Tag: Basic

Malcolm Gladwell – David & Goliath | Review

Title: David & Goliath

Author: Malcolm Gladwell

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 308

Rating: 3/5

I usually enjoy reading Malcolm Gladwell’s stuff, but this one was a little bit of a disappointment. I think the problem was that it was just far too basic – it basically shares a simple idea in a couple of pages and then spends the remaining 300 pages to give a bunch of examples. By about halfway through, I was thinking about DNFing it, but I stuck with it. I’m not sure whether I’m glad or not.

Basically, the idea is that it’s often the underdog who comes out on top, because they’re able to be more nimble and to use that to give them a competitive advantage. We see this in the story of David vs Goliath, although Gladwell argues that David was always the likely winner because he had a sling and Goliath was wearing heavy, cumbersome armour. He had no chance of getting close to David in the first place.

Then he talks at length about all sorts of different organisations, from the classic examples like Apple and Google to more obscure examples, such as the guy who campaigned for the three strikes law in California. It turns out that while the idea of harsher punishments might be a smart one, it just doesn’t really work in practice.

Overall, would I recommend this? Nah, I would not. It’s not that it’s terrible, it’s just pretty boring and not Gladwell’s best by a long shot. I’d recommend something like Blink instead. I still intend to read all of his books at some point, but it might take me a little longer to get to them now. He’s gone down a lot in my esteem and that’s a bit of a bummer. But it is what it is.

Learn more about David & Goliath.

 


Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter – The Long Mars | Review

Title: The Long Mars

Author: Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 448

Rating 3.5/5

 

 

By now, we’re up to book three of five in this series, and while I do think that the first book was incredible, it’s struggled to live up to the same high standard as the series has continued. We’re helped by the fact that the basic idea behind the story is pretty good and so it’s fun to watch the authors investigate.

In the first of these books, we follow what happens when stepping, a sort of new technology, is unleashed on the unsuspecting population of the world that we live in. With stepper boxes, people can hop from our world to a sort of adjacent parallel world, and that opens up whole new horizons when it comes to exploration.

The last two books have focused mainly on what’s been happening on our world, but in this one we see what happens when some explorers from a version of the earth near the Gap decide to head for Mars. Once there, they discover that you can hop between worlds on Mars too, and that opens up an entirely new type of exploration.

 

 

These books tend to take it pretty easy when it comes to the plot, and so sometimes it can feel as though the plot is dragging as you’re waiting for things to happen. In the first one, I quite liked that because I was having a lot of fun looking at all of the underlying science and the other ideas that it had in it. The problem is that the more time goes on, the more I kind of want the plot to accelerate.

Still, there’s plenty of good stuff here, and I’ll be continuing on with the last two books in the series and maybe even finishing the series by the end of the month. I just think that the series set itself up for a fall because the first book was so good, and the vibe that I’m getting so far is that pretty much everyone should give The Long Earth a go and then only the people who really enjoy that should keep going.

All in all then, I am of course glad that I read this, but at the same time I can appreciate that it’s not for everyone. Still, if you’ve read the first two books and you were thinking about continuing, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t. And it didn’t even end on a crazy cliffhanger like the first two did, so it has that going for it too. And that’s it.

 

 

Click here to buy The Long Mars.