Read Books This will provide a list of the books I've read with a brief review. Users are blocked, contact me for access. I welcome discussions, but I'm tired of spam.

January 4, 2021

The Thoughtless Design of Everyday Things

Filed under: Technical — Tags: , — Randolph @ 6:51 pm

by Karl Wiegers, PhD

This is an excellent and humorous guide to design principles. It is filled with examples of both good and failed design in things we use every day. Karl presents almost 500 design practices with a good discussion and examples in products. He then provides 70 design lessons.

I’ve always thought Karl a very readable writer who makes lessons easy to understand and to remember. This should be a must-read for anyone in product design, whether technical or not.

April 13, 2020

Successful Business Analysis Consulting: Strategies and Tips for Going It… by Karl Wiegers

Filed under: Technical — Tags: — Randolph @ 5:51 pm

Karl is an excellent author, making things easy to understand and follow. When you read his work, you can hear him speaking to you, he writes very much the way he speaks.

I only read selective chapters of this book, but I got from it what I expected to learn. In those sections he addressed issues relative to writing. Everything form organization, topic selection, editing and publishing. The rest of the book may yet be beconing to me.

November 16, 2018

MetaAutomation by Matt Griscom

Filed under: Technical — Tags: , — Randolph @ 3:47 pm

MetaAutomation by Matt Griscom

MetaAutomation is a collection of software automation patterns that, when combined, provide a greater value to your company than the sum of the parts.

The book presents a collection of software automation patterns that should be in every QA organization’s library. Most of the patters are fairly well known, but almost every organization I’ve seen still needs one or more of them. Having them in this collection makes this a valuable
book that should be in any software organization’s collection.

July 19, 2017

Getting Started in Candlestick Charting by Tina Logan

Filed under: Technical — Tags: — Randolph @ 3:22 pm

Getting Started in Candlestick Charting by Tina Logan

June 2, 2017

Heart of the Machine by Richard Yonck

Filed under: Science,Technical — Randolph @ 2:34 pm

Heart of the Machine by Richard Yonck

Computers and robots that can respond to us on an emotional level are already among us, although at a primitive level. This books explores the logical extensions of that technology, looking at the good and the bad. The technology is not waiting for a moral analysis, nor even public awareness. It is being rolled out to benefit whichever company develops it.

Over the next couple of decades, these technologies will become part of our everyday lives. From the handheld assistants that can respond to the needs of our moods to salesbots that can exploit your weaknesses in order to make a sale. And there will be the inevitable exploit from hackers seeking to take advantage of weaknesses, ignorance, or just software bugs.

Each chapter begins with a short scenario that demonstrates use of some aspect of the technology. Then he delves into that technology and take the reader into new ideas and new frontiers.

Overall, I found the book enlightening. Not only is it a good read, I encourage people to read it just to prepare themselves for the future. Whether his ideas will come to fruition, or some other variants, it is already on its way.

July 21, 2014

Elements of Jazz: From Cakewalks to Fusion by Professor Bill Messenger

Filed under: History,Technical — Randolph @ 8:34 pm

Elements of Jazz: From Cakewalks to Fusion by Professor Bill Messenger

This is one of the Great Courses CD sets covering the history of Jazz. It is a good history starting from Cakewalks, an early black form of music combining some African and some European elements. This grew to Ragtime, and ultimately to a variety of forms of Jazz.

One CD is devoted to each style. The discussion covers how it evolved, what elements are unique and what characterizes the style, and how it came to be replaced. There are many music samples and the speaker includes comments on music theory.

The series is full of information and very enjoyable. And it goes fast.

October 28, 2012

Agile Software Development with Scrum by Ken Schwaber, Mike Beedle

Filed under: Technical — Randolph @ 9:45 am

Agile Software Development with Scrum by Ken Schwaber, Mike Beedle

I am a fan of Scrum, I’ve seen it work and it can benefit most development processes. But this book did not enhance my understanding nor do I believe it would encourage anyone to use the process. It comes across as a big advertisement, the author glosses over problems, he points to advantages that are not unique to Scrum, and generally fails to provide any concrete examples of why I should use Scrum.

The book does a good job of describing Scrum, its components, and to provide a basis for using the process. This is covered in the first 1/3 of the book. I believe that most readers should stop at this point. The rest of the book explains why Scrum works, its value, and advanced topics. But these aren’t convincing and I don’t see a real correlation to Scrum.

Then there are the contradictions.

The authors explain how having a technical writer on the team can relieve the developers of writing the documentation – which is required for the sprint delivery, and how including a tester so the developers don’t have to test their own code. Yet, two paragraphs later he talks about people being interchangeable, “Scrum avoids people who refuse to code”, there are no titles, no exceptions. And in one of his case studies he mentions the advantage he gained by putting off documentation until later in the project.

Later in the book, a case study talks about a design architect who is referred to as female in one sentence and male in the next. An earlier case study talked about an architect who left the project due to lack of control, and how not having an architect was a bonus for Scrum.

They mention the value of getting engineers into “flow”. Yet also insists that engineers work in bullpens, and that the lack of conversation indicates a poorly working team. They seem to believe that getting into the zone is free. In a later study, he talks about the advantage of having engineers in adjacent cubicles so that they only need to stand and talk over the cubicle wall.

Other suggestions include deferring peer reviews until after a sprint – “they have nothing to do with completing the project.”

Even the cover tie-in feels weak. (I have the cover with the psychology test where you identify colors of text indicating names of different colors.) He uses this text to illustrate the need for a team to focus. That consumes about 1.5 pages.

Apparently, applying Scrum practices to writing this book failed. They could have used a good editor and some better reviewers. They often aren’t clear on what practices are really important to Scrum. If I hadn’t practiced Scrum, this book would not help move me toward trying or even supporting the practice.

September 26, 2012

The Law of Superheroes by James Daily, Ryan Davidson

Filed under: Technical — Randolph @ 7:05 pm

The Law of Superheroes by James Daily, Ryan Davidson

The Law of Superheroes is a primer on law. Although it mostly applies to US law, it does touch on international law. The book uses comic book events involving superheroes to discuss points of law, providing an interesting and memorable framework for the discussions.

The authors, James Daily and Ryan Davidson, are lawyers and comic book nerds. They started a blog, Law and the Multiverse (at, which grew and eventually encouraged the authors to write this book.

The first chapter starts with the constitution. It addresses issues such as testimony in costume, identity, psychic powers and addresses the first, fifth, and fourteenth amendments in a little more detail. It then moves into registration, civil rights, immortals, powers as weapons, and government power.

In a similar vein, other chapters address criminal law and procedures, evidence, and tort. Then moves into business law, contracts, administrative laws and intellectual property laws. And finally addressing travel, immigration, international law and non-human intelligence.

The authors are able to make each topic interesting weaving in comic stories and include a few comic excerpts that are discussed in the text, making this an enjoyable book to read.

My complaints are few, some of the comic images were a bit blurry and difficult to read. Some topics seem to be addressed too lightly, but this is just a primer. If you’ve any interest in the law, this is a good book. If you don’t, it still provides basic information you should be familiar with.

September 20, 2012

Imagination and Meaning in Calvin and Hobbes by Jamey Heit

Filed under: Humor,Philosophy,Technical — Randolph @ 8:02 pm

Imagination and Meaning in Calvin and Hobbes
by Jamey Heit

This book is an analysis of the Calivin and Hobbes comic strip through the eyes of philosophy. In some ways it reminds me of the popular culture and philosophy series, but here the focus is on building a better understanding the comic rather than philosophy, philosophy is the tool for the understanding.

At first glance, the book does remind me of more traditional philosophy books. It has a smaller font, dense pages with few breaks, and a serious list of footnotes. On starting to read it the same impression continued, high information density and heavy at times. Sometimes it became difficult to follow, but the focus on the comic brought recurring themes of humor.

Difficult as it may have been, I never considered giving up. The book reveals a lot of information about the comics, calling on specific themes and even individual strips to support its arguments. While reading the book, I gained insights in to the strips, and a great desire to reread the series with my new understanding.

Watterson drew heavily on philosophers for his inspiration, from the very name of the strip and characters. The book discusses themes and how they relate to philosophy, from flying dinosaurs, Spaceman Spiff, Calvin as god of his snow creatures, and Hobbes appears real to the reader so long as an adult isn’t in the strip.

My two issues with the book is that I would have liked some comics included to help break up the book’s text, and having just finished it, I’m already having trouble remembering many portions of it due to its heavy content.

I do recommend the book for anyone who has enjoyed the comic and has any interest in philosophy. I’m going to reread the comics, and my try tacking the book for a second time, some day…

July 18, 2011

How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One by Stanley Fish

Filed under: Technical,Uncategorized — Randolph @ 7:41 pm

How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One  by Stanley Fish

Stanley Fish presents the readers with a variety of sentences and an analysis of their content. In each case, he discusses word choice, meanings conveyed, flow, and probably some stuff I’ve forgotten. His intent is to enable the reader to understand the value in the sentences, recognize different structural forms, and, if not to write better sentences, then to appreciate a well-written sentence.

The book has three sections. The first presents key sentences, and he analyzes their form. Then provides new sentences using the same to show their presentation forms and what they convey.

The second portion discusses first and last sentences. It discusses how first sentences set the stage for the rest of the story, and how last sentences create (sometimes) closure.

The last section lost me a bit. Supposedly it discusses self-referential sentences, but maybe I didn’t quite get it.

Stanley makes very good use of examples from famous pieces of literature. It is an easy read with good information.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress