Friday, June 01, 2007

I just finished Better by Atul Gawande.

Better is subtitled "A Surgeon's Notes on Performance" and a good portion of the book is devoted to exploring how we can do well at whatever we pursue, using Gawande's medical reporting as examples. Readers should note that contrary to the book's introduction, this is not really the whole book. For example, the sections on how a doctor's pay is determined and medical professionals who assist with executions are pretty off topic. Other sections, like the one on obstetrics, appear to be off topic but boomerang back nicely by the end.

All of the sections, on and off topic, are well written and interesting. I was a little disappointed since I was hoping for a more well integrated book rather than a collection of previously published articles (mostly from the New Yorker) but it provides a lot to think about and to try to apply to your own life, whether it's work or hobbies that you want to do better at.

I wrote about his previous book a while ago.

Amazon Link: Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I spent a good portion of the weekend at Baycon, the local Bay Area science fiction convention.

Even though I read a lot of science fiction, I've never been involved with science fiction fans as a group. I've been to one or two cons, including a Worldcon held in San Jose in 2002. It seems most fans attend to socialize but I mainly like to go to attend some of the panels.

At this Baycon, the most interesting panel I attended was one on podcasting novels. One of the panelists was Scott Sigler, one of the first, and most successful, authors to use podcasting to promote his un-published novels. He had some success with his first novel and his 2nd novel debutted at 7th place on Amazon after his podcasting promotions led to a publishing deal.

According to Sigler and the other authors on the panel, promoting novels using podcasting is still pretty new and not a saturated field like blogs. If I was a struggling author, I would definitely want to give this a try.

Monday, May 28, 2007

This weekend I finished Seeker by Jack McDevitt.

This is a pretty typical McDevitt book - a few intrepid investigators try to find a lost civilization or clues to some odd event that happened in the distant past. The one difference is that the research in this case is on a more human level, involving talking to witnesses, tracking down lost objects, etc. instead of the galactic scale of most of his books.

It's an OK book but not one of his best.

Amazon Link: Seeker