Archive for Books

Thirty Day Challenge to save a Thousand Dollars

Have you ever read one one of those get rich quick postings and thought “Yeah! Right!” or “As if!”? Anyone it seems can write a blog, post a tweet or launch an ebook telling you how to make it overnight, without working. I for one do not easily subscribe to the idea of getting something for nothing, as it violates the first law of thermodynamics.

However, I came across a site which seems to have a different angle, and might just catch on. This is a 30-Day Challenge by Ramit Sethi, so everything should be able to be accomplished within 30 days. As he says in the introduction to the challenge “You can sit here and read every tip and feel good about yourself. But only the people who spend time implementing will save any money.” Now that sound like a good start.

The full list of tips is published on the blog posting Announcing the Save $1,000 in 30 Days Challenge, but the important difference from the usual savings scheme, is that you have to commit to doing it. Ok the language is distinctly American, and some of the tips might need a little rework, such as the US Gas hedge fund, but the principles are sound.

I rather like tip number 15, which is to have people over to your house instead of meeting at a bar or a restaurant. This contains an interesting excerpt on hosting people at your house from Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi, The youngest partner in Deloitte Consulting’s history and founder of the consulting company Ferrazzi Greenlight.

So what has this all to do with managing events, or being the most outstanding presenter you can be? Well the simple fact is that we love to save you money, and a good number of the tips included in this challenge are straight out of our play list. There is always something to be learned about getting value and making the most of your opportunities, and it really does not matter where the advice comes from. The important thing is the action you take when you learn each new lesson.

Click here to see Announcing the Save $1,000 in 30 Days Challenge

Ramit Sethi graduated from Stanford and co-founded PBwiki. He is the New York Times best-selling author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

If you want to check out I Will Teach You to Be Rich or Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time both are available from Amazon

Comments off

Book Review by John Weller

Jacquard’s Web
James Essinger Oxford University Press ISBN 0192805770

Arguably the first programmable machine was a loom built by the son of a French silk worker in Lyons. Lyons was the capital of the silk industry in France and produced much fine fabric; amongst their products were fine tapestries showing detailed pictures of landscapes and portraits. These were very laborious to produce and hence expensive. Jacquard determined to design and manufacture a better loom that would produce as good a quality product but with much less effort. The result of his efforts was the Jacquard loom controlled by punched cards; cards that could be re-used and transferred from one loom to another – in other words, the first program.

Jacquard’s work was greatly appreciated by an English mathematician, Charles Babbage, who was working on a project of his own to automate repetitive tasks. In Babbage’s case it was the production of mathematical tables, a far cry from woven portraits but with the underlying similarity of predictable, repetitive actions. Babbage was sufficiently impressed by Jacquard that he visited Lyons and bought a woven portrait of Jacquard produced on a Jacquard loom at a cost in today’s money of £2500.

This book explores the chain of links that led from Jacquard, through Babbage, to the first programmer – Lord Byron’s daughter, Ada Lovelace. It goes on to Herman Hollerith who produced the punch card machine for data analysis. Hollerith found that the US census was taking so long to analyse that the next census was being made before the data from the previous one was available so developed the machine initially to analyse the census data. It was later further developed to extraordinary levels and was a mainstay of business until it was superseded by the next link in the chain, the digital computer. The final links in the chain are Howard Aiken who was largely responsible for the Harvard Mk 1 and subsequently Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.

The main focus of the book is the early days with Jacquard having 70 pages out of a total of 280; Babbage gets 45 pages and Berners-Lee a short paragraph. This is probably quite reasonable as there are many books currently in print about the birth of the web but very few about Jacquard and how his loom works.

Overall the book is a fascinating run through the very early history of IT with much background detail of the individuals who had such an impact on our lives today. It is obviously well researched leading to a very readable book without too much technical detail in the main body; there is an appendix with the technical detail of how a Jacquard loom works. Highly recommended for anyone who has an interest in the origins of computing.

John Weller is a Fellow of the Institution of Analysts and Programmers, and an established IAP Council member.  You can contact John through the Institution, and purchase books at substantial discounts through the IAP Bookstore
This review first appeared in the Visual Software Journal