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The library

My virtual library contains books with lasting value. This usually means books dealing with subjects that require some advanced reading and thinking. So, no category romances.

My interest in reading goes as far back as my memory goes. It started already in early childhood, although in the beginning mostly comics. Tintin, Nero, Red Knight, well, I grew up in Belgium, the comic country par excellence. Once the comic phase outgrown (though ...), I was particularly interested in science fiction books (mostly from American writers). I don't mean the kind of SF that is only another version of cowboy and Indian stories. My preference was given to the more intriguing possibilities, which were mostly a result of existing philosophy or science. Some examples are "The World of Zero-A" and "The chess players of Zero-A" (AE Van Vogt) and the "Foundation" series (Isaac Asimov), which made respectively the non-Aristotelian thinking and the – non-existing science of – psycho history an essential part of the story. The fascination for the twisted thoughts of these writers remains to this day. Besides, these are the kind of stories that one reads again with delight years later, the basic characteristic of "a good book."

A book fan has a big problem: he/she wants to read everything. That's obviously impossible for practical reasons, so choices must be made. That's the reason why later in life I was especially interested and now still interested in books of a more or less permanent nature . Usually these are also books that are not so easily readable. Sometimes they require a second reading to understand. If they present really fascinating topics, then I do not hesitate to make a synopsis of them. This course of action requires a lot of work, but the work can also be useful. Primarily for myself, so I can "read" the book again, but then at an accelerated pace. Secondly perhaps for others, who do not have so much time to read.

I am well aware that this method is reserved only for those who have no shortage of time or can make the time. And I've started it very late in my life. Still, I think it's worth doing, and share the outcome with those who can profit from it. Thus, the library contains the synopsis of the books I found worthwhile.

I've doubted a long time whether to publish the documents in an XML format or in PDF format. Although the XML format allows more freedom to refine the presentation afterwards, it is serious job for people who want to quickly print a hard copy for personal use. So I decided to publish the synopses in PDF format. I will only use the XML format for the new works which are written by myself. Each book below is accompanied by a small book review – rather my impression about the book than a formal discussion.

Furthermore, you can read the reviews of some books on LibraryThing.

The books

Maintenance Planning, Scheduling and Coordination

The abstract is in English (U.S.) in order to avoid the chance of mistranslations of the original ideas and the original language. This book is for specialists in maintenance. It describes in detail the work cycle from the very beginning of the work request to the commentary and analysis after completion of the task. Although the final chapter actually deals with "project management" – and as such does not belong in this book – it is left in for completeness. The authors did a very thorough job and everything that needed to be in it is included. It is the bible of the maintenance planning.

The Drunkard's Walk

This book (the Dutch version) provides a chronological overview of the quest for understanding what coincidence is, how probabilities can be calculated and what statistics is really about. The author tries – without formulas – to explain the sometimes very difficult (for counter-intuitive) thought processes that form the basis of many misunderstandings in the estimations done in daily human affairs. The main purpose of the author – to show that coincidence plays an enormous part in our lives – becomes largely buried under the indigestible meal of probability and statistics. At the end he resumes his arguments and the three final chapters are worth reading again.

The Information

The explication of the "short" version (still circa 100 pages) can be found in this blog. The text is in Dutch.



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