Books Read in March ’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.

March had several interesting developments: I picked up a producing job on a YouTube live stream, I launched my newsletter Connect The Thoughts, and my Product Management class grew to dominate my free time.

Their respective impacts on reading:
+ Working full days on the other side of Los Angeles is fine for audio books, but not great for long blocks of focus.
+ A weekly outlet for this kind of writing means I’m actively connecting books to books, magazines, and other articles I’ve read. Not only will the process be helpful for explaining Connect A Book (now available for signups)
+ Three of the six non-fiction books I read were for the Product Management class

Many of the books I intended to read in March (Churchill + Lincoln biographies) were put on the back-burner because of time constraints. April’s more open schedule will have more reading, a return to freelance writing and further project development.

Fiction

The Martian by Andy Weir – I found this through Audible, and the story of a man stranded on Mars – and the effort to rescue him – made training for my most recent marathon a blast. I highly recommend this. It also kicked off my first ever Connect The Thoughts, so that’s got to count for something.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman – This made my actual marathon and then ensuing work commute much more bearable. I did end up enjoying the book, but found the story didn’t hold my attention the way The Martian did.

The Patrick Melrose Novels: Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, and Mother’s Milk by Edward St. Aubyn – A recommendation from my brother. I enjoyed the construction of telling the main character’s life over four different stages, and am looking forward to the fifth.

Non-Fiction

Design and Truth by Robert Grudin – As my journey through the works of Grudin winds down (just two left now), this may be my second favorite of his (behind Time & The Art of Living, of course). It’s a great introduction to the philosophy of design, and what good design does for us as humans.

Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi – Ramit Sethi recommends this in his interview on the Tim Ferriss podcast. The book hammers home the point that one’s relationships should be defined by generosity, an idea that is helping me to refocus my daily interactions with friends, coworkers and acquaintances.

Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment by George Leonard – A short book and a good book. Takeaway quote: “Mastery is staying on the path.”

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers by Alexander Osterwalder – An awesome resource for framing how one should think about projects or companies, their expected impact, and the tools you’ll need to deliver value. This is part of the recommended reading for my Product Management course.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz  – A fine read about business, but one that has a scope a bit out of my league right now, given that it’s about C-level decision making, and my career thus far has been freelance TV producing.

On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King – At this point, the lessons of this book have been widely disseminated online in a million little listicles. They are still valuable, but perhaps my delay in reading it has lessened their impact.

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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