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Eran's blog

All the Right Books

The Selfish Gene, The Cluetrain Manifesto, Freakonomics… people keep reading those books, writing about those books, being guided by the ideas contained in them and live content in the knowledge that those are all the right ideas because these are all the right books. Really, this is just another echo chamber and I swear that if I hear once again that “foo is a conversationâ€? I’ll scream.

Yes, I’m a contrary bastard. For example, the first serious book I read after moving to San Francisco was Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shruggedâ€? (shhh, don’t tell anyone or I might get lynched). Why do that? Because I find inspiration in the words of people who think differently. Different from me and (most) everyone around me. There are many reasons why something is different, Rand belongs to a different school of thought than do most San Franciscans but here’s another kind of different: old.

Last year, Prof. Wolber recommended we read “As we may think.â€? Vannevar Bush wrote that paper over 60 years ago but the ideas in it not only describe the last 10 years and the so called Web 2.0 revolution they call for more! I’m starting to read up on Bucky Fuller. Bucky says “do more with lessâ€? does that sound familiar? It should be the first sentence every Software Engineering student reads.

Reading thinkers from different disciplines and seeing how their thoughts affect your world can be a great source for new ideas and new insights. I think I might have to read some more architects, “Form follows functionâ€? sounds like a great idea.

Then there’s the classic “crazyâ€? different. Ted Nelson may never get to see his Xanadu but some of his ideas can be an inspiration to anyone involved in information technology today. At this point, I’m required to finish this post (see King’s law of Internet Discourse) but I hope I’ve at least inspired you to dig into Amazon’s archives, find some different thinkers and see what the world looks like through different glasses.

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