Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton

Not a bad book about the early days of Twitter and fights, allegiances and struggles of its founders, which I plowed through at great speed, upon recommendation of my venerable friend and venture entrepreneur SW.

The book was no doubt written by a fan of Evan Williams and Biz Stone, as the third founder and CEO, Jack Dorsey, takes a huge beating here. He is the usurper of the Iron Throne and the destructor of everything what the other Twitter guys stood for. How much truth is in that? Hell if I knew.

What I do know, though, that these two are grand masters of their own demise. You don't need to be a venture capitalist genius to figure out that when you fire somebody, you fire him, and not let him run with a Chairman title, full access to press and your investors, and a shiny smile. Typical investment banking approach of “your email and blackberry have been disabled, your entry pass no longer works, please pack you bags, and the security will escort you out” sounds very reasonable when you fire a CEO against his will, no?

On a separate note, yours truly, I was interested in the book in a special way, as I was a rather early Twitter adopter, well, here in Russia, well before my Facebook days (where I was a very late one). I even wanted to check when I joined exactly, but scrolling down over 57 hundred tweets to find the time stamp proved an impossible task. Yeah, I've been a chatterbox in my old days, and I have seen the Twitter whale far too many times.

All in all, Twitter was a hot thing in everyone-had-blackberry days, with 140 symbols of text only, no pictures, a device to send sms to the world. And I loved it. iPhone and Facebook totally killed it all for me, frankly. And then it become the best newswire for some time. But even as a newswire, last time I read it was in 2011-2012, when Russia was burning with strange hopes and spitting out far too much energy in the streets. And after that, I'm just reading traditional newswire.

 

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Демонические женщины Леопольда фон Захер-Мазоха

Сборник коротких рассказов-новелл австрийского Тургенева из Львова, конечно, слабее его романов. Некоторым, в силу их краткой длины, не хватает глубины, резкости, объемности “длинного метра” Захер-Мазоха, они остаются мимолетными историями, пересказом, кратким содержанием, чуть поверхностным, в них нет волны переживаний и эмоций Венеры или Душегубки.

Наиболее выдающиеся два рассказа, на мой вкус, – это Подруги и Женщина-сирена, оба в более нежном, нервном, открытом, игристом стиле. Романтизм 19 века в прекрасной форме, можно читать и сейчас. Что-то можно даже разобрать на цитаты.

Ну и, в любом случае, Venus is calling.

Лодка проплыла совсем близко, и дама, точно сошедшая с библейской картины итальянской школы, повернула голову. Дэлер увидел бледное интересное лицо, с энергичным маленьким орлиным носом и большими черными горящими глазами.

– Это принцесса К., – шепнула Цецилия.

Когда лодка отплыла достаточно далеко, Дэлер заметил:

– В свое время она, по-видимому, была хороша.

– Она и теперь хороша! – воскликнула Цецилия. – Женщины сохраняют свою красоту до тех пор, пока не перестают одерживать победы.

 


The Blade Artist by Irvine Welsh

Good lord, let me start with a friggin spoiler – the dumb of me, I didn't pay attention to the cover, I didn't read the summary on Amazon – so man, I nearly jumped at the end of chapter five. Cause damn, it's not yet another US novel by Irvine Welsh, no sir – it's a FRANK BEGBIE novel – God, who could've thought.

Overall, as Welsh's prose typically is, it's a fast read pulp fiction novel, spanned between California and Edinburgh. Filled with archetypical rage, hatred, violence – but also totally shows Welsh (well, Begbie) getting old, reserved, treacherously double-faced. Breathe, man, breathe, one, two, three

The finale, with all the knives and chisels, is somewhat like a ball gag scene from Tarantino – but despite all that, the book lacks something. It just needed more – story, drama, action, well, I dunno what. And it sure as hell left the page open for a new Renton sequel. I'm in, always!

Read my first Welsh's book in 1996. 20 years have past, everyone chose life, and sadly, no-one got a bit younger. And yeah, Decent Ride was much funnier.