“Deep Work” by Cal Newport is the kind of book that is important for people whose work requires them to achieve long hours of uninterrupted focus in order to get ahead in their field. For example, when you achieve flow in your work, you feel very productive and can derive greater satisfaction from it. Unfortunately the modern world seems to be set up in a way that is designed to prevent you from achieving flow and thus personal growth.
Archive for 2022
[2022-09-16] “Deep Work”
[2022-09-06] ICFPC 2022
I took part in ICFPC 2022 the past weekend. It was another “classic” no-nonsense ICFPC task this year, continuing the fine precedent set by the contest last year. This was especially awesome since the contest almost did not happen this year due to the initial trouble in finding organizers for it. Thankfully that was resolved in time. Unfortunately, that did not mean that I had better luck in solving the problem this year.
[2022-08-15] “Sacred Games”
At 900+ pages, the tome Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra seemed daunting enough for me to put off reading it for many years, despite having heard good things about it from trustworthy sources. When it was recently adapted into an acclaimed TV-series that I wanted to watch, I decided to read it before watching the eponymous series. The epic saga here turns out to live up to all the hype in the blurbs listed in the first 12(!) pages of the book.
[2022-07-31] “The Soul Of A New Machine”
Tracy Kidder manages to achieve in “The Soul Of A New Machine” what most writers of popular non-fiction would shy away from – narrate the story of a team of hardware-engineers racing against time to build a 32-bit mini-computer to maintain the relevance of their company in the crowded marketplace of the computer-industry of the late 1970s. It is a gripping story in computer history that would have been forgotten, were it not for this wonderful book.
“Sapiens” is a book on the history of humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. It tries to show why humans, and not any of the other animals on Earth, came to dominate the planet, sometimes to the detriment of other species on the planet that are driven to extinction. It is a reasonably engaging work of non-fiction, but I am surprised that it has become so popular.
“Serpentine” is a (really short) novella by Philip Pullman. It is set some time after the events described in the “His Dark Materials” trilogy, but before those in the “The Book Of Dust” trilogy. It is a richly-illustrated book containing a short tale that is unlikely to be of interest to anyone except for the fans of this series of books.
[2022-05-18] “Death's End”
In almost every trilogy of books that I have read so far, the quality of the books invariably goes down after the first book. Not so for “Death's End” by Cixin Liu, the last book in the “Remembrance Of Earth's Past” trilogy of science-fiction books. This book is the best in the series with an astounding scale (of both space and time), as well as containing some poignant tales. This was a pleasant surprise after reading the disappointing first book and the decent second book.
[2022-05-02] “The Secret Commonwealth”
I wish I had not read “The Secret Commonwealth” by Philip Pullman, the second book in “The Book Of Dust” trilogy of books. Well, I wish I had not read it now and had waited for the final book to be published. This is because this book ends on a cliff-hanger and I do not know when the final book will be published. That is quite frustrating.
[2022-04-25] “The Dark Forest”
I had low expectations from “The Dark Forest”, a science-fiction novel by Cixin Liu, since I had been disappointed by the first book in the “Remembrance Of Earth's Past trilogy of books. The only reason I started reading this book was because I am a sucker for closure – I had to read the rest of the books in the trilogy once I had started reading its first book. I am happy to report that this book turned out to be much better than I had expected.
[2022-03-30] “The Mirror And The Light”
I would admit right away that I struggled to finish “The Mirror And The Light” by Hilary Mantel, the last book in the “Wolf Hall” trilogy based on the life of Thomas Cromwell. I had immensely enjoyed the first book and had also liked the second book, so this is a little painful to admit.
[2022-01-31] “The Three-Body Problem”
When I started reading the science-fiction novel “The Three-Body Problem” by Cixin Liu, I had great expectations from it. It had been nominated for, and had won, many awards. It was praised highly by not just the usual suspects, but even folks like Barack Obama, George R. R. Martin, et al. In hindsight, I was bound to be disappointed by going in with such high expectations. The book turned out to be good, but not great.