A Pirate Looks at Fifty

I could describe this book several different ways but overall it was simply an extremely enjoyable read. I can’t describe how much I enjoyed reading it. It is over 400 pages but as is the case with all good books, I was sad to finish it.

As he is turning fifty, Buffett decides to go on an excursion from the Caribbean to South America and everywhere in-between. I loved reading about the different planes he had. He flew to all the destinations on the trips and although I have never had the desire in my life to fly a plane I felt the urge to do so while reading this book. I believe that has much more to do with the storytelling versus how I was developing a passion for aviation.

Throughout describing the adventures of this epic trip he details significant moments in his life. I enjoyed those stories more than I enjoyed reading about the birthday adventure. It was amazing to me that he did not start playing the guitar until he was a freshman in college at Auburn University. I also thoroughly enjoyed reading about his time spent in New Orleans. I visited New Orleans last year and really enjoyed the city. It was nice to read his perspective on the town from a much earlier era.

I did not like his jabs at American policy and his thoughts on life in general. It’s no secret that he is a hedonist but I could have done without his rants against United States foreign policy and his distaste for religion. He would lose me when he wrote about those topics but when he kept to storytelling I could not put the book down.

Here is a great excerpt from the book:

Life is a journey that is measured not in miles or years but in experiences, and the route your life takes is built not of roads but of songs. How far is it from Key West to Miami? To some it is 147 miles. To me it is about 11 songs.

The Circle (Vintage)

The Circle has made me rethink the way I use social media. Dave Eggers book is about a twenty something named Mae who gets her dream job. She gets an opportunity at a technology company called The Circle which is very similar to Google. The company’s main goal is to make all information known and to “complete the circle.” The company encourages employees to take advantage of everything that is going on at the campus which allows little time for life outside the company.

What starts out as something great quickly changes as Mae begins to feel the pressure of working at a place that wants to eradicate privacy. Mae realizes she cannot live life outside of work and comes face to face with the dangers of everything being known.

This book is so relevant because we live in an age where more information is available than ever before. We are able to search for anything we want on the internet and if something is put on the internet it never goes away. Although social media sites, like Facebook, are great. There are times when we need to step back and wonder how far is too far?

It has been well documented the kind of information that Facebook keeps up with which is quite frightening to be honest. Here is a great read on the subject. The Circle does an amazing job of presenting this information and detailing the negative impact it can have on society. While reading the book I kept thinking about Google and Facebook and although I enjoy using both I wonder what their long term goals are and where the companies will be at in ten or twenty years.

There are certain parts of the book that I did not enjoy. Most notably the intimate scenes Mae has with certain men. It seemed unnecessary and the author goes into great detail about the sexual relations of the characters. There is also a great deal of cussing in the book that did not really bother me but it did seem forced at times.

Overall I believe that this book is important because of the impact it has on the way you process technology. Having access to all types of information is great but how far is too far? I believe that is a question that we need to ask ourselves. It is amazing to be able to Skype with someone who is on another continent but do we really need to be under constant surveillance? I love my iPhone but we need to come to the realization that anyone with a smart phone can record anything at a given time. Also, how much of our privacy has to be infringed upon before people truly start taking notice?