📖 Read loc 685-963 of 12932 (7.44%) of American Amnesia by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson
Slow progress, but there’s some great material here. At times I wish there was actually more underlying material that I know they could have included to increase the strength of their arguments. I’m already seeing some anecdotal evidence that could be bolstered. It’s still very interesting.
Alas, this seemed like it was finally going to go somewhere, but it quickly ran out of runway to have a satisfying ending as a standalone novel. Admittedly it is part of a multi-part series (three perhaps?) but it could have had a more satisfying ending by itself.
Ruby’s motivations were all too self-centered and she didn’t take the logical steps at any point in the book even when they were given to her on a platter, which makes it seem a bit too stilted. This is sad because the author creates an interesting world, has some generally interesting characters, and a wonderful way with words.
I’m torn thinking about whether to continue on in the series or just stopping here. Perhaps if I can get e-book copies of the next two once the third is released in November later this year I may continue.
📖 On page 204 of 425 of A Riddle in Ruby by Kent Davis
The story is going somewhere plot-wise, but I’m still completely in the dark as to why things are happening. Athen had offered to give some background, but Ruby sadly refused to listen which I don’t understand given her situation. There’s also been a relatively large reveal about Athen that one wouldn’t have expected though I won’t reveal it here.
The vocabulary and use of language really help to create the world. There are so many things I should be highlighting and annotating, but I’m resisting the urge as I’m reading this solely for pleasure and don’t intend on sharing notes/annotations on this one.
I really need to finish it, renew it, or return it as I think it was due at the library on 2/27.
📖 On page 143of 425 of A Riddle in Ruby by Kent Davis
The story is starting to move along now. We’ve discovered where the father has been taken, but we’re still completely in the dark about why things are happening. The color and description of the world is coming more firmly into place.
📖 Read loc 1-682 of 12932 (5.27%) of American Amnesia by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson
This portends to be very interesting in that they plan to show what has changed over much of the 1900’s to indicate the drastic evolution in American politics, life, and philosophy over the recent decades. In light of the political battles between the left and the right over the past several years, this could provide some much needed help and guidance.
Their basic thesis seems to be that a shift away from a mixed economy has slowed American growth and general prosperity. While they do seem to have a pointed (political) view, so far it’s incredibly well documented and footnoted for those who would like to make the counter-argument. They’ve definitely got some serious evidence to indicate how drastic the situation is, but I’m curious if they can directly tie their proposed cause to the effect. If nothing else, they’ve created a laundry list of problems in America which need to be addressed by some serious leadership soon.
In some sense I’m torn about what to think of a broader issue this touches upon and which I mentioned briefly while reading At Home in the Universe. Should we continue on the general path we’ve struck out upon (the mixed economy with government regulation/oversight), or should we continue evolving away? While we can’t see the complexity effects seven levels further in, they may be more valuable than what we’ve got now. For example Cesar Hidalgo looks at the evolution along a continuum of personbyte to larger groups: firms (firmbyte), governments, and mega-corporations in Why Information Grows, so I can easily see larger governments and corporations like Google drastically changing the world in which we live (operating at a level above what most humans can imagine presently), but the complexity of why and how they operate above (and potentially against) the good of the individual should certainly be called into question and considered as we move forward.
📖 On page 110 of 425 of A Riddle in Ruby by Kent Davis
The story is moving along, but it’s taking me far longer to get through it than I’d like. I am enjoying the description and some of the plot. His vocabulary is interesting, but quirkily appropos to the book.
📖 Read pages 191 – 215 of At Home in the Universe by Stuart Kauffman
In chapter 9 Kauffman applies his NK landscape model to explain the evolution seen in the Cambrian explosion and the re-population following the Permian extinction. He then follows it up with some interesting discussion which applies it to technological innovation, learning curves, and growth in areas of economics. The chapter has given me a few thoughts on the shape and structure (or “landscape”) of mathematics. I’ll come back to this section to see if I can’t extend the analogy to come up with something unique in math.
The beginning of Chapter 10 he begins discussing power laws and covering the concept of emergence from ecosystems, coevolution, and the evolution of coevolution. In one part he evokes Adam Smith’s invisible hand which seemingly benefits everyone acting for its own selfishness. Though this seems to be the case since it was written, I do wonder what timescales and conditions it works under. As an example, selfishness on the individual, corporate, nation, and other higher levels may not necessarily be so positive with respect to potential issues like climate change which may drastically affect the landscape on and in which we live.
📖 Read pages 115 – 132 of 430 of Dealing with China by Henry M. Paulson, Jr.
A somewhat interesting section on The Nature Conservancy in China, but described far too simply in my opinion. While there is some good general advice within the chapter, there aren’t nearly enough specifics that an executive trying to recreate this type of action could use it as a template. And somehow the banking portion seems to come front and center before the conservation portion.
📖 Read pages 86 – 115 of 430 of Dealing with China by Henry M. Paulson, Jr.
Cleaning the Stables in Guangdong was interesting, but could have had some more details and data (or a better case study, given its potential value). Alas it was just a quick overview of two years of work, possibly because editors thought it might be overly boring, but really who is going to read this book, but people who want these types of details.
I find at times in the book, he becomes overly gracious and almost too complimentary which I take to mean that he is still ingratiating himself to colleagues and potential future relations.
The chapter on School for Success could itself have been a better and more in-depth case study, but was a short historical outline.
There are some occasional interesting tidbits hidden throughout the chapters which are generally illuminating, but I wish there were more useful insider tidbits of true value. So far I’m not reading anything much more valuable than could be found in overview newspaper articles covering some of the same topics.