack Goody and "Orality and Literacy" by Walter Ong.

  • 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

    @violinar From Postman himself -- - Technopoly: https://t.co/hZnFl9MYJm - the five things: https://t.co/V2tozJZ76V - the seven questions: https://t.co/3Uqa9Cuhm5 https://t.co/4NpJUzPWtj

  • The Hand

    Frank R. Wilson

    Drawing from anthropology, physiology, and neurology, and using the examples of jugglers, surgeons, musicians, and puppetmakers, the author explores the role of the hand in how humans learn and form their identities. Reprint. 25,000 first printing.

    @ThatLousyGuy Now you should read "The Hand" by Frank Wilson. You'll have an even greater time. https://t.co/Dvug6KXsvB I first got into Hands because I was preparing to design a gestural UI, and I was studying how people use their hands.

  • @tophtucker Maybe "The Educated Mind" because I keep giving people my copy. Also people keep stealing my Mindstorms. https://t.co/91xSEBwWCh

  • This book, first published in 1979, is about how we see: the environment around us (its surfaces, their layout, and their colors and textures); where we are in the environment; whether or not we are moving and, if we are, where we are going; what things are good for; how to do things (to thread a needle or drive an automobile); or why things look as they do. The basic assumption is that vision depends on the eye which is connected to the brain. The author suggests that natural vision depends on the eyes in the head on a body supported by the ground, the brain being only the central organ of a complete visual system. When no constraints are put on the visual system, people look around, walk up to something interesting and move around it so as to see it from all sides, and go from one vista to another. That is natural vision -- and what this book is about.

    @tophtucker A couple of really interesting and provocative books on how creatures see: "Laws of Seeing" by Metzger and "Ecological Approach to Visual Perception" by JJ Gibson

  • The first English translation of a classic work in vision science from 1936 by aleading figure in the Gestalt movement, covering topics that continue to be major issues in visionresearch today.

    @tophtucker A couple of really interesting and provocative books on how creatures see: "Laws of Seeing" by Metzger and "Ecological Approach to Visual Perception" by JJ Gibson

  • Data Analysis

    Devinderjit Sivia

    Focusing on Bayesian methods and maximum entropy, this book shows how a few fundamental rules can be used to tackle a variety of problems in data analysis. Topics covered include reliability analysis, multivariate optimisation, least-squares and maximum likelihood, and more.

    @ncasenmare The Sivia book is excellent, esp if you want to understand why things work instead of following recipes. https://t.co/7bjqJcLnmG

  • An original and modern treatment of approximation theory for students in applied mathematics. Includes exercises, illustrations and Matlab code.

    @sigfpe chebfun is a pretty remarkable thing https://t.co/jQJH1yLWfY and the book is good too! https://t.co/zNKR4uWJF8

  • Using Language

    Herbert H. Clark

    This book, first published in 1996, argues that language use is more than the sum of a speaker speaking and a listener listening. It is the joint action that emerges when speakers and listeners - writers and readers - perform their individual actions in coordination, as ensembles. The author argues strongly that language use embodies both individual and social processes.

    face-to-face (from https://t.co/gCYXzhoMAS) https://t.co/P328WSQQYJ

  • Winner of the 2007 Pfizer Prize from the History of Science Society. Feynman diagrams have revolutionized nearly every aspect of theoretical physics since the middle of the twentieth century. Introduced by the American physicist Richard Feynman (1918-88) soon after World War II as a means of simplifying lengthy calculations in quantum electrodynamics, they soon gained adherents in many branches of the discipline. Yet as new physicists adopted the tiny line drawings, they also adapted the diagrams and introduced their own interpretations. Drawing Theories Apart traces how generations of young theorists learned to frame their research in terms of the diagrams—and how both the diagrams and their users were molded in the process. Drawing on rich archival materials, interviews, and more than five hundred scientific articles from the period, Drawing Theories Apart uses the Feynman diagrams as a means to explore the development of American postwar physics. By focusing on the ways young physicists learned new calculational skills, David Kaiser frames his story around the crafting and stabilizing of the basic tools in the physicist's kit—thus offering the first book to follow the diagrams once they left Feynman's hands and entered the physics vernacular.

    (from https://t.co/YXuB5SYBYR ) https://t.co/zLTlCCkvPx

  • The Age of Earthquakes

    Douglas Coupland

    A highly provocative, mindbending, beautifully designed, and visionary look at the landscape of our rapidly evolving digital era. 50 years after Marshall McLuhan's ground breaking book on the influence of technology on culture in The Medium is the Massage, Basar, Coupland and Obrist extend the analysis to today, touring the world that's redefined by the Internet, decoding and explaining what they call the 'extreme present'. THE AGE OF EARTHQUAKES is a quick-fire paperback, harnessing the images, language and perceptions of our unfurling digital lives. The authors offer five characteristics of the Extreme Present (see below); invent a glossary of new words to describe how we are truly feeling today; and 'mindsource' images and illustrations from over 30 contemporary artists. Wayne Daly's striking graphic design imports the surreal, juxtaposed, mashed mannerisms of screen to page. It's like a culturally prescient, all-knowing email to the reader: possibly the best email they will ever read. Welcome to THE AGE OF EARTHQUAKES, a paper portrait of Now, where the Internet hasn't just changed the structure of our brains these past few years, it's also changing the structure of the planet. This is a new history of the world that fits perfectly in your back pocket. 30+ artists contributions: With contributions from Farah Al Qasimi, Ed Atkins, Alessandro Bavo, Gabriele Basilico, Josh Bitelli, James Bridle, Cao Fei, Alex Mackin Dolan, Thomas Dozol, Constant Dullaart, Cecile B Evans, Rami Farook, Hans-Peter Feldmann, GCC, K-Hole, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Eloise Hawser, Camille Henrot, Hu Fang, K-Hole, Koo Jeong-A, Katja Novitskova, Lara Ogel, Trevor Paglen, Yuri Patterson, Jon Rafman, Bunny Rogers, Bogosi Sekhukhuni, Taryn Simon, Hito Steyerl, Michael Stipe, Rosemarie Trockel, Amalia Ulman, David Weir, Trevor Yeung.

    @amerine "The Age of Earthquakes" https://t.co/ScKUow6W71

  • This distinctive book presents a history of an increasingly important class of computers, personal workstations. It is a history seen from the unique perspective of the people who pioneered their development.

    @dubroy You might like the full "History of Personal Workstations" proceedings. It has everyone and everything. https://t.co/KT7RNZKwFP

  • Saving Capitalism

    Robert B. Reich

    From the author of "Aftershock" and "The Work of Nations," his most important book to date--a myth-shattering breakdown of how the economic system that helped make America so strong is now failing us, and what it will take to fix it. Perhaps no one is better acquainted with the intersection of economics and politics than Robert B. Reich, and now he reveals how power and influence have created a new American oligarchy, a shrinking middle class, and the greatest income inequality and wealth disparity in eighty years. He makes clear how centrally problematic our veneration of the "free market" is, and how it has masked the power of moneyed interests to tilt the market to their benefit. Reich exposes the falsehoods that have been bolstered by the corruption of our democracy by huge corporations and the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street: that all workers are paid what they're "worth," that a higher minimum wage equals fewer jobs, and that corporations must serve shareholders before employees. He shows that the critical choices ahead are not about the size of government but about who government is for: that we must choose not between a free market and "big" government but between a market organized for broadly based prosperity and one designed to deliver the most gains to the top. Ever the pragmatist, ever the optimist, Reich sees hope for reversing our slide toward inequality and diminished opportunity when we shore up the countervailing power of everyone else. Passionate yet practical, sweeping yet exactingly argued, Saving Capitalism is a revelatory indictment of our economic status quo and an empowering call to civic action.

    @ncasenmare Robert Reich's "Saving Capitalism" might be appropriate. https://t.co/2X2yXCI6QD

  • The Idea Factory

    Jon Gertner

    "What must we do to make 'possibly' into 'probably' in two years?" (from https://t.co/vhIZlJdXoF) https://t.co/O1suaniFSV

  • New Horizons in Geometry represents the fruits of 15 years of work in geometry by a remarkable team of prize-winning authors—Tom Apostol and Mamikon Mnatsakanian. It serves as a capstone to an amazing collaboration. Apostol and Mamikon provide fresh and powerful insights into geometry that requires only a modest background in mathematics. Using new and intuitively rich methods, they give beautifully illustrated proofs of results, the majority of which are new, and frequently develop extensions of familiar theorems that are often surprising and sometimes astounding. It is mathematical exposition of the highest order. The hundreds of full color illustrations by Mamikon are visually enticing and provide great motivation to read further and savor the wonderful results. Lengths, areas, and volumes of curves, surfaces, and solids are explored from a visually captivating perspective. It is an understatement to say that Apostol and Mamikon have breathed new life into geometry.

    In honor of the passing of Tom Apostol, check out his remarkable visual geometry book (published when he was 89!) https://t.co/a9DkmIuFGO

  • The End of Error

    John L. Gustafson

    The Future of Numerical Computing Written by one of the foremost experts in high-performance computing and the inventor of Gustafson’s Law, The End of Error: Unum Computing explains a new approach to computer arithmetic: the universal number (unum). The unum encompasses all IEEE floating-point formats as well as fixed-point and exact integer arithmetic. This new number type obtains more accurate answers than floating-point arithmetic yet uses fewer bits in many cases, saving memory, bandwidth, energy, and power. A Complete Revamp of Computer Arithmetic from the Ground Up Richly illustrated in color, this groundbreaking book represents a fundamental change in how to perform calculations automatically. It illustrates how this novel approach can solve problems that have vexed engineers and scientists for decades, including problems that have been historically limited to serial processing. Suitable for Anyone Using Computers for Calculations The book is accessible to anyone who uses computers for technical calculations, with much of the book only requiring high school math. The author makes the mathematics interesting through numerous analogies. He clearly defines jargon and uses color-coded boxes for mathematical formulas, computer code, important descriptions, and exercises.

    @squishythinking Unums! https://t.co/vmRmfDB64o https://t.co/Ath5Yng1KT

  • Mathematics

    A. D. Aleksandrov

    Major survey offers comprehensive, coherent discussions of analytic geometry, algebra, differential equations, calculus of variations, functions of a complex variable, prime numbers, linear and non-Euclidean geometry, topology, functional analysis, more. 1963 edition.

    .@michael_nielsen The Aleksandrov book is great in introducing every field of math w its origin in physical science. http://t.co/t8HiwhuX5m

  • The Hand

    Frank R. Wilson

    Drawing from anthropology, physiology, and neurology, and using the examples of jugglers, surgeons, musicians, and puppetmakers, the author explores the role of the hand in how humans learn and form their identities. Reprint. 25,000 first printing.

    @worrydream That was http://t.co/h2U0wkFRGr but see also Tomasello! http://t.co/dqMkPeWXng

  • A leading expert on evolution and communication presents an empirically based theoryof the evolutionary origins of human communication that challenges the dominant Chomskianview.

    @worrydream That was http://t.co/h2U0wkFRGr but see also Tomasello! http://t.co/dqMkPeWXng

  • Memory Machines

    Belinda Barnet

    This book explores the history of hypertext, an influential concept that forms the underlying structure of the World Wide Web and innumerable software applications. Barnet tells both the human and the technological story by weaving together contemporary literature and her exclusive interviews with those at the forefront of hypertext innovation, tracing its evolutionary roots back to the analogue machine imagined by Vannevar Bush in 1945.

    Stuart Moulthrop's forward to @manjusrii's book is utterly amazing. I'm not sure he was fully awake when he wrote it. http://t.co/yrFy3Se3uw

  • Volume 1 of an important foundation work of modern physics describes electrostatic phenomena and develops a mathematical theory of electricity. Topics include electrical work and energy in a system of conductors, mechanical action between two electrical systems, spherical harmonics, electric current, conduction and resistance, electrolysis, and other subjects. 1891 edition.

    The first sentence of Maxwell's monumental, world-changing "Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism". http://t.co/nwHyxeQifm

  • Professor Goody's research in West Africa resulted in finding an alternative way of thinking about 'traditional' societies.

    Just found out Jack Goody wrote "Domestication of the Savage Mind" at age 58. His most recent book was at age 91. https://t.co/FeIUGSUpOW

  • Elements of Programming

    Alexander Stepanov

    @garybernhardt Have you read Stepanov's "Elements of Programming"? I think you'd like it. It's 100% programming-as-a-branch-of-mathematics.

  • An analysis of the political and cultural forces that gave rise to the personal computer chronicles its development through the people, politics, and social upheavals that defined its time, from a teenage anti-war protester who laid the groundwork for the PC revolution to the imprisoned creator of the first word processing software for the IBM PC. Reprint.

    For a great history of Engelbart's lab and the culture it was part of, I recommend John Markoff's dormouse book: http://t.co/rUmXsiEBpQ

  • From a coral reef teeming with life to the instant success of YouTube, the author explores what kind of environment fosters the development of good ideas, identifying the seven key principles for generating great notions. By the author of Everything Bad Is Good for You. Reprint. A best-selling book.

    .. Steven Johnson's (super-great) book http://t.co/tjaiVdqBMs has some of that, but I'm thinking of something more encyclopedic, less theory

  • Group theory is the branch of mathematics that studies symmetry, found in crystals, art, architecture, music and many other contexts. But its beauty is lost on students when it is taught in a technical style that is difficult to understand. Visual Group Theory assumes only a high school mathematics background and covers a typical undergraduate course in group theory from a thoroughly visual perspective. The more than 300 illustrations in Visual Group Theory bring groups, subgroups, homomorphisms, products, and quotients into clear view. Every topic and theorem is accompanied with a visual demonstration of its meaning and import, from the basics of groups and subgroups through advanced structural concepts such as semidirect products and Sylow theory.

    (3/3) Grossman and Magnus' "Groups and their Graphs" was good, but Carter's "Visual Group Theory" is really great. http://t.co/SDZEdWiFDI

  • (2/3) Needham's "Visual Complex Analysis" was good, but Wegert's "Visual Complex Functions" is fantastic. http://t.co/HOOq1PpuUv

  • 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

    @DanielleFong Have you read Postman's "Technopoly" about the transition from tool-dependent cultures to tool-enslaved cultures? A must-read.

  • Breakout

    David Sudnow

    "Pilgrim in the Microworld", a book on Missile Cmd and Breakout: "Atari" appears 63 times, "Dave Theurer" 0 times, "Nolan Bushnell" 0 times