I'm always intrigued by the favorite posts of other blogs. Not the ones they themselves wrote, but what most inspired or interested them. Because of that, I'm posting some of my favorite links before.


History of Imperial Russia

Russian history is usually told as a "Czar times were bad and then things improved slightly with comunism" but there's far more in the details. This series of lectures by Scott Walker was given as some university course. It covers the broad strokes of russian hsitory.

Highly highly recommended. Especially when downloaded to use as a podcast!

History of Imperial Russia

History of Banking w/Perry Mehrling

Economics gets caught up in the equations which are often dubious when over-extrapolated. Perry G Mehrling instead skips the the math and gives you the broader picture. This makes it much easier to follow. The big picture is useful when trying to figure out why things are the way they are. Hint: it's usually in an attempt to fix something in the past.  

I also recommend a recent debate featuring him from the podcast "Odd Lots" on whether the US dollar will continue to dominate. His beliefs trend towards something kind of like the "Dollar Milkshake Theory".

Part 1 & Part 2 (links to archive.org, originally hosted on Coursera)

3dfx Oral History at the Computer History Museum

Selling $500 graphics cards for two video games is a tiny market. Selling these to a market of fresh-out-of-college, penny-inching, squalor-loving, no-social-pressure twenty-something's is straight up nutty. Yet 3dfx forged a business now worth billions doing precisely that. They defied the conventional "sell aspirin, not vitamins" by selling a toy instead of a business device (NVIDIA started off selling Windows accelerator cards). It's an unusual history for Silicon Valley, defying a lot of the usual tropes.

The Map is Not the Territory

Robert Anton Wilson's decree that people often confuse the map for the territory is one of those "once you see it, you can't unsee it." We too often try to build perfect models or maps of the world around us without realizing that they can't inherently ever be perfect. In my experience, I have found many people respond by saying "well we just need to get better at map making" which misses the point. Supposedly influenced by Alfred Korzybski, whom I found difficult to read directly.

Assorted Blog Posts

History of RISC (aka "The RISC Deprogrammer) from Errata Security. Semiconductors have heated up in the last few years with ARM moving up-market, AMD (kind of) outclassing Intel, and RISC-V sopping up the bottom. This history of RISC is a fantastic introduction to some of these, even if its not entirely correct at times, and throws a bucket of cold water on the supposed hype trains.

Dan Luu's History of Latency. We often think of computers as getting faster but, in fact, they have regressed in some important ways. One of those is latency. The time in which is takes for a key stroke to register is often in the hundreds of miliseconds. In the time of the 8-bit microcomputers, it tended towards the microseconds. Especially important as performance does matter in many places and latency is a part of performance.

Alex Krupp's Django for Startup Founders. My gold standard for a technical article. It manages to balance a high level of advice while getting into the weeds to offer concrete advice. Applicable for web applications well beyond Django. This post has been particularly important on how I write technical pieces.

Matt Lakeman's Notes on the Ivory Coast. Africa's post-colonial history is usually told as sob stories without any lessons to take away coupled with an ivory tower distance. Matt Lakeman, just some guy(?), actually went there! Not only that, he read extensively on the history of West Africa. All of his posts (which include Nigeria and Ghana) are terrific and come highly recommended.

Favorite Books

Inherent Vice

Thomas Pynchon wote insanely long novels to touch on ultimately cliche ideas. This is one of the few that isn't like that. Instead, Inherent is a moderate detective story that goes completely off the rails. It asks "Is youth the ultimate inherent vice?" and "Does everything come down to youth in some way?" The movie by Paul Thomas Anderson is pretty good too.

Infinite Jest

Probably one of the few works that does fulfill the hype. David Foster Wallace's bible length novel is not for the faint of heart but everything people say about is true: from the clever use of footnotes, it's sierpinski gasket like structure, to it's statement on American life in the modern age. The meta narratives are delightful. On top of that, you get a door stop! What's not to love?

Lean Analytics

Most business books could be boiled to maybe a pamphlet but Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz's Lean Analytics actually broadens your view of the business world. It's depiction that, in the internet era, markets are selling and buying prestige, attention, and money is a novel insight. Thinking about it changes how you view the value of products.

Innovator's Dilemma

The only other business advice book I'd recommend. One of those "once you see it, you think you understand the world." Especially around "jobs to be done" which, at a high level, is insightful. Once you finish it, it's worth checking out where it fails.