Business, life

Weapons Of Math Destructions

Weapons Of Math Destructions book

 

I have just finished this book “Weapons Of Math Destructions” by Cathy O’neil.

It’s an important book that deal with mathematical algorithms and models that control our modern life and where they threat to change many aspects of our social interactions. Think about cases like who is being selected to a certain collage and all the implications. She gives good stories and background to each example in the book.

To me, the bottom line is a call to developers, product managers, scientists (and anyone else who contribute to the creation of these systems) to take more responsibility when they building algorithms. I know it’s a real challenging aspect, as most people are not even aware to the tendencies that they got and influence their decisions. It’s also a call for the regulators to think and ask the hard questions about modern ‘AI‘ systems.

Overall, it’s a good book that is full with good stories and examples that drive her main points about the dark side of big data.

Give it a try.

You might like it as much as I did.

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life

Two Books On World War II

2 books

I don’t know why, but in the past month I read (again) two books that tell personal stories during World War II / holocaust.

I didn’t plan it. But like most things in life, while we are making plans, things happen.

In retrospective, it was a powerful, sad and interesting time. You can hear a lot of stories about WW2 and the holocaust but there are some that hit you right in your heart.

As the say, “Long story short”, here are the two books I recommend.

The Nightingale

Kristin Hannah is so talented. She does a great job in capturing an intimate part of history from a unique perspective: the women’s war. It is a combination of two stories or two sisters. They are separated on many levels: years, experience, ideals and mostly character. Each one is paving her own path toward survival in German-occupied France. It’s a beautiful, sad story that shows the real strong gender – female.

 

Beneath a Scarlet Sky

It’s a real personal story of Pino Lella, a young Italian teenager who wants to ski and have fun. Up to here it’s just like any teenager who lives near the amazing mountains in north of Italy. But, there is a war and he started it by joining the underground where he helped Jews escape over the Alps to Switzerland. From one step to another he become the personal driver of Hans Layers who reported to Hitler. The story tells how is manage to spy for the allies and his relationships with Hans, Anna (his love) and his family. During the book, you keep thinking it can’t be a real story. But, you keep realizing, it is all happen in Europe only 60 years ago.

 

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Business, life

Books I Enjoyed During 2017

This year was full with good books.

I got to some books by mistake (e.g. Girl with a pearl earring during a trip to Zion national park) and others after getting a warm recommendation. Here is the list of the ones that I like most. There were at least ~12 other books that I didn’t like and stopped in the middle, but I guess, it’s part of life.

One of the best papers I read this year (again) was “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. The paper is quite short (only 8 pages without the references) but every word there counts and it’s giving a total picture of this powerful invention. It’s much bigger than ‘just’ cash system and in the future we will see this technology breakthrough changing many industries.

OK, let’s jump to the books. Continue reading

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Business, life

Einstein: His Life and Universe

I just finished to read this book and there are few aspects I really enjoyed.

It was a long book that the master of biographies (Walter Isaacson) wrote based on the newly released personal letters of Albert Einstein.

I liked to learn about Einstein personality and his private life as well as his academic achievements. His imaginative and ‘thinking out of the box’ approaches enable him to create a revolution. To me, the amazing part, is that he only used his mind. No experiments or ‘tools’ that will guide him.

The book explores how an imaginative patent clerk came with theories that changed the way we understand the universe. We get a description of a struggling father in a difficult marriage who couldn’t get a teaching job or a doctorate. I learned that unlike the pop culture that claimed he was an awful student, he was a good one. He wasn’t strong in french but in math and physics, he was a good student who got high scores.

One of the thing that I found as a surprise, was the fact that he knew that he is going to win the Nobel prize. He also promised his first wife the money from the prize. Continue reading

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Business

My Favorites Books 2016

screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-11-22-27-pmHere are some of the books I’ve enjoyed in the past 6 months. I am trying to alternate between fiction and non-fiction on a weekly bases. I did two official marathons (Teveria and California international marathon) and another 2 that weren’t part of an organized race, so in the training for these events, I had a lot of time to listen to audio books.

Below are the ones that I really liked.

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds

It’s an intersting story (behind Money Ball) that I enjoyed a lot thanks to Michal Lewis. It’s about two Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky who wrote together a series of breathtakingly studies undoing our assumptions about the decision-making process. Daniel Kahenman received at 2002 the Nobel price for economic on their work on physiology and how the human mind is being fooled in many situations.

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations

It’s a long one, but with the great talent that Mr. Friedman got it’s passing quickly. In this book, he cover what he think we need in order to understand the twenty-first century. It’s about the planet’s three largest forces:

  1. Moore’s law – The acceleration in technology. From hardware/Internet Of Things/Mobile to big data to tools to analyze it and use it (e.g. Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning).
  2. The Market – Globalization. The ‘world if flat’ and the way we are all connected more then ever. The fact that many companies are global and markets are very connected.
  3. Earth – Climate change and biodiversity loss.

These fast accelerations are transforming five key realms: the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics, and community. What does it means for you? Well, it will change the way you understand the news, the work you do, the education your kids need, the investments your employer has to make, and the moral and geopolitical choices our country has to navigate.

The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation

I wrote about this one here.

Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets

It’s a story that is told by the talented Sudhir Venkatesh. He is the source for some of Freakonomics great articles and ideas. In this book, Sudhir take us with him when he walked into an abandoned building in one of Chicago’s most notorious housing projects. How he meet and befriend a gang leader named JT and later spend the better part of a decade embedded inside the projects under JT’s protection. From this unique position of unprecedented access, Venkatesh observed JT and the rest of his gang as they operated their crack-selling business, made peace with their neighbors, evaded the law, and rose up or fell within the ranks of the gang’s complex hierarchical structure. It’s an amazing story. I highly recommend it to anyone who is running a business or just curious to learn more. Continue reading

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life

Recommended Books

A mid year reflection on the books I’ve been lucky to read in the past 6-7 months. I usually try to blend one ‘learning’ book and one ‘story’ book. However, in most cases, it’s not an easy definition and these types are blending.

Smarter Faster Better – It’s a book that I took with me on a long flight (TLV-LAX) and it was good learning experience. At the core of this book there are eight key productivity concepts: from motivation and goal setting to focus and decision making. It try to explain why some people and companies get so much done. Drawing on the latest findings in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral economics—as well as the experiences of CEOs, educational reformers, four-star generals, FBI agents, airplane pilots, and Broadway songwriters.

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life – This is one of the best books I’ve read in the past years. The snowball makes immensely clear why Buffett is so respectable. I liked the fact that Alice Schroeder (a great writer btw) paint a picture of a human, that like most lives, has been a mix of strengths and frailties. Yet notable though his wealth, Buffett’s legacy will not be his ranking on the scorecard of wealth; it will be his principles and ideas that have enriched people’s lives. There are many lessons in this book and I plan to go over it again. It’s a long one but full of great mini stories in it.

Year Of YES – This is a wonderful, funny and easy book by Shonda Rhimes. After reading it, I wasn’t surprised to learn that she is the extremely talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and of How to Get Away With Murder. It is a great story that show to power of positive attitude and how to be (even) more productive. I specially liked that description that she gave to her roll: “Laying the tracks to the railroad”. In her cases, it’s a lot of long-long rails.

 

The rest of the list is below. Have fun.

books 2016

Happy reading.

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Business, life

Great Business/Life Books

Views on sun raise Here is a list I’ve saw in the past and I thought it would be great to put it in the ‘air’ and gain more feedback on what you wish to see in a ‘must read’ book list that will open your mind to new ideas (and hopefully improve you in business life).
Please feel free to add stuff in the comments.

  • Good To Great by Jim Collins
  • Peopleware by Tom DeMarco
  • Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Talab
  • The Black swan by Talab
  • Getting More by Stuart Diamond
  • Rework by 37 signals founders
  • Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson
  • Malcolam Gladwell: The Tipping point, Blink, Outliers, What the dog saw
  • Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
  • Predictable Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely
  • Small Giants by Bo Birlingham.
  • Stumbling on happiness by Daniel Gilbert.
    He also have a very good TED talk
  • Crossing the Chasm by Geoff Moore
  • Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs
  • Drive by Daniel Pink
  • Getting things done by  David Allen
  • The Silent language of leaders
  • Thank you for Arguing
  • How to Speak like a CEO
  • Content Rules
  • Writing that works
  • Crucial conversations
  • First, break all the rules
  • Imagine : How creativity works
  • Truth about being a leader
  • Confessions of a Public Speaker
  • Team Geek
  • Don’t Make Me Think

I had this list of “must read books” from one of the conferences I’ve attended back in 2010. There are some good ones over there as well. However, it covers more technical books for developers and less business books. Don’t forget “There is creative reading as well as creative writing”.

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