Our Top Book Pick for 2022

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Data Science in Context

Our book of the year is a collaboration between a team of highly regarded experts in the fields of AI and data science. This book provides a comprehensive overview of what students and practitioners need to know to use data science more effectively and ethically. Filled with practical, real-world advice, it offers valuable insights and guidance on data science, drawing on the authors’ extensive experience in the field. This book complements other books that focus on specific techniques and algorithms, and I believe it will be essential reading for all data scientists and data teams in the coming years.

As data science and AI continue to grow in importance, this book should be required reading for product teams, managers, and executives. I have been recommending it to friends who teach at business schools. Given the relevance of these topics to today’s business world, this book is a valuable resource for anyone looking to use data science and AI in real-world applications. I encourage you to check it out and share it with your colleagues!

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Holiday Reading

Here are some non-fiction book recommendations for your holiday reading, whether you’re flying or simply relaxing:

Chip Wars. At its heart, this book explores the complex geopolitical rivalries that have shaped the semiconductor industry. However, it also offers a valuable guide to the chip business in the U.S., Europe, and a handful of Asian countries. Through engaging and informative storytelling, the book delves into the details of the supply chain for a product that has become more fundamental than oil in today’s world. For anyone interested in the inner workings of the semiconductor industry, this book is a must-read.

The Ransomware Hunting Team.  Ransomware attacks resulted in global losses of $20B in 2021, with estimates suggesting that this figure will rise to $265B by 2031. In reading this excellent book, I gained a deep understanding of this critical aspect of cybersecurity. As ransomware continues to evolve and pose an increasing threat, this knowledge will be invaluable in protecting against and mitigating the impact of these attacks.

Power Failure: the Rise and Fall of GE.  This terrific and definitive history of GE is one my favorite business books of 2023. The combination of GE’s numerous technical achievements (1879-present), plus Bill Cohan’s writing is irresistible. In the 1990s, GE was the most valuable and most admired company in the world, thanks to its technical innovations across multiple industries, including energy, aviation, and medical equipment. Many of its managers also went on to become CEOs of major companies around the world. 

For Profit: A History of Corporations.  This engaging and informative book is a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate about the role and behavior of corporations. It provides a historical perspective on the role and behavior of corporations in society. This short book spans ancient Rome to Silicon Valley, and presents a compelling argument for corporations to serve the common good. The author’s thorough research and captivating writing make this book a valuable contribution to ongoing debates about the purpose of corporations.

Dickens and Prince: A Particular Kind of Genius. Nick Hornby’s short and enjoyable study of two artists coming from different centuries and operating in different media, they both found fame early on and died in their 50s: “nobody ever worked harder than these two, or at a higher standard, while connecting with so many people for so long”.

Novelist as a Vocation.  Acclaimed Japanese author, Haruki Murakami,  reflects on his career as a successful novelist. Murakami combines writing advice with memoir, and he recounts his experiences in a matter-of-fact manner that echoes the style of his novels.

How to Stand Up to a Dictator.  Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa’s new memoir discusses the role of disinformation and social media in enabling authoritarian regimes and undermining democracy. She provides examples from her own experiences in the Philippines, where she has faced persecution and threats for her work as a journalist and advocate for press freedom. Ressa also offers strategies and advice for individuals and communities on how to resist and counteract the spread of disinformation and defend against authoritarianism.

Dead In The Water. This gripping tour through the global shipping and insurance industries will surely be turned into a feature film or a documentary. This book centers around the practice of scuttling, which is intentionally sinking a ship. It explores the global shipping industry and raises important questions about London’s renowned financial, legal, and insurance sectors.

Previous book recommendations:

July 2022  //  2021  //  2020  //  2019  //  2018

While blockchain technologies may be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about decentralization, the rise of Mastodon has demonstrated that ActivityPub is just as compelling and powerful in enabling decentralized systems. ActivityPub is a W3C standard and decentralized social networking protocol. Sudden changes at Twitter prompted many communities to examine alternatives and a large number are opting for federated services like Mastodon. It’s hard to blame users for wanting more control over their community building tools in the future.

There are a growing number of developers who are exploring and experimenting with ActivityPub. I expect experiments that lead to new tools, platforms, and startups. Setting aside challenges that are specific to ActivityPub, centralized services will always enjoy some advantages including (1) access to more data for ML models, and (2) faster pace of innovation (platforms move much faster than protocols and standards bodies).  Over the long haul, this suggests that ActivityPub is bound to evolve into a set of large, perhaps commercially viable servers. 

Despite the challenges of consensus decision-making, there is no doubt that developer interest in federation and ActivityPub is real. We’ve been down this road before – I remember discussing these topics with Evan Prodromou (co-author of ActivityPub) over a decade ago. Whatever happens, I am interested in how these federated protocols and services fare. 2023 will definitely be an exciting year for social media.

Project To Watch:  SkyPilot

Officially launched about a month ago, SkyPilot is a unified interface that allows machine learning workloads to be run on any cloud.  Users rave about how SkyPilot makes it easy to launch and manage cloud computing resources, including GPUs. The cost of cloud computing is becoming increasingly important for companies, and in 2023 many teams will look to this multi-region, multi-cloud, and cost-effective unified interface for machine learning and data science.

Happy New Year and see you in 2023!

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