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比尔·盖茨的夏季读书清单

Last year, there was only one book on my summer reading list that you could reasonably call a beach read. This year I tried to pick a few more things that are on the lighter side. Each of these books made me think or laugh or, in some cases, do both. I hope you find something to your liking here. And if it’s not summer where you live, this list will still be here six months from now…

去年,在我的夏季读书清单中你只能找到一本读起来还算是轻松的。今年,我努力多挑了几本简单点的。这些书要么能让我认真思考要么能让我放声大笑,有时两者兼有。我希望在这里你能找到一些你喜欢的。如果你所生活的地方还没到夏天,那你还有六个月的时间来看这份清单……


Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh.

《夸张和一半》,作者:阿莉·布洛什

The book, based on Brosh’s wildly popular website, consists of brief vignettes and comic drawings about her young life. The adventures she recounts are mostly inside her head, where we hear and see the kind of inner thoughts most of us are too timid to let out in public.

这本书的写作基础来源于布洛什十分受欢迎的网站,上面有大量简短的插画和滑稽的漫画,描述的是她早年的生活。她所叙述的故事大多都是刻在她脑海里的,从中我们能听到并明白她的内心想法。而这一点,我们大多数人往往过于羞涩而不敢将自己的内心想法向外界宣泄。

You will rip through it in three hours, tops. But you’ll wish it went on longer, because it’s funny and smart as hell. I must have interrupted Melinda a dozen times to read to her passages that made me laugh out loud.

这本书,最多三个小时你就能读完。但你会希望它再多讲一些,因为这本书写得既幽默风趣又富有智慧。每当读到令我大笑不已的部分,我总要打断梅琳达读给她听。


The Magic of Reality, by Richard Dawkins.

《现实的魔法:真相》,作者:克林顿·道金斯

Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist at Oxford, has a gift for making science enjoyable. This book is as accessible as the TV series Cosmos is for younger audiences—and as relevant for older audiences. It’s an engaging, well-illustrated science textbook offering compelling answers to big questions, like “how did the universe form?” and “what causes earthquakes?”

道金森是牛津大学的教授,著名的演化生物学家。在他的笔下,科学变得生动有趣。这本书就同科学纪录片《宇宙时空之旅》那样好理解,老少皆宜。这是一本十分引人入胜、配图精彩的科学手册,对一些深奥的问题给出了十分有力的回答,比如,“宇宙是如何形成的?”、“什么引发的地震?”。

It’s also a plea for readers of all ages to approach mysteries with rigor and curiosity. Dawkins’s antagonistic (and, to me, overzealous) view of religion has earned him a lot of angry critics, but I consider him to be one of the great scientific writer of all time.

同时,这本书还极力使各个年龄段的读者在靠近神秘的事物时,既带着好奇心同时又不失严谨。道金森反宗教的态度受到了许多人愤怒的抨击,但我认为他是从始至今最棒的科学作家之一。


What If?, by Randall Munroe.

《如果的事》,作者:兰达尔·门罗

The subtitle of the book is “Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions,” and that’s exactly what it is. People write Munroe with questions that range over all fields of science: physics, chemistry, biology. Questions like, “From what height would you need to drop a steak for it to be cooked when it hit the ground?” (The answer, it turns out, is “high enough that it would disintegrate before it hit the ground.”)

这本书的副标题是“对荒谬的假设性问题作出的十分科学性的解答”,的确如此。人们给门罗提出的问题涵盖了科学的各个范围:物理学,化学,生物学。提到的问题比如说,“烹饪牛排的时候需要抛多高才合适?”(这里给出的答案是“高到在牛排落回锅里摔成碎肉之前的高度。”)

Munroe’s explanations are funny, but the science underpinning his answers is very accurate. It’s an entertaining read, and you’ll also learn a bit about things like ballistics, DNA, the oceans, and the atmosphere.

门罗的解答很风趣,但其中所蕴含的科学很准确。这本书能给你带来愉悦,同时你还能学到些东西,比如说,弹道学,DNA,海洋,以及大气层等。


XKCD, by Randall Munro

《XKCD漫画》,兰达尔·门罗

A collection of posts from Munroe’s blog XKCD, which is made up of cartoons he draws making fun of things—mostly scientists and computers, but lots of other things too.

这本书收集了该作者与书同名的博客上的一些博文,主要是他所画的搞笑卡通漫画,大多是科学家,电脑,但也有很多其他的东西。

There’s one about scientists holding a press conference to reveal their discovery that life is arsenic-based. They research press conferences and find out that sometimes it’s good to serve food that’s related to the subject of the conference. The last panel is all the reporters dead on the floor because they ate arsenic. It’s that kind of humor, which not everybody loves, but I do.

其中有一处说的就是,科学家们召开新闻发布会,宣布他们发现了生命是以砷(砒霜)为基本元素构成的。科学家们认为,新闻发布会上提供与会议专题相关的食物会是一个不错的主意。最后就是与会记者全都死在了地板上,因为他们服用了砒霜。这也是一种幽默,虽然不是所有人都喜欢,但我还蛮喜欢的。


On Immunity, by Eula Biss

《免疫》,作者:尤拉·比斯

When I stumbled across this book on the Internet, I thought it might be a worthwhile read. I had no idea what a pleasure reading it would be. Biss, an essayist and university lecturer, examines what lies behind people’s fears of vaccinating their children.

一开始我在网上看到这本书的时候,我只是认为这本书或许值得一读。我还不知道这本书读起来竟会让人如此开心。比斯是名随笔作家和大学讲师。

Like many of us, she concludes that vaccines are safe, effective, and almost miraculous tools for protecting children against needless suffering. But she is not out to demonize anyone who holds opposing views. This is a thoughtful and beautifully written book about a very important topic.

她研究的是人们害怕给自己孩子接种疫苗这一背后说明的问题。和我们许多人一样,她认为疫苗是安全有效,且几乎是神奇的,能保护孩子免于无谓的病痛折磨。但她并没有想要将持相反观点的人妖魔化的意思。这本书讲述了一个十分重要的主题,语言生动而缜密。


How to Lie With Statistics, by Darrell Huff

《统计数字会撒谎》,作者:达莱尔·哈夫

I picked up this short, easy-to-read book after seeing it on a Wall Street Journal list of good books for investors. I enjoyed it so much that it was one of a handful of books I recommended to everyone at TED this year.

我在《华尔街日报》向投资者推荐的书单上看到了这本书的名字,于是我就选中了它,这本书很短,读起来也很简单。我十分喜欢这本书,在今年的TED演讲上,我向所有人推荐了它。

It was first published in 1954, but aside from a few anachronistic examples (it has been a long time since bread cost 5 cents a loaf in the United States), it doesn’t feel dated.

这本书最早出版于1954年,虽然书中有一些年代错误(一块面包5美分在美国那是老早以前的事儿了),但它并不过时。


Should We Eat Meat?, by Vaclav Smil

《该吃肉吗?》,作者:瓦科拉夫·斯米尔

The richer the world gets, the more meat it eats. And the more meat it eats, the bigger the threat to the planet. How do we square this circle? Vaclav Smil takes his usual clear-eyed view of the whole landscape, from meat’s role in human evolution to hard questions about animal cruelty.

世界越富裕,消耗的肉就越多。肉消耗多了,对地球造成的威胁就越大。我们又该如何对待这个问题? 瓦科拉夫·斯米尔通过他清晰的视角全方位审视了这个问题。从肉在人类进化过程中扮演的角色到虐待动物的残酷性问题。

While it would be great if people wanted to eat less meat, I don’t think we can expect large numbers of people to make drastic reductions. I’m betting on innovation, including higher agricultural productivity and the development of meat substitutes, to help the world meet its need for meat.

虽然人少吃肉是件好事,但我不认为会有很多人大量减少肉食摄入。我觉得问题的关键在于创新,包括提高农业生产力,以及发展肉类替代品,从而满足世界对肉类的需求。

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