Monthly ArchiveFebruary 2007

Non-fiction 26 Feb 2007 15:22

The God Delusion

coverThe God Delusion
Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins makes a very well-reasoned case against religion in this book. Most of his arguments focus around the “Abrahamic” religions (Islam, Judaism and Christianity), but they do apply equally well to any of the less common (in the West) beliefs.

The book challenges, among other things, the idea that religion is somehow “sacred” and that religious ideas should not be discussed and generally treated just as any other idea. Religion should not be a “get out of jail” card; that is, any behaviour that is not accepted by society should not be excused simply because it is practised for religious reasons. One other particularly touching chapter of the book is the one about the relation of religion and children: Dawkins’ point that children do not have a religion, and that referring to a “Catholic child” is as absurd as talking of a “socialist child” or a “republican child” is a very good one, and non-religious people should strive to make this a default position.

I would very much like to see this book widely read, by religious and non-religious people alike, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that, with it, Dawkins is mostly “preaching to the converted” (so to speak). Very few religious people will read this book with an open mind; however, anyone who’s already on the brink of dropping out of organised religion will probably find this book very helpful; reassuring, even. (that said, Julia Sweeney mentioned in a recent interview that her “conversion” was helped by Michael Shermer book How We Believe, so there’s always hope).

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Non-fiction 09 Feb 2007 15:40


Steve Wozniak

If there ever was a book you could almost hear being read in the voice of the author, this is it. Reading this book, it almost fells like Wozniak is in the room with you, telling you his stories. And they are great stories.

Steve Wozniak is the “other” founder of Apple, the less famous one. He’s also the one who actually designed the first products Apple ever sold, the personal computers Apple I and Apple II in the mid-70s. The books tells his story, starting as a kid, son of an engineer, up to the recent days, going through his school pranks (which he never really outgrew), phreaking, the “dial-a-joke” days, his years at HP, the founding of Apple, the US festivals, leaving Apple, his marriages and kids… Lots and lots of things are skipped over, but that can’t really be avoided in this kind of book.

It’s a very inspiring story and it shows that you can be a “prodigy” while remaining humble (well, relatively so) and happy. The book is written in a very conversational style, and anyone who’s heard Steve speak will immediately identify his style (and some of the stories). Some long-standing misunderstandings are put to rest, but most of the story is very well known; still very much worth reading in Steve’s “voice”.

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