Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything

I'm sort of obsessed with science and technology. As in, I'm an early adopter when funds allow. I was thrilled when Edelweiss Plus approved my request to read the DRC of this book. That's probably also why I love reading ARCs and DRCs. I like being ahead of the game, and I love Tomorrowland, so I knew this would be right up my alley.

Zach Weinersmith is the creator of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, a popular geek web comic. His wife, Dr. Kelly Weinersmith, is an accomplished scientist whose work has been featured in many popular science venues. They worked together to explain complicated technology and science in such a way that those who last took a science class in high school can understand what they're talking about. 

I'm still waiting for the life that The Jetson's promised me but there are ten cool things on the horizon that are explained here in this book. Everything from space elevators, nano robot swarms, 3D organ printing to brain-computer interfaces are coming soonish.

 

Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and Ruin Everything

Obama White House Staff Book Reviews

I thought I'd group these two together. The first is a new release this week and the second book didn't get carried over form my old page so I posted a quick synopsis here. has been out for a few months and probably needs a boost at this point. I love reading behind the scenes books.

Love the Title

most of all. It's so tongue and cheek and smart like the rest of this book. I think this would be a great tutorial for a young person who wants a glimpse into what a political campaign and White House win is really like. If you like documentaries this book is for you. I'll admit it had me feeling nostalgic for a President who speaks in complete sentences. I felt like I got a peek behind the closed doors of the White House speech writers office.  David saw my review on Goodreads and had this to say: 

Hi Jen, I'm glad you liked it! I was happy to see that your review specifically mentioned young people - I'm hoping people starting out in their careers will read Thanks, Obama and get excited about going into politics. - David Litt

Another look into the White House

Alyssa may not be from Chicago, but she certainly seems like she absorbed a lot of our attitudes on life. If time had allowed I would have plowed through this memoir in a day. It's an easy, honest peek not only into The White House but into the life of a very average person who works there. Alyssa worked her way up the ladder into a job as deputy chief of staff for Barack Obama. I know I have a real problem with imposter syndrome as does Alyssa through most of this book. She is shocked when after firing off an angry email that Obama himself counsels her that she is scaring the staff. She is just so normal, and I think that although the chapters on list-making might have made more sense as an appendix, this reads like an honest conversation between a mentor and student. Alyssa includes many details that I know I would have flinched at. It's mostly those moments that you'll tell a close friend and hope that your coworkers never hear about. I loved that she was so honest and open about mistakes and just bad luck situations that she found herself in. Spoiler: I cried a little when her cat died.

My review was on an uncorrected proof copy that I received in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley

Nomadland

This book is a peek inside a society that is right under our noses yet isn't acknowledged by anyone outside of it. An increasing number of Americans can't afford to retire and stay in their homes. Some of them who were renting can't afford that either. They have to live somewhere and are forced in their golden years to live in RVs, campers, vans, and even small cars while they work seasonal jobs moving about the country. I know that when I've seen older folks in RVs, I've thought that they chose that lifestyle in their retirement years. It didn't occur to me that they are mostly one small step away from being homeless. Many had worked corporate jobs and were downsized or had massive losses in the 2008 stock market crash. In other words, they were following the prototype of regular American life and got burned.

Many of this population work at Amazon as work campers. A sunshiny term Amazon coined to make the job more palatable. It sounds nice at first glance, work at Amazon in exchange for a minimum wage, and a free spot at a campground. The reality is that these workers are in their 60s and 70s and are expected to walk upwards of ten miles a day on hard concrete. If they are injured, they don't get paid. It made me think about my Amazon purchases. If I order replacement toothbrush heads, coffee, and a new book some old person had to walk all around the place getting it for me. It doesn't give me the warm fuzzies.

Honestly, this book has shaken me. I can only see this situation getting worse as more and more people get laid off or bought out of jobs in early retirement. We keep buying disposable everything all the while our fellow Americans are killing themselves to fulfill our wishes within the 2-day shipping window without health insurance or union representation.

Much like the new awareness of how our animal meat gets to the grocery store we need to take a look at the real human cost of purchasing from giant corporations instead of local stores.

Working yourself to death is not a great work ethic- none of us wants that for ourselves or our parents. This book is so well written that it reads like fiction but is unfortunately very real.
 

Nomadland By Jessica Bruder