Just Mercy

Sunday, July 26 2020

On a recent episode of Amanpour & Co, a public affairs series which airs on PBS in the United States, Walter Isaacson hosted Bryan Stevenson for an interview conducted over video chat. Isaacson began by asking Stevenson what he felt after watching the video of George Floyd being murdered in broad daylight by a police officer. Stevenson's response was succinct: "frustration and anger". There has be...

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Digital Minimalism

Saturday, May 30 2020

In 1886, German architect Mies van der Rohe famously declared that "less is more". In 2019, not to be outdone, American entertainer MattySmokes420 responded with: "like and subscribe for more great content!" Both men make compelling arguments, but I'm starting to think that less is becoming a more important option in this Age of Great Content we've found ourselves in. Mies van der Rohe was a pione...

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Kafka and The Search For Meaning

Sunday, May 10 2020

Reading Kafka was not the easiest. His writing was often difficult to parse and understand. I got lost sometimes; trying to maintain a grip on the details while also trying to understand the meaning of the story. Meaning is a tricky concept, in literature and in life. The search for meaning is a ubiquitous aspect of our humanity, yet it is also unique to each individual. Because of this, its hard ...

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The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

Friday, March 13 2020

I think we are in times of rapid change in all aspects of modern human life. Google was founded 20 years ago, the first iPhone was released just 13 years ago, and Instagram launched only 9 years ago — yet these tools and services have already revolutionized the daily lives of billions of people. Despite this widespread adoption, it feels to me like we are still in the infant stages, at least psych...

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Sunday, December 15 2019

I did an internship after I finished the 3rd year of college. This opportunity was optional in the engineering program I was in - 12 to 16 months of real workplace experience before the final year of your degree. For myself, this was going to be my first "professional" job - in an office environment with dress shirts, cubicles, lunch rooms, regular work hours...all that jazz. Leading up to it, I r...

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Wednesday, September 4 2019

One thing I look for in fiction novels is the chance to use a personal perspective to understand a complicated issue. It is one thing to read about topics like aboriginal culture, psychiatric hospitals, PTSD, behaviorism...but to experience these concepts through the intimate medium of literature begets a unique understanding. I know it's been said many times before, but I wholeheartedly agree tha...

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Silent Spring

Sunday, July 21 2019

My latest read was Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. Originally published in 1962, Silent Spring is considered to be one of the most influential books of the 20th century as it launched a massive public outcry against pesticides and their destructive effects on the environment. The book catalyzed the environmental movement against the use of dangerous chemicals like DDT, which led to its eventual ba...

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The Innovators

Sunday, June 16 2019

I first heard about The Innovators online, and it sounded quite interesting. The author, Walter Isaacson, is a prominent non-fiction writer and is known for his excellent biographies, including a bestseller about Steve Jobs. I found Steve Jobs to be engrossing and really character focussed. It managed to be "encyclopedic" in that it covered all the important events of Job's life, but I think the m...

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Sunday, May 19 2019

1Q84 is a fictional novel published as three separate parts from 2009 to 2011. It is the work of acclaimed Japanese author Haruki Murakami, written in Japanese and translated into English by Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel. The only other work of Haruki Murakami that I've ever read, or rather listened to, was an audio-book for his semi-biographical treatise on running called "What I talk about when I...

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The Myth of Sisyphus

Saturday, May 4 2019

The Myth of Sisyphus begins, earnestly, with a very simple question: why don't we just all kill ourselves? Although Albert Camus phrases it a little more eloquently, he nonetheless is quite serious that it is a question of utmost importance. The rationale is rooted within a very fundamental truth about existence that Camus believes: life has no meaning; no absolute, clear meaning that could ever b...

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Saturday, August 25 2018

1984 is probably the most well known book I've written a review for so far. It is a classic novel, published in 1948 by George Orwell, and it is considered one of the best and most important books of the 20th century. Most would say 1984 falls into the genre of political fiction; it presents a dystopian future where an authoritarian and totalitarian government has taken control of the Western worl...

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Red Sorghum

Thursday, August 2 2018

Red Sorghum is a Chinese novel written by Guan Moye, a Nobel Prize winning author better known by his pen-name Mo Yan, which means "Don't speak". Moye explained that this name eludes to the advice his parents gave him while growing up. When Moye was growing up, it was considered unwise to speak one's mind in public, especially anything which could be considered anti-government, amidst the politica...

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12 Days in China

Thursday, July 5 2018

Just left the airport; Beijing decided to welcome us with a humid 33°C evening, apparently the hottest day of the month so far. Richard and I are being driven through Monday's rush hour traffic courtesy of Richard's Uncle and his Audi A4. I notice the hazy red sun disappearing and reappearing between the mostly grey buildings as we drive along. It looks cloudy and distant, I wonder for the first t...

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Monday, June 25 2018

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao was written by Junot Diaz. It follows the life of Oscar De Leon, an overweight Dominican kid living in New Jersey, growing up in the 80's. The story is narrated by a mysterious voice who seems personally familiar with the De Leon family, and is eventually revealed to be a character in the story; providing an opinionated and emotional voice through which the ev...

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12 Rules for Life

Monday, June 25 2018

I had never heard of Dr. Jordan Peterson just four months ago. Although there's a chance I might have seen his name last year when he was making headlines for his remarks on Bill C-16, legislation intended to amend the Canadian Human Rights act so that concepts of gender identity and gender expression would become protected grounds for Canadians, and any discrimination or hate speech involving th...

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Friday, March 23 2018

Isaac Asimov is one of the most well known science fiction authors of all time. The period in which he wrote became known as the golden age of science fiction, due to the quality and progressiveness of his novels, along with the work of a few other renowned authors: John W. Campbell, Kurt Vonnegut, and Robert A. Heinlein to name a few....

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Everything and More

Saturday, March 3 2018

Everything and More is a non-fiction novel about the history and understanding of infinity in mathematics. It is written by renowned post-modern novelist David Foster Wallace, the author of two novels I've previously read: Infinite Jest and The Pale King. Everything and More was part of a series of novels about science and mathematics, commissioned by the publisher, W.W Norton, called "Great Disco...

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The Alchemist and Siddhartha

Saturday, January 27 2018

I just finished The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, a Brazilian writer most known for said book after it became an international hit. After receiving a modest level of acclaim in his home country of Brazil, it was translated into English and picked up by an American publisher. Its popularity grew significantly after receiving endorsements by several notable figures, including the President at the time ...

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A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age

Monday, January 22 2018

A willingness to learn and understand how the world around you works is important, not only because of the personal benefit you gain, but also because it is a sign of respect to those whose ideas and effort built the world around us. I don't mean to say we should strive for complete understanding of every technology that we use in our daily lives, as this is impossible. However, it is not an under...

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The Pale King

Sunday, December 17 2017

The Pale King was a posthumously released novel and the last work to be published under David Foster Wallace's name. It was released in 2011, 3 years after Wallace committed suicide in the garage of his home in Southern California. The novel was technically unfinished at the time of his death, so its compilation, organization, and editing were the efforts of Wallace's long-time friend and editor a...

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The Better Angels Of Our Nature

Thursday, November 2 2017

It can be quite difficult to stay focused while reading a relatively long book, especially with regards to maintaining the coherence of the story, or the overall thesis in the case of non-fiction. The challenge is obviously heightened when reading less frequently. When I read infinite jest, which clocks in at 1,079 pages, it took me close to 6 months at the rate I was reading. This definitely affe...

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Wednesday, August 30 2017

One of my favourite things about Dune was how Frank Hebert made a concerted effort to root each character's motivations and decisions in believable rationalizations. It was important because most characters possessed some level of "advanced" mental capabilities, therefore taking the time to describe their thought processes, involving levels of actions, reactions, and deceit made for a more believa...

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Thinking, Fast and Slow

Saturday, July 1 2017

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman is a book about how humans think and rationalize the world around them. It touches upon the subtle, and sometimes unnoticed, factors that influence our decision making. It is backed by decades of research and studies conducted by Dr. Kahneman and his close colleague, Amos Tversky. Kahneman also uses interactive examples to illustrate his points to the read...

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In Cold Blood

Monday, May 29 2017

In Cold Blood by Truman Capone was an interesting story, and it was a hard at times to discern what the story was about while I was reading it. I think it's an excellent novel because the focal point shifts and transforms as you read it. It's like slowly zooming out of a very detailed painting in a way. Capote draws our attention-very slowly-towards the characters that are introduced as the villia...

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The Martian

Tuesday, November 3 2015

This book was recommended to me by my co-worker Paul, who was reading it at the time. The movie looked good and in my experience I almost always tend to enjoy a book more than its movie counterpart. I think in order to enjoy the book without being influenced by someone else's interpretation of it, you have to read it before watching the movie. Hence why I downloaded it onto my Kobo and got reading...

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