Sách:Tư tưởng Phật Giáo Việt Nam

Tư tưởng Phật Giáo Việt Nam: Duy Hinh

Một trong những quyển sách tôi đọc được khoảng chục trang thì không muốn đọc tiếp vì thấy lãng phí thời gian. Sách in xấu, cấu trúc không khoa học, khiến thức được trình bầy lộn xộn.

Reading List: A Bright Shining Lie

“A Bright Shining Lie”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0679724141/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top by Neil Sheehan.

This is one of classic books about Vietnam War. Solid research, detailed analysis. I read it some time ago and it was a huge book, hence I could not really give a detailed review. However, you can read some of the comments in Amazon page, they are good. The book is excellent, however it is too long.

I think the book gave quite a good understanding about military aspect of the war. It also gave a lot of information about the political situation, yet this is a complex war, keep in mind that this is just one point of view. The author talked very little about the North Vietnam and National Liberal Front (NLF). Without understanding two sides, it is hard to get a “overview” of the war.

Reading List: Failed States

“Failed States”:http://www.amazon.com/Failed-States-Noam-Chomsky/dp/0141023031/ref=pd_bbs_sr_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1196590947&sr=1-3 by Noam Chomsky.

If you are familiar withChomsky’s work, it is another good work. If you are not familiar with him, this is a very good introduction about what Chomsky opinions about US policy. Even if you don’t agree with his opinions, you can hardly deny the fact-based analysis in the book which I personally think if you follow that method, you will come up with similar conclusions.

If you read Chomsky and agree with him, it could not be helped to be pessimistic, and Chomsky does not suggest any solutions or alternatives. To be fair, I has only read his “analytical” work, and I am still wondering if we can have a practically better world.

Reading List:Totto-chan The Little Girl at the Window

“Totto-chan The Little Girl at the Window”:http://www.amazon.com/Totto-Chan-Little-Girl-at-Window/dp/4770020678 by by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi.

A wonderful book about children education for both children and adults. The stories in the book happened around 30′ and 40′, but they still sound like dreams for many of us today. It seems many good ideas in the book have not spread wide enough. I read this book twice as good books are meant to re-read. The first time in a Vietnamese translation many years ago when I was around 3-4 primary grade, and the second time now in English.

The book started as a collection of short writings in a magazine, hence one problem I had with the book was during the middle of the book, the flow of the story was lost. Overall, it is a wonderful book. It gave me a warm feeling about childhood.

Reading List: Perfect Spy

“Perfect Spy”:http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Spy-Incredible-Vietnamese-Communist/dp/0060888385 by Larry Berman.

A really good book about the life of Pham Xuan An, arguably one of the best spy in modern history. The book gave some good inside about his life and Saigon social atmosphere during the war. The Author tried to project An as a nationalist supported the Communist movement for his love of an independent Vietnam not for the ideology, which is probably true.

However, to understand the politic dynamic of the war, this is not a good book to read. This book, regardless of many opinions in Amazon saying it is anti-American, follows quite closely with the mainstream Western media framework. A better treatment of the war on media and political aspects is “Manufacturing Consent”:http://www.amazon.com/Manufacturing-Consent-Edward-S-Herman/dp/0099533111/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1196582985&sr=1-1, to have a good view about military aspect of the war, you can check out “Bright Shining Lie”:http://www.amazon.com/Bright-Shining-Lie-America-Vietnam/dp/0679724141/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1196583169&sr=1-2.

Overall, this a very good book about life of a “perfect” spy.

Reading List: The Little Schemer

“The Little Schemer”:http://www.amazon.com/Little-Schemer-Daniel-P-Friedman/dp/0262560992 by Daniel P. Friedman, Matthias Felleisen.

This is a very good book, Highly recommended.

In the Preface, it says: ” The goal of this book is to teach the reader to think recursively”, and the book does it very well. I had to read this book twice to understand, and at the second time, I had to read the chapter 9 twice. I really think this book is all about recursive functions, IMHO it does not really teach you about LISP/Scheme. I learned Scheme in school before, and did not see how people without Scheme/LISP knowledge can follow this book easily.

Even though the book achieves its goal, I still don’t like the conversation style of the book, it make reading so boring and tedious sometime. The monotone flow of the conversation makes it very hard to know which parts are important, which parts are not. For people like me who has already known about programming, some basic Scheme/LISP, only Chapter 8 and 9 are interesting.

The best thing I get from this book is the understanding of Y combinator function. Chapter 10 talks a bit about how to write an interpretor, however if you already take Compiler course in school, you will not find anything new. If you have not taken Compiler course, I don’t see this chapter is good introduction for you.

Reading List: The Inmates Are Running the Asylum

I have just finished the book “The Inmates Are Running the Asylum”:http://www.amazon.com/Inmates-Are-Running-Asylum-Products/dp/0672316498 it is a interesting enough. What I take home after reading the book is that you have to write spec before coding a new software. There are many good reviews in Amazon site, so I won’t write a long one. I have few problems with the book:

* It is too much like a rant; I feel the book can be shorted by half without losing any information.
* The illustrative pictures are plain ugly and childish; they look like clip arts taken from PowerPoint. I have not talked about typography yet.
* Many points the author raised in the book don’t have substantial data/analysis to back up. They are just his personal opinions.

Overall, it is still worth to read; a good book instead. He mentioned many important concepts of interactive design which I fully agree with. I wish the author can shorten the book into half, cut out his personal rants, find some beautiful-meaningful illustrative pictures.