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 BLOG >> Recent

March 2016 Book Order [Books
Posted on March 25, 2016 @ 09:42:00 AM by Paul Meagher

I'm closely monitoring my book buying habits to see how my 2016 book expense forecast will fare. Tracking and managing my 2016 book expense budget is easier if I batch order my books each month rather than buying them impulsively. I just put in my book order for March and decided to blog about them.

Three of the books I ordered are books I borrowed from a public or university library and have now decided that I want a personal copy to refer to and mark up if necessary. The Risk Savvy book mentioned below is a new one that I haven't read before and was not available for borrowing. It is relevant to my current interests in heuristics, risk, and decision making.

The 4 books I ordered and the rationale I used for each purchase are given below.

1) The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses (2011) by Eric Ries.

I read this influential book on entrepreurship and refer to Lean Startup Theory often in my blogs or my thinking. This seemed like an essential reference to have in my library.

2) Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (3Rd Ed., 2015) by Stuart J. Russell and Peter Norvig.

This is the standard classroom text for learning AI. I read sections of the second edition and a paperback edition of the third edition was available for around $40 with shipping. The price has been going up lately so decided to pull the trigger. Good reference book to have in my library for formal approaches to cognitive science topics like planning, problem solving, reasoning, and decision making.

3) Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions (2015) by Gerd Gigerenzer.

I've read research papers and books by Gerd Gigerenzer in the past. He is a leading researcher on the use of heuristics in reasoning. I'm very interested in heuristic reasoning and especially coming from a viewpoint where the heuristics are regarded as adaptive rather than a flawed form of reasoning (which alot of currently popular books in behavioral economics often portray it as). Also interested to explore the role of risk in decision making coming from a source that has done alot of research on decision making.

4) Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses (2003) by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

I got about half way through this book before I had to return it back to the library. The science writing is some of the best I've ever encountered and it is filled with wisdom about life and the science of mosses. She discusses her own research on mosses which exhibits both ingenuity and funny observations and experiences. I want to read the last half of the book so I can learn more about moss varieties and ecology and to have names for some of the moss varieties I encounter.

Here is a 2 minute long video of a Moss Heaven spot that I like to visit on my walks. Footage taken in the fall after deciduous leaves & needles were shed from trees. The white moss (Cladonia rangiferina) at the first of the video is actually not a moss but a lichen. I took the video to document 4 different types of mosses that I thought were present here. The humidity from the stream below makes this an ideal environment for mosses to thrive. The air quality here is also good (more oxygenated and more negative ions because of the stream turbulence below) which is why the white moss (or reindeer lichen) grow here. Reindeer lichen is considered a biological indicator of good air quality.

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