October 31, 2018

Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, October 2018

Attention conservation notice: I have no taste. I also have no qualifications to discuss corporate fraud.

John Carreyrou, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
This is a deservedly-famous story, told meticulously. It says some very bad things about the culture around Silicon Valley which made this fraud (and waste) possible. (To be scurpulously fair, investment companies with experience in medical devices and the like don't seem to have bought in.) It also says some very bad things about our elites more broadly, since lots of influential people who were in no position to know anything useful about whether Theranos could fulfill its promises endorsed them, apparently on the basis of will-to-believe and their own arrogance. (I hereby include by reference Khurana's book on the charisma of corporate CEOs, and Xavier Marquez's great post on charisma.)
The real heroes here are, of course, the people who quietly kept following through on established procedures and regulations, and refused to bend to considerable pressure.
Luca D'Andrea, Beneath the Mountain
Mind candy: in which a stranger investigates the secrets of a small, isolated community's past, for multiple values of "past".
Walter Jon Williams, Quillifer
Misadventures of a rogue in a fantasy world whose technology level seems to be about the 1500s in our world. Quillifer has some genuinely horrible things happen to him, and brings others on himself, but keeps bouncing back, and keeps his eye on various main chances (befitting the only law clerk I can think of in fantasy literature who isn't just cannon-fodder). I didn't like him, exactly, but I was definitely entertained.
--- I enjoyed the sequel more.

Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur; Pleasures of Detection, Portraits of Crime; Scientifiction and Fantastica

Posted at October 31, 2018 23:59 | permanent link

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