I recently finished reading a couple of books I’ve been chewing on for a while. As a full-time Gartner analyst and part-time MBA student, I don’t get a lot of time to read apart from my discipline, but I managed to squeeze in The Unfinished Game: Pascal, Fermat, and the Seventeeth-Century Letter that Made the World Modern as well as an interesting book that hits closer to my day job, Dot.Cloud: The 21st Century Business Platform. As an added bonus, I’m throwing in a short discussion of Enterprise Web 2.0 with EGL.
The Unfinished Game
I’ve got a dirty secret – I’m mathematically challenged, and it has always been so. I’ve had to work extra hard to be extra average at math. Secretly, I’d like to be good at math, and understand some of the advanced compression, encryption, and other algorithms that kick around the interwebs. Every now and then, I’ll pick up a math-oriented book, and I usually put it down in despair. Not so The Unfinished Game, which is as much about history as it is about probability.
In a nutshell, the book describes a snail mail conversation – an ancient form of collaboartion – between Pascal and Fermat regarding the correct way to devise the payment of a wager on an unfinished game of dice. The narrative weaves mathematical explanations between discussion of the time, place, and personalities of the story. A quick and compelling read, you’ll come out of it feeling that you’ve learned something truly important, borne of a discovery that took ages by modern standards. It is striking to consider how quickly we are able to use the social Web to iterate over interestin ideas, in comparison to the pen and paper ways of old. Strongly recommended (4/5).
Peter Fingar’s book describes his visionary view of the forces leading to a Cloudy future. Fingar is a noted author of business strategy books, and Dot.Cloud is no exception. Rather than describe in exhaustive detail the technological underpinnings of the Cloud, Fingar provides actionable advice, compelling examples, and inspiring stories as he pontificates on the “21st century business platform”. The book is really eight discrete essays, and each explores another aspect of business in the Cloud. There is a heavy emphasis on BPM and end-user interaction and collaboration using technology tools. I highly recommend this important book, especially if your knowledge about the Cloud’s business implications is a bit cloudy (5/5).
Enterprise Web 2.0 with EGL
In the Batter’s Circle