Lustrum by Robert Harris is the second in his novelizations about the great Roman statesman Cicero. Liked this one even more than the first, "Imperium": the first half covers Cicero's finest hour as he uncovers the Catiline Conspiracy. Harris' journalistic background and fascination with politics help a lot: he actually makes the complex political maneuvering interesting as part of the plot, which is tricky.
The second half of the book is more depressing as Cicero gets carried away with his success.
Overall: a well-written, interesting: well worth reading. You can probably get away without reading "Imperium" and dive straight in.
Minor note: the book is written from the point of view of Cicero's slave Tiro who invented an early form of shorthand which included e.g. and i.e. and the ampersand. Clever guy.
What I'm Reading 2
The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. Very short management book, more of a pamphlet, was a huge cult hit in the Eighties with a vast array of spinoffs.
Most of the content is covered here,. The book is structured as a story where an interviewer meets a legendary One Minute Manager and his employees who gush about how wonderful he is in an appealingly servile manner. He works by being largely hands-off, but setting One Minute Goals at the start, keeping an eye on his employees, and issuing One Minute Praisings whenever possible, and One Minute Reprimands when things go wrong. The One Minute Reprimands make it clear that he is criticizing the Behaviour not the Person, and involve a few seconds Uncomfortable Silence before ending with a bit of body contact.
Seems pretty basic but might be helpful. I thought one tip was useful: if someone has a genuine problem they ought to be able to identify a difference between the current situation and the way things should be: otherwise they're just whining.
Saw Antigone at the Southwark Playhouse. Good production. Pretty lavish and melodramatic but I think Greek drama needs that: the original had clever dactylic hexameter verse to add to the appeal, so it gets a bit boring if you just have it in prose.
Liked the chorus, which was partly does as a TV news crew commenting on events, some good singing there. The two main roles were good too: Jamie Glover as Creon falls apart from arrogance to despair quite nicely.
Seemed on a par with the National's much bigger budget "Welcome to Thebes" which I saw last year: very loose adaptation of the same play.
Got a few managementy books in case I get that different job at work: but haven't heard much about it and it may have been quietly dropped. As I suspected life post-redundancy is going to be tougher: we're looking at outsourcing some of the development. (We lost two out of five developers, used to have about fifteen). I did think outsourcing was impossible due to the specialization, but after some thought we might be able to work something out.
So, decided to take the bull by the horns and wrote up a pretty radical plan to just outsource the fuck out of everything, got the other guys to kind of agree and sent it to the CTO. Have to see what will happen. Not sure outsourcing will work, but we don't have enough resources in-house to even keep things going either.
Must start serious job hunting again.
Socioeconomics. Why BitCoin is a bad idea.
Sci/Tech. Why Windows 8 Is Fundamentally Flawed as a Response to the iPad. Top 15 ways Chuck Norris messes with Agile. Evil science: stuttering.
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