My favorite holiday reads from Cambodia

Koh Rong Samloen ReadingI originally started this blog to share thoughts, reads and conferences that I found worthwhile writting about. It turns out that my last book review dates almost 2 years back, so it’s time to write about books again! Just came back from 2 weeks of really relaxing holidays in Cambodia, a beautifull country that has much more to offer than the magnificient temples of Angkor.

I have spent quite some time reading – as I do under that palm tree on the picture – and I ended up wanting to write a blog post about 4 of the books I have enjoyed most during our holidays, 2 of which are about Cambodia’s tumultuous history. Continue reading →

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This Poor Breton Peasant’s Autobiography, an International Best-Seller

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The life story of an ordinary, brilliant, anarchist peasant from Brittany

Exactly 112 years ago, on January 6th 1905, a Breton peasant neamed Jean-Marie Déguignet wrote the last words of the story of his life, and died shortly after. He ended over 4,000 pages with these words : “I wish humanity  the power – even the willpower – to become truthfull and good people, able to understand and get along with each other, in a worthy and happy social life.” His own life has been neither happy nor worthy, which is why this best-selling autobiography is such a fascinating account of rural life between 1834 and 1905. I’ll try to make this review worth reading. Continue reading →

I Read This Book About The Importance of Wasting Time on the Internet

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Are we becoming lazier and dumbing ourselves down with silly content on the internet? Should we be scared that most of us look like sleepwalking zombies when walking while staring at our smartphones? Many believe it, and countless articles are written around that narrative. Not much room for optimism. Kenneth Goldsmith, a poet and artist from New York City, believes that more good than bad stems from our increased connectedness – and he wrote a book about it: “Wasting Time On The Internet.” Continue reading →

A Perfect Map Of The World Will Never Exist

I started reading the book on my way back from Singapore. A live map showed us where we were in real time

I started reading the book on my way back from Singapore. A map showed us where we were in real time (which is not anecdotal, as I found out after finishing its last chapter about today’s usage of maps)

I love maps, I could stand hours in front one, whether it represents my city or the entire world; whether it hangs on a wall or it twist at my fingertips on my tablet. It is quite a creative and cheap way to travel! I just finished a fascinating book: A History of the World in 12 Maps, written by a British professor, Jerry Brotton. He explains how humans have always been driven to represent the world around them, and how each of these representations is shaped by cultural, political or commercial interests. Google Earth is no exception.

Continue reading →

My Book Review of @AneeshChopra’s “Innovative State”

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Aneesh Chopra was the first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the Unites States government, and served in this position from 2009 to early 2012. Since then, he has run for the office of Governor in Virginia (but has not succeeded) and created Hunch Analytics, a company which crunches public and private data to “help executives and industry leaders in health care, education and energy to make smarter business decisions.” But this post is not about the latter, it’s about Chopra’s experience as the USA’s very first CTO, and his vision of how technology can improve governments.

I enjoyed reading Innovative State very much, not only because it mirrors some of the phenomena I study in academia, but also because it reminded me of Gilles Babinet‘s book about his experience as a digital champion in France (disclaimer: Gilles Babinet is co-founder and board member of eYeka, where I work part-time). While Babinet had a much more consultative role, Chopra was leading the action in the White House – which also shows how seriously digital technologies are taken in France (not a lot!) compared to the US. Anyway. His views on how new technologies can transform government, shared in Innovative State, are highly interesting. According to him, four priorities (open data, impatient convening, challenges & prizes and attracting talent) should drive the US’s agenda toward becoming “a 21st century government that elevates the role of everyday Americans.Continue reading →

Cool: Holding Our First Book Chapter In Our Hands

Click to get to the chapter page

Click to get to the chapter page

A book chapter is “peanuts” on the resumé of an academic, but when you hold the first copy of your life in your hand, it’s cool. The chapter about crowdsourcing in video advertising, which we write with Rosemary Kimani, has just appeared in the book International Perspectives on Business Innovation and Disruption in the Creative Industries co-edited by Robert DeFillippi and Patrik Wikström. The volume examines how disruptive innovations are reshaping industry boundaries and challenging conventional business models and practices in the industries for film, video and photography. Continue reading →

My Short Review of “Crowdsourcing, One Step Beyond”

crowdsourcing book one step beyond lebratyThis is by far not the first book I read about crowdsourcing (the last is Daren Brabham’s Crowdsourcing at MIT Press) but it’s an interesting one. Why? Because, to my knowledge, it’s the first piece in English by the French crowdsourcing researchers Katia Lobre-Lebraty and Jean-Fabrice Lebraty, whose work I already blogged about – in English. Their paper Créer de la valeur par le crowdsourcing: La dyade Innovation-Authenticité (in French, but here is a summary) is one I liked because it really resonnated with my own experience of crowdsourcing. Now, this book finally brings their research to English-speaking audiences, which I think is great to feed the literature and discussions around this field of research. Continue reading →