You are not a gadget – Book Review

A great friend of mine, knowing the type of book I enjoy the most gave me this book saying: “I know you will like this one! You will want to write a book review.”. He was absolutely right I loved this book!

I often use the expression “Let’s Think about IT” (pun intended) in this blog. Indeed I believe that we too seldom take the time to think about what we are doing, reading or even thinking. In these days where speed is the key to everything and computers compute at light speed to bring us an ocean of information, thinking is kind of tacky. You are supposed to write, read and decide faster than ever. I already wrote a bit about what I think of this trend. At the time I was feeling a bit lonely but that feeling has ended since I have read “You are not a gadget” by Jaron Lanier. Jaron Lanier is definitely not taking a pre-chewed thought for a proper thought, a tweet for eternal wisdom or even a blog for brilliance. Nope, ladies and gentlemen, Jaron is taking us on the tricky path of challenging the obvious. I love that.

The back cover says: “Something went wrong around the start of the twenty-first century. The crowd was wise. Social network replaced individual creativity. There were more places to express ourselves than ever before… yet no one really had anything to say.” That sounds like a good provocative start to me!

First Impression
When taken in hand, this book doesn’t look like much. The edition I’ve got is made with lower quality paper and the cover is dull. That is far from enough to put me away from a book recommended [...]

The Universal History of Numbers – Book review

There are things around us that we take for granted and don’t give much thought about. Numbers and counting is definitely one of them. We all learn how to count from very early age. We manipulate numbers very easily and beyond numbers, mathematics has given the power to change the world. But if you ask abruptly to anyone: where does it come from? Very few can answer that. I could not, until my parents, in 1995, give me this book as a present. This book has had a huge impact on me and this is why I will tell you more about it. But before starting the review, I’ll have to say that the version I have read is rather old and it seems to me much bigger than the versions available these days. In its French version (see picture with white cover available in Amazon in second hand), it was made of two books of about 1000 pages each. The editions you can now find are about half the size. Has it been shorten or is it just the editing that makes a difference? I could not tell you. But obviously the check I’ve made on the recent editions seems to show that you might have less but you’d still get plenty.

First impression
What strikes the reader when you get that book is the huge amount of information, the incredible number of topics covered in this book. The more you go through the chapters titles, the more you understand you knew nothing about numbers. There is much more to numbers than the 10 digits we daily use in occident. Humans have been extremely creative as the need to be able to count was [...]