This is Richard Dawkins 1976 masterwork on evolutionary biology from the perspective of gene selection. The updated edition is as poignant today as when it was penned. Updates include fascinating studies supporting many of the hypotheses forwarded in the original text.
Dawkins is an excellent writer and uses non-scientific vocabulary and analogies to explain complex biological models in an easy to understand and informative way.
Other areas touched on include game theory models (the prisoners dilemma) as a basis for understanding an ESS (Evolutionarily Stable Strategy), memes (a term he coined) and computer virus.
If you think the Internet is secure in any way, shape or form you should probably read this book (non-fiction). This is not about the old school hacking talents of Cap'n Crunch (John Draper), Phiber Optik (Mark Abene), or Condor (Kevin Mitnick) but a syndicated group of virus writers who have gone professional. It is a world wide epidemic of extortion and identity theft, primarily based in Russia and neighboring city states. The US Government has ranked it the largest and most important criminal activity surpassing the drug trade. A few folks have been put in prison but most remain at large and active.
It starts with the history of DDOS extortion attacks (distributed denial-of-service) against gambling and fortune 500 companies i.e. pay us x dollars or we will bring down your website at a critical time - right before the super bowl, a new product launch etc., and migrates to massive online identity and credit card theft. The FTC estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year.
The links between organized crime and governments, specifically the FSB (the successor of the KGB) and their protection of the hacker networks is outlined in detail.
Interesting, it focuses on how our brains work for learning new information, specifically the effect of myelin in neuro pathways.
I would have liked a little more meat but there are some pearls around accelerated learning, deep study and teaching.
Interesting. I would like to see an addendum/update/v2.0 with the aftermath of the 2008/9 market meltdown and the effect that had on the different groups in this study.
I was thinking of using this book to help people with entrepreneurship but it's a little too basic. If you don't know anything about starting or running a business this might be a good primer.
Mechanisms of synaptic plasticity: LTP, glutamate receptors and cell adhesion molecules, oh my....
Fascinating book about neurobiologist Gary Lynch at UC Irvine, the way the brain records memory, and quite a bit about how academic science and publishing works. As a bonus: brain drugs and possible cures for diseases including ADHD and alzheimer's. WAIT THAT'S NOT ALL, if you order right now.... mapping of the brain and an overview of the startup biotech craze of the '90s.
For as much technical neurobiology as is in this book (and not being a neurobiologist) the story was very engrossing.
Non-intuitive insightful stuff - certainly worth reading. A good case is made for why diverse groups in knowledge, expertise and experience, etc. perform better than homogeneous group, even a group of experts, in making predictions and finding solutions. The types of problems that can be addressed by groups (cognition, coordination, and cooperation) and the best framework for accurate results.
Practical examples from historical problems including the space shuttle accident, 9/11 intelligence gathering, finding a lost US Navy sub filled with nuclear warheads, stock market bubbles and crashes, etc.
Some useful information on why and how prediction markets works.
If you've read any of Chomsky's stuff he makes good points, follows them up with lots of evidence and then beats that dead horse for another 10 chapters. This is more of the same. The last book of his I read was Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Full Spectrum Dominance. I picked this up thinking it might be something new and interesting, but was disappointed, it is an updated version of what he always says. It's not bad and I don't disagree with him, it's just not very enlightening to hear the same old shtick.
There were a few interesting tidbits in this book. It is ostensibly a serious book about space travel and going to mars but it felt more like a book written for teenagers. To that point, the author is fascinated with 'poop', 'pee' and sex in space. Clearly these are topics that are important, especially if you are planning a long term trip in outer space, but I was looking for something with a little more substance. I'll categorize it as recreational reading where you gain a few answers to trivial pursuit questions.
This book is about all the business that were built around payday loans, pawn shop loans, credit cards, bounced check fees, subprime mortgages and instant tax refunds. The author interviews numerous business owners and borrowers to get insights into how prevalent, lucrative and damaging these businesses are.
Although written to be a book of what-not-to-do it may well become a guide for those who want to make big money quickly. From the interviews it was readily apparent the market demand and margins were through the roof and a number of the now millionaires were average Joes who hung out a shingle, plowed their earning into opening more stores and made a fortune.
A good part of the book revolves around a few key figures that have been fighting the industry and the small inroads they have made against behemoth money makers that have been purchased by large multi-national banks or had successful IPOs.
Taleb's master work and must read is The Black Swan (not the movie) and it's amazing. This is a sparse shadow of that book.
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