Reed Shea

2017 Book Shorts

It’s typical for me to have a half-dozen books going at once, so I took advantage of a relaxed holiday week to finish up a handful (and start some new ones!). In no particular order:

Originals by Adam Grant

A quick read, and an interesting collection of “anecdata” regarding the traits and habits of some successful individuals. I appreciated that the stories Grant told tended to be backed up by (or at least explainable in the context of) academic research, although I was left with questions about the validity of that research given the past few years’ of upheaval in the social sciences. Cf. Andrew Gelman’s Garden of Forking Paths, Amy Cuddy - NYTimes. But Grant succeeds in providing an actionable source of inspiration and self-confidence for voicing one’s views and pushing organizations in the right direction.


Self Portrait


North Cascades, Washington

42mm, ISO 400, 1500, f22


Pipeline at Leadbetter

Pipeline at Leadbetter

Double overhead at Leadbetter after El Niño blew through. Late February 2017.

Santa Barbara, California

42mm, ISO 400, 1500, f16


Book: Birth of a Theorem

This was such a fun book to read. Cédric Villani offers a mix of memoir, dream diary, and narrative, all centered around the unfiltered process of discovering and proving a new mathematical theorem. I particularly appreciated the insight into the daily life, the ebbs and flows and rhythms, of an intellect of the highest degree. Villani plays with his children, cooks for his wife, manages the administrivia of leading an organization.


Book: Red Notice

Bill Browder’s Red Notice reads like a thriller - and offers a salient view into human rights abuses by Putin’s regime.

The autobiography covers Browder’s family of left-wing mathematicians, his rebellious embrace of capitalism, and his career culminating in a successful Russia-focused hedge fund by the late 1990s. Investing in formerly state-owned enterprises led to some spectacular successes for Browder’s fund. Fighting corruption in the Russian court system was also initially successful. Within a few years, however, Browder and his team saw increased harrassment by various arms of the Russian state, from stonewalling in court proceedings to police raids and death threats.