Tuesday, September 07, 2004

I just finished "Beyond Fear" by Bruce Schneier and "Moneyball" by Micheal Lewis. (book list updated)

In "Beyond Fear" Schneier tackles the growing concern/paranoia in the US and around the world to the growing threat of terrorist attacks as viewed by his five step framework for addressing security issues:

1. What assets are you trying to protect?
2. What are the risks to these assets?
3. How well does the security solution mitigate those risks?
4. What other risks does the security solution cause?
5. What costs and trade-offs does the security solution impose?

The book can get tedious at times due to his thorough investigation of each issue regarding making an informaed security decision tradeoff. The best parts of the book are the side story's and examples which help support his point as well as provide interesting tidbits of past events and information. I laughed out loud at this satirical protection method against robbery; a sign in your house window that reads:

"Sign: Warning this premisis protected by extreme poverty."

It was also amusing to see that he mentioned how Americans traveling in europe following the 2001 terrorist attacks sometimes would pose as Canadians as they felt this improved their security and safety. It's well know that Canadians and Australians are the nicest, most fun and of course handsome travellers in the world :-) It was particularly interesting since ust last year on an europe tour myself I ran into some "Canadians" at a hostel party and was so excited to talk with them until I realized that they knew nothing at all about Canada and were in fact total American imposters. Hilarious.

All in all I would recommend this book for people interested in security proceedures or others who need to get a grip on their fear of terrorism, but otherwise a little tedious for the average reader. For additional security related information the author has an online newsletter which you can subscrib to be e-mailing a blank message to :

crypto-gram-subsribe@chaparraltree.com


On to "Moneyball"... AMAZNG! Micheal Lewis is a business writter so this book on the workings of Major League Baseball by following the workings of Billy Bean and the Oakland Athletics organisation is a bit of a movement for Lewis. It's his backround in business writting, writting style and story quips that make this book a "must read" for any baseball enthusiast, business professional or general reader (it was a bestseller after all).

The underlying premise of the book which can be applied to business as easily as baseball is to value assets in an objective and quantifiable way, identify which assets are over and under priced in the market and finally the old adage "buy low, sell high". The book follows the real world workings of the A's through most of a season and the use of real stories with real names included added to the value and interest in the book. It would have been great to have a little more analysis on trades that didn't happen as well as a more complete look at the influence of luck in some of the choices but the book holds strong on what it provides and probably could not provide more without becoming more of an "insider" tabloid. I would love to see a reanalysis book 3-4 years from now or a book that covered the same issues over the course of more than one professional season.

Get your hands on this book!

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