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Teen SRC 2020 — Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley‘s Brave New World is a captivating read that has new relevance in our ever-changing world.
A 1930s dystopia written in the midst of a far different time of crisis, the story follows a futuristic London in which industrialization has optimized everything and the happiness of society takes precedence over scientific progress and thought.
In what seems to some like a utopia, and to others a well-oiled machine, select people find themselves deviating from the principles programmed into the minds of citizens from birth.

Bernard Marx is one of these people, who unlike his peers, sees the droning and repetitive nature of these societal norms as unfulfilling. While everyone else attends social gatherings and consumes the drug Soma, Bernard seeks value and isolation in his activities.
This culminates in him visiting an isolated community following norms more like ours, where the principles of science and societal control collide as a native boy of the community leaves with him to tour the hyper-industrialized London.

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Teen SRC 2019 – Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths

Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths

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Algorithms to Live By is a fascinating nonfiction read. As the title goes, authors Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths explore a selection of famous algorithms and procedures from computer science and apply them to aspects of our everyday lives. These aspects range from things such as scheduling your day, to knowing how long to search through a list for a best choice (which happens to be after you’ve gone through precisely 37% of the options).

As someone quite involved in computer science, this book was both familiar and new to me at the same time. The familiar nature of the book came from some of the algorithms the authors mentioned, which I had previously explored in academic studies and personal learning. However, one doesn’t need to have already known the computational concepts present to understand the book as the authors go over them in detail. What was new for me was their application, which provided a new perspective on computer science. Most of my computer programs are utilities, less concerned with being concepts that I could follow outside the field. Reading this book has shown me that computer science has much greater applications and usefulness to the world, not just in coding helpful applications but also being a guide for making better decisions in life.

I recommend this book to anyone looking to explore this new perspective, as well as to anyone interested in aspects of computer science.

Teen SRC 2018 – Inside Apple by Adam Lashinsky

Adam Lashinsky’s Inside Apple is a compelling nonfiction that explores the extraordinarily unique operational methods of the titular technology company. Through powerful correlations between the strategies of Apple and those of other businesses, the author is successfully able to show readers the unique approach that the company takes to every aspect of their existence, from marketing to employment and even the meticulous design of product packaging. Having read and watched other works about Apple in the past, I found it truly fascinating to see how all the bits and pieces of knowledge that I previously had came together through the facts presented in this work. As a standalone nonfiction, the book is strong as well, allowing readers to explore the intricacies of business methods that work generically, don’t work at all, or work against all odds. I recommend reading this book if you are looking for something different to explore this summer or simply curious about Apple.

Teen SRC 2017 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Related imageA truly brilliant read, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a riveting and unique novel revolving around the Second World War. The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a girl who stole a book from a cemetery but knows not how to read or write. Orphaned by the loss of her brother and mother, she is adopted by foster parents, the father of which teaches Liesel how to read. As the war continues, her life changes as she finds more books and a Jewish man hides in her basement. These events, whilst being small, were crucial for the way the story played out. Narrated from the peculiar yet surprisingly amusing view of Death, The Book Thief is an absolutely recommended read that will give new perspectives to anyone.