Childhood Books

Amazon threw a recommendation at me the other day: The Little House. It got me thinking about other books from my childhood. I bought most of them when my kids came along and read them many times all over again. Some of them are still on the shelves down in the basement.

In no particular order:

  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel (Virginia Lee Burton)
    • There is something about the underdog. As a kid, I didn’t really understand the idea of technology replacements and such. But I knew that it was a sad thing that was happening. Getting one final victory was very satisfying. As an adult, the ending is a tiny bit bothersome (a mobile anthropomorphic machine stuck in a basement?) but as a kid I thought it was a cool and clever ending. Still do.
  • The Snowy Day (Ezra Jack Keats)
    • I grew up in Wisconsin (US upper midwest) with serious winters. I did all the things in the story and liked reading about it. I remember the line “and he thought and thought and thought about them” — that stuck with me. The snowball in the pocket was exactly the kind of thing I did as a kid.
  • Katy and the Big Snow (Virginia Lee Burton)
    • The map of Geoppolis was cool to look at and think about. Reading how Katie came in and saved everyone. She worked her way through town and the story explains each stop.
  • Caps For Sale (Esphyr Slobodkina)
    • A man with a stack of caps on his head. The color pattern of the caps was repeated and I remember saying the colors over and over again. But the monkeys made the book. “Tsz! Tsz! Tsz!” said the monkeys. Clever ending too.
  • The Little Engine That Could (Watty Piper & Loren Long)
    • Classic.
  • Go Dog Go (P.D. Eastman)
    • This one was fun. Lot of things going on. You have the Dog Races. You have the Dogs in the trees. And you have the hats. “Do you like my hat?” “I do! I do like your hat!”

How I got hooked on Science Fiction

My first science fiction reading was this book. Actually, this very book. My dad had it — I think he was taking a science fiction class at a university? If I am lucky, I actually asked permission to borrow the book and he said I could keep it. More like, I borrowed it to read and it never got back to him. Sorry, Dad!

While not all these stories have held up over time, and they were written in a very different cultural time, there is some pretty impressive ideas from the very early days of science fiction.

“from a C-Corp to a Public Benefit corporation”

https://www.fastcompany.com/3068547/why-kickstarter-decided-to-radically-transform-its-business-model

This is a good development. I don’t disagree* with the charter of C-Corp (increase shareholder value), after all, most of us benefit from that every day (phones, cars, healthcare, most things in our homes). However, having a mechanism for a different model is a very good thing. This is an article about how KickStarter didn’t do the normal Silicon Valley thing.

In the two years since Chen and Strickler had those conversations, Kickstarter has undergone a change that makes it unique in the technology industry. At the end of 2015, it announced that it would reincorporate from a C-Corp to a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC), vowing that it would never sell the company or go public. Both announcements were radical in the cutthroat world of Silicon Valley. In a world of “grow as fast as you can and then cash out,” Kickstarter took a defiant left turn.

*[added 6/3/2019: There is more to corporate responsibility than just to shareholders.  I won’t detail my thoughts here, but the Conscious Capitalism effort is moving in the right direction. ]