be inspired

There’s not much new I can say here, but I will try. I feel great sadness for the loss of a truly inspirational man, who has changed the world forever. I wish he could see the outpouring of love, support, and gratitude from tens of millions of people all over the world. I wish for peace and comfort for his family in this most difficult time.

I have passed by his home countless times, which is a short distance from my own, but I never met Steve Jobs. Growing up in Palo Alto, I remember as a child I took a field trip to an Apple office in the early 1990s, where we got stickers in the shape of the company’s trademark logo. My first computer was a clunky Macintosh desktop, which I loved.

Today it is hard to quantify the way in which Jobs’ ideas have changed the way we work and the way we live, across the globe. I think the most important thing we can learn from his life has nothing to do with the products he helped create, but the way in which he created them. In his 2005 Stanford commencement speech, he urged us to dream big, and to follow our hearts, even when it leads us off the well-worn path. That will make all the difference.

“…the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

To a man who continues to inspire and change the world, thank you.

books on my reading list

At the beginning of every school year I am invariably overly ambitious about what I can realistically accomplish, including the number of books that can reasonably be read in a day week. Nevertheless, let me begin a list here of the books I hope to tackle (required reading not included) in the next couple of months.

  • The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700-2100, by Robert Fogel.                                                                                                                       “Technophysio evolution and its implications are the central themes of this volume. The term describes the complex interaction between advances in the technology of production and improvements in human physiology. The interaction is synergistic, which means that the total effect is greater than the sum of its parts. This interaction between technological and physiological improvements has produced a form of evolution that is not only unique to humankind but unique among the 7,000 or so generations of human beings who have inhabited the earth.” This book sounds remarkably like the dissertation I hope to write. Only that I almost surely will never win a Nobel Prize in economics …details, details.
  • African Development: Making Sense of the Issues and Actors, by Todd J. Moss (@moss_dc)                                                                                                  “This book aims for a simple, but hopefully not simplistic, introduction to the main themes, trends, and players in contemporary African development.” This book seems to be doing the rounds in development circles and is probably a good resource for both teachers and students of African politics and development.
  • The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives, by Leonard Mlodinow                                                                                                               “Offering readers not only a tour of randomness, chance and probability but also a new way of looking at the world, this original, unexpected journey reminds us that much in our lives is about as predictable as the steps of a stumbling man fresh from a night at the bar.” Recommended by a brilliant and enterprising friend whose reading recommendations can only be totally worthwhile. And it has a great title!
  • Decentralization in Uganda: Explaining Successes and Failures in Local Governance, by Gina M.S. Lambright.                                                                  Just discovered this one in a political science “new books” publication.
  • Museveni’s Uganda: Paradoxes of Power in a Hybrid Regime, by Aili Tripp       Also recently discovered this one, has anyone read it?
  • Decision Points, George W. Bush                                                                        Because political autobiographies are fascinating.

More to be added as we go along. What are you reading?

UPDATE:

See, I’m already getting ahead of myself. So far I have read 1.1 of the above books (specifically Fogel, and a bit of Bush and Moss), and I’ve already added more. Recent additions:

I also recently read Rational Ritual: Culture, Coordination and Common Knowledge, by Michael Suk-Young Chwe, which I recommend and hope to write about soon.

hotels: the tragedy of….

Sorry for the extremely sparse posting this week. I’m still trying to get my bearings on this side of the world.

I’ve written recently about writing reviews online for hotels, restaurants, etc., and in general the importance of an online tourism presence. Of course the quality of the posts matters though….

Hat tip @jchaskell24.

Now I’m off to celebrate the most amazing woman in my life. Happy birthday mama! You’re the best.

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