Enroll in Star Force!

After read Arthur C. Clarke’s sci-fi masterpiece Childhood’s End, I became more open minded to the sci-fi genre in general. I decided to check out B.V. Larson’s highly regarded Star Force Series. I have to say it’s quite the page turner and probably the most enjoyable book series I have read in years. Being injured and unable to play tennis or kite, I plunged right in the series. I read the first 5 books in 1 week! Anyone with a modicum of computer science or engineering background will relate with the decisions Kyle Riggs, the protagonist, makes. The… Read More

The 500 is a fun thriller

I was in the mood for a fun “beach read” when I came across Matthew Quirk’s The 500. It’s superficially like John Grisham’s The Firm – and that’s a great thing. The story covers the life of Mike Ford, a Harvard Law School student, working hard to keep up with his more privileged classmates. He lands his dream job at the most prestigious political consultancy in DC and enjoys the ride until he realizes there may be more than meets the eye with his employer. The story is predictable, but no less enjoyable for it. My only real quibble is… Read More

Childhood’s End is a sci-fi masterpiece!

Arthur C. Clarke managed a tour de force with Childhood’s End. I could not believe the book was written in 1953. I now know where the inspiration for the opening scenes of V & Independence Day with massive ships hovering over major cities came from! When the story began, I felt I had heard it before and that even if this was the original version, it would feel clichéd. A superior alien race comes to earth, takes control of the world and ushers a golden age. I was convinced I knew what was coming next: without wars, conflict and with… Read More

A Song of Ice and Fire is magnificently complex, thrilling and entertaining!

I have been hearing of George R.R. Martin for many years, but never checked out his books because he was always described to me as “the American J.R.R. Tolkien”, and I am not a fan of fantasy. From my perspective, The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are too slow with uncompelling lead characters and fantasy elements that overwhelmed the story. When I saw the ads for the HBO Series Game of Thrones, I expected more of the same and did not check the TV show out for the greater part of the year. The overwhelming critical acclaim ultimately… Read More

The Hunger Games Will Satisfy You

By Anne Hamilton If you are anything like me, when you first heard of The Hunger Games two years ago you pictured a group of hormonal teenage vampires playing paintball while eating attractive young coeds. I admit that is what I thought until someone forced me to watch the trailer for the movie and encouraged me to read the book. Unlike the teen soap operas on the market such as Twilight, Collins’ novel is Greek in form and scope: it is a sophisticated, well-structured story that delivers on its premise and leaves you feeling satisfied. The action takes place in… Read More

Ready Player One is a must read for gamers and fans of the 80s!

Ready Player One takes place in the mid-21st century. The world has essentially gone to hell and most of humanity spends its time working, playing and essentially living in OASIS which is an immersive massively multiplayer game. On his death, James Halliday, the founder of the video game and the wealthiest man in the world, organizes a virtual treasure hunt giving away his fortune to the first individual lucky enough to find the “egg” he hid somewhere in OASIS. The catch is that each devilishly complex clue is rooted in an intimate knowledge of 1980s pop culture. We follow Wade… Read More

Eat People makes great points but ultimately falls short

I loved How We Got Here, Andy Kessler’s last book. That book was essentially the entrepreneurship and capitalist equivalent of Bill Bryson’s A Short Story of Nearly Everything. I was really looking forward to reading Eat People: And Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs. The book is essentially a cross between my 9 business selection criteria and an entrepreneurship and capitalist manifesto. Unfortunately the book is too preachy and angry to make the point that wealth creation comes from entrepreneurship and innovation very effectively. In many ways it falls prey to the same errors the zero sum anti-growth… Read More

The Fall of the Roman Empire is a must read for Roman history buffs!

Peter Heather has managed the inconceivable: to displace Gibbons (for me at least) as the reference when it comes to explaining the fall of the Western Roman Empire. He very convincingly argues that the rise of the Huns and Goths brought down the Roman Empire rather than internal conflicts and moral decline. He disputes that the Christianization of the Empire had a real impact on the running of the Empire. It brought about a cultural revolution, but did not impact the running of the Empire: “only the nomenclature was different.” Likewise, he argues that splitting the Empire in Western and… Read More

The Upside of Irrationality is a must read!

Given my blog post on How to minimize human misery in recessions or the macroeconomic implications to hedonic adaptation, this review should not come as too much of a surprise. I had loved Dan Ariely’s original book Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality is a worthy successor. In this book Dan analyzes a wide range of counter-intuitive results in diverse subject matters ranging from our innate desire to revenge to the market failure in online dating to why bonuses can be counterproductive. As usual in behavioral economics books the anecdotes make the story. In this… Read More

Augustus: The Life of Rome’s First Emperor by Anthony Everitt is enriching

As a self-styled Roman history buff who has always considered Augustus to be my role model because he essentially singlehandedly created the Roman Empire, I had to read his biography to get the detailed backstory. I had learned a lot on the topic from Edward Champlin’s fantastic lectures on the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire while at Princeton and had enjoyed HBO’s fantastic TV show Rome and was looking forward to learning more. The book is not nearly as well written or as enjoyable as Ron Chernow’s brilliant biographies, but I loved both learning more about Augustus’… Read More