What I'm Reading

Forrest Christian Reviews - Books Leave a Comment

I noticed that I did not actually say what I was reading these days in my prior posting asking you for your list. My stack includes:

My wife has a stack for me to read that are Great Novels, but I’ve been trying to plow through Moby Dick and War and Peace for years now. Both those books suffer from being essential two different books smashed together in one binding. I guess I like my commentary embedded more in my story.

Up next is probably Amity Shales’s book on the Great Depression, although Scott Reynolds Nelson has made the point that the “real” great depression was the panic of 1873.

I’m reading a lot about panics and economic data. Did you know that they publish all this stuff? The Index of Leading Economic Indicators seems to be some guys with an old paper model running the numbers published by the Feds in a Visicalc spreadsheet, but it seems like you can get all of the underlying data. Which is just amazing. Unfortunately, it’s in a rotten set of formats — a lot of PDF reports. Still, it’s amazing. I love the Internet. I don’t care if Google is making me stoopid (heaven knows that it’s made Carr dumb). I love being able to have all these numbers easily accessible from my small city in northern Indiana.

Getting historical data (pre-1928) is harder but doable online. Plus, you can always walk down to the local library where a reference librarian will faint when you ask to see the print copies of the Readers Guide. They get so few interesting requests these days that when you come in there to actually put them to work they can’t help you enough. I love librarians! The keys to all knowledge, including most rumors within corporations. I love even more that most people think that they’re idiots because I don’t have to worry about sharing my invaluable sources inside the company.

I’m finishing up the Secret Rules of Career Success website (now in beta) so I’ve been reading a lot of material about web applications again. I’m still convinced that the Semantic Web is going to provide an amazing new element. It won’t replace the “informationy” searches of Google et al. but it will provide an entirely different way of looking at the world of documents and data. No, I’m not putting up a semantic web application. At least, not just yet.

I do recommend Greybox (“A pop-up window that doesn’t suck”) and LightWindow (“Check out the ultimate light-‘whatever'”) when you have to do these types of things.

I’ve also been reading Robert Middleton’s books on marketing for independent professionals. Good stuff, it seems.

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