Reading List – December 2016

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 publishing 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 benefited 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 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
amongst 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.

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

Personally, I’d go back and cut John Wilkes Booth off at the pass.


I had picked this book up last year because at the time, my soon to be
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!


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 always 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.

Josh Sherman - The Man, The Myth, The Avatar

About Josh

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