Reading List - December 2016


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Figured since I’ve read so much this year, and am planning to read a ton next year that it would be fun to start reviewing what I’ve been reading. Nothing too crazy, just some brief thoughts on the books that I’ve read over the last month or so.

Hoping to do this kind of thing every month moving forward.

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

Like anything by Walter Issacson, this book was an epic tome. Fortunately, Benny F. lived an epic life to justify how long the book is. What I wasn’t expecting was to fully realize Ben Franklin in a very negative light.

Writing and pubishing fake letters to talk shit about his competitors. Being quite the adulterer towards his friend’s ladies when they were out of town. Oh and the fact that as long as it benefitted his print shop, he seemed pretty okay with remaining as part of England.

AND he grabbed somebody by the crotch and threw them out of a boat O_O

Founders at Work

Years ago I read [Coders at Work][coders] and really enjoyed it. Founders was a good read, for the most part. Some of the stories were completely enthralling while others were just meh.

Worth a read, but I’d treat each chapter like a separate book and if you aren’t feeling it, just skip to the next.

Become an Idea Machine

I picked this up after I had read the Choose Yourself books by James Altucher last year. It’s less of a book and more of a series of writing prompts to help you exercise your idea muscle.

I actually did the writing prompts for about two months last year (some of which are floating around on this blog) before growing tired of it. The prompts are fun but at a certain point they start to feel redundant.

I ended up reading the rest of the book sans the writing portion. As a whole, the book definitely made me have to think. Looking back at some of the lists I wrote out, I do feel like I got something out of it.

I may even pick on the rest of the prompts next year.

Perdido River Bastard

If I didn’t know the author personally (we used to work together) I doubt I would have ever picked up this book. Similar to my desire to read my neighbor’s period erotica novel earlier this year, I absolutely had to give this a go.

The novel is about a guy trying to piece together some tragic events of his past while paving the road for his future. Aside from a couple of very weird twists the turns, the book revolved mostly around [usually drunk or high] conversations amoungst family members of the Perdido River area.

Since the book started out in my home town, it gave me a few warm fuzzies. Unlike the erotica novel I read, I’d be willing to pick up more books by D. B. Patterson.

Time Travel: A History

If you’re like me, you think the concept of time travel is fanscinating as hell. Even if it’s not possible in the H. G. Wells sense of it, I still think the concepts are great.

This book discussed the origins and history of time travel in print and other mediums. It also discussed time travel concepts like the grandfather paradox and some of the theories behind why we cannot change history at all.

Only negative was that the author got really fixated on going back in time and killing Hitler. According to the book, when people think about going back in time to change history, that’s the first thing that comes to most people’s minds.

Personally, I’d go back and cut John Wilkes Booth off at the pass. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Essentialism

I had picked this book up last year because at the time, my soon to be boss was speaking very highly of the book. Boy was he right. I read the book in a few days before starting at SumoMe.

Unfortunately though, a lot of what I got out of the book just didn’t seem like it had stuck here at the tail end of 2016. I decided to give the book another read before attacking 2017.

Same impact as before. Read it in a few days and felt truly inspired. Good chance I’m going to make Essentialism a yearly read at the end of the year to help me ground and refocus before going into the new year.

I also picked up two copies recently for some friends. Can’t speak highly enough about the book.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

I went into this thinking the book was going to be just another version of The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck book I read earlier this year.

I was wrong. Actually, we’re all wrong, it’s in the book ;)

The book did end up mirroring some of the sentiments of the other book, like giving less fucks to things that don’t matter and more fucks to the things that do matter. Where it diverged were the stories included. I felt they had a lot more depth and the takeaways were more relatable to my own life.

Not a very long book, I was able to knock it out in two days. Hell, since I started it yesterday, I wasn’t even expecting to include it in this post!

Amendment

Turns out I wasn’t done this month and I ended up knocking out another couple of books. Recently started another, but I don’t think I’ll have it finished before the end of the year, so it will be included on the January post.

Moving forward, I’m going to drop these posts on the last day of the month instead of being part of my normal Sunday posting schedule.

Dark Matter: A Novel

Not sure I can say much about this book without spoiling it for at least one person. That said, this was hands down my favorite book this year and is definitely in contention for being one of my favorite fiction books of all time. It’s a fast read and from what I’ve seen around the web there will be a movie adaptation soon enough.

Hoping they don’t fuck it up like they did The Martian

The Wisdom of Forgiveness: Intimate Conversations and Journeys

I went into this thinking it was going to be more of a self-help book but it turned out to be a collection of stories revolving around His Holiness and Victor Chan. The book chronicles their friendship, a pilgrimage to India and Dalai Lama’s brush with amoeba’s.

Even though it’s not explicitly selling the wisdom of forgiveness, there are some take aways relating to it. The tl;dr would be that you don’t need to harbor negative feelings towards others because it only drags you down. Also, you have to realize that people not only mistakes, but they can grow / evolve over time and you have to be willing to understand where they had come from at the time and be open their changing.