JCL Blog

My Reading List: 2011

I got into a conversation about the books I read last year recently and that has inspired me to make a list.  So here you go:  The books I read last year. 

Actual Printed Books

  1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
  2. Hell’s Angels by Hunter S. Thompson
  3. Fear and Loathing:  On the Campaign Trail ’72

These books were not available on Audible or the Kindle otherwise I would have bought them digitally.  They are all interesting reads and in particular, the volume about the election of Richard Nixon was a great reminder that politics is not more screwed up now than it ever was.

Kindle eBooks

  1. Triple by Ken Follett:  A great story about how Israel may have gotten the bomb in the 70s.
  2. Lie Down with Lions by Ken Follett:  If you want to understand what conditions are like in Afghanistan – this is a good way to do it.
  3. One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com by Richard Brandt:  Short because the story is still being written, but good background if you are planning on meeting Bezos.
  4. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson:  My review here.  No question the most inspiring book I read.  Made me want to be "insanely great" too.
  5. Public Parts by Jeff Jarvis:  OK book by the author of “What Would Google Do?” – which was better
  6. Paradise by Larry McMurtry:  Re-read this one, a great autobiographical story about a trip to the south pacific.
  7. Reamde by Neal Stephenson:  A real page turner and good way to get the feel for China.  Like many of his books, it is long and may not have needed to be.
  8. The Garden of Eden by Ernsest Hemingway:  Another re-read.  This is one of the better posthumously published works. 
  9. The fortune ant the Bottom of the Pyramid by CK Prahalad:  Did not make it all of the way through this book, but a good reminder of how big the rest of the world is.
  10. In the Plex by Steven Levy:  A great look what everyone means when they say Google is “engineering driven”.
  11. Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn:  A wonderful book about how to constructively encourage your kids to do great things.
  12. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card:  Classic sci fi that I should have read a long time ago.
  13. The Frugal Superpower by Michael Madelbaum:  This is a must read for anyone who thinks we are at a crossroads.
  14. Common as Air by Hyde Lewis:  In the same vein as Free by Chris Anderson.  Essentially a primer to the new economy.
  15. Changing the game by David Edery: A good manual showing how to adapt computer gaming concepts to the real world. 
  16. The New Language of Marketing 2.0 by Sandy Carter:  Sandy Carter is a Maven at IBM and this book shows how big companies are looking at new media.
  17. Microsoft 2.0 by Mary Jo Foley:  Mary Jo Foley follows Microsoft for ZDnet and this book lists some of her thoughts about how Microsoft could/should reinvent itself
  18. You are not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier:  One of our renaissance men gives a look into the good and the dangerous about the digital age. 
  19. Work Hard. Be Nice. By Jay Mathews:  A must read for anyone thinking about our education system with a focus on the incredible work by KIPP.

Audio Books

  1. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides:  Another good novel by the author of Middlesex.  Great images, not really uplifting.
  2. The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald:  Thought it would be fun to have this classic on audio.
  3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald : ditto
  4. The Diamond as Big as the Ritz by F. Scott Fitzgerald: ditto – what a story this one is too.  If you have never read it – invest the hour.
  5. I Live in the Future and Here is How it Works by Nick Bilton:  The title is arrogant, but the book is really quite good.
  6. Macrowikinomics by Don Tapscott and Anthony D Williams:  I loved the first book, this one I only got half way through.
  7. Boomerang by Michael Lewis:  Of course my favorite book of the year is by Michael Lewis.  All of the episodes were great but I found the Iceland part to be the best.  My review here.
  8. The Information by James Gleick:  Quite dry, but if you are interested data, databases, privacy, new media – it is worth the effort to read this one.
  9. Bossypants by Tina Fey:  As my sister says, every so often you need some candy.  This is right up there with Born Standing Up.
  10. The Greater Journey by David McCullough: I love David McCullough, I think my life is too complicated to take the time to really think about Americans in Paris 150 years ago.
  11. On China by Henry Kissinger:  Boy did this guy take good notes!  A great reference book and it is not too hard to see around the bigger than life ego.
  12. The Social Animal by David Brooks:  I generally like David Brooks on the NewsHour and in his column more than in his books.  This one is good, but the fictionalization just did not work.  He sure has read a lot of brain science stuff though!  My review here.
  13. Dangerously Funny by David Bianculli:  A super story about the Smothers Brothers 3 years on CBS and all of the battles – if you are into the late 60s early 70s part of our history – this is a really good book.
  14. The Clockwork Universe by Edward Dolnick:  Who knew the history of calculus could be so interesting.  I have probably talked about this book more than just about any other book I read in 2011 – well, except maybe Boomerang.
  15. How the West Was Lost by Dambisa Moyo:  I did not make it more than a quarter into this.  By then she had made her point and it did not seem like continuing was going to bring any greater insights.
  16. All the Devils are Here by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera:  Good fodder for the fire of the financial crisis and those who caused it (us!).
  17. Griftopia by Matt Taibbi:  Great book about how Wall Street is sucking the life out of our country.  No problem figuring out where the author stands.  

So there you have it.  39 books, 3 printed, and the rest about evenly split betweent the Kindle and Audible.   There were about 10 other books that I bought but did not read including some manuals that I just looked stuff up in.  I did not think a book should count if I did not take the time to get at least a quarter of the way through it.  There were two books that I got on Audible and the Kindle.  I did not list those twice, but that is an interesting study on whether these digital books are going to increase book sales or not.  I would much rather pay $10 each for an audio book and ebook (for a total of $20) instead of $20 for one printed hardback.  

Now if Amazon could just figure out how to sync them so when I open my Kindle it goes right to where I left off in my car on the audio book -- that would be amazing.