9 August 2012 by Dominic Lenton
Into the same niche - grown up Ladbybird books for the 21st century - come two new titles that promise to enhance your life in return for a brief investment in your time.
Of the pair, Tom Chatfield's 'How to Thrive in the Digital Age' is most explicitly aimed at the self-help market. It's one of a 'School of Life' range of books complemented by classes and weekend workshops that series editor Alain de Botton promises marks "a rebirth [that] examines the great issues of life, including money, sanity, work, technology and the desire to alter the world for the better".
It's elegantly designed and obviously aims to be thought-provoking, so it would have been nice to include some space for the reader to make notes. Most could live without two pages devoted to a grainy black and white photo of Silicon Valley at sunset, for example. Otherwise, it's a series of neat think pieces on the question 'can we live well with technology?.
There are plenty of bulky histories of computing if you've got the time and inclination to plough through them. 'Computing: A Concise History' covers the essentials in a couple of hundred pages, with a lengthy further reading list. This is more of a bluffer's guide than The School of Life, covering the milestones everyone should know about without getting tied up in detail.
Of the three formats, The School of Life will look nicest when you pull it out of your pocket, MIT's Concise Histories look good and are readable, but we'll stick with the Very Short Introductions. Smallest, densest type so you feel you're getting value for money, and they're numbered on the spine so you can line up your collection on a bookshelf and see where the gaps are.
Read all about it...
Buy 'Computing: A Concise History' by Paul E Ceruzzi (MIT Press, £9.95, ISBN 978-0262517676) at Amazon.
Buy 'How to Thrive in the Digital Age: The School of Life' by Tom Chatfield (Macmillan, £7.99, ISBN 978-1447202318) at Amazon.
Posted By: Dominic Lenton @ 09 August 2012 04:52 PM General
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