Book Reviews
This is the first book I have read on the topic of project management. Before starting the book, I was expecting the book to be as difficult as that CFA Level II Curriculum textbook I stumped upon a couple of months ago. Half way into it, however, the book turned out to be an easy-read.
The book put a heavy focus on preparational work, such as formalizing a development plan, setting up version control for documents, creating an anonymous reporting channel to upper management, getting upper management support ahead of time, and so on.
Although most of the listed tasks seem ordinary to me (and I guess this is a good sign that our project is going to survive!), there are a few things I learned for the first time. For example, at the beginning of the book, the author discussed how much time budget you should put into exploratory work before seeking upper management's approval. The middle part of the book described how each stage of development should be carried out, which could fit into the iterations of versions (V1, V2, ...) that I have experienced. Other tips, such as "don't build the whole software upon the prototype", "don't modify requirements easily", are valuable words as well. These are the things that I did not realize -- nor practiced -- while being a data scientist. In this sense, I'm glad that I read this book at the beginning of my career as a software developer in an enterprise setting.

Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software

Perhaps the first book in computer science I have finished back-to-back. Started working at the software company with no postsecondary degree in computer science, I often bump into certain technical terms in documentation and in comments that i do not understand. This book made several of such acquainted terms much clearer. I doubt how many patterns i would actually use in my work, considering that i do not (yet) work with neither C++ nor smalltalk, but i would definitely benefit from reading this book in terms of more efficient communications with my team peers.

How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems

An excellent book of reduction, in the sense of computability theory, without any computability theory.
In these theories, "reduction" is the process of rewriting a problem into an equivalent problem that is already proven to be solvable. Just needs to be solvable; not necessarily simpler -- this is how the computer science version of reduction differ from the mathematics version.
Usually, this implies an absurd and unnecessary complexification (just like the word "complexification" itself.) This reduction is seen throughout the book, often in the form of escalating everyday problems into rocket science. (At times, literally rocket science.)
For example (spoilers!), want to dig a hole? Why not use industrial vacuum excavators? Archaeologists have been using them for years. Wanna send a file? Encode them in the DNA of butterflies -- Those little creatures are really good at migrating. Gotta charge your phone at an airport? Build a hydroelectric dam at the drinking fountain! Maybe adding a bit of college physics to everything sounded too much a waste for you; how about boiling the whole river to vapor with kettles so that you don't have to engineer a bridge?
This book is really a fun read, as long as you don't try it at home.

Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World

Another one of my impulse-buy-and-read experiences. I rate 3.5.
One of the book's keywords, technochauvinism, is the only reason that pushed me from hearing about the book to ordering a copy online.
As a student of Data Science, I was expecting more logical arguments and mathematical derivations that proved why AI won't always work, but I also gladly accepted the fact, as the preface stated, that this book is more like a collection of author's own stories regarding machine learning rather than a scientific paper. This made the book into my category of "fun reads," next to "Oreshura" and other light novels.
Also, it's entertaining to read about the school I'm currently studying at after getting bored with the chapter on US politics, a topic of which I couldn't care less as an alien.

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century

Fantastic read! Although it took me almost a year to finish, this book never bored me when I picked it up. It is more than a grammar book or a writing style tutorial: The author digs up stories, histories, and motivations behind different phenomena that is currently occurring in the English language. I’m very glad that I have read this book.
Last modified 3yr ago