the library

Delightful books, as recommended in the Dicks & Betties newsletter.  


Recent Recommendations


Just released last week, Skin in The Game is a book about having the courage of your convictions. It's premise is simple: We learn by doing, and failing, and pain, and it is that process—being out there, in the world, taking risks, having skin in the game—that creates knowledge and effective action (not the process of experiencing something from afar, mediated away by screen and distance, rationalizing or pronouncing from the comfort of your office chair). Another way to say this: "Those who don’t take risks should never be involved in making decisions." From this elegant principle, Taleb explains a great variety of common errors in judgment and perception, including the fact that systems that don't have a mechanism of skin in the game will eventually blow up and fix themselves that way: the mortgage crisis, the Iraq wars, the United States, etc. etc. Taleb is a good follow on Medium, and you'll find an excerpt of the first chapter to this book there.


Currently Reading

A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula Le Guin

The Square and The Tower, by Niall Ferguson

Rationality: From AI to Zombies, by  Eliezer Yudkowsky

Seeing Like a State, by James C. Scott


politics and society

"Suckers try to win arguments, nonsuckers try to win." — Nassim Taleb

The Lessons of History
By Will Durant, Ariel Durant

media and culture

"We shape our tools and thereafter they shape us." —McLuhan


philosophy & thought

The abstractions and processes of thought, from how we approach play (Finite and Infinite Games) to knowledge creation (The Beginning of Infinity) to confidence (The Inner Game of Tennis).


technology, time, & culture

From the origins of man (Sapiens, Homo Deus), to speculations on artificial intelligence (Superintelligence, How to Create a Mind), to how we perceive time (Why Time Flies, Felt Time).


science fiction & fantasy

Space operas, dystopias, gender speculations, cyber wtf-ery, temporal gymnastics, and killer fungi, ranging from accessible page-turners (Atwood, Ishiguro) to mega-laser geekery (Banks, Vinge).

Consider Phlebas (Culture)
By Iain M. Banks
Oryx and Crake
By Margaret Atwood
The Left Hand of Darkness
By Ursula K. Le Guin
By William Gibson
Snow Crash
By Neal Stephenson
By Isaac Asimov


"Poker is a game of making decisions under conditions of uncertainty." — Annie Duke, Decide to Play Great Poker



"Again the bell and again and you and your opponent so evenly matched it’s impossible to see your opponent is you …” — Joyce Carol Oates, On Boxing

On Boxing
By Joyce Oates
The Sweet Science
By A.J. Liebling
The Fight
By Norman Mailer