Dalla parte dei vinti by Piero Buscaroli

In Italy WWII history was written by the winners, as it’s usually the case everywhere in the world when a war is over.

At school I was taught that the good guys (US+GB) saved my country from the bad guys (the Germans and the fascist government of the time).
In the study books it looked like it was a nice and peaceful process for the population and that only minor civilian casualties happened in Italy.

After over 60 years a few voices can be heard that describe what happened in a less manichean way.
Piero Buscaroli is one of those voices: you may feel a strong sense of discomfort when reading this book as it could shatter the a comfortable system of believes that was built over time.
Like other books that go against years of propaganda (Solzhenitsyn‘s Archipelagos Gulag comes to my mind as the most relevant example) this is a must read to develop a better understanding of human and political dynamics and of history.

Reading list of December 2012

A couple of weeks of travel and one week of vacation helped in making december a fairly rich month from the point of view of reading.

I’ve read the following books:

Nessuno genera se non e’ generato by Fraternita’ San Carlo
It’s a small booklet that collects a few thoughts around the role of the father with the support of excerpts from classical books:
Homer’s Iliad: Achilles meets Priam asking for Hector’s body
Homer’s Odyssey: Ulisses meets Telemachus
Dante Alighieri’s Divina Commedia: the relation of Dante and Virgilio
J.R.R. Tolkien’s The lord of the ring: the relation of Gandalf with the hobbits

Alone together by Sherry Turkle
I’ve made two posts about this book so far here and here.
Given the amount of content at least one more post is to come.
Reccomended reading.

The Necromancers by Robert H. Benson

Jesus of Nazareth (vol. 2) by Joseph Ratzinger
Way better commentary on Jesus’ life than I’ve heard in the preaches of many priests. Worth reading.

Favola di Natale by Giovanni Guareschi
As it’s often the case with Guareschi the booklet presents a sad subject (being prisoner in a German lager during the second WW) in a way that doesn’t hide the hard part but yet is with hope and lighthearted.

Finally completed to move the content of my reading list by amazon from Linkedin (part 9 of 9)

With this post I’ve finally completed the move from the amazon-linkedin application

You can read why I’ve done this and can also find the first secondthirdfourthfifthsixthseventh and eighth part of the list that I’ve already published.

Saturday, Oct 22 2011
Starman Jones by Robert A. Heinlein

Saturday, Oct 22 2011
The Children of Húrin by J. R. R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, Alan Lee
I like better the original works of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Thursday, Sep 22 2011
After Many a Summer Dies the Swan by Aldous Huxley

Saturday, Sep 17 2011
Wise Blood: A Novel by Flannery O’Connor
Having read all the stories I felt at home with this book.
It was like chatting with the writer about people we both knew.

Tuesday, Sep 6 2011
George Washington’s False Teeth: An Unconventional Guide to the Eighteenth Century by Robert Darnton
The book was interesting and entertaining.
One of the things that impressed me is finding out that we (the moderns) invented very little in the manipulation of the stock markets lately: most elements were already present in the pre-revolutionary french market.

Tuesday, Aug 30 2011
Marketing reloaded. Leve e strumenti per la co-creazione di esperienze multicanale by Giuliano Noci, Fabrizio M. Pini Andrea Boaretto
I recomed this book both to marketers and to customers.
To customers because is good to know how the companies are sending messages to you.
To marketers to check the degree of evolution of their marketing activity in comparison to recent practices.

Monday, Aug 22 2011
Open Prison by James White

Monday, Aug 22 2011
Second ending by James White

Content of my reading list by amazon (part 8 of 9)

In an attempt to complete the moving from the linkedin/amazon application here is the second chunk of today.

You can read why I’m doing this and can also find the first secondthirdfourthfifthsixth and seventh part of the list that I’ve already published.

Friday, Jun 10 2011
Guarda, tocca, vivi. Riscoprire i sensi per essere felici by Claudio Risé
I liked the book overall, yet I felt like something was missing on the closing part.
It’s more like a collection of multiple interesting essays on related subjects than a single comprehensive text

Saturday, May 28 2011
Twenty Days with Julian and Little Bunny by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Wednesday, May 11 2011
Forever War: Dispatches from the War on Terror by Dexter Filkins

Wednesday, May 4 2011
The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor

Thursday, Mar 31 2011
Manifesto dei conservatori by Roger Scruton
Very good reading.
The reasoning is rigorous yet easy to approach.
You can find an interesting review in Italian here

Wednesday, Mar 16 2011
Decisive Treatise and Epistle Dedicatory by Averroes
I’ve read the italian translation printed by Rizzoli.
The introduction and notes provide the fundamental context to fully appreciate the content.

Wednesday, Mar 2 2011
Shadrach in the Furnace by Robert Silverberg
The conclusion is clear a bit too early, but it’s a nice reading to relax.

Thursday, Feb 10 2011
I Drink Therefore I Am: A Philosopher’s Guide to Wine by Roger Scruton
I strongly recommend this book.
The part covering the wines is great and inspiring (I’d like to taste as many as possible of the mentioned ones to compare my experience with the author’s one) and the philosophical part is easy enough to handle for non-philosophers yet rich in content.

Thursday, Jan 20 2011
Incandescence by Greg Egan
I found it a bit boring

Monday, Jan 10 2011
La profondeur des sexes by Fabrice Hadjadj
Recommended book. Even if you may disagree with the author facing the issues he raises in a structured way will turn out useful nonetheless

Some banks deserve to lose their customers and mine is one of them

As it’s often the case I’m traveling at the moment and so I went to an ATM to get some local currency.
I do this on a regular basis when not in a euro-country and I did used my ATM card several times in the past also here in the USA.

But this time it did not work.
I’ve tried over half a dozen different places without success this morning: BofA, Merril Lynch, Chase, Wells Fargo, Union Bank, California bank and trust and two privately operated ATM (in the office and in the hotel) without success and a lot of discomfort: I have 4 1$ notes in my pocket.

The I arrived in the office and found a nice message from the bank (sent during the local night) telling me that now they have a new policy in place such that my world-wide enabled ATM card by default is no longer worldwide.
They suggested that I could go to my branch asking to change it before the trip (quite inconvenient ad I’m about 10.000km from home already) or do it over the phone 8-22 during the workdays (but my wife called at 21.50 and the lady said it’s not operating after 21.30 and, even if we share the signature on the account, I have to call personally with great joy of the roaming mobile operator) or by internet banking (but it takes 48 hours to happen).

I’ve moved 65% of my savings to another bank in November (without anyone even asking why or whether they can do anything to keep it with them) but now I’m going to close the account completely.

It will be a nice Christmas gift for me and maybe for them too as they have one less customer to worry about.

Content of my reading list by amazon (part 7 of 9)

After a long pause with the incoming weekend hopefully I’ll be done moving my reading list out of the linkedin-amazon application.
Below you’ll find the seventh part.

You can read why I’m doing this and can also the first secondthirdfourthfifth and sixth part of the list that I’ve already published.

Monday, Jan 10 2011
The Scapegoat by René Girard
Girard interpretation of the dynamics of the human behavior is very interesting and supported well by the author.
Book recommended without any doubt.
I’ve read the italian translation.

Sunday, Dec 19 2010
Transactional Manager by Abe Wagner
I found the book a bit boring. Maybe I’ve had enough readings related to TA
OR the book is not a big deal in itself.
My wife is reading it I’ll post her feedback in the future.

Friday, Dec 3 2010
Games people plays by Eric Berne
I did not like the introduction to the italian edition, but the book is interesting without any doubt.
My mother found it interesting too as an interpretation key for the behavior of a friend of her.

Friday, Nov 26 2010
Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Leadership by Ken Blanchard
Recommended: the time I used to read this book was invested well.
I suggest it not only to managers but to individual contributors too.
As an old Harvard Business review article stated everyone needs (at least) to manage his manager

Tuesday, Nov 23 2010
Lettera a un Bambino Mai Nato by Oriana Fallaci
Without any doubt a book that is valid now as it was 35 years ago. Maybe even more now.
Absolutely recommended.

Saturday, Nov 20 2010
Renaissance by Raymond F. Jones
Relaxing book, but nothing to write home about.
I’ve read the Italian translation.

Saturday, Nov 6 2010
On War by Carl Von Clausewitz
The Italian edition that I’ve read is actually a selection of the most philosophical chapters from ” uber die Natur des Krieges” and “uber die Theorie des Krieges”.
I’ve found the reading extremely interesting and useful.
I’d suggest the reading to anyone that’s not afraid of a theoretical and systematic approach to the subject.
The author thinking goes way deeper that the (only) one liner most people know.

Thursday, Oct 28 2010
The Art of Warfare by Sun Pin

Sunday, Oct 24 2010
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
I’m unsure whether or not having read this book will change the way I act, but I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen the actions of people who changed after having read it.

Wednesday, Oct 20 2010
Attracting Investors: A Marketing Approach to Finding Funds for Your Business by Philip Kotler, Hermawan Kartajaya, S. David Young
I’ve found the reading extremely interesting.
I’d suggest this book to anyone thinking about starting a new company.

Millemiglia frequent flyer miles program about to restart

Starting January 2013 the miles of the Alitalia frequent flyer program will be accumulated in a new program and will not add to the previous ones.
There it is still time to spend them until June 2013 according to the email I received.

I’ve decided to donate them to my preferred charity the Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus.
It’s as simple as sending an email to clubMilleMiglia.charity@alitalia.it (as long as you have at least 10.000 miles in your account) with the following data:
Your Millemiglia code
Your first name and last name
The amount of miles that you want to donate
The desired charity from the list available on the Alitalia site: Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus in my case.

If you live in Italy don’t forget Saturday November 24th to participate in the Colletta Alimentare Nazionale. I’ll be volunteering here most of the day if you are in the area just drop by.

Italians should learn to complain less about their country

I’m working on a project in Germany for two weeks now and I’ll be here also next week.
I’ve found out that while Italians make a very good marketing of their products they make a fairly bad one of their own country.

A few examples from recent hands on experience.

3G coverage
I have a German 3G stick and on the train as soon as I’m 2km from the station the 3G signal is over and the 2G signal is not able to provide enough bandwidth for Skype chat.
In Italy it’s better even at my parent’s in law place and I consider that spot one of the worse.
Even with good 3G coverage at peak time it’s not better than a V.90 modem.
The colleagues told me this is normal.

Delay in the morning was the norm last week when I was getting in Hanover the high-speed train to Berlin.
On par or worse than the local train my wife takes to go to work.
A colleague confirmed that it was not a bad week. Today the same train was late too.

Traffic jams are there even in perfect weather condition and without road works: Italy has not an exclusive access to them.
Getting routed through 30 km of countryside roads to reach the highway to a major city happens here too.

Building standards
A colleague is having an experience very close to mine with a window not working well and water getting into the room on a recently built apartment.
Attorney and court fight is needed to get it right also in Germany.

Some colleagues had to commute 220 km (one way) each day this week as local hotels were not available and it was the most efficient way.
Like if for a project in Bologna a person had the hotel in Milano…

Berlin Tegel airport is connected only by a bus without a dedicated lane.
Traffic was heavy today: I was lucky taking an earlier train (that was late) that compensated the bus 🙂

Visciolata del cardinale

Yesterday I’ve opened a bottle that was waiting for me for a while.

Visciolata del cardinale is an alcoholic beverage of medium strength (14% vol.) made out of wine, visciole (Prunus cerasus) and sugar.
The scent recalls the german kirschwasser with a clear mark of cherry.
The taste is fruity and astringent.
The sourness of the visciole is strong yet balanced by the sugar.
It’s a great conclusion for a good dinner.

I discovered the visciolata during the summer holiday when I visited the grotte di Frasassi and the surroundings.
While the visit to the caves is great in itself I find always nice to have something good to bring home.

Tagliatelle al burro @ Mangiari di strada

Sometimes it makes sense to blog about a food that is supposedly very mundane like pasta with butter.
In this specific case because it was not a common mass-produced pasta and it was not an industrial butter.

The tagliatelle were hand made in front of the guests.
This makes all the difference in the world: the freshness and the process ensure a very special texture that commercial products can’t match.
If you never tried the fresh pasta I feel sorry for you because you can’t appreciate the difference and are missing a great experience.

I’ve already commented a couple of weeks ago about a great butter: it was great with the anchovies back then and it was great on tagliatelle today.