April has been a fairly quiet month. I’ve spent a lot of time working on code for a client, celebrated my birthday, started Chinese Beginners 2 at the Confucius Institute, and taken a trip to Inverness for a friends wedding.
I took a walk up into the Pentlands over Allemuir Hill for the first time. A great and quick getaway from central Edinburgh:
As part of my New Year’s Resolution to swim outside I went to the first Foxlake Open Water Swim out near Dunbar. I’ll hopefully be attending a few more of their Tuesday evening sessions. Learning to swim in a buoyant wetsuit was an interesting experience!
I’m looking forward to May: wrapping up and launching the next phase of a project for a client, running the Hackney Half Marathon (and maybe the Kirkcudbright 10km), and seeing good friends.
Reading and Learning
I read two short books around building focused businesses: Company of One by Paul Jarvis and It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. Both of these I put into the category of short books with a few thinking points - a kick to be more mindful of what you are doing.
I also read The Chinese Machiavelli: 3000 Years of Chinese Statecraft by Ching Ping Bloodworth. It’s a broad brush tour through Chinese history and strategy, more of a ‘taste’ than delving into any detail, but an entertaining read.
Lastly I fired through National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy by Roger Eatwell and Matthrew Goodwin, in an attempt to get a better understanding of the forces that are shaping our current political environment. I’ve queued up “Whiteshift” by Eric Kauffmann for next month, and would be keen to hear recommendations for further reading on this topic.
And a selection of articles that I have read and clipped in the past month (in no particular order):
- The Peter Principle Tested by Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution. Promotion until you are doing a job you are no longer good at: the idea here is that you need to design better incentives than simply promoting people to management.
- Understanding Rent Control - from a blog on Seattle City Council. I’m interested in this issue at the Green Party in Edinburgh are proposing rent measures for our city.
- Red Dead Redemption 2: six months later. Contains Spoilers. An excellent read on game design, storytelling and reality. Articulates some of the feelings that I have had whilst playing over the last month or two.
- Condorcet’s Brexit by Pierre Lemieux. Maths and voting. Related: Structural causes of the radicalisation of Brexit by Will Bott.
- Either/Or - Sports, sex, and the case of Caster Semenya by Ariel Levy in the New Yorker.
- Defending Democracies Against Information Attacks by Bruce Schneier
- The Racial Bias Built into Photography by Sarah Lewis in the New York Times. See also Wet Plate Photography Makes Tattoos Disappear.
- Could inflammation be the cause of myriad chronic conditions? by Jonathan Shaw in Harvard Magazine
- Building China: Why Does Chinese Architecture Favor Enclosure Over Openness? by Lauren Teixeira at RadiiChina
- Great developers are raised, not hired by Eduards Sizovs
- Guilt by Adjacency by Meghan Daum. We need better ways of thinking around this topic as we become hyper-connected.
- How Poor Public Transport Explains the UK’s productivity puzzle by Tom Forth. Looking at transport time in Birmingham, revising the idea of the ‘size’ of a city.