Given the busy schedule, I am glad that
I can spend (or probably squeeze) some time to
read books outside the technical field.
May be this is one way to keep my sanity.
I do appreciate those people in the field of liberal arts and humanity,
for they have a broader view on society, history and
human being in general.
John C.S. Lui
Except by Dialogue.
Speech by Tom Gerety, president of Amherst College.
(This speech stimulates me to seriously think about the meaning
of education, learning and performing scholastic research.)
by an anonymous writer.
(This poem reminds me to value my family and friends.)
- 1587, a year of no significance, by
(Illustrates the political system during the Ming Dynasty.
A MAGNIFICENT BOOK!
I learn more about Chinese history from this book
than from my high school Chinese history classes).
- Talking about Chinese History beside the Hudson River
(or "Ho-hsun ho pan tan Chung-kuo li shih"),
by Ray Huang.
(Illustrate various important events in the Chinese history).
- Living in Truth, by Havel Valclav.
(One of the most powerful writing that I have ever read.)
- A Random Walk Down Wall Street, by Burton G. Malkiel.
(Good and honest view about the Wall Street and personal investment.)
- Hong Kong Past and Present (written in Chinese with lots
of precious pictures).
Interesting topics include evidence of residency dated 5000 years
ago, for example: business infrastructure, land ownership,
religious activities during 1800, background of the opium war,
the Nanjing and Beijing treaties, the Hong Kong economical,
political and educational systems under the British ruling,
social issues such as poverty, housing and welfare,
period under the Japanese occupation, the participation
of Hong Kong residents in the Japanese occupation.
The economics development during the 1970 to the 1990's,
the riots of 1956, 1966 and 1967,
issues of corruption and the forming of the ICAC,
the transformation of industries in Hong Kong, the rapid
development of the higher education. And of course, the
final chapter is about the preparation to 1997.
The world needs men ...
by John Catoir.
The dilemma in life?
by Mary Onopchenkos
The right attitude in the academic environment
by Prof. Robert J. Birgeneau, Dean of School of Science, MIT.
Kurt Vonnegut's commencement address at MIT.
(For a few good laughs).
- Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History
(selected and introduced by William Safire).
Great and motivating speeches for many subjects.
For example, memorials and patriotic speeches, war and revolution
speeches, debates and argumentation, gallows and farewell speeches,
lecture and instructive speeches, commencement speeches,...etc.
- Six Easy Pieces (by Richard P. Feynman, Professor in Caltech
and Physics Noble Prize winner).
An unparalled introduction to the world of physics by one of
the greatest teachers of all time.
The Social Contract Between Teachers and Students:
By Professor Jacob Neusner as the convocation
speech to incoming freshmen at the
We Have Two Choices
(A Positive Attitude in Life)
- Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, it is all small stuff
(by Richard Carlson)
An easy reading about about how to avoid the agony when we
encounter some daily unpleasant events.
- Chaos: Making a New Science
(by James Gleick)
A gift from my former student. It is an easy reading book
about a way of seeing order and pattern
where formerly only the random, the erratic, the unpredictable.
- The Old Man and the Sea
(by Ernest Hemingway)
Hemingway's magnificent fable of an old man,
a young boy and a giant fish. The book that won for Hemingway
the Nobel Prize for Literature. A book which is unique and timeless
vision of the beauty and grief of man's challenge to the elements
in which he lives.
Slow down, my friend........
- Where wizards stay up late: the origin of the internet
(by K. Hafner, M. Iyon)
This is an exciting story of the pioneers responsible
for creating the most talked-about, most influential, and most
far-reaching communication breakthrough since the invention
of the telephone. This book captures the hard work,
the inspiration, the genius and happy accidents of their
daring, stunningly successful venture. From this book,
I came realize why the USA is taking a leading role in
terms of technology. Probably because of their passion, the
willingness to try new things and the courage to dream the
- Fermat's Enigma: The Quest to Solve the World's Greatest
(by Simon Singh)
Fermat's Last Theorem is probably the most familiar question in number
theory. Throughout history, many mathematical riddles captured the
minds of amateurs and master mathematicians alike. Several of these
riddles are still open questions, some of them for a very long time
(Goldbach's Conjecture, for example). But Fermat's Last Theorem had
something very special to it: it was a challenge that one man, an
accomplished mathematician -- "Price of the Amateurs", as he is
sometimes called -- announced that he had solved. And not only this,
but Fermat claimed that he had a "truly marvelous demonstration of this
proposition". Only the margin, on which this observation was scribbled,
was too narrow to contain that proof.
And so for over three centuries, professional and amateur
mathematicians alike kept hunting for the elusive proof. And finally, in
October 1994, Professor Andrew Wiles from Princeton University
published a proof that survived the scrutiny of his peers and became
an accepted formal proof to the known problem. Fermat's reputation
was cleared: the proposition is indeed correct.
By reading this book, I came to admire the determination
of Professor A. Wiles. He went after the difficult
problem, his desire to learn and willingness to look pass
his personal pride and his colleagues gossip (that Prof. Wiles
is a burnt-out mathematician). And at the end, he got the last laugh!
- Tuesdays with Morrie
(by Mitch Albom)
For Mitch Albom, Prof Morrie Schwartz is a person who
understood him when he was young, and helped him to
see the world as a more profound place, gave him sound advice
to help him make his way through it. After graduation,
Mitch lost track of this mentor as
he made his way in the society. The insights of life faded, the
world seemed colder, and Mitch is lost and unhappy.
Mitch had a second chance to see Morrie again so that he could
ask the bigger questions that still haunt him (and possibly you), received
wisdom for his busy life today the way he once did when he was younger.
Knowing Prof Morrie Schwartz was dying, Mitch visited
Morrie in his study every Tuesday, just as
they used to back in college. During these visits,
relationship rekindled and Mitch learned about important lessons in
life, for example, love, social culture, value of money, marriage...etc.
This book gives us the opportunity to see the intimate moments of
Morrie's final days as he lies dying from a terminal illness. Even
on his deathbed, this twinkling-eyed man some how manages to teach us all
about living robustly and fully.
- Scholarship According to Steven Cheung
(by Prof. Steven Cheung)
A very interesting and entertaining book about academic
scholarship and research. The author, Prof. Steven Cheung,
is a well-known economist as well as a controversial personality
in Hong Kong. In this book, author presented his view
on "seeking truth in the academic environment", "process of creativity",
"the pathetic state of Hong Kong academic research", and various
articles on R.H. Coarse and M. Friedman, both Nobel laureates in
Economics, on their work and their friendship.
The author was able to reveal a lot of important issues
concerning the Hong Kong academic institutions. To a
large extent, I enjoy the "arrogant tone" of the
author. It makes the book a lot more interesting to read.
May be other will consider that the author is a SOB.
But I believe that the author is a very adorable and admirable
- The Hobbit (by J.R.R. Tolkien)
I was really impressed with this novel and enjoyed very much
reading about the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and his company.
The short novel was both intricate and appealing.
There are many interesting aspects in this book.
The characters were intriguing, for each had his own eccentricities.
The main character, Bilbo, is unforgettable.
This book provides the background materials for later books:
``Lord of the Rings''.
- Memoir of the Stable (in Chinese):
A brilliant personal account of an academic scholar on
how his spent his days during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
In the book, the author depicted vividly how the revolution got
started and how people, including many who worked in academic
institutions, followed blindly the directives of the Communist Party.
It also illustrated the envy, jealousy, and the dark sides
of human nature. For example, people could ended up in jail
simply because of their hard work and devotion to scholarship.
This book reflects the disastrous effect of the Cultural Revolution
to many surviving Chinese scholars. A worthwhile book to read
if you want to know more about the Cultural Revolution.
- The Chronicles of Narnia (by C.S. Lewis):
Almost 50 years ago, the famous author C.S. Lewis wrote the
first book of Narnia, a land of wonder and enchantment.
Since then millions of readers have discovered this wondrous
world that exists just beyond the back of the wardrobe ...
There are many wonderful stories and characters in this enchanted
land of Naria. All together, there are seven books. Even the
ordering of reading these books is a very interesting question
Within each book, there are many biblical meaning and principles.
I strongly encourage these books to others, especially for
those who have kids. These books will be a wonderful bedtime
All Questions Answered
(by Prof Donald Knuth):
It is absolutely thrilling to read this article.
Prof D. Knuth, a father of modern computing,
talks about future of computing, deficiency of the current
state of artificial intelligence, big money research and
why it is a wrong way to do scientific research...etc.
An absolute must read!
Interview with God:
Take a look, then you may know what God wants, rather than
what you want. :-)
- The Lord of the Rings (by J.R.R Tolkien):
One of the greatest and most exciting novel I have read.
It is filled with symbolism. It is a long novel
and one has to have the patient to slowly read
those ancient words made up by Tolkien. The novel
also has many interesting and memorable characters
and a spectacular ending. A highly recommended to everyone.
The Essense of a New Day
The Essense of Character
- The Complete Yes Prime Minister (by Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay):
Do you want to understand politics? Do you want to
know why we have so much bureaucracy?
It is really a comedy in a class of its own!
- Things a computer scientist rarely talks about
(by Donald E. Knuth):
Come and listen to the high priest of computer science.
It is amazing how Prof Knuth can so freely share his faith
with folks in MIT. One comes to realize Prof Knuth takes
on every task with passion and an artistic style. Knuth
shares with us how to study Bible using "randomized algorithm",
how understanding of Bible is similar to langauage translation,
how he opens us our mind to glimpses of God...etc.
A wonderful book for everyone, especially those who are in
the field of computer science :-)
My feeling toward the 2003 Graduation Ceremony in CUHK:
I was feeling "blue", so I wrote down some of my thought
about this institution. :(
- Economics in One Lesson
(by Henry Hazlitt):
Written for the non-academic, it has served as the major
antidote to left-liberal fallacies in the popular press.
Some of the fallacies we used to believe, or at least most
people believe are 1) a post-war world will bring economic
vibrancy, 2) public works can resolve unemployment, ...etc.
Henry Hazlitt uses simple words and provides a wonderful argument to
these fallacies. An extremely interesting book for those
who want to understand our society.
Cultural Reflections: China's economy is booming and yet its
scientific output isn't. What can we do?
(by Mu-ming Poo):
An extremely insightful articile about problems that inhibit
the rise of modern scientific research in China.
I personally feel that the author has a sincere desire to help
the Chinese scientific community.
The Da Vinci Code (by Dan Brown)
A murder mystery with a backgroud of religious conspiracy theory
involving Leonardo Da Vinci's paintings, Jesus, Mary Magdalene,
and the Holy Grail. The book mixes suspense with art history,
architecture and religious history. Overall a very interesting
book with superb writing, but remember, it is a "fiction" :-).
- Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
(by Walter Issacson):
B. Franklin is probably one of the most well-known founding
fathers of America. His life and personality, to a certain
degree, define the national characters and values of the
American people. Benjamin started as a spunky runaway apprentice,
and eventually became America's best writer, inventor,
media baron, scientist, diplomat, business strategies, and
finally, one of the most practical and ingenious
political leaders. His book, ``Poor Richard's Almanac'',
contains lots of wits and advices which up to today,
still consider valuable and sound. By reading this book,
one not only comes to appreciate the benefit of
hardwork and dedication as shown in Franklin's life,
but how democracy came about
and how it helped to forge an American national identity
based on the virtues and values of its middle class.
ICON: Steve Jobs, the greatest second act in the history of business
(by J.S. Young, and W.L. Simon)
A very interesting article about the rise, the fall, and the rise
of Steve Jobs in Silicon Valley. The analysis of his personality is superb,
gives you an inside look of the inner feeling and struggle of this icon.
Steve Jobs is definitely a person with charm and charisma in pushing
the engineers to produce many amazing IT products with style and class,
yet, his management style can often drive people crazy also.
Angels and Demons (by Dan Brown)
A pulse-pounding, edge-of-your-seat thriller. As far as I am concern,
this book is much better than the famous "The Da Vinci Code".
It also reveals some of the weaknesses within human being and how
we struggle hold on to our religious belief, power and recognition.
Mao: The unknown Story
(by Jung Chang and J. Halliday)
A very informative and interesting look at the life of
Chairman Mao. When you read this book, you start to realize the
impact of politics, and the destructive consequence of one's desire to
seek power over anything.
It is amazing how one person's decisions changed the lifes of
millions of Chinese in the past century. After reading this book,
I learn to view many "political propagada" with skepticism.
Steve Jobs' Commencement Address at Stanford University, 2005
Steve Jobs, the icon in computing, media and animation industry,
gave one of his most inspirational speeches to the students at
The speech contains lots of gems and jewels for our generations.
The last lecture by Prof. Randy Pausch.
(Or try to do a search on Youtube for "Randy Pausch Last Lecture")
Prof. Randy Pausch, who were diagnosed with cancern,
decided to give his last lecture to the audience,
not only to students at CMU, but also for his children, and to
those of us who want to open our mind and heart.
A very interesting book that talks about the major changes
in China, from 1949 to 2005. The author made a beautiful
constrast between the major political events, and how each
event bought about the emotional change and turmoil to the
people. The book is composed of number of short stories
and each story makes its own emotional impact to readers.
I highly recommend this book!!!
- Letters to Sam
(by Daniel Gottlieb)
The author practises psychotherapy, is quadrapelgic due to a car accident.
Being handicapped for more than 25 years, he has a unquie view to look at daily
sufferings, pains and how human should cope with the inevitable. Sam is the grandson
of the author and one year after his birth, they found out that Sam has a severe form
of autism. This book, a collection of letters, not only opens our eyes to the
love of the author toward his grandson, but also opens our eyes and hearts to
understand relationship, love, determination, ...etc. But most important of all,
how to be a human.
A futuristic story of China in the year of 2013, in which the western worlds
will experience turmoils due to the financial collapse. To convince the Chinese citizens
that the country is under sound leadership, the government sets out to implement
a series of policies..... A very interesting and thought provoking story. I highly
recommend this book.
An interesting article written by a student in CUHK:
Very often, I try to read the
"CU Students Press" so to look for some interesting and intellectual
articles in this university. Have to say that I ended up
disappointed most of the time.
This article is about a well-known and yet seldom talk about topic.
It is a true reflection of the learning and intellectual atmosphere
for many university students in Hong Kong. Just wish all freshmen will
read this and learn from it.
An interesting article about the state of scholarship at Peking University, and to a large extent, the state of scholarship in China/HK. A very thought provoking article.
- The Cultural Revolution: A Very Short Introduction
(by Richard Curt Kraus).
2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Cultural Revolution in China.
Being a Chinese, it pains me to read and learn about this tragic
calamity. It has immense implications to the Chinese culture,
the behavior of the current Chinese generation, as well as a huge impact
on our tradition, thinking and beliefs. Below are two
video clips about the incident. Hope all Chinese can take
an honest look and a respectful view of this historical record, and remind
ourselves what we need to learn and avoid.
- The last letter by Dr. Li Wenliang (李文亮)(12 October 1986 -- 7 February 2020).
Dr. Li Wenliang was a Chinese ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital who
warned about a new coronavirus strain on December 30th, 2019 on WeChat to fellow colleagues.
Unfortunately, he was labeled as
a whistleblower by the Chinese authority when his warnings were later shared publicly.
On January 3rd, 2020, Wuhan police summoned and admonished him for
"making false comments on the Internet".
It turns out that his warning was indeed the truth and the coronavirus which broke out in Wuhan city infected
hundred of thousands of Chinese, caused over thousands death, and that the spread of the virus
reached North America, Europe, Australia and many Asian countries.
After the warning, Dr. Li returned to work, contracted the virus from an infected patient and died from
the disease on February 7th, 2020. The document below is the last letter written by Dr. Li Wenliang before
It is indeed sad. For a country likes China which makes tremendous economic progress since 2000, it is
still difficult for an ordinary citizen to make a voice, even when he speaks the truth.
Last Letter by Dr. Li Wenliang