Tag Archives: Books

Reading a book on Google Books and deciding not to buy it

Today my attention got caught by the title of the book Networks, Trust, and Social Capital: Theoretical And Empirical Investigations from Europe. I then found it on Google Books. It is the first time I read a book on Google Books, it is really great, for this book there are most of the scanned pages (I would say 150 out of 239 pages) so I was able to “read” the book by simply scrolling extremely fast with my mouse over the almost entire book. In this way I was able to decide that I’m not interested in buying and reading it. But what I would have done in a pre-GoogleBooks era? I would have thought “well, based on the title there should be at least one or two articles interesting for me, go and buy it” and I would have wasted some euros for a book I would have not read. Is the present situation better from a consumer point of view? Of course it is. Google Books or any similar program is helping in sharing knowledge and making informed decisions and this is what every author at the end really wants.

Read the books people you dislike dislike

I know the title is hard to parse. Let use some parenthesis: Read [the books [people [you dislike] dislike]].
That is, there are people you dislike, they dislike some books, you possibly will like these books.
Pietro Speroni reports that A right winged newspaper: Human Events online, asked a panel of 15 conservative scholars and public policy leaders to help us compile a list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th centuries. (here the list) and how “The list have it all, it�s the most complete list of texts I found that were really important to understand the world we are living in”. The rationale behind is: if neocons believe these books are harmful and since I think neocons are harmful, I should read these books. While this is ok on real world, this reasoning does not work in Trust-aware Recommender Systems, topic in which I’m phding. In online communities (in which it is easy to create fake identities) this is subject to a simple attack and anyone could easily game the system. The idea: since I get recommended the items disliked by people I dislike, the user I dislike could pretend to “dislike” the item she wants I get recommended. Ex: a neocon identity could pretend to dislike the book “why bush is right” (hopefully this does not exist and it is just an example) and I get recommended it. For this reason, in algorithms I designed, I decided that the opinions of people you dislike should not influence your recommendations at all, they are simply discarded because otherwise they are able to influence your recommendations and hence game the system. Well, not sure, I’m good in explaining it (English is hard…). Maybe you want to check some papers of mine in which hopefully I was helped in writing in a clearer way. Since we are speaking of books, maybe you want to check the list of books I’ve read (actually it is not at all complete or updated, I was trying to keep it with allconsuming.net and to decentralized publish it also in semantic web formats (RSS | XML) but in fact I created it once and never updated … maybe in a short future there will be a tool that will allow me to keep a list of read books, with comments and to automatically publish it on my blog, in that case I’ll probably try again to keep it updated. Or such a tool is already there? If so, please let me know).
The list of books that neocons think are harmful is
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