Wednesday, May 16, 2007

James J. Hill by Michael Malone

James J Hill was filthy rich. His foundation is still filthy rich. I could be obesely rich too if I was allowed to create huge monopolies...damn Sherman Antitrust Act. Additionally, it'd be nice to be able to profit from the great natural resources of the northern reaches of our country, i.e. the minerals and the lumber. Once again...damn conservationalist/hippies and Teddy Roosevelet.

This book gives a pretty good look at the life of James J. Hill, the Empire Builder of the Northwest. If you aren't fascinated with the history of the Great Northern railroad and the exploiting of a nation's resources, this probably isn't the book for you. Instead, just be aware that James Hill was filthy rich, incredibly influential, and the owner of the huge mansion atop the hill on Summit Avenue in St. Paul.

Complete May 16, 2007

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Moneyball by Michael Lewis

I have to thank Alex and his roommate John for recommending this book. I will have to disagree with John and say that this isn't the greatest book, ever; however, that still doesn't mean it isn't entertaining and that it isn't a great book. In Moneyball, Michael Lewis follows a baseball season from the Oakland A's GM's perspective. Oakland A's GM, Billy Beane, was a pioneer in using statistics to run his organization. This book makes Billy Beane look like a genius and makes the rest of MLB look like a bunch of imbeciles. It also makes any nerd with a background in statistics think he could do a better job managing a baseball team than most pros. So watch out Terry Ryan, I work on spreadsheets for a living. This book did lose some points when it claimed that the A's loss to an inferior Twins in the playoffs...that's blasphemous. Obviously, that is a clear example where the author lied with statistics.

Completed May 7, 2007

Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Tony Williams

About a year to two ago, people started going Beatlemania crazy for Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat. The book supposedly introduced the world to this new, unheard phenomenon called globalization. I admit...I enjoyed reading the book (I love anything written by a good MN boy), but the book wasn't anything revolutionary. Anyone who had read any articles on politcal economy in the past decade would have read Friedman's best seller thinking, "No shit." I mention The World is Flat because I believe Wikinomics deserves the credit that Friedman received. This book argues that open source technology will change how we work and live. If you aren't on board with some collaboration, you might as well go back to the Dark Ages because you will be left behind. I find great merit in Tapscott and Williams' hypothesis. Maybe I'm just naive likes those who still drop their jaw in awe when they "realize" the world is flat (whatever that means). However, if you don't know much about open sourcing, give this book a shot.

Completed May 3, 2007