The Red Queen

The Red Queen

The Red Queen is a long, hard look at human nature. It reminds us that in spite of our skyscrapers and space rockets, we humans are still, deep down, naked apes with animal instincts and desires. The most base desire we (as a species and as individuals) have is for immortality - genetic immortality, creative … Continue reading The Red Queen

this is not propaganda

This is not Propaganda

Peter Pomerantsev's This is Not Propaganda is a book about our times for our times. It addresses the central catch-22 of our information age; namely whether central censorship (with the risk of top down propaganda) or decentralised free range information (with the risk democracy-destabilising fake news) is the lessor evil - or, more concerning, if … Continue reading This is not Propaganda

The Future is History

The Future is History

"We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us." - A Soviet joke The Future is History by Masha Gessen is in someways the flip-side of Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism. While The Origins of Totalitarianism explains exactly that, how societies lose themselves to totalitarian ideology, The Future is History deals with the … Continue reading The Future is History

small gods

Small Gods

"Eppur si muove" And yet it moves. Terry Pratchett's Small Gods is a sage tale for times when nothing is real, anything is possible, the rules are made up, and the points don't matter. In times where reality itself is under attack and science denialism is reaching pre-Renaissance levels of surreality; it is good to … Continue reading Small Gods

Train Naked

Train Naked

Friends with benefits are nice, friends with books are even better. I am privileged to know Pierre Du Plessis, the (extraordinarily wise) author of Train Naked personally. The book is written as a series of daily meditations and reflections - almost like miniature sermons that if followed will make your life richer and more rewarding. … Continue reading Train Naked

skin in the game

Skin in the Game

"Bureaucracy is a a construction by which a person is conveniently separated from the consequences of his or her actions." What a poetic quote. Nassim Taleb is a polarising figure; yet there is no doubt that he is on top form in Skin In The Game. Less academic and mathematical heavy than some of his … Continue reading Skin in the Game

the cryptonomicon

The Cryptonomicon

The Cryptonomicon (also sometimes referred to as the Old Testament of the contemporary crypto community, I title it competes for with The Sovereign Individual) was apparently "required reading" for Elon Musk and Peter Thiel's team members in the early days of PayPal. After reading the book myself, this is an urban legend I am inclined … Continue reading The Cryptonomicon

the deficit myth

The Deficit Myth (and the Free Lunch Fantasy) of MMT

“Only a crisis — actual or perceived — produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.” ~ Milton Friedman Right now, Modern Monetary Theory (aka Magic Money Theory, aka MMT aka a new branding for monetary stimulus) as popularised by Stephanie Kelton’s The … Continue reading The Deficit Myth (and the Free Lunch Fantasy) of MMT

anarchy state and utopia

Anarchy, State and Utopia

Robert Nozick's 1974's  Anarchy, State and Utopia deserves a re-read right now. As the long-suppressed cracks begin to open in the WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Developed) world, we are forced to face the scaling problems of party-politics democracy; and to begin to seriously consider the alternatives on offer. Common logic (of the upper … Continue reading Anarchy, State and Utopia

How to Read More

How to Read More

As I've said before, reading books is the fastest way to absorb information (until we succeed in connecting ourselves to a global Brainternet, but that's cheating, and it's not quite possible yet either). I read a fair amount and I'm often asked how I do it. It's not hard, really. If you can make time … Continue reading How to Read More