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Ilya Grigorik "igrigorik" RSS Feed (San Francisco, CA, USA)

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The War of Art
The War of Art
Price: $7.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Advice that everyone needs to be reminded of every so often., December 20, 2014
This review is from: The War of Art (Kindle Edition)
"Inspiration is for amateurs -- the rest of us just show up and get to work" - Chuck Close.

Chuck nailed it and Pressfield provides the extended tour of how to overcome the everyday resistance: procrastination, self-doubt, and rationalization. You can't wait for the muse; most days you simply need to show up and put in the hours; big things are accomplished in small steps; and the right day to start is today. Great practical advice that everyone needs to be reminded of every so often.


The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death
The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death
by Colson Whitehead
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.96
73 used & new from $10.00

3.0 out of 5 stars A good satire., December 20, 2014
An entertaining read. It'll make you laugh and it'll make you cringe, but one thing it won't do is teach you anything about the game of poker -- that said, perhaps that's not the point of the book. If you're looking for a good satire and a good laugh, it's a good read.


Bulletproof SSL and TLS: Understanding and Deploying SSL/TLS and PKI to Secure Servers and Web Applications
Bulletproof SSL and TLS: Understanding and Deploying SSL/TLS and PKI to Secure Servers and Web Applications
by Ivan Ristic
Edition: Paperback
Price: $51.15
21 used & new from $51.15

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read book for developers, administrators, and security folks., November 29, 2014
Comprehensive, thorough, and an engaging book -- a rare combination, especially for a field that is mired in jargon and subtle but critical technical insights. Imagine sitting down with an expert for a (long) cup of coffee, and getting and end-to-end story on SSL/TLS: the history of the protocol, how it works, what all the options mean, attacks and mitigations, performance and security best practices, and more. Best of all, everything is explained in approachable english, with lots of examples, citations, and tips.

If you've ever ran the Qualys SSL Test on your site (if you haven't, definitely give it a try), and felt overwhelmed by all the output, then this book is the explainer you've been looking for. By the time you're done, you'll know what all the checks are, why the tool is recommending particular configurations, and how you can go about addressing them on your servers.

The future of the internet is TLS everywhere, and this is a must read guide for developers, administrators, and security folks alike.


Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
by Jeff Sutherland
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.45
60 used & new from $11.94

5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone who wants to improve their team performance, November 29, 2014
Looking for ways to improve your product development cycle? That is, deliver better products, faster, and with smaller budgets? Then you should definitely consider introducing some (or all) of the SCRUM best practices to your team: quick iterative development, direct customer feedback and focus on delivering value instead of meeting requirements of abstract specifications, team retrospectives, and more.

At its core, SCRUM is a deceptively simple concept: determine a small backlog of most valuable work, commit to it, execute it, get feedback on the product and the development process, and rinse, lather, and repeat. This book provides a perspective on how SCRUM came to be, why it works the way it does, and how it has benefited numerous teams across different industries.


The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
by Walter Isaacson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.00
81 used & new from $11.63

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read history of computing., November 9, 2014
A thorough, well-researched, approachable, and an entertaining history of computing starting with Babbage and ending with modern Internet? It may sound like an impossible task, but Walter Isaacson delivers again. This is a gem of a book that threads a common story between all the major innovations: programming, transistors, chips, software, graphics, desktop computers, and the Internet.

You'll learn about the people (and companies) behind each innovation, the insights that lead to each innovation, and how each of them enabled the next wave of inventors and entrepreneurs. And while you're at it, you'll be treated to plenty of fun anecdotes, character sketches, and interviews - both a highly educational and an entertaining read.


What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars (Columbia Business School Publishing)
What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars (Columbia Business School Publishing)
by Brendan Moynihan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.02
49 used & new from $16.64

5.0 out of 5 stars The secret is... control the downside, the rest will follow., November 9, 2014
Once we've made the investment, we all fall for the same follies: we filter out unwanted viewpoints, we convince ourselves of our own insights, we "double down", we become averse to accept losses, we take risks which we otherwise would have never accepted, ..., and eventually we all find the bottom.

So, how do the "great traders" differ? As the author points out, it's not in how they identify the upside, but rather, in how they methodically deal with the downside: they limit their losses upfront, they walk in with preparation and a clear plan of action, and they don't deviate based on their whims or "gut feel". In short, great traders do their homework upfront and then follow through on the plan -- losses still happen, but those losses don't wipe them out.

A short, fun, and an illuminating read.


Thinking, Fast and Slow
Thinking, Fast and Slow
by Daniel Kahneman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.30
184 used & new from $4.59

5.0 out of 5 stars A foundation for designing better memories, experiences, ... and everything else around us., November 9, 2014
You can replace the vast majority of business and psychology books with just one - this one. "Thinking Fast and Slow" lays out a framework that explains why and how we make our choices, the reasons behind them, and their impact on our everyday business and personal lives.

Reviewing this book may be an impossible task, but I'll highlight one particular section from the author himself: "I often cringe when my work with Amos is credited with demonstrating that human choices are irrational, when in fact our research only showed that humans are not well described by the rational-agent model... An 'econ' would not be susceptible to priming, WYSIATI, narrowing frame, the inside view, and preference reversals that humans cannot consistently avoid."

This is an important distinction. Yes, the book explains how and why our decision making often fails the rational ("econ") model, but rational decision making is not the end goal. We're not built like that; we can't consistently live up to that bar, and that's OK. Instead, while we should seek to set up systems where we can detect and correct for these mishaps, we should also design and celebrate these "deficiencies" - not all of them are an illness that need (or ought) to be cured.

A must read.


A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas
A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas
by Warren Berger
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.71
48 used & new from $14.61

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The art of asking great questions..., October 27, 2014
"The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge." - Thomas Berger

The ideas covered in this book are not new. That said, Warren Berger provides a nice overview of the research, stories, and recommendations into the value, art and practice of asking (and living with) effective questions. For example, a simple insight like prefacing your question with "how could we ...", is worth its weight in gold for helping drive more effective conversations both at work and in your personal life.

If you need a good overview on the topic, this is a great book. If you're already comfortable with the "why", it'll provide plenty of great tips for how to improve your questions. Otherwise, if you haven't picked up the "why habit" just yet, it is bound to make you pause and at least ponder the question - why not?


The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life
The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life
by Chris Guillebeau
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.37
107 used & new from $4.53

4.0 out of 5 stars A quest is a way to 'level up' your personal life, October 19, 2014
You don't pursue happiness, you find happiness in the pursuit. And what do you pursue? Well, that's where it gets interesting because everyone is different: social work, spending time with your family, scaling mountains, cooking a great meal, solving a hard puzzle at work, ... In short, you find happiness when you are engaged in a meaningful challenge, or adventure - a quest.

What makes a good quest? It has a clear goal, a set of intermediate milestones, it imposes creative constraints, and most importantly, it is a personal journey where the reward is in the pursuit.

"The Happiness of Pursuit" provides a collection of stories about few dozen personal quests - travel around the world, make 10,000 hats, cook a meal from every country, and so on. It's an inspiring read, but ironically it still spends most of the time on the end goal - aka, how do you find a quest - instead of focusing on the pursuit and what makes it worthwhile.

A quest doesn't have to be a large and long-term challenge, it doesn't have to upend your entire lifestyle, or force you to switch jobs. A good quest can be as big or small as you want, as long as its meaningful, measurable, and has an end goal. It would have been great to see more examples, and a framework, for how to identify such quests.

In absence of that, my personal takeaway: a quest is a meaningful challenge or adventure, that has a clear goal, and a set of milestones along the way. A good quest imposes creative constraints and provides a framework that makes it both more meaningful, challenging, and interesting to pursue - a good quest is remarkable. A good quest is measurable and allows you to estimate and document progress, and has a clear and defined end goal. A good quest is a journey and the reward is in the pursuit, not (just) the destination.


Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
by Peter A. Thiel
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.20
81 used & new from $10.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for every entrepreneur, October 15, 2014
The process of going from "zero to one" - idea to a successful product with a unique and long-term perspective - is a qualitatively different process than going from one to many (scaling the product, wringing out efficiencies, etc). This book, as the title implies, is all about that first step: how do you find the right idea, how do you identify and measure the market, how do you find and identify the right people, and so on. Each with a good dose of contrarian perspective, hands-on advice, and illuminating stories from the field.

A refreshing and thought-provoking read that is guaranteed to challenge your assumptions and beliefs about startups, competition, economics, and more. You may disagree with many of them, but you can't blame Peter Thiel from shunning away from taking a contrarian perspective. A book every entrepreneur should read - consider it as homework.


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