Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017 | Books

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started with Bitcoin is a book by Christopher Nygaard.

I read the audiobook edition. It’s okay: you get a grounding in Bitcoin in under two and a half hours. There is some details on how to use it and very little technical details. Most of the book looks at the history, how it has evolved and where it is going.

The narration is odd. It’s by Skyler Morgan and he sounds like a robot. He has a website and offers royalty-split book details. I’m not sure whether he actually is a computer-generated voice, or whether he just has a voice that sounds a lot like a robot.

What Every Parent Needs to Know

Saturday, December 9th, 2017 | Books

What Every Parent Needs to Know: The incredible effects of love, nurture and play on your child’s development is a book by Margot Sunderland.

I like it. It’s backed up by science. Most books never reference. Some books make provocative claims about what you should do as a parent in order to provoke a reaction. And still don’t back their claims up.

This book sets a good balance. There is some stuff you “don’t want to hear” in here. But pretty much everything is referenced. With real references. So, at worse, you can say Sutherland is misinterpreting or twisting the research. But she doesn’t seem to be just making it up or being unjustifiably offensive like others (*ahem* Penelope Leach *ahem*).

Most of it is straightforward: give your child lots of love and understanding. Be empathetic. Give them time, attention and cuddles. Don’t leave them to cry because you think it will do them some good and toughen them up. Nothing groundbreaking there.

She won be over by laying into baby DVDs. They’re nonsense. Don’t let your young children watch TV, regardless of what it is or how it markets itself as being good for them.

While it’s all good stuff, it remains to be seen how actionable it is, though. I would love to have initiate patience and give my daughter an endless stream of love. But, on the occasions when I do ignore her whining or become moody, it’s because I’m at the end of the very short string of calmness god gave me.

There are some very actionable things, though. Like long goodbyes, for example. A quick getaway is easier, but a long goodbye is better for your child because you don’t stress them out. I can afford to spend a few minutes getting Venla playing at daycare before dashing out of the door.

All in all, a good read for anyone on their way to becoming a parent, or anyone who as recently become one.

Mastering Bitcoin

Friday, December 8th, 2017 | Books

Mastering Bitcoin: Unlocking Digital Cryptocurrencies is a book by Andreas M. Antonopoulos.

It’s published by O’Reilly and the cover features leafcutter ants. They farm. I learnt that from the book. I also learnt some stuff about bitcoin.

It’s a book for programmers and techies. It says the first few chapters are suitable for everyone, and they are, but why you would buy an entire book for two quick chapters I am not sure. Everything is technical and there are code samples everywhere. If that’s your bag, this book might be perfect for you.

I took me an afternoon to read it. It’s not particularly short, but I glossed over a lot of the technical details and code samples. Partly because I am not looking for that level of detail yet, though also because it’s very difficult to understand, even for a programmer.

It is written in an engaging way with plenty of examples to illustrate how everything works. However, it is a technical book and you won’t find any information on how to use Bitcoin in the real world. But, if you want an understanding of bitcoin and the blockchain, this a good place to get it.

Triathlon For Beginners

Thursday, December 7th, 2017 | Books, Sport

Triathlon For Beginners: Everything you need to know about training, nutrition, kit, motivation, racing, and much more is a book by Dan Golding.

I was keen to read it to see how my current knowledge matched up. As it turns out, it matches up reasonably well. If you’ve been around the triathlon world for any amount of time, or done a few, you will probably know a lot of what is in the book.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting. Golding goes deeper into the science of each aspect so unless you really know your stuff, there is something to learn.

Take nutrition, for example. I knew we had around 90 minutes of glycogen. But, after that is gone, exactly how many kcals do I need to put in my body to keep going, and at what rate? Everyone is different, of course, but Golding provides a guide.

He also expounds on an important concept that books are picking up on more and more (including mine): you have to remind the reader that reading this book isn’t enough; they need to put it into practice, too.

How much this helps, I’m not sure. But the anecdotes about what happens probably do help. Between Golding’s recollection of being unable to get his wetsuit off, and my own experience of running out of T2 still wearing my cycling helmet, I think I’ll think I’ll be able to convince myself that transition practice is time well spent.

If you’re thinking about taking up triathlon, or you’re still in your first season, this book is worth reading.

Hairy Bikers Ride Again

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017 | Books, Food

The Hairy Bikers Ride Again is a cookbook by Dave Myers and Si King. They spend their time riding around the world on motorbikes, finding new recipes and cooking. And then distilling this into books and TV shows.

In this instalment, they go through India, Argentina and Morocco and Belgium.

Chorizo crumb fish

Spicy mash

It’s an okay cookbook. It’s not your usual type: it’s split between them talking about their travels and then there is a bunch of recipes. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing will come down to your personal preferences.

The recipes worked well. They felt a little safe but produced predictably nice food. Nothing has made it onto my “recipes to come back to” list, but both the vegetable and paneer curries are definitely close.

Announcing the Skeptic’s Guide to Pregnancy

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017 | Books, News

I’m pleased to announce the launch of my new book, Skeptic’s Guide to Pregnancy. Here is the blurb:

“Are you tired of reading pseudoscientific nonsense in pregnancy and parenthood books? If so, this book is for you. In it, author Chris Worfolk offers his frank assessment of preparing for parenthood with research references to back it up.

In this short book, you will find a mixture of cold hard, evidence-based facts, mixed with Worfolk’s brand of sarcastic humour and a collection of anecdotes to help you remember it.

Invest a few hours in reading this and avoid nine months of tedious and unnecessary planning, worrying and spending on things you don’t need. And, if all else fails, you will have enjoyed the ride.”

It has been two years in the writing as I have been documenting since we started Project Venla. This month, I’ve put the final touches to it. In some ways, it’s a victory for sunk cost fallacy. But I prefer to think of it as using Darren Hardy’s time/reward matrix.

In any case, it is officially out today and will be appearing in in eBook and print, via Amazon and iBooks, in the next few days.

ITCMC: The Book

Saturday, November 4th, 2017 | Books, News

My course, the IT Contracting Master Class, is now available in book form. Should you buy it? Probably not. It’s slightly cheaper than the course. Except that Udemy is usually discounting the course, making the book more expensive.

But, if you really hate the idea of getting the video lectures (which includes the eBook version of this book), you can buy the book stand alone on Amazon.

The Wizard of Ads

Saturday, August 12th, 2017 | Books

The Wizard of Ads: Turning Words into Magic and Dreamers into Millionaires is a book by Roy H. Williams.

My current series of blog posts is a clearing out and putting to bed of all the books I have half-finished. Typically, when I start a book, I finish it. But Napoleon’s Hill’s Think and Grow Rich has inspired me to give up on a bad book.

The Wizard of Ads is somewhat more interesting. But the trouble is that I have now read most of it and I am still not sure what it is about. I think it is about marketing and advertising. But the author jumps around so much that it is almost impossible to follow his chain of thought.

Indeed, there may be done. There is no real structure to the book. It is a collection of anecdotes that Williams thinks will be useful to marketers.

And they are. There is a lot of gems to be gleaned from this book. Including:

  • People are always thinking: get their attention by giving them someone more interesting.
  • Don’t train your customers to wait for a sale
  • Tell a customer what they already know or suspect. They will believe you.
  • Save people time, not money.
  • Great presentation will cause people to buy emotionally.
  • Make people feel good, don’t point out problems.

But the lack of structure of clear theme to the book making the whole thing rambling and confusing. The religious references also get tedious.

The most controversial aspect of the book is probably that Williams rejects targeting and sales it is all in the copy. This goes against what most marketers teach. Indeed, it even goes against what Gary Halbert teaches in The Boron Letters: “more than anything, give me a list of qualified buyers”.

It does have a fun title, though.

Think and Grow Rich

Monday, August 7th, 2017 | Books

Think and Grow Rich is a self-improvement book, written by Napoleon Hill and published in 1937.

In it, he sets out 16 “laws” (and yes, the quote marks are there on Wikipedia, too) on achieving success. The book certainly did do that: it has sold over 100 million copies and best of all, it is a super simple formula to follow: think positive and you will soon be drowning in money.

Unfortunately, Hill seems to have been unable to apply the principles to his personal life. He frequently ran out of cash and was forced to take up touring the United States lecturing again. Most of his business ventures went south.

It’s almost as if you can’t just think and grow rich.

Though I must confess, I didn’t even make it half way through the book. Maybe all of the pearls of wisdom are hidden in the second half. Or I’m too negative a person to see the ones right in front of me. But, either way, I think there are perhaps more practical books I could spend my time reading.

The Book Thief

Sunday, August 6th, 2017 | Books

I confess that I have not fared well with Markus Zusak’s novel The Book Thief.

It is certainly a well-written book and interesting story. Who doesn’t love death as a narrator? However, it has not captivated me. Half way through I found that my reading simply stagnated and I did not get any further.

I’m just not that excited to find out how it ends. And, well, I kind of know that already, because it’s included in the story. No doubt there were some exciting twists to come. But I shall never know.