Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Parks and Recreation, Season Five:
Parks and Rec has managed to hit and maintain a consistent level of funny since it's awful first season, built on the strength of the supporting characters and the different permutations they can be mixed up in to stay fresh. There's not necessarily a lot of plot progression in this season, but for this show, that's just fine.

Final Grade: B+

Betas, Season One:
This is an Amazon original series that's free with Prime, consisting of 11 episodes about the West Coast start-up culture. It occasionally veers too far into tech jargon and venture capitalism, but can mostly be enjoyed without that knowledge through the fun set of socially awkward characters (betas) trying to release the next big social app (a beta).

Final Grade: B

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone:
This book had the infamy of being given a one star review by Jeff Bezos' wife. While I can't judge the accuracy of the personal stories within, they do make for a compelling, and generally balanced story. What I found more interesting than the Bezos biography though was the evolution of the company itself, from books to distribution to web services and beyond. Amazon has tried everything at least once, and this book gives a nice orderly look at how each area was tackled, even the failures like the now defunct diamond selector that I used to get Rebecca's engagement ring for under 50% of the assessed value. To a techie like me, these parts of the book would have been just as compelling without the personal people stories wrapped around the edges.

Final Grade: B+

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