About the Bundle
These are all five of the books that I've written on Leanpub. (No, it doesn't include the translations of them.)
They have very different audiences, but there may be some overlap: if you are interested in the future of publishing, you want to teach your kid programming, and you're interested in Japan, then this is the bundle for you!
In total, there's just over 120,000 words in them. I love writing on Leanpub almost as much as I love helping to build Leanpub!
This book explains the philosophy behind Leanpub.
While Lean Publishing is a relatively short book at just over 100 pages and 20,000 words (about novella length), I put a lot of thought, research and work into it. Had I put less work into it, it would have been 200 pages and less entertaining.
So, what's in the book?
Quite simply, the definitive introduction and guide to Lean Publishing.
Lean Publishing is the act of publishing an in-progress ebook using lightweight tools and many iterations to get reader feedback, pivot until you have the right book and build traction once you do.
This book examines the Lean Publishing idea in depth, considering both the meaning and the origin of the various aspects of Lean Publishing.
The first chapter, Definition, examines the definition of Lean Publishing in length, going deep into each of its components. This chapter is the basis of the Lean Publishing Manifesto at https://leanpub.com/manifesto.
The second chapter, Origins, considers the origins of Lean Publishing. These include everything from Victorian serial fiction, fan fiction, beta books, blogs, and my own experiences.
The third chapter, Practice, is a short discussion of Lean Publishing practice for both authors and publishers. Leanpub is also discussed, as it's our attempt to implement these ideas.
The Markua Specification
Imagine you owned a magical typewriter.
When you used this magical typewriter, you wrote with fewer distractions. You didn't just write faster, you wrote better.
With your magical typewriter, you never worried about layout. The book formatted itself.
You could hit a key on your magical typewriter to create an ebook from your manuscript with one click.
All ebook formats would be created, and they'd all look good. You'd have PDF for computers, MOBI for Kindle, and EPUB for everywhere else. The book would look great on phones.
With your magical typewriter, you could publish your book before it was even done, and get feedback from readers all over the world. You could automatically share book updates with them. You would press one key on your magical typewriter to publish a new version, and all your readers would have it instantly.
With your magical typewriter, you could easily compare your current manuscript to any other version of your manuscript that had ever existed.
When the book was done, if you decided to make a print book, you could press a key on your magical typewriter to generate InDesign with one click. Your designer or publisher could use this as a starting point for producing a great looking print book.
With your magical typewriter, you'd only have to do one thing: Write.
Wouldn't it be great if such a magical typewriter existed?
It does. At Leanpub, we're building it.
But there's one requirement for this magical typewriter to exist: a simple, coherent, open source, free, plain text format for a book manuscript.
This simple format is what authors will write their books in, instead of Word. It will enable an ecosystem of tools to emerge around it.
This simple format will be the basis for the magical typewriter.
This simple format is called Markua.
This is its specification.
Programming for Kids
Ruby and Mac Edition
This is a book to teach kids who are between 9 and 14 years old the basics of programming. You need a Mac computer to follow along.
This is a book for you to read with your child, or for your child to read by himself or herself.
I wrote it to teach my 9 year old son the basics of programming. He has been playing video games for years, and he wants to learn programming since he wants to make his own video games someday. This book is intended to be the first step. (No, it doesn’t teach you how to create the kinds of video games a 9 year old can dream up; that takes a lot more knowledge!)
The reason this book exists is to be the best book in the world for a kid who is wanting to learn to program computers to read first. Computer programming is a good skill to have, regardless of what occupation your child eventually does as an adult. (I’d argue it’s much more important than lots of the math than you learn in high school, for example.) But more importantly, learning how to program computers teaches a rigor and discipline of thinking which is useful in any field. This book exists to show kids that they can program computers, and to help them get started.
This book is written like a book for kids in elementary school. My goal is that this book should be accessible for kids between ages 9 and 14. In North America, that’s grades 3-8. My son is working through it as I write it. (I don’t think it’s a good book for kids aged 7 and 8: I started writing this book when my son was 7, but he wasn’t ready for it. So, I paused writing it–for 2 years. If your child is 7 or 8, I think that something like Scratch is a better choice for kids of that age.)
No knowledge of programming is assumed. The examples are as short as possible, since I assume the reader can’t type well. (My son can’t touch type, so if I make long examples I’ll hear about it!)
My goal is for this book to be the best programming book for kids to read first. After this book, they can follow what interests them.
This book is written assuming you are using a Mac. I think that a Mac is the best computer for kids to learn to program on. Since this is a beginner book for kids, I can’t write it generically to cover Mac, Windows and Linux. I have to pick one operating system, and have the child follow along verbatim.
Besides teaching programming, the book also teaches basic use of the command line on a Mac. This is accessed via the Terminal program. The reason for this is that I feel that the best way to learn is to follow along, and the simplest way to follow along is to type everything. Real programmers use the command line every day. If you want to learn programming, you should use Terminal and files. Yes, you can play with stuff in a web browser at places like Codecademy, and while this is very friendly and instructive, it is fundamentally a different activity from what real pro- grammers do. And, besides being easier, it’s somehow less rewarding.
If you are letting your child use your Mac computer to follow along, I strongly recommend you sit beside them and follow along! For example, I’m not planning to teach the command to delete files, but it’s fairly short!
Your First Trip to Japan
This book is for you if you...
- have never gone to Japan, and
- are considering going to Japan, either solo or with your partner and/or your kids, and you
- either haven't started or aren't done planning your trip.
This book tries to be helpful, both in preparing for your trip and in the trip itself.
In preparing for your trip, it focuses on the big questions, as it tries to help you...
- Decide whether to go, by reducing the amount of uncertainty.
- Plan an itinerary, whether you're travelling alone, with your partner and/or with your family.
- Pack, whether you're taking a backpack (preferred) or a suitcase, if you're travelling in the summer.
- Book hotels, both in the major destinations (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Kanazawa) and in the more remote areas.
- Decide whether you need a JR pass, and for how long. (*Hint: it might not be for the whole trip.*)
- Get a rough idea of costs, so you can decide whether the trip you're planning fits your budget.
- Get inspired (or get your partner and/or kids inspired) with movies, video games and (gasp!) even other books.
During your trip itself, it tries to help you with some of the basics of daily life, including how to...
- Pay for things. (Hint: usually with cash, and without ever tipping. Really.)
- Get places, taking trains (JR and non-JR), the metro (which you should use in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka), buses (it's different than in Canada or the US) and taxis.
- Avoid a number of the basic etiquette mistakes you might make while eating or visiting cultural sites.
- How to communicate effectively enough, even if you don't speak essentially any Japanese.
- How to pronounce the romanized Japanese (with the same alphabet that is used for English) that you read.
- Get cash from bank machines.
- Do laundry.
A Climb of Mount Fuji From The Base
If you are considering climbing Mount Fuji, this book may be of interest to you.
On August 15-16, 2018, I hiked the Yoshidaguchi trail of Mount Fuji.
I woke up in Tokyo just after 5 AM on the Wednesday, took trains to Mount Fuji station, got there at about 9 AM, went to the visitor center, got a map, took a cab a couple kilometers to 7-11, bought supplies, walked to a shrine, did the hike, took a bus and then trains back, got back to Tokyo at 11 PM on the Thursday, and had delicious udon noodles and the best hot shower of my life.
I hiked the full Yoshidaguchi trail on the ascent. While I did reach the 3706 meter peak of the Yoshidaguchi trail, I did not reach the 3776 meter summit of Mount Fuji–I was short on daylight and on time, so I didn’t hike around the crater.
Due to the way that I timed my hike, I didn’t see the sunrise from the top of Mount Fuji. Heck, I haven’t seen anything from the top of Mount Fuji except the inside of a cloud! (The last good view I had from Mount Fuji was from 8th station, at 3020 meters.)
On the descent, I hiked down the descending Yoshida trail and then took the bus back from the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station.
This short book is the story of my hike, including exactly what I brought and bought. There are also lots of photos from both days.
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