Books Read in June ’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.

June mornings were spent chatting with the Ukrainian development team that’s building Connect A Book and June evenings were increasingly spent at work. In a sense, I am launching two networks. One, a community-based television network. The other, a book-based social network. While there are some overlapping experiences that have led to lessons (that I look forward to commenting on in the near future), I have mostly found myself with little time for outside interests. With the exception, of course, of training for and completing the Los Angeles River Ride from Griffith Park to Long Beach and back.

With July comes the launch of both networks, and seeing if working on both can be balanced in a productive, effective way that allows for reading and running and… well, I’ll figure something out.

Fiction

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – A book club selection. Though it feels 250 pages too long, it’ll still wrench your gut with how Yanagihara handles abuse, love, friendship and family over the course of decades.

Non-Fiction

In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy – This book was in my to-read pile back from the Product Management days of early spring. Perhaps because the Google narrative has become common knowledge I didn’t find much in this narrative new or surprising. I did, however, really enjoy the in-depth look at Google Books, their process of seeking out books to scan for their archives (and sending out teams to used bookstores to acquire more and more and more), and the legal battles that ensued. Given that Google Books is fueling the Connect A Book engine, it’s helpful backstory to know.

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande – A friend recommended this a few months ago. As a TV producer whose job is about managing a thousand small details, I related to the idea that doctors, even the best ones, begin to overlook those small details in the heat of the moment. Instituting checklists and defining clear pause points can prevent critical mistakes, even when the scale of those mistakes ranges from life-threatening to show-delaying.

Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers by Seth Godin – This was on my Amazon wishlist from too far back to recall exactly how I found it. As I help develop my fiancé’s side business, pursuing a style of marketing based less on interruption and more on permission will be increasingly productive.

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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