Posts in Readable
Bad Blood

My wife and I tore through John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood. It’s the story of Theranos, the fraudulent Silicon Valley startup that promised to revolutionize health but instead perpetrated a potentially murderous scam. The founder surrounded herself with ultrarich powerful people who were blind to obvious warning signs because they were so enamored with the idea that they were going to make billions of dollars. This real-life tale beats any fictional corporate thriller. — MF

ReadableClaudia Dawson
New ways to work

I am not into management or business books, but this one is an exception: Brave New Work. It’s an intelligent and readable summary of the best practices (so far) in remaking what we used to call “work.” Aaron Dignan evaluates all the crazy ideas (open books, no bosses, etc.) to see which ones are effective in creating organizations that get us to do our best. He distills practical advice, too. — KK

ReadableClaudia Dawson
Newsletter App

I’ve been using the Stoop app to discover and read new newsletters. It’s great to have them all in one place where I can let them pile up and read when I have the time. I’m really enjoying the Clearer Thinking newsletter, which offers tools for better decision-making. You can also find Recomendo on there! — CD

ReadableClaudia Dawson
Sampling books

Several power users of the Kindle turned me on to a great tip: load up your Kindle, or phone, with free sample chapters of any and all books you are interested in. Read the sample (usually the first) chapter and then decide if you want to buy the book. In fact, don’t buy any book until you’ve read the sample chapter. The “Send free sample” button is under the “Buy Now” button on the book’s Amazon page. — KK

ReadableClaudia Dawson
An honest book about motherhood

The Female Assumption is a raw and honest look at becoming a mother and the pressures on women to reproduce. I couldn’t put it down. Mother of 3, Melanie Holmes interviewed mothers from all over to accurately portray what happens behind the curtain of motherhood. She also includes the stories of women who have consciously chosen to not be mothers. This book is a well-balanced pros and cons list for either path, and a reminder that whatever you decide for yourself is the right choice. Every young woman should read this. — CD

ReadableClaudia Dawson
Kindle hack

I often want to read a long PDF someone sends me on my Kindle. Here is the hack to get it loaded. Use your Kindle account name to create a Kindle email as yourname@free.kindle.com. In the subject line of an email message put < convert >. Enclose the PDF and hit send. Amazon will convert the PDF to their Kindle format and it will show up in your library. Then you can select it to download to your device. The PDF on a Kindle is clunky but readable. — KK

Further refinements on the Kindle hack by two readers:

I was trying to read Ellul’s Propaganda. I downloaded it from archive.org (which is now crucial to my PDF kindle hack, including old Arthur Koestler books and other hard to find titles) Sadly it was 30MB, and the emailed file couldn’t upload. For days I sat there frustrated. Then I realized the hack: I split the PDF into two files of 15MB each and named them Propaganda Part I and Propaganda Part II. Wham, solves it. — Bryan Campen

There is an even easier way to transfer a PDF to Kindle. If you download the Kindle app for Mac or PC you can drag a PDF to the app icon (which I keep in my dock on the Mac). You can configure the app to convert to Kindle format or keep the file as a PDF. You can also choose which of your Kindle /Fire devices you want it sent to. — Len Edgerly (The Kindle Chronicles Podcast)

ReadableClaudia Dawson
Your Kindle highlights

As you read a Kindle you can, with some effort, highlight a passage. The best way to extract those passages so that you can cut and paste them later, or so you can insert the text into an article, or otherwise use a highlight as text, is to go to this page and login with your Amazon credentials. You’ll see your highlights book by book. There you select texts and copy them. Or on that page use Bookcision, a browser bookmarklet, that will download each book’s passages as a text file. — KK

ReadableClaudia Dawson
Read first pages of novels

When you go to Recommend Me a Book you are presented with the first page of a novel, but you are not told the name of the book or the author. If you don’t like what you’ve read, click “Next Book.” If you do like it, click “Reveal Title & Author,” and buy it from Amazon. I wish it let you buy a book without finding out who wrote it, so it was a surprise when it arrived in the mail. — MF

ReadableClaudia Dawson
Unusual articles

Wikipedia’s “Unusual articles” page has links to hundreds of eclectic and offbeat articles. Learn about the Korean invasion of Normandy, happy numbers, and the Phantom time hypothesis (it’s really 1719, not 2016 as we’ve been led to believe). I’d love this as a multi-volume hardbound illustrated set. — MF 

ReadableClaudia Dawson
New Scientist magazine

New Scientist” is a weekly dose of real science reporting, with broad lay appeal. Of course there is an online version, but I prefer to turn pages and read while I eat my lunch. Either way, it’s the best solid source for new science. — KK

ReadableClaudia Dawson
Silicon Valley oral history

A new book I am enjoying is Valley of Genius — an oral history of Silicon Valley. The entire book, compiled by Adam Fisher, is the recollections of those who were there, interrupting each other, as they describe the birth of new technologies. This rollicking, non-stop, geek chorus leaves me with one impression: There was no plan. Each of the achievements of Silicon Valley were unexpected, improbable, and a surprise to those who created it. — KK

ReadableClaudia Dawson
Books related to The Inevitable

Books related to my book The Inevitable that I have found useful:

Magic and Loss by Virginia Heffernan: Treats the digital world as a great work of art.

The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos: Best book to date on artificial intelligence.

Machines of Loving Grace by John Markoff: Best book to date on robots.

Superforecasting by Philip Tetlock: Why predicting is hard and how to get better at it.

Pogue’s Basics by David Pogue: Extremely practical tips for techno-literacy. — KK

ReadableClaudia Dawson