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The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World
reviews

The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World

★★★★☆

As a liberal arts major writing software for the last twenty years, much of this book rings true. I'm certainly biased, perhaps even more so having been a part of the Ruby programming community, a hideout for "Fuzzy" people (as Hartley calls them).

The book posits the counterintuitive idea that our increasingly automated future will actually increase demand for the softer skills. As more algorithms become a part of our day-to-day lives, there will be a growing need to ensure the bots are serving us rather than ruling us. We'll need a skilled workforce to "cultivate our humanity" as Hartley puts it.

The book recognizes that automation will continue to disrupt our economy, but opportunities for human labor might not be as dire as the doomsayers predict.

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
reviews

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

★★★☆☆

Weatherford provides an entertaining and informative look at the rise and impact of one of history's great military leaders that shatters much of our caricatured perceptions. By the end though it feels like the author has baptized Genghis Khan as a proto progressive who ushered in a new age of secular government and free trade, all the while downplaying the slaughter of his battlefield conquests.

The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis--and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance
reviews

The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis--and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance

★★★★★

Not a policy book nor a "kids today!" rant. Sasse challenges basic assumptions that less struggle and more education will create the best outcomes in adulthood. He challenges our growing American passivity and calls for a mindful approach to education that "flees age segregation" and puts learning above acquiring knowledge.

A thought-provoking read for anyone, but especially school-aged parents.

Alexander Hamilton
reviews

Alexander Hamilton

★★★★★

A fascinating narrative of the life of Alexander Hamilton and the early republic. There's an odd comfort in knowing our political polarization and paranoia of foreign actors dates to the founding. Perhaps these times aren't as uncommon as we think.

To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949
reviews

To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949

★★★★★

Incredibly detailed panoramic view of Europe across the political, sociological, economic, and military landscape from just before the Great War until then end of the 1940s. It weaves an entertaining thread, moving from state to state under each topic as the book inches slowly forward in time.

It's a superb presentation of the interconnectedness of events in Europe over thirty five years of war, revolution, and reconstruction.

The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation
reviews

The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation

★★★★☆

Definitely not the book I thought it would be based on the reviews, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

The book wrestles with the question every generation of the church must ask how do Christians live faithfully in this age, in this culture?.

Dreher is Eastern Orthodox so he places more emphasis on tradition than do I, but there is a lot to agree with. The book is written for a broad audience. The theme of each chapter could easily have been broken out into separate books. In the end there are broad strokes for a recommitted Christian rule of life, but it's not the monastic underground you'd expect from the title.

The Kingdom of Speech
reviews

The Kingdom of Speech

★☆☆☆☆

More of an extended Medium rant than book, Wolfe paints Darwin and Chomsky as arrogant, ego-driven, and vindictive toward their contemporaries while providing less evidence for those accusations than he says they provided for their theories. Wolfe's over-the-top dramatic retelling of events resembles an episode of the 1960s Batman TV series. His takedowns of Darwin and Chomsky aren't as dramatic as he seems to think, and his own conclusion lacks evidence.

By the end, it felt like waiting for the check after dinner with an obnoxious business associate who has had one too many.

Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution
reviews

Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution

★★★★☆

Nathaniel Philbrick is one of my favorite non-fiction writers, and this title did not disappoint. Going in, I must admit I knew almost nothing of Benedict Arnold beyond his status as a byword for traitor.

Philbrick portrays a remarkably consistent Arnold in which the character traits that led him to battlefield heroics also led him to give up the cause for which he had sacrificed. I enjoyed the interwoven storylines and the historical backdrop in which Washington, the Howe brothers, and others made the choices they did.

I wish there had been a longer ending that told more of Arnold's service in the British army.

linked

asdf: Extendable version manager

If your work involves multiple languages and multiple tools for managing versions, check out asdf, an extendable version manager that provides a single consistent interface for managing them all:

# List all installed ruby versions
❯ asdf list ruby
1.9.3-p545
2.1.2
2.2.3
2.2.4
2.2.5
jruby-9.1.6.0

# Install a new ruby version
❯ asdf install ruby 2.3.3

# List available nodejs versions to install
❯ asdf list-all nodejs

# Install a new nodejs version
❯ asdf install nodejs 7.7.2

I've been using asdf as my primary version manager for Ruby and Node for a few weeks and am really liking it.

h/t Adam

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