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I have a pile of fiction books that have nothing to do with technology or policy that have been waiting for my vacationing mind (White Teeth, The Fortress of Solitude, Vernon God Little, and The Winter King are all on or near my nightstand).

But, just as my seventh grade teacher was not impressed when I said that Huck Finn "was on my bookshelf" (she called my bluff and said, "but have you read it?"), you should not be impressed by the number of books that litter my room.

Here is my quasi-relevant-to-tech policy summer reading list.

1) Moneyball by Michael Lewis - I can not stop reading good things about this book and after two semesters of struggling with econometrics I am really looking forward to digging into this. Author Michael Lewis turned Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland Athletics, into equal parts hero and villain with this book. Beane uses statistics to snap up undervalued baseball players - and his success in bucking the system doesn't make the old timers very happy.

2) In Retrospect by Robert McNamara - the book that inspired the Fog of War. In a few interviews, McNamara recommended reading this book because the lessons are a little bit different. I was at the local used bookstore, Lorem Ipsum but they didn't have a copy.

3) Two books I started reading but never finished round out my list, Power to the People by Vijay Vaitheeswaran and Nonzero by Robert Wright. The first is by an MIT grad who, from what I gather, is rather high on the future of helium. The second is by an infrequent Slate contributor who is high on the idea of a purpose for the world. He says we are destined for something - and technology has a big role to play - but I haven't made it far enough to figure out what that something is.

OK, I better get back to my books.


Apart from some of the books about Hydrogen and Oil, here are some others that I will attempt to read this summer:

1) Aaron Wildavsky's Speaking Truth to Power. Aaron Wildavsky was a professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Berkeley.

2) For the Common Good by Herman Daly and John Cobb.

3) Somewhere in the house, Sgouris has a copy of Paul Krugman's Rethinking International Trade. More generally, though, I want to learn macroeconomics, which will make it easier to understand the complicated trade and economy issues.

Of course, there will be many fiction-books to read, but I rarely make any plans about reading one of those. I just bring home anything that appeals to me at that particular time.


What to read, what to read...

A couple of weeks ago I read a book Adam recommended: Mide Wide Open by Steven Johnson. All but the last chapter was amazing. If you want to gain insight into how physical activity in your brain makes you feel how you do and think what you think, this is your book. And it's a quick, entertaining read.

Now I'm on to Walter McDougall's Freedom Just Around the Corner: A New American History, 1585-1828 The first in a projected trilogy, it is not a quick read. It's a comprehensive American history starting with the English motivations for colonization and the prevailing European circumstances in the 1500s. Both these contributed to the attitudes of the colonists. Early on Americans adopted the feeling "what’s in it for me" and that stuck. I’m finding the book quite informative and provocative. He thinks "Americans have enjoyed more opportunity to pursue their ambitions, by foul means or fair, than any other people in history." Think emphsis on the foul means: Americans are hustlers in both the good and bad sense of the word. He even coins the term "creative corruption".

What then? Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Seems like a must-read for a TPP student to me. I have been meaning to re-read The Catcher in the Rye though.

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