Some implications of "digital" for scholarly writing and publishing

Category: book reviews Page 1 of 3

Along came Google … and what happened next

This is the story of a tragedy: a step forward for the academic community that was resisted and then blocked. It’s difficult to imagine, but Along Came Google (Princeton, 2021) is as gripping as any thriller – except for the conclusion.

The story is simple. …

The Myth of Artificial Intelligence

Erik J Larson has written a passionate attack on the current fashion for AI. For him, the myth of AI is assuming that the current AI-based utilities we have developed can be extended into AGI (artificial general intelligence). His arguments are quite compelling, although, as …

Measuring Research: what everyone needs to know

Illustration by William Warby (Unsplash)

This short guide, in the “What Everyone Needs to Know” series from Oxford University Press, provides an outline of bibliometrics: measuring the impact and value of research. How to measure research is a topic that has been discussed and argued …

Who reads scholarly book reviews?

The TLS: around 35 book reviews every week

It is a commonplace that nobody reads any more – the Web has put a stop to all that. I googled “Has the Internet destroyed reading?” and got 378 million hits, including (among many others) Nicholas Carr, …

How to talk about books you haven’t read

The challenging title of Pierre Bayard’s book – but anything is possible for a Parisian intellectual

Bayard’s book created something of a stir in literary circles when it was published, in 2007. I approached this book because it touches on some fundamental aspects of how …

From Recommendation Engines to self-knowledge

This is a book that packs a punch – although it’s not quite the punch the reader might expect. Published in the MIT “Essential Knowledge” series, Michael Schrage’s Recommendation Engines moves from ancient Greece to the recommender systems we are familiar with today – and …

Scott Galloway, The Four

I set out to discover just what makes Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google tick, but I abandoned the book once I had discovered what made the author tick.

Finesse is not Scott Galloway’s strong point. The Four (2017) claims to explain what we can learn …

In defence of book reviews





Figure 1 A typical firewalled review of an academic title

What is the point of book reviews – to be specific, books that potentially

have some kind of academic interest? David Beer, in an interesting LSE Impact blog post (which he actually entitles “In …

The Book of Why: the problem of causality

Judea Pearl’s The Book of Why (co-authored with science journalist Dana Mackenzie) (2018) is a tantalising read. For the initial premiss of the book, I am convinced by Pearl’s description of the limitations of current tools, particularly in statistics. He describes three levels of causation:…

Artificial Intelligence: A Very Short Introduction (Margaret Boden, 2016)

I’m a great admirer of the Very Short Introductions: clear, concise outlines of a topic by an expert in the field. Well, this book is certainly very short, but how good is it as an introduction?  Readers hoping for a good exposition of present-day AI …

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