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.

March 31, 2014

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of… by Dr. Ed Catmull andAmy Wallace

Filed under: History — Randolph @ 8:53 pm

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of… by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

A lot of CEOs are writing books these days. They usually proclaim their brilliance at seizing opportunity, but don’t convey much useful information in their books. This one is different.

From the beginning, we can see Ed Catmull as a different person. With a Ph.D. in computer science, he has been a pioneer in computer graphics. Having a personal goal of creating a full-length animated movie, he founded Pixar. Although the book details the events of Pixar, Disney, and Ed’s interactions with Jobs, the book is really about how the successes occurred.

The authors focus on how the maintained a creative environment and even enhanced it. This is repeated throughout the book. When they arrived at Disney, they managed to enhance a team that had lost its creative abilities, this without throwing the group in turmoil and while maintaining morale.

The book includes a short synopsis of Steve Jobs and known by the workers in Pixar, then concludes with an afterword that includes ideas on managing creative teams.

March 17, 2014

The Monk Who Vanished (Mystery of Ancient Ireland) by Peter Tremayne

Filed under: Fiction,Mystery,Series — Tags: — Randolph @ 7:34 pm

The Monk Who Vanished (Mystery of Ancient Ireland) by Peter Tremayne

This story begins with an attempted assination of two princes, one being the brother of Sister Fidelma. It appears to be an attempt from a neighboring kingdom, one with which they have poor relations. In another event, a monk disappears with a holy relic. As Fidelma investigates, things get much more complex. In a story full of conspiracies, feints, and hidden agendas, it is difficult to discern exactly what is going on. During a court session, in a classic ending, Sister Fidelma clarifies and explains all the events.

These stories are good at teaching about life and the times of 7th Century Ireland. This story explores life in a small town, a monastery, and a little about courts and legal processes. In addition to being a great story, this is a good book for any mystery lover, and particularly those interested in historical settings.

March 4, 2014

Sacred clowns. by Tony Hillerman

Filed under: Mystery,Series — Tags: — Randolph @ 7:59 pm

Sacred clowns.
by Tony Hillerman

Joe Leaphorn asked Jim Chee to find a runaway schoolkid. During this investigation, he is on the scene of a murder during a Tano ceremony. This murder had similar characteristics to another murder, but they couldn’t be related. Of course all three threads tie together in a fascinating story.

Side stories include a hit and run accident. A relationship between Jim Chee and Janet Pete in which Jim has trouble resolving a possible clan violation in their seeing each other. At the same time, Joe Leaphorn is planning a trip to China with Louisa Bourebonette.

Tony Hillerman gives the reader excellent insights into the Navajo culture, especially in the way that Jim Chee resolves his personal issues. Through his investigations, we also get a glimpse into the Tano culture, a branch of the Pueblo tribes.

The book is a very good read, it keeps moving forward and has interesting developments in the mysteries.

March 2, 2014

Foundation’s Fear (Second Foundation Trilogy) by Gregory Benford

Filed under: Science Fiction,Series,Uncategorized — Randolph @ 6:52 pm

Foundation's Fear (Second Foundation Trilogy)
by Gregory Benford

This is the first of a trilogy billing itself as the second foundation trilogy based on Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy. Although a three-book set, each can stand on its own very well.

The author explores some elements left up in the air by Isaac Asimov, and fills with more current knowledge and philosophy, such as addressing why there are no non-humans in the galaxy.

Some of the topics he addresses include expanding on Dor, who she is and giving her a little background. Her character is expanded, and perhaps changed a bit, at least from what I may have imagined. In general, he adds a lot about computers and robotics that Asimov didn’t go into, or couldn’t because the technology wasn’t available. Philosophically, he approaches the topic of computer intelligence and what could constitute life. In this, Hari creates two simulated people, Voltaire and Jean of Arc, to help him understand society and to help further his psychohistory, Voltaire and Jean of Arc act as a yin and yang, who’s arguments are designed to answer questions. But they evolve their own desires and take on life beyond their programming.

I found the book difficult to work through at times, but still an interesting addition to the Asimov series. I believe those fond of the Asmiov trilogy will enjoy this and find it interesting. It adds background to the trilogy and brings it a little more into the present. Otherwise I don’t think it may not be worth the effort.

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