A selection of books I read from the first half of 2019 that I thought were interesting that I would recommend to a general audience. In rough order of how hard the book hit me with #1 being my favorite.

15) The Birth of Loud: Leo Fender, Les Paul, and the Guitar-Pioneering Rivalry That Shaped Rock ’n’ Roll — Ian S. Port (2019)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40538677-the-birth-of-loud

A fun, wait for it, riff on the traditional startup story. Les Paul and Leo Fender were both hackers that saw the potential of electric-amplified guitar acoustics years before the rest of the world caught on to…


There exists a phenomenon in intellectual pursuits called “the ok plateau”. It’s the point at which you become good enough at something to feel comfortable with your abilities, so you continue on autopilot and stop getting better. By my estimation you reach this point after ~18 months of work on something. I wrote an essay after 18 months of learning to play guitar, about my experience reaching the ok plateau.

The ok plateau is a plague to learners in creative fields. I could personally name a couple of friends who reached the plateau with guitar specifically and never progressed past…


This is a list of some good books that I read in 2018 and some quick thoughts about why I found the book interesting. All the books here are things I think are generally interesting and would recommend reading to an anonymous reader. The books are listed in ascending order of how hard the book hit me personally, with #1 being the most impactful book I read this year.

28) Creative Selection: Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs — Ken Kocienda (2018)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37638098-creative-selection

Ken Kocienda was a software engineer at Apple who was instrumental in bringing…


A year and a half ago I bought an acoustic guitar and told myself that I would touch it everyday until I got good at playing it. Now it’s 18-months later, and I’ve mostly lived up to that promise, I’m pretty good at playing guitar. I didn’t have a plan in mind when I started doing this, it just seemed like an interesting thing to do. The process of learning to play music has turned out to be rewarding in many ways I didn’t anticipate:

1/ Guitar as a mechanism for social improvement

I never seriously listened to music for…


In 1939, Nazi Germany and The Soviet Union shocked the world by signing a non-aggression pact, in which the two countries agreed to take no military action against each other for the next 10 years. For reasons that are still debated, Stalin placed undue trust in Hitler and believed the pact to be sacred, ignoring constant warnings from his advisors about the severity of German military buildup on the Russian border. In the summer of 1941, less than two years after the pact had been signed, Germany sent four million soldiers into Soviet territory as part of a major offensive…


MDMA is an off-white crystal. It doesn’t exist naturally, it needs to be synthesized in a lab with some sort of decent chemistry equipment. The crystals can be broken down with a hammer into a white powder that is commonly called “molly”. Molly is too coarse to take up the nose like cocaine, so it’s most often put into an empty pill capsule and swallowed. The powder can also be mixed with a binding agent and colored dye then compressed into a pill tablet. The pressed pills are easier to transport and will often come in funny shapes like ninja…


This is my first attempt at creating a reading list, I’m going to try to publish one of these lists every year going forward. These are some books that I thought were interesting/meaningful and recommend reading.

The Count of Monte Cristo — Alexandre Dumas (1844)

I read this book when I was 18-years old and facing jail time as the defendant in a criminal trial where I was falsely accused of doing something that never happened. I was extremely angry at the people responsible for what they put me through. Not only was the book an iconic story that is…


The velocity of a wave is equal to it’s frequency times it’s wavelength — (v = f * λ) — Frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz) which is the crests of the wave that pass a fixed point per second. Wavelength is measured in meters from crest to crest (or more realistically in nanometers). Velocity is measured in meters per second.

Two things to note here. First, an audible sound wave has a fixed velocity when traveling through air (343 meters per second) this is what you commonly hear called “the speed of sound”. Any sound wave will travel at…


DEFCON is Coachella for hackers. 25,000 people jam-packed into a massive event space at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are four official conference tracks, but also hundreds of other talks, workshops, demos, and parties going on simultaneously over the duration of the four days. A plethora of volunteers in red-shirts called “Goons” police the place and do their best to prevent it from becoming a complete madhouse. People descend on DEFCON from all parts of the tech spectrum, and from all over the geographic world. …


A month ago, Brave Software released a white paper detailing their intention to launch Basic Attention Token, an Ethereum token to model digital attention. The idea being that these tokens would live natively inside the Brave web browser, and be used as a means of exchange to access various types of digital content that are currently monetized with a harmful mishmash of advertising solutions.

On April 24th, Brave published details about their upcoming crowd-sale on their website.

The announcement publicly stated that Brave would be minting 1,000,000,000 BAT tokens. They would sell 700,000,000 (70%) of them to investors in an…

Jordan Leigh

Thoughts on code, business, and the future of the world

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