During the month of October I finished:
- The Human side of Post Mortems, by Dave Zweibeck.
- This turns out to be about a couple software project postmortems. It is not nearly as useful or informative as I expected.
- Toxic Schools, by Paulle Brown. An interesting ethnographic study of two high schools, one in the Bronx and one in Amsterdam. Mr Brown spent a couple years teaching in each one. These are each arguably the worst schools in their areas. Brown examines the social structures, lives of students, etc. The similarities are extremely strong despite all the cultural differences. Probably the strongest factor in failure for students is the pervasive fear and danger. Their lives are spend dealing with threats. The strongest indicator for escaping the dead end lives that so many face is having some protective adult continuity. A strong parent or strong relative is the usual source. This is not something that can be offered by a teacher. It needs to be a multi-year experience of having a healthy protective adult that the students need. It needs to have the continuity of a healthy person to person relationship.
- The Incrementalists, Steven Brust SF. Disappointing.
- Anarchy Unbound, Peter T. Leeson Interesting analysis of situations which were an anarchy, and how order develops. What were the major factors. What were the results. He argues that the claim "anarchy can't work" is easily disproved. He does not argue the claim that civil government is inferior to anarchy. He shows what anarchy does accomplish.
- The major factors in successful anarchies are the patience of the participants and the extent to which they must maintain long term relationships.
- Learning From First Responders, Richard Dylan Actually about how the IT systems and organizations were structured and tested for the Obama campaign. The contrast between this level of care to organization, goals, testing, and reliability and the complete failure of similar efforts in Obamacare launch are tremendous.
- The Shifts and the Shocks, Martin Wolf I expected better given the high quality of his lectures and newspaper articles. The information content is very good. The book style and organization was mediocre. Still worth reading.History and commentary on the whole economic situation since 2005.