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Sententiae viri ex temporibus duobus

Reading and Flying..

When iFly iRead When iFly iPod

So what did iRead? I finished off

Quicksilver

What can you say about a Neal Stephenson book?

Some Dude: “Hey so what’s that book about?” Me: Well, it’s set during the time of the economic revolutionization of Europe – no wait they didn’t call it Europe yet, Christondom. You see it’s about the discovery of the principles of the calculus, early years of cryptography and William of Orange’s battle against Louis the XIV and the Popist Stuart kings of England… (etc.)

You get the idea. Stephenson’s sweep is so wide, so well researched, funny, in-depth, complicated, etc. All I can say is I love his stuff. I look forward to reading the next book in the series: The Confusion …. but not for a while – I need some space.

I also read the Pulizer-winning The Price of Loyalty: The Education of Paul O'Neil

It fleshed out things we already knew: The Bush Administration is close-minded, the Bush administration is ideolegically obsessed with tax cuts despite facts, the Bush administration’s advisors wanted war with Iraq come hell or high water and they cynically used fear tactist post-9/11 to get what we wanted.

Financially irresponsible, ideologically dangerous, here we are.

‘Twas a nice read - I’d let O'Neill stop by for a cup of joe any day.

The last book I read was Paul Graham’s Hackers & Painters. This was a great book about the people at the edge of creativity and their ability to produce massive innovations.

I’m a big believer in the notion of creative economies driving the American economic engine … there exist a few special places where intelligent people create synergies - Florence 1400, Amsterdam 1640, New York City 1960-present, etc - that open up whole new areas of technology and capability.

Graham puts this thesis forth in a very eloquent fashion, talking about the unique vapor of commerce, art, creativity, and social liberty that is required to do the truly miraculous. It was a great read.

So much of the aforementioned Quicksilver is dedicated to the formation of the highly liquid hallucination that we refer to as “the market” (really, it’s very much like that other consensual hallucination “the internet” instead of flows of data it’s flows of currency – but Quicksilver shows how the two are really the same thing…or I think that’s what all of Stehpenson’s work is trying to show..), reading Hackers and Painters immediately after was a great complimentary dish to the ideas of Stephenson.