I’ve been reading books. Shocking, I know. While I could recommend SF/F, I’m going to assume that people reading this already know to read things like The Fifth Season and Ancillary Justice, so instead I’m going to focus on some other shit.
A Burglar’s Guide to the City
If there is a general law of urban criminality here, it’s that cities get the type of crime their design calls for
This is the thesis statement of A Burglar’s Guide to the City, a look at urban architecture through the eyes of burglars, herein treated as idiots-savants who make use of architecture to their own ends; people for whom a Dumpster against a thin wall is a better entrance than a locked and alarmed door, who can read a building’s layout from windows and fire escapes based on the city’s fire code. The author puts everything together using the stories of both burglars and the police, and he has a natural narrative voice that I found very readable indeed.
Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies and the Truth About Reality
Compassion is the ability to see what needs doing right now and the willingness to do it right now.
Brad Warner used to play in a punk band. Then he became a Buddhist and moved to Japan to be the man inside the rubber suits in kaiju movies. Part memoir, part an exploration of his particular branch of Buddhism, I’m very impressed by the degree to which he goes in to the why of Zen, and the importance of questioning everything — including his own words. It’s interesting in its frankness and openness about the practice of Buddhism and how that applies to the world as it stands.
If I can get you to make a commitment (that is, to take a stand, to go on record), I will have set the stage for your automatic and ill-considered consistency with that earlier commitment. Once a stand is taken, there is a natural tendency to behave in ways that are stubbornly consistent with the stand.
I know, it’s badged as a “Collins Business Essentials” book, but it’s so much more than that. Influence lays bare the psychology of compliance — the techniques used by everyone from advertisers to interrogators to change people’s behaviour. It’s the science of making you want what I want you to want. It shows the most common tricks, but in doing so it also shows some of the methods of defending against them; often, being aware of what someone is trying to do (whether they know it or not) can help change the situation.
The Phoenix Project
If an organization doesn’t pay down its technical debt, every calorie in the organization can be spent just paying interest, in the form of unplanned work.
If you work in IT and have not read this book you are doing it wrong.