Books Read in February ’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.

Whichever way I try and slice it, I find myself returning to this thought: February’s reading was uninspiring. I picked out the books I wanted to read during February in advance, thinking that I’d create more connections and have a more intentional reading experience. Instead, I felt resentful. I read books I thought I should because of where they came from, to poor results. Other books were just weak.

On a lighter note, I did receive my first advance copy of a book for the marketing ideas I sent its author, and that delighted me to no end. If Connect A Book is anywhere near what I think it can be, I expect this to become a trend. Once I get word later today on the revised timeline, a P.O. Box may be in the future.

February was erratic, filled with few books that resonated with me and fewer meaningful connections. March will be better.

Fiction

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell – The science fiction element injected into each of the six novellas is enough to allow the reader to guess at the overarching plot, which is inventive. However, the story takes a dive once those answers are handed straight to the reader in the fifth section. This was a book club selection.

Wittgenstein’s Nephew by Thomas Bernhard – My brother is c0-writing a paper on this odd little novel / memoir, and so I was inclined to read it myself. Since I know so little about the philosopher in the title, or Bernhard, I did not get as much out of the story as I could have.

Non-Fiction

*Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China by Evan Osnos – Since my abandoned trip to China to make my own fortune as a writer just a few years ago I’ve had a China-sized hole in my imagination. This excellent book ably fills that void with great reporting, analysis and predictions.

*The Education of a Coach by David Halberstam – Sometimes people who work in media need to be reminded of the power they wield, whether they choose to acknowledge it or not. Though this biography of Bill Belichick is about so many other things, I enjoyed learning how and why he became the coach he is today. It’s especially nice not having the talking heads bemoaning his gruff expressions and plain clothes.

*The Grace of Great Things: Creativity and Innovation by Robert Grudin – Another good treatise from Grudin, this time about the nature of creativity and how we create.

*Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth by James Altucher – I read Altucher’s Choose Yourself last year, and was suckered into getting the quasi-new edition (what do we call repeated material that bears repeating?). There is much of value here about the changing nature of employment, and it hit home for me.

*Year of the Dunk: A Modest Defiance of Gravity by Asher Price – We all just want to dunk. Hell, I’ve come close. If the scare of wrists bent beyond recognition hadn’t deterred me, I’m sure I could have added the necessary last few inches. In Price’s book, he documents his own journey to the dunk, along with the science and history of jumping as a human endeavor, in a humble tone.

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated) by Tim Ferriss – At some point, does everyone who’s between jobs read this book and think about how much different their life could be if they were jet-setting around the world, relegating their work to virtual assistants and automation? I think so. There is great takeaway here, even for those who don’t want to leave their 9-5 just set.

1776 by David McCullough – What’s remarkable to me about the revolutionary war is how easy it is to think that what we learned about the foundation of our country in high school was enough (that we think we remember what we learned in high school is another story). This book – from my grandfather – was a good reminder of the formative year of America’s forging, when our army was dingy and poor and unmotivated, when Washington was untested, and when the British surely could’ve kept control if only a few key events had gone differently.

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli – This was another book I was long overdue to read. Quick and easy while still being impactful. This came from my grandmother.

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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