What We Are Reading Today: Along Came Google: A History of Library Digitization

What We Are Reading Today: Along Came Google: A History of Library Digitization
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Updated 24 September 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Along Came Google: A History of Library Digitization

What We Are Reading Today: Along Came Google: A History of Library Digitization

Authors: Deanna Marcum and Roger C. Schonfeld

Libraries have long talked about providing comprehensive access to information for everyone. But when Google announced in 2004 that it planned to digitize books to make the world’s knowledge accessible to all, questions were raised about the roles and responsibilities of libraries, the rights of authors and publishers, and whether a powerful corporation should be the conveyor of such a fundamental public good. Along Came Google traces the history of Google’s book digitization project and its implications for us today.
Deanna Marcum and Roger Schonfeld draw on in-depth interviews with those who both embraced and resisted Google’s plans, from librarians and technologists to university leaders, tech executives, and the heads of leading publishing houses. They look at earlier digital initiatives to provide open access to knowledge,
and describe how Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page made the case for a universal digital library and drew on their company’s considerable financial resources to make it a reality.


What We Are Reading Today: Alarums and Excursions by Luuk van Middelaar

What We Are Reading Today: Alarums and Excursions by Luuk van Middelaar
Updated 29 November 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Alarums and Excursions by Luuk van Middelaar

What We Are Reading Today: Alarums and Excursions by Luuk van Middelaar

Crisis after crisis has beset the EU in recent years – Greek sovereign debt, Russian annexation of Crimea, unprecedented levels of migration, and the turmoil created by Brexit.

In this candid and revealing portrayal of a Europe improvising its way through a politics of events and not rules, Luuk van Middelaar makes sense of the EU’s political metamorphosis over its past 10 years of crisis management, according to the review on goodreads.com. Forced into action by a tidal wave of emergencies, Van Middelaar shows how Europe has had to reinvent itself by casting off its legal straitjacket and confronting hard issues of power, territorial borders and public authority.


What We Are Reading Today: Atomic Habits

What We Are Reading Today: Atomic Habits
Updated 28 November 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Atomic Habits

What We Are Reading Today: Atomic Habits
  • Readers are offered tools and strategies to transform daily habits, and can learn how to make time for new habits, improve motivation and design the environment to make success easier

No matter whether your goals are small or big, “Atomic Habits” offers a proven framework for improvement every day.
James Clear, an expert on habit formation, reveals practical strategies to establish good habits and break bad ones by taking daily small steps.
He combines ideas from biology, psychology and neuroscience to create an easy guide for developing producive habits.
Readers will enjoy stories from Olympic gold medalists, award-winning artists, business leaders and comedians
who have used the science of small habits to master their craft.
The book will help readers understand the difference between systems and goals, progress and success — and why, sometimes, one is more important than the other.
Readers are offered tools and strategies to transform daily habits, and can learn how to make time for new habits, improve motivation and design the environment to make success easier.
Clear explains his strategy to develop good habits through a four-step pattern — cue, craving, response and reward — and encourages readers to use a habit tracker as an enjoyable way to measure their progress.


What We Are Reading Today: The Lessons of Tragedy

What We Are Reading Today: The Lessons of Tragedy
Updated 28 November 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Lessons of Tragedy

What We Are Reading Today: The Lessons of Tragedy

Authors: Hal Brands and Charles Edel

Today, after more than seventy years of great‑power peace and a quarter‑century of unrivaled global leadership, Americans have lost their sense of tragedy. They have forgotten that the descent into violence and war has been all too common throughout human history. This amnesia has become most pronounced just as Americans and the global order they created are coming under graver threat than at any time in decades.
In this book, Hal Brands and Charles Edel argue that a tragic sensibility is necessary if America and its allies are to address the dangers that menace the international order today, according to a review on goodreads.com.


What We Are Reading Today: Calling Philosophers Names by Christopher Moore

What We Are Reading Today: Calling Philosophers Names by Christopher  Moore
Updated 27 November 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Calling Philosophers Names by Christopher Moore

What We Are Reading Today: Calling Philosophers Names by Christopher  Moore

Calling Philosophers Names provides a groundbreaking account of the origins of the term philosophos or “philosopher” in ancient Greece. Tracing the evolution of the word’s meaning over its first two centuries, Christopher Moore shows how it first referred to aspiring political sages and advice-givers, then to avid conversationalists about virtue, and finally to investigators who focused on the scope and conditions of those conversations. Questioning the familiar view that philosophers from the beginning “loved wisdom” or merely “cultivated their intellect,” Moore shows that they were instead mocked as laughably unrealistic for thinking that their incessant talking and study would earn them social status or political and moral authority.
Taking a new approach to the history of early Greek philosophy, Calling Philosophers Names seeks to understand who were called philosophoi or “philosophers” and why, and how the use of and reflections on the word contributed to the rise of a discipline.


What We Are Reading Today: The Discrete Charm of the Machine by Ken Steiglitz

What We Are Reading Today: The Discrete Charm of the Machine by Ken Steiglitz
Updated 26 November 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Discrete Charm of the Machine by Ken Steiglitz

What We Are Reading Today: The Discrete Charm of the Machine by Ken Steiglitz

A few short decades ago, we were informed by the smooth signals of analog television and radio; we communicated using our analog telephones; and we even computed with analog computers. Today our world is digital, built with zeros and ones. Why did this revolution occur? The Discrete Charm of the Machine explains, in an engaging and accessible manner, the varied physical and logical reasons behind this radical transformation.
The spark of individual genius shines through this story of innovation: The stored program of Jacquard’s loom; Charles Babbage’s logical branching; Alan Turing’s brilliant abstraction of the discrete machine; Harry Nyquist’s foundation for digital signal processing; Claude Shannon’s breakthrough insights into the meaning of information and bandwidth; and Richard Feynman’s prescient proposals for nanotechnology and quantum computing. Ken Steiglitz follows the progression of these ideas in the building of our digital world, from the internet and artificial intelligence to the edge of the unknown.