Wednesday, May 25, 2005
1. The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell
This book discusses how information travels throughout society, and offers insights into fads, trends, teenage smoking and other such issues. A very cool read if you're looking for new marketing ideas.
2. The Wisdom of Crowds, by James Surowieki
This book makes the surprising assertion that large, diverse groups of people consistently make better decisions than the most intelligent and knowledgeable members of that group. A major implication of this is that democracy is a far better system than most people think.
3. Bo Knows Bo, by Bo Jackson
I think the title says enough.
4. How Soccer Explains the World, by Franklin Foer
This is more entertaining than enlightening, although the final chapter neatly sums up all the minor points made throughout the book - and equates to a fascinating insight into the liberal/conservative battle our country seems to be eternally mired in.
I just started Blink, also by Malcolm Gladwell. So far it is excellent, as expected - I highly recommend checking out his site at www.gladwell.com and reading all - yes, all - of his articles from The New Yorker. Every last one is free on his website.
Monday, May 9, 2005
In 1665, the Royal Society - one of the first institutions, and certainly the most important, formed to foster the growth of scientific knowledge - published the first issue of its Philosophical Transactions. It was a seminal moment in the history of science, because of the journal's fierce commitment to the idea that all new discoveries should be disseminated as widely and freely as possible. Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society and the editor of the Transactions, pioneered the idea that secrecy was inimical to scientific progress, and convinced scientists that they should give up their sole ownership of their ideas in exchange for the recognition they would receive as the creator or discoverer of those ideas. What Oldenburg grasped was the peculiar character of knowledge, which does not, unlike other commodities, get used up as it is consumed and which can be therefore spread widely without losing its value. If anything, in fact, the more a piece of knowledge becomes available, the more valuable it potentially becomes, because of the wider array of possible uses for it.
-From The Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki
In science, one's private property is established by giving its substance away.
-Robert K. Merton