Week 11 of 2017

TDD by example by Kent Beck:

TDD as a methodology has been around for a while, some people like it, some admit it’s nice but don’t use it. In this book, there’s an effort to explain it with a lot of practical coding samples.

The piece of theory provided is – red, green, refactor. That means to run the tests first and make them fail, then to run them to pass, then to refactor code to prettify it. And so on.

The author mentions about the psychological aspect of testing, which means in addition to saving the time, if you cover the code with tests, you feel more confident about it and less stressed.

Also, tons of code samples and explaining his thoughts while writing the code makes the book better, because you could touch some practice before trying it up.

In general, I can say, I liked the book, it’s a good one.

Человек-оружие by Шлахтер:

This book is about fighting and how to fight. But the thing is – considering fighting, there’re a lot of aspects of it and the author talks only about psychology of a fight. He says, the key to win is to have you mind set up to hurt or to kill the opponent. There’re examples provided.

Also, he compares all the people to sheep, wolves and dogs. According to him, most people are the sheep to serve the society and moral values are to manipulate the sheep and make them timid.

The dogs are the policemen barking and handling the flock. Guys who don’t give a fuck about the society, who aren’t afraid to break the law are, in his classification, the wolves.

Also, he mentions that he’s a great master of martial arts or something like that. I got curious and decided to check it out. When I googled his name, I didn’t find any mentions or proofs of his superiority as a fighter, except a link to his site or blog, where he seems to sell bunch of courses about networking and other stuff.

After finding it out, I quit reading the book, because, imho, he’s one of the many teachers, gurus, who’d like to sell your courses about anything – fighting, writing, storytelling, networking, pickup etc, but who can’t show you any proofs that they know what they’re talking about. Like a Chinese woman who wrote bunch of books about how to be happy and then commited a suicide. Or many, many other people, who don’t have any real business or financial experience, but would like to teach you how to manage a company or which stocks you should be investing into.

That’s bullshit. If a guy never wrote a piece of code, it sounds silly to see him, teaching you Java, for example.

So, I doubt, the guy ever had time to become a “great master” in fighting as he claims, he’s, since he’s so concerned with shipping new courses about different things all the time.

So, I didn’t like the book.

Апгрейд обезьяны by Никонов

When I was in a college, we had a philosophy class, and there was a brief description of an early type of positivism. It mentioned, the positivists, basically, built a system which explained how the world works in a different way, that metaphysics did – by bundling up scientific knowledge and presenting it as the philosophy system.

So, it’s basically, what the book is about. The author mixed up scientific knowledge from different areas and talked about how he thinks, the world functions. Also, he criticized religions a lot etc.

It could be a really good book, showing and teaching basics of rational thinking if I was 16. But now, I see some disadvantages of such approach.

For example, he was talking about how human civilization is petroleum based. Then he mentioned how it’d be catastrophic if humans ran out of petroleum. Then he talks about some Russian scientist who suggested some new source of petroleum and how he’s an unrecognized genius. I looked him up on wiki. It really mentioned the contribution, but also, that later he was criticized by the collegues a lot who proved he was wrong.

So, one issue with bundling together some scientific knowledge is that the knowledge changes, models describing the world evolve, so even in few years the things you saying might become outdated and proved to be wrong.

Instead, I agree with people who think that philosophy in general should be less concerned with the trees but more with the forest, providing some kind of strategical view on the world beyound where the science could reach.

Also, another issue with popular science is general and certain types of books is that popular science simplifies everything. From what it seems to an outsides like me, physics revolves around applying math models, so when there’s a popular science simplification, it misses the main part and briefly introduces you to the conclusions which will probably chagne a lot in the future. It doesn’t teach how to think scientifically, it doesn’t even encourage to learn math or anything. So, it’s just useless fluff – blah blah blah – there’re black holes, blah blah blah, gravity and general relativity. It’s a “weak” knowledge.

I dropped the book without finishing it. Not my type of reading. Although, it can be useful as an introduction to rationalism and critical thinking.

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