this was 2017

No, this is not another lame attempt to predict the future (although it worked out remarkably well). Instead it is about my personal challenge for 2017, following in the footsteps of Mark Zuckerberg.
But I am not as smart as he is, so my goals for 2017 are much more modest: Read 12 books, write 12 computer programs (*), work through 12 physics papers.
I will probably report on my progress throughout the year on this blog, but there is one problem with books: I would like to read good books, but how do I know a good one before I read it?
Perhaps I may pick one from Bloomberg's list of five books to change a conservative's mind, because I am actually worried of becoming too conservative.
But I am also counting on you! Please let me know of any good book you think I should read.


I think I am all set for the beginning of the New Year now.

January book: Masters of Doom
program: Use PhoneGap to make a simple iPhone app.
physics: The instability of AdS and the formation of naked singularities.

February book: Thinking, Fast and Slow
program: Install h2o in R and write a script using randomForest.
physics: A new test of Lorentz invariance.

March book: A Man for All Markets
program: Write a python script using astroPy.
physics: Naturalness of asymptotically safe Higgs.

(*) I am writing programs at work, currently mostly C++, R and python, which I do not include here. And I am reading more books and papers than listed here.

other books to read:
The Maisky Diaries
Hit Makers
The Internet is Not the answer
Deep Work
The Making of the President


CapitalistImperialistPig said...

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and ReligionFeb 12, 2013
by Jonathan Haidt:

Lee said...

It's really hard to recommend books to somebody else. I liked "The Secret to Our Success."

I felt that his premise probably contains a large kernel of truth.

I suspect that anything Cosma has recommended is worth reading.

dino said...

five titles (plus one): Bad Science (Goldacre), Masters of Doom (Kushner), Open (Agassi), Do not harm (Marsh), Thinking fast and slow (Kahneman), Guns Germs and Steel (Diamond).

wolfgang said...

Thanks guys! Please keep em coming ...

wolfgang said...

Judging by quick Amazon browsing I may have to read all of them ...
... but Masters of Doom could be the one for January.

Lee said...

I don't know if you like biographies but below are a few I liked.

"The Recollections of Eugene P. Wigner" by Andrew Szanton

"Lise Meitner: A Life in Science" by Ruth Sime

"The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac" by Graham Farmelo

"Schrödinger: Life and Thought" by Walter Moore - Think you've already read this.

"QED and the Men Who Made It" by Silvan Schwerber - The contributions of Dyson, Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga to QED from a physicist's point of view. I think it is the best thing you can get on the history of QED.

It's been a while since I've read any of these, but they evidently made a big enough impression on me to remember them.

wolfgang said...

Again, thanks for the recommendations!

Btw the best biography I ever read about a physicist was "The last Sorcerer" (about Newton).
It really changed how I viewed him and the development of classical physics.

Lee said...

I thought it was a very good biography too. I remember after reading it you thought the execution of Chaloner was indicative of Newton's cruelty. I think the execution and manner of execution were just indicative of the societal norm of the day.

Anyway, of the biographies I listed, I recommend Wigner's the most. I think his recollections tell a great story and provide a lot of insight into the personalities of his contemporaries.

wolfgang said...

Btw while I was looking for some physics to read in Jan. , I came across Adrian Kent's paper quanta and qualia. It looks interesting, but in the end I decided to pick something more "real" ...

Lee said...

Thanks for the link!

Lee said...

I'm kind of curious as to what made you decide to change February's book?

wolfgang said...

Lee said...

I'd like to know what you think of it when you're finished. I thought it was a pretty good book, but I didn't find a lot that was new or useful to me. That's probably the fault of the reader though and not the author.