The story is, appears heavily romanticized, but provides a nice insider perspective on many quirks of Japanese culture.
Rich and fascinating deep-dive into an under-estimated millennium.
The book reads as a detective, exploring what we know and what we can reasonably conjecture about the creation of Stonehenge based on the archeological record and examples from indigenous civilizations.
Fascinating in the thorough treatment of technical details of architecture and construction.
Charming take on a tourist guide, revisiting the favorite spots of impressionist painters to recreate their magic.
Theo Mulder – De hersenverzamelaar (The brain collector, read in Dutch)
The book is mostly written from the historical perspective free from contemporary judgements, which allows the writer to tell a nuanced story on a sensitive topic.
The author underplays the role of religious power structures in suppressing novel scientific ideas that go against traditionalist dogmas, which makes the book read more like a christian apology than a balanced historical narrative.
The best parts are the details (e.g. on laws governing responsibilities at sea in medieval times), but these facts buried in a thorough, impressively complete historical overview.
The book loses a lot of specificity and power due to the suppression of differences in denomination and gender and even more because the writer does not really seem to have a clear point to make.
Some fair nuggets of socio-economical diagnosis mixed with personal pet-peeves and drained in a techno-utopian rant.
The book over-indexes a bit on the domestic context, which does not help in de-mystifying the genius of its subject.
Not all anecdotes have aged well but there are enough gems to make the book worthwhile.
Guided tour through the philosophy of mathematics, seldomly deviating from the expected and missing in-depth reflection on the role of data science in this regard.
Nice historical overview, very topical in an era where technology significantly affects the Ukraine war and the power play between the USA and China around Taiwan.
A front-row seat to the decline and fall of the (Western) Roman empire.
Highly entertaining read with a lot of black humor, but incomplete in its analysis (e.g. of risk of internal conflicts in the USA and likelihood of collaboration between states in Europe).
David van Reybrouk – Against Elections (read in Dutch)
It would be interesting to expand the solution space to include not just random selection of citizens but also modes of participation and collaboration from non-political domains like open source software development.
Nice collection of anecdotes which struggles to become more than just that.
It would be worthwhile research topic to map the development of ship building to the principles of disruptive innovation as laid out by Clayton Christensen.