Saturday, November 30, 2013

Books I've Read This Week

Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson is a good book for folks who are looking to take the leaving into working remotely. As someone who worked remotely for 3+ years I didn't find anything in the book that I would disagree with. Unfortunately, I also didn't find anything in it that would convince you boss to let you telecommute. So if you are looking for a book to feed your confirmation bias this is it but you may want to just get it from the library.
Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett is the latest book in the always hilarious Discworld series. This time around the main protagonists are Moist von Lipwig as he has been tasked by Lord Vetinari to take charge of this new fangled steam engine that has been brought to Ankh-Morpork.

The book gives Pratchett the opportunity to look back on how the invention and subsequent rollout of steam engine powered railroad. He's able to show how the discovery of this new technology brings people closer together by reducing the physical impediments that were once in place to separate the different races. You can draw a parallel with our own world where the internet is connecting people all over the place.

Sadly, this is not Pratchett's best effort. There is a long period in the middle where not too much happens and it could have probably been edited away. As well I'm not quite sure who the antagonist was in the novel. Certainly there was some conflict between the Grags and the rest of the dwarves but that didn't seem to gel quite right for me.

Although, I did enjoy the novel. Like most of Pratchett's books there are laugh out loud moments and I really thought the bit where the main steam engine was compared to a goddess of the earth as it embodied all four elements coal = earth, steam = water/air and fire to burn the coal and generate the steam from the water. 

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