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this page is just my thoughts on some books i've read.

currently reading: The Fourth Turning is Here - Neil Howe

Digital Minimalism - Cal Newport
i've heard a lot of people talk about this book, and how it has changed their lives. i was interested to read this book. i don't have a ton of thoughts on it, it kind of just made sense in my head. it is a few years old at this point and i think i wasn't really impacted as hard by its ideas because i have been exposed to them before reading and already decided i agree to a pretty large extent. a lot of the book, seemingly, was Newport convincing people of a variety backgrounds and use cases of technology that the digitally nomadic lifestyle is possible.

there was one line of reasoning that didn't click with me, and it was in Newport's discussion of high-quality leisure. he suggests that the best hobbies are not centered around addressing problems. the following chapter, though, presents a strong example of high-quality leisure in someone who finds themselves solving problems compulsively. the idea and example kind of clashed in my head; i feel like i disagree fundamentally with the idea that problem-centric leisure is unoptimal for happiness. not to say that problem-centric hobbies are better than others, but i don't think that centering around problems is detrimental. i like the example as an example of high-quality leisure as compared to something like scrolling through social media, and i think part of the reason i like it is because it feels motivated by something other than escaping boredom. finding enjoyment in improving aspects of your life through the work of your own hands and mind seems to be on the mark of what Newport is trying to say here, but maybe i'm misunderstanding his point. other than this, i liked the book a lot.

Shop Class as Soulcraft - Matthew B. Crawford
this book was the first time i've read anything philosophical, but it struck a chord with me. the book looks at a lot of issues that i've been thinking about on my own and i agree with a lot of what he says. it does follow a similar thread to libertarianism, in that he condemns the system that enables what he is a proponent of. what i mean is that while i agree that for many, the practice of engaging in a trade would be healthier for the soul, you cannot survive as a mechanic without the scale provided by the "tayloristic" work that produces the things a mechanic fixes at an affordable scale. none of this invalidates his argument, it's just that his philosophy doesn't seem to really scale, and can thus only apply to some people.
that being said, perhaps applying his philosophy on an almost extracurricular scale makes it possible for everyone to live, in a more soulful way. while it can be argued that you still don't own the fruit of your labor at a the corporations Crawford condemns, you still own the benefit of work you do outside.
reamde - Neal Stephenson
pretty good book, fun to read, i would recommend.

ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications - ARRL
i realized recently that most of my electronics knowlege still comes from an elementary school competition i did where i needed to build circuits and know the ohm's law and some other stuff. the extent of knowledge is no longer enough to sustain my projects. i saw a guy on youtube talk about how he learned electronics, and in it he recommends some books. the ARRL handbook was one of them which was available at my local library, so i checked it out and i'm reading through the first few chapters right now to figure out what the hell i'm doing in some of my projects. undoubtedly this will save me a few fried components, sooner rather than later. so far, i am really happy with the depth it goes into and the diagrams. i also like knowing this book exists because i kind of want to get into amateur radio at some point (so that when doomsday rolls around i will be able to make a living by operating my little radio)
Understanding Cryptography - Paar & Pelzl
i checked this book out from the library to teach myself some of the principles of cryptography for a research paper i was writing. i found it really interesting. i liked that it explained the principles of different forms of crypto, had detail about how different ciphers worked, used clear and intuitive diagrams, and discussed their vulnerabilities. the vulnerability sections were particularly interesting. i loved that it gave direct examples of real implementations of crypto concepts and that it actually explained the details of the implementation of different algorithms. the inclusion of actual analysis of past or existing ciphers was really useful. it was very succesful at teaching me a lot of practical cryptography and i would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anybody remotely interested in cryptography.