The blogging holiday continues!
…but I do miss having a running record of the books I’m reading. Forcing myself to write a little about each book seems to clarify personal relevance for me — so I’m throwing together a quick list.
In no particular order:
1. Bleak House – Charles Dickens
A substantial read this one. Some consider it Dickens’ masterpiece. For me, thoroughly unforgettable — THE best cast of characters I’ve read. There’s a reason people still read Dickens nearly 300 years later, the books are absolutely brilliant! Give yourself 50 pages to acclimate to the style of writing and then enjoy the ride.
2. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
From Bleak House, it was straight onto Oliver Twist. A better known story with a lighter touch. Great characters again with more lively action…’Please sir, I want some more…’
3. Endurance – Alfred Lansing
Written in 59, Lansing’s superb account of Shackleton’s Antarctic odyssey, fell out of print soon after publishing. The space race captured the public’s imagination in the 60s and terrestrial tales lost their lustre. The book was resurrected years later to become a best seller (lansing himself did not live to see the book’s success)
Literally couldn’t put this one down after the first 100 pages or so. An incredible testament to human resilience under the most extreme conditions imaginable. Inspirational.
4. How to fail at almost everything and still win big – Scott Adams
An unconventional guide to life and decision making from the creator of Dilbert. Adams doesn’t always play with a full deck (he was a vocal Trump supporter) but his perspective and principles are worth reading. Lots of value (and humour) here.
5. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I learned while editing my life – Donald Miller
A thoughtful enquiry into what it means to live a life of meaning and purpose. Miller frames life as a story and considers the ways our stories can be improved. Made quite an impact on me. Miller is religious but thankfully doesn’t lay it on too thick here.
6. An Irrational Ape: Why Flawed Logic Puts us all at Risk and How Critical Thinking Can Save the World – David Grimes
Another investigation into thinking biases, heuristics and mental models. Slightly heavy in parts but well chosen anecdotes and examples lead the reader through the thinking errors to which we are all prone. This is a fairly new book so many of the case studies are particularly relevant right now.
7. South of the Border, West of the Sun — Haruki Murakami
One of the remaining Murakami titles that I hadn’t read. Tells the story of man’s life focusing in on relationships, destiny and the decisions that make (or break) a life. Many of Murakami’s trademark touches are here but not up there with his best.
8. Sound Man — Glyn Johns
Glyn Johns is the legendary engineer / producer whose canon of work defined the 60s and 70s. He had a hand in many of my all-time favourite albums. Sound Man is a collection of stories and anecdotes written by the man himself. Johns isn’t going to win any literary awards here, but for fans of the Stones, Beatles, Faces, The Band, The Eagles, Led Zeppelin etc etc this is good stuff.
9. Never Split the Difference – Chris Voss
Chris Voss takes the reader through a series of the negotiation tactics and strategies developed by the FBI. This is a practical handbook to negotiation that reveals much about the predictably irrational way we process information and make decisions. Lots to ponder here. Perfect complement to Caldini’s more academic ‘Persuasion’.
That’s it for now kids, best read so far? Endurance!
It has catapulted me into a fascination of polar exploration. I’m now listening to Edward Fox narrate Captain Scott’s diary on Scribd and about to begin ‘Ice Master: The Doomed 1913 Voyage of the Kurlak’….
Onward… to the North!