The Goodreads challenge

I have been busy trying to complete the 2017 Goodreads Challenge so in the last few weeks I have motored through the following books:

  • Kissinger: 1923-1968: The Idealist, by Niall Ferguson
  • Turing’s Cathedral by George Dyson
  • A Mind at Play (biography of Claude Shannon) by Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman
  • The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson
  • The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick
  • Invisible Armies by Max Boot
  • The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

That gets me to 14 out of the 20. I have a whole bunch of half-finished books on my Kindle for iPad app so I am confident I can get it done.

In parallel, I have been spending time building a number of LEGO Technic kits in parallel. I bought a Power Functions kit and a book that will help me understand how to create gearings with LEGO pieces. These LEGO Technic kit parts are compatible with my Mindstorms EV3 robot so I will be able to create some pretty cool models.

Lots of types of thinking

Computational thinking

This morning I read an interesting article in the New York Times about computational thinking. One interviewee described it as follows:

Skills typically include:

  1. recognizing patterns and sequences
  2. creating algorithms
  3. devising tests for finding and fixing errors
  4. reducing the general to the precise
  5. expanding the precise to the general

I am currently learning the Swift programming language using Apple’s Playgrounds application for the iPad as well as the Xcode integrated development environment (IDE) for creating applications on iOS and macOS. This has me practice points 2 and 3 quite a bit. I would say that points 1, 4 and 5 have been particular strengths of mine for a very long time.

Design thinking

I also recently read an article in the Harvard Business Review about design thinking.

General thinking

This comes on the heels of finishing Michael Lewis’ book The Undoing Project, about the work of Daniel Kahneman and the late Amos Tversky. I am in the process of reading Nudge by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler, before heading back to finish up Daniel Kahneman’s book, Thinking Fast and Slow, which goes into the different thinking systems that we call upon in different situations. After that book, I plan to read Hooked by Nir Eyal. These books touch on the topic of behavioural economics. I previously read Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational.

I also read this article on Medium about how to remember what you read and I plan to re-read it again so that I can begin to apply its principles.

Where to start

Lots of stuff on the go:

  • I updated the In progress page with my latest, er, progress
  • I delivered a huge solo project that involved the end to end design of a web application, from data modelling to business logic and user experience with over 40 mock-up screens and tens of thousands of words of documentation
  • I came close to applying for either a PhD in political science or a bachelor of laws degree (LLB). I got around it only a few days before the application deadlines, so I will push it off for a year
  • I am learning some new corporate presentation techniques as part of a new contract job
  • I took on a second mentoree and am learning Trello and Slack for real as we ramp her up to digital marketing glory
  • I read a book about GPS, I finished one about digital privacy, and I started one that while in 1940s USA has relevance with the events leading up to and since the 2016 US elections