Ambient Findability by Peter Morville

What a book! I have barely covered the preface and the first chapter and am already smitten.

There are two kinds of technical books

  1. Ones that give precise directions to accomplish a certain task, the scope is narrowly defined and immediate outcome is emphasized
  2. Ones that describe the thought process more than practical steps. These are invariably abstract, cover a wider tract of ideas and have implications that are far reaching

This book belongs to the first variety. The tone is set in the preface when the author asks, “How did you get here…how did you find this book?”, and goes on to probe the process by which one could pick this single book amongst millions others. And how would one classify this book, the author asks that you don’t do any such thing but instead exhorts you to read it first, for “aboutness lies in the eyes of the beholder”. And I say what an insight!

I think its a characteristic of all great work that it tends towards philosophy. Not an algorithm to move from point A to point B but ruminates on the journey from A to B and leaves nothing as being insignificant in the course of its intellectual sweep.

And I leave you with a quote at the start of the first chapter..

At the seashore, between the land of atoms
and the sea of bits, we are now facing the
challenge of reconciling our dual citizenship
in the physical and digital worlds
.

Hiroshi Ishii

MIT Media Lab

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