Hit Refresh by Satya Nadela

I was pretty excited to get my hands on this book as soon as I read the review by none other than his former boss Bill Gates on his Gates Notes.

At the outset, the book is like a bible for every Microsoft new employees as the new Microsoft chief puts out his grand plan for the company. I found out later from someone that works in Microsoft Malaysia that everyone gets a copy of the book as well.  

In the book, Mr Nadella summarised three areas of innovation, augmented reality, artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing. There is a chapter as well discussing on sensitive matters for technology companies such as privacy and security.

The book is great in describing some of the technologies that Microsoft has come up with so far. Project Emma is one of such example. Microsoft came up with a watch (which is a form of a wearable device) for people with Parkinson’s disease. The watch is aimed to help the patient stabilise his or her wrist movement so that the person may be able to write again. You can watch the video below as well.

To be honest, I was hoping that Mr Nadella would share a bit more of his personal life and how he ended up becoming the Microsoft’s chief. To Mr Nadella’s defence, there were some initial chapters discussing his family and his initial years of growing up but I guess the book is not meant to be written as a memoir, but more of a ‘work in progress’ at Microsoft.

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting much from this book as I really don’t know exactly what I could learn much from a standup comedian. I was dead wrong.

Firstly, Trevor isn’t like any other typical comedian. He’s super smart and is well read too (something which he credited to this mother for getting books to read when he was young). The memoir is essential a homage to his mother which is reflected in his tribute to her.

I’m mesmerised by Trevor’s ability to write his life experiences in such a positive way despite the setting of the book which is about a ‘coloured’ kid growing up in South Africa’s apartheid period.   On a side note, I  also got to know that Bill Gates too had read and even reviewed this book as well.

In summary, it a great memoir and I really enjoyed reading Trevor Noah’s experiences growing up and the challenges he had to face as he was growing up. The book is a page turner. For instance, Trevor explained a time when he was so close to getting beaten up just for being ‘different’ due to his skin colour. He was able to get out from the situation because he managed to figure out the language as he pretended as if he was part of the same tribe as well. 

Putting aside all the good stuff, I think there were few gaps in his book which weren’t discussed (or deliberately omitted). For example, it wasn’t clear when exactly did he decided to leave and how he got his ‘breakthrough’.  Also, I guess many people may also want to know a thing or two about his  romantic life (which I’m sure it’s plenty). I sure hope that Trevor Noah will continue writing again  or perhaps even a sequel to this memoir someday.