august, 26, 2003 archives

on the free software business mailing list, someone asked for recommendations of some basic economics books, which were then collected on a wiki page. information rules got a few recommendations, so i picked it up from the library for reading during my recent trip. in some respects it is unfortunately dated—it came out too early (1999) for it to include any discussion of napster or the final microsoft/doj settlement, and of course too early to talk about the collapse of the dotcom/telecom bubble. but thankfully, the authors weren't just moonlighting business journalists dropping all of the then-current new economy buzzwords, and the book is still quite strong. the authors have a website for the book, but it doesn't appear to feature any new content.

stand on zanzibar, published in 1968, is a gem of speculative fiction that gets so much right that it is easy to forgive the things it didn't get quite as right. in the future world it describes (set in the early years of the twenty-first centry: otherwise known as now), overpopulation is the central problem, with population controls (two “prodgies” per couple) and expanding eugenics legislation (no more dichromatics!) part of the existing (non-)solution. there's just so much jammed into the novel that it is hard to describe. it is written with a very mtv-era pacing and sensibility despite antedating that network by more than a decade. very much worth reading, especially if you like the genre.

(this found its way on to my reading list by virtue of a mention on the fork mailing list. the only circulating copy of the sequel, the sheep look up, in the los angeles public library system is at a branch that is closed. argh!)

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