There’s a part of me that believes ‘You are what you read”. Some years ago I realized that I was not reading much aside from magazines, newspapers, and marketing and advertising industry articles. I set a goal to read 2 books per month and have managed to come close the past few years.
I read about half of the books digitally on my tablet through Amazon Kindle, and the other half is a combination of library, borrowed from friends, gifts, and purchased hardcovers and paperback books. One thing I have noticed about Kindle books is because it is not a physical book, I am not as aware of the length of the book. It’s quite a bit easier to read a 500-page book on a device than it is to carry it around so I am paying closer attention.
Even if you cannot find the time to read 20 or more books, reading half or less that amount is still in your best interest. There’s something about reading and considering longer narratives that to me at least, is more important today than it has been. Attention spans are narrowing. Taking time to think about a complicated subject is sometimes tiring but almost always worthwhile.
Here are the 23 from 2016 – each review in ten words or less.
Superforecasting – Daniel Gardner and Philip E. Tetlock
Predictions are easy. Forecasters are often inaccurate. Made me think.
I Was Right on Time – Buck O’Neil
A veteran star of baseball’s Negro Leagues tells his story.
Between the World and Me – Ta Nehisi Coates
Written with a raw, disturbing, yet brilliant narrative style.
Mind’s Eye – Douglas E. Richards
Internet surreptitiously implanted inside the hero’s brain. Compelling story.
A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway
First read 1975. More a period piece than I recall.
Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything – Stephen Baker
The building of the IBM Watson computer. All about AI.
Making Habits, Breaking Habits, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick – Jeremy Dean
Am partial to the subject matter. Didn’t change my life.
Notes from a Beijing Coffeeshop – Jonathan Geldart
Interviews with various Chinese people living and working in China.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert B. Cialdini
Psychology of why people say yes and how to apply.
Tooth and Claw Stories – T.C. Boyle
More great stuff from one of my favorite authors.
Water – The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization – Steven Solomon
Took me two years to finish. Worth sticking with.
Disrupted – Dan Lyons
Fifty-something journalists ends up at HubSpot, doesn’t love it.
The Second Machine Age – Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee
Optimistic, accessible – it offers an interesting view on labor demand.
For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
Enjoyed this. I knew little about the Spanish Civil War.
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon – Brad Stone
Was a Bezos business fan prior to reading. Still am.
Invisible Influence – Jonah Berger
Since I am interested in learning what influences my behavior.
Stolen Season – Peter Lamb
Late 1980’s writer travels to minor league parks. Somehow nostalgic.
Flash Boys – Michael Lewis
Another of my favorites always makes complicated subjects accessible.
Pressure Makes Diamonds: Becoming the woman I pretended to be – Valerie Graves
How an advertising legend rose above life’s challenges. Good read.
Ask: The counterintuitive online formula to discover exactly what your customers want to buy…create a mass of raving fans…and take any business to the next level – Ryan Levesque
Bit overly-encouraging but its heart in the right place.
The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg
Surprisingly and delightfully provocative with real tools for changing habits.
The Undoing Project – Michael Lewis
Khaneman and Tversky – tricky subjects, but not for Michael Lewis.
This year I am planning on focusing on another 20th century American author. There’s a lot to choose from. Happy reading!