Book Notes


How Not To Die by Michael Greger, M.D.

With a plethora of resources on diet and our evolving understanding of nutritional science, it is easy to find conflicting information and opinions. I have no interest in exhaustively probing these depths, but I would like to live a healthy life, for which some understanding of diet is required. I found Dr. Michael Greger's How Not To Die to be a helpful guide to diet, as well as a serious warning about the risks of chronic disease associated with certain lifestyle choices.

The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas

I need to start a discussion of The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas by acknowledging that I'm not a programmer, at least not formally. Software Engineer is not in my job title, nor do I have a degree in computer science. However, I did learn basic programming in Fortran and Matlab while studying aerospace engineering, and I have since learned Python and used it over the past several years for analysis and basic automation. So, while I do not write software at a level that could fully benefit from this book, I found much of the advice contained therein to be helpful. The two aspects of Hunt and Thomas' work I found the most insightful are the development of a set of guiding principles and the focus on developing a well-rounded generalism with a mindset of continual education.

Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark

In Life 3.0, Max Tegmark gives a fascinating and whirlwind tour of a possible future with artificial intelligence. Even if you find some of the scenarios he presents to be fantastical, he asks difficult questions of concern to those interested in the future of humanity: What is the meaning of life? Is a superhuman artificial intelligence possible, and if so would we want one? What collective goals should we work together for? Throughout, he gives scientific insight while humbly inviting thinkers in other fields—including philosophy—to join “the most important conversation of our time.”

The Road to Character by David Brooks

The Road to Character was given to me by my priest, and is David Brooks’ humble reflection on living a good life. Through examining the lives of a diverse set of admirable individuals, he moves toward a definition and outline of character in his “Humility Code.”

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

The Pillars of the Earth is a story about the construction of a cathedral in fictional 12th century Kingsbridge, England. It is an epic of rivalry, romance, defeat, challenge, and ultimately success. Beyond this, though, it is the coming of age story of a community as it seeks its place in a changing and challenging world, and the people who help create a great cathedral: Tom the builder, Philip the prior, and Jack the stone carver. The story is enthralling and has reawakened my fascenation with architecture and the Middle Ages.

New American Bible

The Bible is the Word of God: “Through divine revelation, God chose to show forth and communicate Himself and the eternal decisions of His will regarding the salvation of men. That is to say, He chose to share with them those divine treasures which totally transcend the understanding of the human mind."