- I’m going to separate out books from links to articles. Books will no longer appear on the random reading list on the grounds that any book I’m actually reading I’ll read long enough for a ping.
- I’ll be writing a little bit about each link/book in order to provide more context for whether it’s worth following.
- There’s now a Weekly Reading Post category if you want to see all of these.
These are links to things that I was reading when I answered a tagtime ping with nonfiction. There are a few omissions if I wasn’t able to conveniently note something down when I was reading it, but no deliberate omissions other than books.
- Wikipedia article on Kaizen – this came up in the course of Making Work Better discussions. Kaizen is approximately having a culture of continuous improvement.
- Regular-expression derivatives reexamined – A nice expository piece on the applications of the Brzozowski derivative approach to regular expressions.
- Book Review: Age of Em. Honestly I didn’t finish this one. Robert Hanson has some interesting things to say, but I’m mostly not very interested in his futurism and the review failed to grab me.
- Wikipedia article on DFA Minimization – I was reading this as part of my write up of the Myhill-Nerode theorem. At least one of the approaches mentioned is based on that.
- Diversity-Based Inference of Finite Automata. Similarly is one of the background papers to the stuff I’m writing about formal language theory. Some of it may come up in a future post.
- Mathematical Writing – these are lecture notes from a course, but they’re surprisingly interesting reading. Much of the advice is bad and/or outdated, but there are some real gems in there and I lost a couple hours flicking through them.
These are links that I think are worth highlighting but did not get subjected to a tagtime ping (or did get subjected to one but I feel are especially worth noting).
Apparently the main selected links this week are all about conversational styles.
Miller’s Law in the Archipelago of Weird is about a variety of things, but I particularly like the point about conversational styles (in this case around performing small talk) differing strongly between autistic and allistic people and this creating a situation of competing needs.
It also leads into the next batch of selected links, which are about a different aspect of conversational styles, and the role interruption plays in conversation:
- The Church of Interruption
- Understanding Conversation Styles Can Help with Cross-cultural Communication
- New York Style
The major take away point is that in some cultures interruption is the height of rudeness because you’re signalling that you think you are more important than the current speaker, while in others not interrupting is the height of rudeness because you’re signalling that you don’t care about the conversation. Interruption can be combative, or it can be collaborative, and clash over this without understanding that that’s what’s going on can lead to some horrible conversations.
Other things I liked that doen’t fit the theme:
- Three ways to solve hard programming problems is a really nice, short, framing of the titled subject (The three ways could be summarised as “Reuse, Adapt, Create”).
- The reasons there has never been a new Django Admin (answer: It’s because money).
- 6 Myths About Empowering Employees. Take home point: “what we are saying when we say we need an empowerment program is that the fundamental way we run our organization is dis-empowering”.
Books read this week
These are any books I spent a substantial amount of time with this week.
- So Good They Can’t Ignore You – I was somewhat skeptical about this book going in but decided to give it a go off the back of a good essay by the author (I forget which one), but my skepticism was wholly unwarranted. This is actually a really good book with really good career advice. In particular it’s a nice antidote to “follow your passion, be brave” style advice. Would recommend to just about anyone in a knowledge work style field. Status: Finished.
- Soul of a New Machine – this is a book about Data General’s development of an earlyish 32-bit machine. It was interesting, but I felt like I was not the target audience of this book. It felt a bit too real for me – the culture of this team read like some of the terrible startups I’ve seen dialled up to 11. Would recommend to people who want to understand what that’s like, wouldn’t necessarily recommend to people who already know what it’s like. Status: Finished
- How To Read A Book – this is a book about active reading – reading by not just passively absorbing material but by full on engaging with the material in order to understand it. It’s already changed a lot about how I read, and I can recommend it for that, but it feels like a lot of book for what it actually covers so I’ve been following their advice and reading it highly non-linearly. Status: Ongoing
- Combinatorial Optimization – this was gifted to me a while back and I’ve been feeling bad about the fact that my reading of it has stalled quite a lot. As mentioned in my last post I’m trying a new technique to properly engage in the material (loosely based off the “How to read a book” material), so I’ve resumed reading on it. It’s a good book, but it’s both huge and dense, so I would recommend it if you’re willing to invest the time to properly get to grips with the material and not if you want a light summary of the subject matter. Status: Ongoing