Category: book reviews Page 1 of 2

Books of the Year 2018

This is the time of year when the newspapers announce their books of the year. Unfortunately, the reviewers often praise each other’s books, or simply state they couldn’t put it down, without explaining why. Things are a bit different here; every one of the books …

Do baseball stats help you understand climate change?

Nate Silver likes a bet, so much so that he quit his job and became a full-time poker player for some years. So perhaps it is not surprising that this is an author with a passion for probability, whose interpretation of Bayesian reasoning is gambling …

Are there good and bad metaphors?

George Lakoff is famous (according to Wikipedia) for the “conceptual metaphor theory”, which is that people are influenced by the metaphors they use.

Intrigued by this claim, I read the short book Metaphors We Live By (1980), by Lakoff and co-author Mark Johnson.  Sure enough, …

Crossing the Chasm: a classic business title

It’s so sweet to see names such as “Word Perfect”or “VisiCalc” Such names have the magical aura of products remembered from long ago, like “Bovril” or Cod Liver Oil.  Crossing the Chasm is full of such names, even though the author Geoffrey Moore candidly admits …

Algorithms to live by: How they have already changed your life

Tutorials about machine learning are, it seems two a penny. However, guides to machine learning by machine learning experts, however solid they may be as textbooks, frequently seem to lack ways in which the tools can be applied to a particular domain – in my …

Review of Tom Reamy, Deep Text

Deep Text cover

I don’t think the title  “Deep Text” does this book any favours – a more accurate description might be “Text Analytics within the Enterprise” – less catchy, but certainly more intelligible, and more indicative of what this book covers. From the title, you might think …

What makes a great infographic?

What makes a great infographic? Edward Tufte, in his book Beautiful Evidence (2006), proposes the six basic principles of “analytical design” (he means infographics). Are these the principles that everyone should follow when designing information graphics?

 

Well, Tufte’s own principles do not always seem to …

Sparklines: Beautiful Evidence or Muddled Graphics?

Do you understand this graphic? It is an example of a sparkline, by Edward Tufte. Tufte was, if not the originator of sparklines, one of its earliest advocates. He wrote about them in his book Beautiful Evidence (2006); he defines sparklines as “small, intense, wordlike graphics, …

The seven classic books about computing

Library Image by Dmitrij Paskevic (CC0)

The books I’m thinking about might not be quite as old as the ones in the photo, but at least some of them will have I hope the patina of age. One of the slightly poignant aspects of working in computing is that the skills …

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