Thoughts on “Origin”

As usual, I welcome Dan Brown’s new novel with joy. I’ve been reading his work since The Da Vinci Code (and the lovely prequel, Angels and Demons). This time is no different. Origin is Brown’s newest novel.

I purchased one for my Kindle, and I devoured the novel in 6 something hours—cover to cover.

The story was meant to tell us about the origin and destiny of our life. Out from the longstanding debate about the role of religion in human life, who is supposed to be rational, the main character Robert Langdon’s good friend—a scientist who perhaps tried to be a bit Musk and Jobs at the same time, thought that he has found the answer, that is, before he was murdered.

Then, Langdon, the claustrophobic, user of Mickey Mouse watch, symbologist professor of Harvard bound for a journey across Spain with who was the future queen of Spain. The journey was to find a 47-character password to open a presentation file.

Only, different from Brown’s other novels, this one fell flat on me.

Continue reading “Thoughts on “Origin””

Completed the reading challenge!

I thought starting a full-time job should have been a significant hurdle to my hobby: reading books. Little did I know, I actually managed to surpass my 2016 reading challenge by two books. 

To add to that, I also read two non-fiction books, written in gripping fashion by the one and only, Ms. Agatha Christie. And Then There Were None was especially exceptional—the story was too captivating, and it was a non-stopper. 

Here are the books that I’ve managed to read this year:

  1. Dale Carnegie, Public Speaking for Success
  2. Ed Mickolus and Joseph Brannan, Coaching Winning Model United Nations Teams
  3. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  4. Roger Dawson, Secrets of Power Negotiating
  5. Peter Navarro, Crouching Tiger: What China’s Militarism Means for the World
  6. Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs—This was actually my second reading; I read the wonderful biography first in 2011, starting on the day it was published
  7. Michael D. Barr, The Ruling Elite of Singapore: Networks of Power and Influence
  8. Davis Shambaugh, China’s Future
  9. Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall—Definitely one of my most favorite readings for 2016, the book was quite thick (almost 900 pages I think), and it opened a whole new horizon in understanding the Israel-Palestinian conflict
  10. Scott Berkun, Confessions of a Public Speaker
  11. Dale Carnegie Training, Stand Up and Deliver
  12. Raj Raghunathan, If You’re So Smaer, Why Aren’t You Happy?
  13. Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, Think Like a Freak
  14. Kurt M. Campbell, The Pivot: The Future of American Statecraft in Asia
  15. Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None—One of the best ever fiction works I’ve ever read in my lifetime
  16. Agatha Christie, The ABC Murders
  17. John McBeth, The Loner: President Yudhoyono’s Decade of Trial and Indecision—Also one of the best books I’ve read under the politics/biographies genre, and it was eye-opening

If you are reading this post, I do encourage you to read more. Reading books helps me to balance my sanity with the business of work. You may think reading non-fiction works burdening—sometimes it is. However, the new insights and understanding that you earn afterwards do make the activity worthwhile. 

Why Indonesians Have Failed to Embrace E-Books

This morning, Michael Kozlowski of Goodereader.com published an article, “Indonesians have failed to embrace e-books”. In that short article, he talked about the Indonesians’ apparent lack of interest in electronic books.

That is true, except that I was hoping to see a different set of explanation.

Being an Indonesian myself, and an avid reader of electronic books, let me give you my take on this issue. Continue reading “Why Indonesians Have Failed to Embrace E-Books”

Review: Alex Ferguson My Autobiography

I probably did a serious mistake by reading this book first instead of the “Old Testament”–there are two autobiographies of Sir Alex Ferguson: Managing My Life and My Autobiography. This book is clearly a sequel to complete the first book, and you may find yourself a tad disoriented without reading the first. Continue reading “Review: Alex Ferguson My Autobiography”

Review: George Weigel’s Witness to Hope

How do you write an authoritative biography of one of the most towering figures of the twentieth century? A herculean task, no less. One journalist, though, by the name of George Weigel, decided to take the challenge. Leader of more than 1.2 billion people worldwide, one of the longest leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, and one of the driving forces that topple communism, Pope John Paul II (1920-2005) is a human being to large for a book.

A reader of the Vatican, religious history, or anyone generally interested in biographies must never skip this gigantic book, doing its best to paint a human being in its humblest and grandiose senses. No popes before or after can match Pope John Paul II’s appeal, and most likely none will ever will again. Witness to Hope, first of a two-part series on Pope John Paul II, will navigate you through the earliest days of his life, his priesthood, his stand in the “Year of three Popes” (1978, when a succession of Pope Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II were elected), and his papacy all the way to the year 2000.

Continue reading “Review: George Weigel’s Witness to Hope”