29 April 2024

April 2024 reading


  • The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland
  • A World Without Email by Cal Newport
  • Keir Starmer: The Biography by Tom Baldwin
  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • Nuclear War: The bestselling non-fiction thriller by Annie Jacobsen
  • Material World: A Substantial Story of Our Past and Future by Ed Conway

April update

I read the Sutherland book as I wanted an overview of the scrum’ approach to the agile methodology. Sutherland is, of course, a huge advocate but there are some limitations that never quite get addressed. However, anyone engaged in a big long-term project is likely to take plenty from it. As it happens, and I didn’t recall this until I read it, Cal Newport’s book A World Without Email spends a section looking at how the scrum approach could work at an individual level.

Dune scarcely needs an introduction and is a good chunk of a book. I have to admit I felt my interest waning rapidly as I got to the last quarter. I also have decided I’m not that into the omniscient third-person viewpoint so much either. It seems to leach out a good deal of the tension from the narrative.

The cover of the Baldwin book on Starmer has a quote from Matthew D’Ancona: This will be the most important political book of the year”. Yes, he’s very likely to be right. Very readable and often surprised me.

I have to mention Nuclear War which I picked up and bought on a bit of a whim then read through it at speed. Not quite a one-sitting’ effort, as that never quite happens with me nowadays, but about as close as I get. It is compelling and horrifying in near equal measure. It could well give you nightmares and, arguably, should bring us all out in a cold sweat. Essential reading but I was left wondering - what can I do at this point? There are some obvious places to go - CND° being the one that comes to mind.

Best book this month, bar none, is Ed Conway’s Material World. This is far more than a sterile tale of the science behind the materials, though you will find that here. It is a very human story. It’s essential, er, material to understand how we got to where we are, the future challenges of climate change, how our economies function, and even the geopolitical tensions that tug at us. It’s marvellous.


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March 2024 reading The Man With the Getaway Face was also available as a 24-page $2 graphic novel/comic by Darwyn Cooke. The Last Colony by John Scalzi Slow
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May 2024 reading Philosophical. Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman Limitarianism: The Case Against Extreme Wealth by Ingrid Robeyns It’s my second go around