The best books I read in 2021 – Part 2: Non-fiction

“Surprise” and “convention” engender one another, like a bracelet or a ring, with no beginning or end. Who can exhaust their variations?The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, translated by Michael Nylan Every year I write about the books I read in the last 12 months. This year I’m posting my top three favourite reads…… Continue reading The best books I read in 2021 – Part 2: Non-fiction

The Hero

My lovely sister-in-law and her husband gave me this TLS monograph as a Christmas gift: The Hero, by Lee Child. It’s rather magnificent, so I’m posting my Goodreads review here too: This is a very short book. You’re either going to read it because you like Lee Child’s writing or are curious what the author…… Continue reading The Hero

Scrum, by Jeff Sutherland — Book report and highlights

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland is part memoir and part introductory practical guide to the Scrum method for software development, which the author invented in the early 2010s and which is hugely popular and influential in business and management more generally. I gave the book five…… Continue reading Scrum, by Jeff Sutherland — Book report and highlights

New technology boosts the old

As cheerleaders for incumbent media often point out, the old is rarely replaced by the new. Newspapers weren’t killed by radio, radio wasn’t killed by TV, TV wasn’t killed by online video – etc., etc. Sometimes new technology boosts the old. Dipping in again to the excellent Writing on the Wall: Social Media, the First…… Continue reading New technology boosts the old


“Big data” as a term reminds me of “social media” a few years ago. It is in danger – through mis-use and over-use – of losing its currency before many people fully understand its significance. And it is very, very significant indeed. One of the books I’m reading – at a rapid pace which is…… Continue reading Datafication

Hi-fidelity reading

The paperback book I am reading right now is The Big Sleep and Other Novels, by Raymond Chandler.  It’s a lovely Penguin Classics imprint, thick and light and good to hold. I bought it a month ago in paper version because I want to read it slowly, closely (as Francine Prose recommends). I first read Chandler when I was…… Continue reading Hi-fidelity reading

Book review: Culture Shock, by Will McInnnes

  Disclaimer: I know Will. We work in the same town, in the same line of business and have evolved our approaches in parallel, you might say. We’re different in our views – but it is fair to say we share many values and models for understanding the world. That said, he wouldn’t want me…… Continue reading Book review: Culture Shock, by Will McInnnes

Long term trends: The Ngrams Viewer

“A database of intentions” is how John Battelle described Google. It is a thrilling concept, at times unsettling, that you can see into the searching soul of the connected populace by seeing the words they use t find things.Google Trends is one of those miraculous tools of the web that has quickly become commonplace. With…… Continue reading Long term trends: The Ngrams Viewer