4 Books for June

Thinking in Systems: a Primer by Donella Meadows

I do not exaggerate when I say this book has changed how I think. Donella Meadows beautifully explains the basics of system design, how they work and how they interact with each other.

And then there is the second half of the book.

Donella Meadows shows what can go wrong with faulty systems and how over time those imperfections amplify and break the system. That part of the book is laid out in such a way that I cannot now design anything without asking myself what can go wrong or how to make whatever I create more bulletproof. The ideas on how to change systems for better ones at the very end of the book are a helpful guide here and will the invaluable tool in the arsenal of everyone who wants to make the world a better place.

Nano Comes to Life by Sonia Contera

When I decided to become a bioengineer, I planned just to learn synthetic biology and genetic engineering and other bio fields. It all changed when I attended Sonia Contera's talk at London Futurists. As a physicist who came into biology, Contera promotes taking into account physics when looking at biological systems.

In Nano Comes to Life, Contera gives examples of how looking beyond just DNA leads to a better understanding of what's going on with those microscopic creatures and how we can use that knowledge to make nanotechnology not a thing in science fiction but a reality.

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor

A genius nerd dies but his brain is preserved. Sometime in the future, his brain and his consciousness is put into a spaceship with a mission to explore the stars and find new homes for humanity.

Even though the story Dennis E. Taylor tells is a hard scifi, it is very easy to read and follow. Snarky humour reminds me The Martian but it is not overdone and it appeals to my geeky soul.

I enjoyed travelling through space with Bob and immediately went through other books in the Bobiverse series which are as good as the first book in the series.

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is a collection of short stories which main thread is human augmentation and how humans 2.0 are treated by the rest of humanity. The stories focus on how people would see augmented humans - either as freaks, abominations, threat or something to aspire to be.

Through those stories, Arwen Elys Dayton provokes the question of what is a human. The future she pictures is not that far away.