Books Read in April ’15

In order to gain a better understanding of how I choose what to read, I’ll be doing monthly recaps of the fiction and non-fiction books I finished, and why.

In April I finished my Product Management class, continued with weekly installments of Connect The Thoughts, and started a full-time producing job for a new television network. In effect, that means a likely shift away from entrepreneurial reading (for the time being), an increase of long-form articles, and a rise in audiobooks (because of the hour a day I’ll be commuting).

All good challenges, and I’m looking forward to those coming up, especially since May will be the first month of full-time employment since I started doing these reading recaps. Will my reading bend? BREAK!? Stay tuned!

Fiction

Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish – This book is a gritty and raw treatment of a couple, one a Vet suffering from post-war PTSD and another as an illegal immigrant in America. I picked it up because of its PEN/Faulkner award.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – Somehow this got picked for book club. While the way the author handles how alcoholics justify drinking is compelling, the story is weak and the mixed up chronology is a poor device.

Non-Fiction

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb – I got to this book from Thinking, Fast and Slow. I absolutely recommend reading them in tandem. The two books first challenge and then break down our intuitions and assumptions about how we understand trends and how we internalize statistics. So impressive.

The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute by Zac Bissonnette – Simultaneously charming and terrifying that our nation became so obsessed with such a silly bean bag animals. This is a great mixture of economics, trends, and the amplifying effects of bubbles. I saw this on Audible, and my fiancé demanded we listen to it on a drive from Sacramento to LA.

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick – Thrilling, expansive, brilliant account of the whaling crew that inspired Moby Dick. My friend Christian who knows his way around the genre recommended it, and I was blown away.

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis & Steven Kotler – A truly actionable book on six emerging industries, and how to take advantage of scale, communities, and crowdfunding. I became aware of this book from a few angles, but the most direct was Tim Ferriss’s podcast.

Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace by Gordon MacKenzie – This was recommended a few years ago by my college advisor, and it’s an absolute delight. I look forward to checking back in on this book down the line.

The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History by Boris Johnson – I’d been meaning to learn more about Churchill, and this was an accessible, though not great, account of the man’s life.

If you have any recommendations of books to read, either based on the books above, or on your own experience, please let me know.

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