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Spunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Punchier, More Engaging Language & Style

Review: Spunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Punchier, More Engaging Language & Style


Having received a healthy diet of Strunk & White in school, I picked up this book for the witty title alone. Though replete with examples from well-known authors, it's Plotnik's own punchy style that lends authority to each of his points. Now twelve years since publication, his guide to contemporaneity and use of pop culture references seems even more relevant.

My copy is now well-marked with a Ticonderoga #2, as most of the suggestions are practical for writing of any form. I'm hopeful it has a decent shelf life as a useful reference now and again.


2017 ThoughtWorks Technology Radar

ThoughtWorks has released their latest technology radar (PDF), a semi-annual analysis of the industry landscape from their vantage point as software consultants.

I've enjoyed reading past issues as a way to mindfully keep up with trends and discover new tools. With topics broken down into techniques, tools, platforms, and languages & frameworks, past reports have helped clarify my thinking and given me a concrete way to talk about patterns and techniques already in use.

I'm excited to see Apex and Netlify get mentions this year.

I'm also a little puzzled how GraphQL fell off the radar without landing in the Adopt category. Maybe because it's already arrived.

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

Review: 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

Review: 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.

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