Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S ThompsonAfter enjoying the Rum Diary so much I figured lets go crazy and read the more well known Hunter classic – Fear and Loathing. Again this has been made into a film which I have seen a bunch of times, again starring Jonny Depp. This film is pretty cool, but is is kinda hard to follow without paying a lot of attention. This is a story that is fast paced and intense. Hunter’s writing makes it like that and sometimes it helps to re read a paragraph or two. The book is much better than the film. Details and descriptions are more vivid in words than on screen in the Hollywood adaptation. It is a pretty short book (read in a couple of days) so well worth a read.

It was nice to be reading on the Kindle again too – it really does improve the experience.

In the Plex by Steven Levy

In the plex by steven levyAs mentioned earlier this year I have a Kindle which has reignited a desire to read. Not that I have been reading non stop, or even close to that, but considering my book a year for the last couple of years, I am doing a hell of a lot better. This book was ranked pretty well in the Amazon bestsellers and it’s author Steven Levy is a pretty well known tech writer (Wired, Newsweek, NY Times, New Yorker, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic). Levy actually spent a serious amount of time over two years interviewing Google employees and as such goes into a lot of detail about the company, its history, ethics, morals, values, methodology and almost religious belief in data. The way Google employees are recruited, treated, looked after and empowered is fascinating. The idea that engineers know best, not product managers is also interesting.

The book covers how Google moved from being a PHD project at Stanford to a startup in desperate need of venture capital, to a great search engine needing huge amounts of venture capital to figuring out how to make money on a massive scale and turning over millions then billions. A lot of the focus is on the areas of the company which did well, the people involved in creating the products and the areas which caused scandal or even bombed.

I am pretty into Google products on the whole myself. Gmail, calendar and reader are essential daily visits. Documents and Youtube are the other two big ones for me. As of late I have been getting into G+ too. Android is great too – I had a HTC Hero until I fell in love with BB, and going forward it will be very exciting. I love my Blackberry but unless RIM really pull their finger out and get back in the game, I can see myself moving back to Android. At the moment however I just do not really like their handsets and they need to create something with a battery that lasts a day.

The book is a great read for anyone who finds Google interesting, enjoys company biographies and success stories. If that isnt enough – Larry Page, one of the co-founders of Google and current CEO, is a kitesurfer.