C'est la guerre

French Legislators Move to Ban Amazon (and Everyone Else) From Offering Free Shipping on Discounted Books

French culture minister chillin' (PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)

Americans are fond of wringing their hands over Amazon’s seemingly endless, Borg-like growth. Is there any hope for bookstores when Prime membership enables you to get free two-day shipping on cheap, brand-new hardcovers?

France, though, isn’t simply nattering anxiously. No, France is taking action. Legislators from the ruling Socialist Party and the conservative UMP have Read More

Thielin' It

Immortal Billionaire Peter Thiel to Write Book Your Weird Uncle Will Give You for Graduation

(Photo: Wikipedia)

Peter Thiel, the dashing PayPal founder who was born when Ray Kurzweil and a unicorn cyborg mated beneath a full moon, is adding “author” to his long list of accomplishments. The New York Times reports that Mr. Thiel, a utopia-obsessed angel investor who spends a large chunk of his life convincing impressionable geniuses to eschew college degrees, is currently working on a book about “building companies” called Zero to One. Read More

Linkages

Booting Up: Is Google Building a Tower of Babble?

Pretty sure she's waving to the Street View team.

A report suggests Google is going to unite all its various chat products under the name “Babble.” We sincerely hope this is not part of another effort to make us all use Google+. [Geek.com]

“Sanders and Armstrong share something with the startup world as a whole: the arrogance of naivete. They see what they think is a problem. They think they’re the ones to solve it.” [Melville House]

Wait ’til the mayor sees this: There’s a couple of teens who review cigarettes on YouTube. Gross. [Daily Dot]

You can now climb every mountain with Google Street View. [L.A. Times]

Security researcher Brian Krebs tracked down the hacker who completely wrecked Mat Honan’s digital life. BRB, double-checking my two-factor authentication. [Ars Technica]

Servicey

Gift Guide: The Best Books to Buy for the Technologist in Your Life

14 Photos

Tubes, Andrew Blum

They make great presents, but books are deceptively difficult to give: You don’t want to buy some random bestseller off the front table at Barnes and Noble, but wander very far into the store and it’s easy to become overwhelmed with options. To lend a hand, we’ve combed through this year’s techie-targeted releases (and tossed in a couple of old favorites, as well). Read More

Reality Distortion Field

Business Book Claims Reality Distortion Fields Are Good for You

Role model. (Photo: flickr.com/home_of_chaos)

Even more so than other industries, tech startups are full of incurable optimists, prone to pronouncements about how this SoMoLo app is totally going to change grocery shopping forever and ever, man. Moderation isn’t exactly enshrined as a virtue, and everyone wants his very own Steve Jobs effect.

Hence, we can’t help but feel bad for anyone whose boss gets his hands on a copy of Trevor Blake’s new book, Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life, in which he apparently argues that Negative Nancies are actually quite bad for you. According to a recent interview with Inc.: Read More