From 2007 to 2012, I read 263+ books. Here’s my lessons learned and short review of each.
This post covers books read in 2010. You can also read from,
The Rustbelt across the Northern USA affects people’s lives decades after the golden years. Touching, descriptive novel.
You (as a consumer) should be willing to pay for quality. Overall, though, the book was not very well thought through, and not very enjoyable.
The framing of choices is just as important as the choice itself. Really made me think about my own habits, and how I can “nudge” myself. Excellent read.
Fast-paced beach read for political junkies. A bit far fetched…but not.
Lesson – there are oceans of money sloshing around in certain groups of people. And those people love to buy art. Lots of art. It’s a world that I can’t quite comprehend – but Sarah Thornton (Art correspondent for The Economist) is a brilliant guide to the world of contemporary art.
Classic novel of African literature.
If you want to learn about the ’60s – read this book. I had no idea, and it helps understand politics to this day.
Things aren’t what they seem. Not nearly as good as the original, but interesting nonetheless.
You are more motivated, and creative intrinsically than extrinsically. In other words, if you are trying to be creative or innovate, money ruins your motivation.
One guy can make a difference. Overshadowed by the fact that he sort of made up a bunch of this book.
Lisbeth Salander is one of my favorite characters ever. I love this series (understatement).
No one sentence lesson here – very nuanced book. Intriguing if you are into the Philosophy of Religion.
Meetings are bad. Interruptions kill productivity – and there are better ways to work and run a business. Must read.
American optimism has a big downside – and is reflected in bad public policy. A bit overwrought and oversold, but an good point overall.
Ditto to book 1. Go Lisbeth!
North Korea is no laughing matter. The oppression and poverty are very real, and worth being aware of. Contains amazing anecdotes from inside North Korea.
Silence is worth pursuing. We live in a noisier world than ever before – ever, and it affects our stress levels, creativity, and lifestyles. Sarah Maitland goes in pursuit in perfect silence. Good read.
2008 was a landmark year in world history. The post-2008 economy will have to look as different from the pre-2008 as the 1946 did from 1928…but get there faster.
International travel doesn’t have to involve airplanes…and can still be quite rapid. A different and super-fun travel book about circling the entire globe without leaving the ground. Oh, and reminded me that I don’t like the idea of cruise ships.
A forceful re-argument of the liberal argument for a just society.
Islam is Karen Armstrong’s wheelhouse, and she does incredible justice to Muhammad.
I started to learn a bit of supply chain in prep for a couple job applications. It’s actually kind of applicable to a lot of stuff. Keep your inventory low and your design simple, and document processes that reduce errors.
Introduction to all the books written by supposed Apostles, friends of Apostles, and other people in the Early Christian Church. I had no idea that so many people were writing so much so soon. There was no Golden Age of non-denomination in the Early Church for current Christianity to hearken back to.
Travels on routes – and why we take those routes. Great writer.
Our brains are wired with certain biases and heuristics which can be used to persuade (or manipulate).
Lesson – Australia is one huge, crazy, misunderstood wonderful country, and Bill Bryson is one of the world’s most entertaining writers.
I’ve read this twice now. It also inspired my own hike of a section of the Appalachian Trail. Hilarious. Lesson – hike the AT – if only a portion, and try to protect it, and the forests around it.
Physics and cosmology have always really intrigued me. Michio Kaku has come the closest to making me feel like I understand it all. Lesson – physics can be beyond bizarre.
Lesson – the US by virtue of population and # of international matches played will, at some point, win the World Cup. This book is Freakonomics meets sport = love it.
England is as a always stereotyped it to be…but also much more. Another great travel book from Bill Bryson.
Why the Dutch are so amazing and so different at soccer, and why Johann Cruyff was so innovative. Great read.
Globalization looked at through the eyes of the only global sport. Great conceit. Interesting work. I loved the sections on hooliganism and religion.
Touching, inspiring, and practical memoir of a young guy who became an Islamist – flirted with violence, then got out. The world is a better place because he wrote this book.
I had no idea that a simple measurement could have such a huge effect on world history. But it did. Longitude – I will never take you for granted.
Very personal coming of age novella.
There are some people who make the world go round that you never, ever hear about. Sergio Viera de Mello was one of those people. He was a lifelong super-diplomat with the UN who made change in the world. Inspiring, sad story. Thank you to Samantha Power for writing it.
Short, personal novella about a young man who ends up an Islamist. Good exploration of the attractions, identity, etc of religious+political fundamentalism.
History of my hometown. I’m amazed at how much stuff is/was happening around the world at the same time – and the local historians who keep up with it all. Also, Athens, GA used to be the industrial center of the American South before the War.
Finance has always been messed up and intimately connected with politics.
Well-written, albeit dense, argument that media has moved on from a post-modern phase to a “digimodernist” phase. Complicated, but mind expanding.
Head of Harvard Pediatric on how to raise children. A bit of a sensationalist title.
People around the world depend on undependable and dangerous transportation everyday (see this bus). This travel writer tries to experience it all. I will never take my transportation options for granted again.
A novel novel (sorry…) written in 2nd person.
Wow – just shut the CIA down. Amazing read – no conspiracy theories. Only declassified documents. Conspiracy theories might have made the agency look better.
Lives up to the fame. But I can totally tell he wrote it in one sitting.
I don’t really remember much from this novel – except general good nostalgia.
Must read for any coffee snob. The search and story for the perfect cup of coffee.
Coffee has shaped the world! I love it, I love it.
This novelist just thinks differently than anyone else. But it makes for a good (if bizarre) story.
Just when you think there’s no point whatsoever in another World War II book…this one comes out. Lesson – a World War can happen again. Actually – it will happen again.
Need I say that Bill Bryson is amazing? The best history book you will ever read.
Do you know how gross beds were until like…the 1950s?! Do you realize just how recent all of you home conveniences are? Bill Bryson looks at the history of the home and how we live. Entertaining and enlightening. I have no idea how humans did anything before the 1950s. Really.
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