2018

Analog, A Cyber-Dystopian Noir

Vol. 1: Death By Algorithm

Duggan, O'Sullivan

★★★★★

It’s the year 2024 and the whole world has been doxxed. I was swept up by this near-future Sci-fi exploration that is entirely too relatable. Recommended by Tim Smith, I was sold by the words “cyber-dystopian noir” and it delivers on all those adjectives.

Barefoot Gen

Vol. 2: The Day After

Keiji Nakazawa

(In Progress)

Showa 1953-1989

A History of Japan

Shigeru Mizuki

★★★★★

The reconstruction of post-war Japan told from the perspective of a struggling manga artist. This edition of Showa is nearly the opposite being very autobiographical with a bit of history mixed in, but you get a sense of the highs and lows involved in rebooting an economy.

Going Offline

Jeremy Keith

Parti Pris

While I know about PWAs and have built PWAs and have given talks on PWAs, I wanted to get Jeremy’s perspective of building an offline Service Worker. He’s such a good explainer of things and he filled the gaps on Offline Experiences and Service Worker capabilities that I had never put together.

Showa 1944-1953

A History of Japan

Shigeru Mizuki

★★★★★

The decline of Japan’s military empire, the atom bomb, the Emperor becoming human, and the post-war occupation. This volume really enaged me as it centered around Mizuki’s personal struggles and attempts to rejoin society after the war.

Hitler

Shigeru Mizuki

★★★★★

An enlightening exploration of the political climate and circumstances that allowed a loud-mouthed, pathetic loser to became history’s biggest authoritarian monster. The story is told so succinctly and honestly. My only criticism is that the Holocaust was extremely underplayed.

The Three-Body Problem

Cixin Lu

(In Progress)

Accessibility for Everyone

Laura Kalbag

Parti Pris

An extremely well-written book that covering Inclusive and Accessible practices with a convicting personal tie-in to Laura Kalbag’s brother Sam who depends on accessible technology.

The Adventure Zone

Here There Be Gerblins

Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, and Carey Pietsch

★★½

I struggled with this and I don’t know why. I love The Adventure Zone. I love Carey Pietsch’s art. I dreamed of this comic listening to the podcast. For whatever reason tho, this just felt dumbed down to “D&D with curse words”.

Andre the Giant

Life and Legend

Box Brown

★★★★

As a fan of Box Brown’s incredible Tetris graphic novel, this was an insta-buy. Brown illustrates the larger-than-life struggles of one of the most renowned entertainers the world has ever known. Rest In Peace, Andre the Giant.

The Naked Sun

The Robot Series

Isaac Asimov

★★★★★

Another amazing piece of sci-fi. In this episode Detective Baley visits another planet where people only communicate with each other remotely. A fascinating exploration of telepresence and nearly a characterization of our modern web-enabled world.

The Caves of Steel

The Robot Series

Isaac Asimov

★★★★★

A detective story set in the future where robots threaten to replace humans in the workplace. So much to identify with in this compelling piece of sci-fi that feels even more relevant 65 years after its original release.

When

The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

Daniel H Pink

★★★★½

I’m a sucker for pop-sci, but I really liked this book. Timing can play such an essential part in success or failure and this book elevates and explores some of the scientific research around this topic.

Dark Run

(Keiko)

Mike Brooks

★★½

Space Cowboys! I struggled with this book. It reminded me of a season of Firefly, so theoretically I should really like it, and there are many great parts about the book but the writing in some areas (like the awkward sex scene, the boxing match, and the “I’m two weeks from retirement” scene) was just too awful to redeem itself.

Showa 1939-1944

A History of Japan

Shigeru Mizuki

★★★

This volume was full of military history (what ships, what planes, what islands, what generals, number of troops, etc) which made it hard to consume. But the more I read, the more I appreciated it. You sense the gamble of War and the human costs. Had Japan not lost one critical battle, they would have went on to conquer Hawaii and California. It’s quite interesting to learn about WW2 from the Japanese perspective.

Buddha

Vol. 3: Devadatta

Osamu Tezuka

★★★★

This book begins to deal with Siddhartha’s ordeals and makes the story much more engaging and spiritually thought-provoking. My favorite part was viewing humanity through the lens of Naradatta and Devadatta who had become more animal than human.

Showa 1926-1939

A History of Japan

Shigeru Mizuki

★★★★

Similar to Barefoot Gen, Showa tells the story of Japanese society from the “Roaring 20s” to their own Great Depression to the eventual the rise of the facist imperialist and militarist complex, with a bit of yokai lore mixed in.

Buddha

Vol. 2: The Four Encounters

Osamu Tezuka

★★★★

Tezuka does such a great job illuminating this complex story. However, Siddhartha’s abandonment of Yashodara and Rahula is tragic and a part of the Buddha story I struggle with.

Barefoot Gen

Vol. 1: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima

Keiji Nakazawa

★★★★★

Harrowing autobiographical tale of atomic war centered around a boy’s life in Hiroshima in 1945. Worrisome parallels to modern times and oligarch-driven nationalism and militarism.

Buddha

Vol. 1: Kapilavastu

Osamu Tezuka

★★★

Excited to continue the series, but this volume was mostly setup for the rest of the story.

The Silence of Our Friends

The Civil Rights Struggle was Never Black and White

Long, Demonakos, Powell

★★★★★

This hit close to home. It feels like a sequel to March but breaks from the meta arc of the Civil Rights Movement to zoom in on two families (one white, one black) in Houston, TX.

Theft

A History of Music

Aoki, Boyle, and Jenkins

👎 Gave Up

I thought I’d really like this but the pacing is frenic and filled with too many forced jokes.

Hit Refresh

The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone

Satya Nadella

★★★★★

Great to hear from someone mid-process of turning a big ship around. Nadella also lays out the vision for Microsoft’s three big bets: Mixed Reality, AI, and Quantum computing.

Trinity

A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb

Jonathan Fetter-Vorm

★★★★

As nuclear war re-enters the global lexicon, this is a brain-churning read.

2017

So You've Been Publicly Shamed

Jon Ronson

★★★★★

A convicting read about how public shaming has made a comback on social media.

Tetris

The Games People Play

Box Brown

★★★★★

A graphic novel was the perfect medium to tell this intriguing story of soviet Russia, Japan, and the US all colliding epic moment in video game history.

The Righteous Mind

Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

Jonathan Haidt

★★★★★

Great book for understanding our current political climate from both sides.

March

John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell

★★★★★

This 3-part anthology leaves you speechless. Read my review of March.

Plutona

Jeff Lemire

★★★★★

A group of kids find a dead superhero in the woods. I’m sold.

Overwatch: Anthology Volume 1

Blizzard

★★★★

If you like Overwatch, you’ll enjoy the lore surrounding it.

Game Feel

A Game Designer's Guide to Virtual Sensation

Steve Swink

(Not Finished)

Nudge

Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Richard Thaler

(Not Finished)

2016

The Imposter's Handbook

A CS Primer for Self-Taught Programmers

Rob Conery

★★★★

Excellent break down Computer Science concepts in simple terms.

Creativity, Inc.

Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Ed Catmull

★★★★★

Incredible insight into how a creative company keeps producing amazing stories.

Sprint

How-to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

Jake Knapp

★★★★★

Great collection of case studies where product teams buckle down for a week and try to improve their product.

United

Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good

Cory Booker

★★★★★

Sen. Booker’s positivity is infectious and this book will make you want to get involved in politics.

The Lean Startup

How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

Eric Ries

👎 Gave Up

Once I looked up his startup (imvu.com), a chat app with 3D avatars that do virtual grinding, I lost faith.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

Ben Horowitz

👎 Gave Up

Lost me when he talked about his “rough upbringing” in upper middle class San Diego.

2015

This Idea Must Die

Scientific Theories That Are Blocking Progress

John Brockman

(Not Finished)

The Martian

Andy Weir

★★★★★

Science the shit outta shit.

Jane Austen, Game Theorist

Michael Suk-Young Chwe

(Not Finished)

When to Rob a Bank

...And 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

Lost at Sea

The Jon Ronson Mysteries

Jon Ronson

The Psychopath Test

A Journey Through the Madness Industry

Jon Ronson

★★★★★

WARNING: After you read this book, you’ll think everyone is a psychopath.

Ready Player One

Ernest Cline

★★★★★

!!!MAX_NOSTALGIA!!! But will likely inform some of the next steps in user experience and computing.

2014

Reinventing Comics

The Evolution of an Art Form

Scott McCloud

(Not Finished)

Understanding Comics

The Invisible Art

Scott McCloud

★★★★★

Weaving the Web

The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web

Tim Berners-Lee

★★★★

I feel that if you work on the Web, this is required reading.

Think Like a Freak

The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

Eats, Shoots & Leaves

The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

Lynne Truss

👎 Gave Up

I wanted to get better at writing, but I really hate when grammar nazis are condescending pieces of shit.

SuperFreakonomics

Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner