Even if multiple views are presented, Elon’s perspective gets most airtime and the final word; which makes the book read like a hagiography.
Lot of examples of great prose, but too few examples of bad writing.
The author set out on a daunting program with impressive results in a fascinating domain.
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.
The book continues to drift between wonder about the world and weakly motivated bias towards human scale, which is a pity because it cites some elegant analyses.
Charming take on a tourist guide, revisiting the favorite spots of impressionist painters to recreate their magic.
Light read with amusing observation, stretched out over slightly more pages than necessary to convey the message.
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.
A brave attempt to put up a framework for assessing technological innovations, that is rich of ideas, which are in many cases [in 2023] still relevant (e.g. Cognifying in the light of GenAI), but sometimes feel out-dated (e.g. Sharing is a post-truth world).
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 paints a naive caricature of the consulting industry, downplays the role and responsibility of other actors and, unfortunately, lacks a realistic alternative for flexibly solving skill and capacity deficits (especially in the public sector); thereby undermining any justified concerns.
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 ‘cookbook’ approach does a lot to demystify Strategy and Architecture, while the digressions into philosophy make the relatively basic content also palatable for the advanced reader.
Pretty strong boundary conditions need to be fulfilled in order for this scheme to work; including broad acceptance of a high level of interpersonal ruthlessness.
Nov. 2017: Interesting exploration of the implications of AGI, faulted by the typical preference of Analytical Philosophy for construction of intricate, highly theoretical scenario’s, under-emphasizing basic challenges (in the case of AGI: lack of robustness / antifragility).
Jun. 2023: The writer has leveraged the recent rise of LLMs like ChatGPT to further fuel fear about an AGI break-out – even though other AI-related risks require more imminent attention.
Highly entertaining take on building a rudimentary astrophysics.
The book over-indexes a bit on the domestic context, which does not help in de-mystifying the genius of its subject.