Alexander, ChristopherThe Timeless Way of Building, A Pattern Language, The Nature of Order

This is a series on architecture, building and urban planning, subjects I’ve always liked. It’s more than that, though, because it’s about how humans live and build and how they fit in and repair the man-made and natural environment. It also defines a way of looking at and designing and building interrelated and interacting systems of varying scales-pattern languages. These are books for the ages. Software developers have recently found out about pattern languages, but haven’t yet come up with a good pattern set…They ARE trying, though… I just finished up the Nature of Order, a difficult and complex quartet of books. Basically, he says that everything is living, and that things can be made more living by getting them closer of the essential “I” in everything. This is done by applying simple principles over and over until it’s right.

Anderson, LaurieUnited States

I found out about Laurie Anderson (and Philip Glass) in 1984 while taking an electronic music class. She has a great way of using her voice. Basically, she’s a performance artist, but her music is intriguing, and she’s rather funny…I’ve seen her several times and I think she’s enchanting. This album is 4 CDs long, and can be difficult…get Mr. Heartbreak for something more accessible.

Art of NoiseInto Battle

This band was popular in the ’80’s, and I was really into them for a while. The EDM (electronic dance music) crowd rediscovered them, so they were 10 yearsahead of their time… This album is still the best of theirs-good textures, innovative use of samples, sequencing, and production-a highlight of the Fairlight art. I put it on as part of my EDM shuffle set.

Bach, RichardJonathan Livingston Seagull, Illusions

I read Jonathan Livingston Seagull when I was a kid-it’s still an enchanting story (short, too!). Illusions presents much more substantial spiritual material in the guise of a story, and it doesn’t have the mush and fluff of his later books (IMO…) Read it if you get a chance-it’s an easy way into this area of spirituality…

Bhagavad-Gita

Well, this is source material… It’s the Hindu gospel of love (bhakti yoga). It comes as part of a huge epic called the Mahabharata, and is a dialogue taking place just before a huge battle. I read it when I was young, in college, and I still read it occasionally. If you’re into spirituality, read it-it’s very good and rather short.

Brooks, FrederickThe Mythical Man-Month

If you write software, or are involved in huge projects with a lot of people, read this book. The author was head of one of the largest software projects of the ’60’s-the IBM 360 OS-and this book is what he learned. Basically, the premise is that you can’t throw people at a project to get it done sooner. A classic in the genre.

Brunner, JohnThe Shockwave Rider

This one is SF, and what got me started into computers. It’s set in the near future-now, basically, since Brunner wrote it in the early ’70’s-and it’s eerie (his others-in particular Stand on Zanzibar and The Sheep Look Up-are similarly eerie…). This guy has an ID that enables him to change his life at will-he’s also a hacker genius. This book details his implosion and how he finds himself and saves the world.

Byrne, David/Eno, BrianMy Life in the Bush of Ghosts

I was a fan of Talking Heads, and this album is another one of those ahead of its time recordings. I’m also a fan of Eno, and this album is very strange and surprisingly danceable. There’s an excerpt from an exorcism…More good EDM stuff. You can get the tracks for 2 of the songs on this and remix it.

Capra, FrijtofThe Web of Life

This is the latest in a series that started with The Tao of Physics. The author is a physicist who advocates a wholistic worldview (as opposed to a reductionist, materialistic POV). He takes this from the latest discoveries in physics, math and biology. There’s also a film, Mindwalk, that goes with his previous book. It’s a good introduction into some of my current areas of thought.

Castaneda, CarlosTeachings of Don Juan

I read this series of books when I was a teenager-I was fascinated by the descriptions of altered perceptual states, the exercises and the ritual drug use. It’s a weird combination of fiction and reality-the best stories always are, right? I now find it to be funny exercise in cultural blindness, and I like the concept of assemblage points.