Bookshelf

2021

Monumental

Monumental

Oscar Dunn and His Radical Fight in Reconstruction Louisiana

Mitchell, Edwards, Weldon

The Cult of We

The Cult of We

WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion

Brown, Farrell

Meeting Design

Meeting Design

For Managers, Makers, and Everyone

Kevin M. Hoffman

Ask Your Developer

Ask Your Developer

How to Harness the Power of Software Developers and Win in the 21st Century

Jeff Lawson

★★★★★

Thor & Loki: Double Trouble

Thor & Loki: Double Trouble

#1-4

Tamaki, Gurihiru

★★★★★

It's Jeff

It's Jeff

★★★★★

Essentialism

Essentialism

The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

★★★★

I Alone Can Fix It

I Alone Can Fix It

Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year

Carol Leonnig, Philip Rucker

Moonwalking with Einstein

Moonwalking with Einstein

The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

Joshua Foer

★★★

The concept of “memory palaces” is compelling but I don’t think I was convinced or inspired to become a memory champion after this. Probably the biggest takeaway is that memory is not a fixed ability and photographic memory is an illusion.

Play Anything

Play Anything

The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games

Ian Bogost

★★½

I agreed with a lot of this book and enjoyed it but at times found it somewhat “preachy” as it jumped form anecdote to anecdote, which is a hard feeling to describe.

Bubble

Bubble

Morris, Morgan, Cliff, Riess

★★★★

In the future, even monster hunters are a part of the gig economy. I love this universe so much. I loved the art. It was a good adaptation of the podcast. I think my only criticism is that this should have come with a content warning for drug abuse. The main characters solve all their problems with drugs and while funny at times, over and over it seemed pitiful instead of cool.

The Adventure Zone

The Adventure Zone

The Crystal Kingdom

McElroy, Pietsch, McElroy

★★★★★

Tres Horny Boys are back! My favorite in the series so far.

101 Things I Learned in Architecture School

101 Things I Learned in Architecture School

Matthew Frederick

Play

Play

How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul

Stuart Brown M.D.

★★★★★

I loved this book and its look at the benefits of play from a biological and evolutionary perspective. Play helps us learn to adapt to an ever-changing world. It aligns with my ethos about prototyping incredibly well, learning to play with your digital products so you can adapt to the ever-changing tech landscape.

Bullshit Jobs

Bullshit Jobs

A Theory

David Graeber

★★★★

A good look at the difference between bad jobs, shit jobs, and bullshit jobs. Bullshit jobs are jobs that involve tasks that are pointless, unnecessary, or pernicious. Been there. A great essay on the value of the working class and the psychology of the kind of work we do.

Deep Work

Deep Work

Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Cal Newport

★★★½

A good book about harnessing and increasing your own productivity. Ironically, I probably would have gotten more out of this audiobook if I wasn’t multi-tasking and walking or doing dishes.

What Unites Us

What Unites Us

The Graphic Novel

Rather, Kirschner, Foley

★★★½

There’s no one I’d rather learn civics from than someone like Dan Rather who has seen America at some of its highest and lowest points over his decades long career. The graphic novel adaptation suffered a bit form overuse of graphical montage, Dan Rather’s head floating through history over amber waves of grain and upon American flags. It’s a hard task given the political narrative. There are quite a few books in this series of graphical novel adaptations of political books, that’s very much a crossover of my interests, so I’ll probably pick up another, but my expectations are a little low after this one.

Incredible Doom

Incredible Doom

Bogart, Holden

★★★★★

I loved the zine so much I bought the graphic novel. A coming of age story at the beginning of the Internet. My worlds colliding. Reading Incredible Doom in its large format glory was as hoped. Having the books collected together brought out the beauty in the story lines as they collide together.

The Book of Five Rings

The Book of Five Rings

A Graphic Novel

Wilson, Wilson, Musashi, Kutsuwada

★★

Centuries of civil war gave birth to the martial arts. While I could appreciate some of the ancient wisdom here, the general tone of militarism was not my jam. I’m sure this could be pivoted into a modern day Art of War style business treatise, but the only piece of advice I maybe walked away with is “Two swords is better than one.”

Bad Blood

Bad Blood

Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

John Carreyrou

★★★★★

Elizabeth Holmes, a fraud by all accounts, but at times I felt bad for her because this sort of seemed like someone abiding in the “fake it till you make it” startup culture but took it a little too far, to the extent of becoming an abusive, tiny tyrant. A facinating book shining a light on absusive and manipulative business practices.

Press Reset

Press Reset

Ruin and Recovery in the Video Game Industry

Jason Schreier

★★★★★

What a book! While Schreier’s other book made me want to get into the games industry, this book made me want to stay the fuck away. It looks at the flash-hiring/firing culture of the games industry and what’s clear is that the employees are the losers in this game. When studios shut down, employees are left to worry and find their next paycheck, while executives make off with millions. The inequity seems criminal. It ends with a call for unionization, which… seeing the evidence… is hard to argue against.

Come As You Are

Come As You Are

The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life

Emily Nagoski

★★★★½

This book was recommended in some of the sex-positive stuff I encounter. This book explores the latest model for understanding human sexuality in that our brains are like a car with two pedals; a sexual accellerator (Sexual Excitement System) and a sexual brake (Sexual Inhibition System). Broadly spreaking, some people have a sensitive accellerator and some people have a sensitive brake, and this book narrows in on some of the statistical differences between (cis) men and women. It’s very much directed towards women, so not everything in this book applied to me and my anatomy, but it was a good read nonetheless.

Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?

Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?

Trick Questions, Zen-like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles, and Other Devious Interviewing Techniques You ... Know to Get a Job Anywhere in the New Economy

William Poundstone

★★★

This book was interesting, but also infurating. The tech hiring process is incredibly broken. In order to get a job you have to pass a bridge troll’s esoteric quiz show of impossible to answer Fermi questions and algorithmic gotchas, impress the judges like American Idol, and then after a few more months of interviews, you can have a job. It’s ridiculous. The effect is multiplied when smaller companies and startups try to imitate Google and futher bastardize the hiring process. That was my takeaway from this whole thing. Not that it’s clever or thought provoking, but how broken this all is.

Truth: Red, White and Black

Truth: Red, White and Black

#1-7

Morales, Baker

★★★★

This is the story of how the US government, when conducting the Captain America Super Soldier program, conducted another more secret program on ~300 black soldiers. The art work is a bit sloppy, enough that it drew away from the storytelling, but nonetheless, it was a great story and is ripe for a modern day adaptation/retelling.

The System

The System

Who Rigged It, How We Fix It

Robert B. Reich

★★★★

This book is good because Reich is mad about the things I’m mad about; money in politics. It deconstructs the fairytale of America and explains how we’re really closer to an oligarchy than a representative democracy, across the political spectrum.

So you want to talk about race

So you want to talk about race

Ijeoma Oluo

★★★★

An excellent primer on the latest perspectives of race theory in America. This book would be my pick if you’re open to updating your understanding on the arguments and greviences that Black America is bringing to the national conversation.

The Inevitable

The Inevitable

Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future

Kevin Kelly

★★★★

Kevin Kelly is one of my favorite futurists and getting his vantage point on how technology will change our lives was thrilling. Would absolutely recommend this if you’re wondering about trends in technology, even though it’s over 5 years old.

The War of Art

The War of Art

Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Steven Pressfield

★★★

The idea is that creative people are inspired by muses and encounter supernatural resistance, they could even be called angels and demons. From a practical standpoint, I agree with the ideas of dedication and continuous practice to become better at your craft, but I probably carried too much evangelical baggage into this to be fully inspired.

Iron Gold

Iron Gold

Pierce Brown

Rage

Rage

Bob Woodward

★★★★

After the insurrection, I decided to take another tour of duty into the psyche of Trump and Woodward’s book showed up at my library. The book starts off with quoting Trump saying “I bring out rage in people” and starts from there. The biggest revelation is the incredible dysfunction between Trump and his national security team. The icing on that shit cake is that we were on the brink of nuclear war with North Korea. I guess to Trump’s credit he placated and machismo’d Kim Jong Un enough to force him to back down.

A Promised Land

A Promised Land

Barack Obama

★★★★★

What to say. This book is very detailed and verbose, just like Obama the Orator. Hearing Obama’s thoughts on his historic presidency and the challenges he faced throughout that journey are invaluable. I appreciate how honest and candid he is about his impressions of political figures both alive and gone. I appreciate the behind the scenes looks at how his White House operated and functioned and to what standard they held themselves to. It’s inspirational to say the least that people who want to serve our country and its citizens really do exist.

Humankind

Humankind

A Hopeful History

Rutger Bregman

★★★★★

Are we a world of collaborative people or every-man-for-themselves? Bregman sets out to reprogram how we view humankind by calling out what is good in our innate nature and debunking a log of bedrock psychology experiments from the 1960s and 1970s that seemed to prove man was born evil. I needed the dose of optimism this book provided, such to the point that I bought it for friends and will probably continue doing so.

2020

The Undoing Project

The Undoing Project

A Friendship That Changed Our Minds

Michael Lewis

★★★★

The story of the bromance between Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky (both Isreali citizens) and how their cooperative work blended together to change the field of psychology and inform what we now call Behavioral Economics. Their work, “The Undoing Project”, led to the understanding that mankind is not as rational as economic models predict. We’re quite irrational at times. Their collaboration gave birth to ideas like “framing”, prospect theory, and the discovery of dozens of other biases that inform human decision making.

The Death of Ivan Ilych

The Death of Ivan Ilych

Leo Tolstoy

★★★½

Recommended by another book, perhaps Glaude’s Begin Again though I can’t remember, was an interesting tangent to follow. Very Russian and somber overall, but there’s something timeless about the Nature of Man and society hidden in this book. You could easily be reading a story about an embittered man working at a startup in the Valley. I’m glad to have travelled down this path.

Lead from the Outside

Lead from the Outside

How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change

Stacey Abrams

★★★★½

Stacey Abrams is a fascinating human being and this book is a masterclass in getting work done from a minority position. But it’s also a book about “adulting”. In some ways, in order to be an effective leader, you must get your own house in order first.

Shit, Actually

Shit, Actually

The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema

Lindy West

★★★½

A funny jaunt through “classic” 90s films that get completely taken down over their absurd their plots. The recaps of Harry Potter and Face Off were probably my favorite.

Begin Again

Begin Again

James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own

Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

★★★★★

Eddie Glaude Jr uses James Baldwin’s life as a vehicle to explore America’s past and present racial divides. Baldwin’s life is a quintessential American tale, yet something other. Baldwin almost always has his feet into two realities, his American (native son) half and his “elsewhere” half. This will be a book I revisit often.

Ready Player Two

Ready Player Two

Ernest Cline

★★

I enjoyed Ready Player One and it’s nostalgia factory, but this sequel fell on its face. I should have bailed in the first chapters, but the late hook hooked me. It’s like an episode of Star Trek featuring Q, but the nostalgia namedrops are squeed unnecessarily into every paragraph, it’s so distracting, like in Back to the Future II where Marty goes to the future and there’s Pepsi everywhere… it’s like that.

The Threat

The Threat

How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump

Andrew G. McCabe

★★★

Another look and defense of the FBI from former acting director Andrew McCabe, a protégé of James Comey. The book naturally affirms Comey’s account of events and a great deal of the book is spent warning about danger of Donald J. Trump.

The Carter Family

The Carter Family

Don't Forget This Song

Lasky, Young

We Only Find Them When They're Dead

We Only Find Them When They're Dead

#1-3

Ewing, Di Meo

Wynd

Wynd

#1-5

Tynion, Dialynas

Doing Justice

Doing Justice

A Prosecutor's Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law

Preet Bharara

★★★

I was hoping for some juicy gossip from someone who was politically dismissed from his role as DA of the SDNY, for which a lot of Trump’s crimes fall under this jurisdiction, but this book is not gossipy and is somewhat dry. It’s about justice. It’s about fairness and due process. I appreciated Bharara’s perspective and the look into how justice (and the rooting out of organized crime) works at the district level.

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness

Kabi Nagata

★★★★½

A tale of getting older, finding a career, claiming your mental health, and allowing self-discovery. It’s a humble, overly-honest, self-depricating telall that I really enjoyed. Often mentioned along with My Brother’s Husband (which I read last year) this book also unapologetically brings the stories of LGBTQ communities in Japan to life.

This Fight is Our Fight

This Fight is Our Fight

The Battle to Save America's Middle Class

Elizabeth Warren

★★★★★

I expected to enjoy this book, but I did not expect it to make me so angry. Sen. Warren lays it all out on the table and takes big business to task. This book will leave you hungry for policy change.

Digital Minimalism

Digital Minimalism

Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

Cal Newport

★★★★

Productivity advice is starting to repeat itself but I like how this book talks about addiction. The suggestion of a “digital detox” is challenging to me but I may be approaching that point. Similar to themes in Hyper Focus, I think the main takeaway is about setting and intention and scheduling time appropriately.

Hyperfocus

Hyperfocus

How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction

Chris Bailey

★★★★

This book is very much in my interest wheelhouse. Lots of good tips and my key takeaway was about setting a a few intentions each day. I will say tho, I think I’ve heard all the advice on productivity now and all these books are starting to repeat themselves.

The 30-Day Money Cleanse

The 30-Day Money Cleanse

Take control of your finances, manage your spending, and de-stress your money for good

Ashley Feinstein Gerstley

★★½

This book feels a lot like the South Beach Diet applied to personal finance. I liked it fine enough, it was a very quick read, but I don’t think it was very memorable or will have a major impact. The author also quotes Tony Robbins at one point, so that maybe tells you all you need to know.

Monster of the Week

Monster of the Week

Evil Hat

Range

Range

Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

David Epstein

★★★★★

A defense of the generalist! I loved this book and was particularly smitten by the chapter about Nintendo’s Gunpei Yokoi. It’s particularly refreshing to read a book that is less about optimizing your life and more about broadening your perspective.

Heir to the Empire

Heir to the Empire

Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Vol. 1

Timothy Zahn

🤷‍♂️ Gave up

After a huge Star Wars kick, I tried this book, but had a tough time with the faux-British Empire stuff. Maybe one day I’ll try again.

Star Wars Lost Stars

Star Wars Lost Stars

Vol 3

Gray, Komiyama

★★★★★

A fantastic culmination of a wonderful series, ending at the Battle of Jakku which ties perfectly into the latest trilogy. I like the explorations on why people would join and fight for the fascist Empire and I’m hungry for more storylines. Manga is an excellent format for the Star Wars universe.

Star Wars Lost Stars

Star Wars Lost Stars

Vol 2

Gray, Komiyama

★★★★★

More great. This confirmed my spidey-sense that I shouldn’t let my 7yo son read these books because it gets a little sensual in parts.

The Truths We Hold

The Truths We Hold

An American Journey

Kamala Harris

★★★★

I have admired Kamala Harris’ rapier wit and prosecutorial skills in the United States Senate. I didn’t know much about the VP candidate beyond what I’ve seen on TV. My biggest impression was a dry personality, not that she has to impress me becuase levity is an admirable quality in an elected official, but I was glad to pick this book up and learn a bit more about her background, what makes her tick, and the policies she believes will bring about progressive reform.

Star Wars Lost Stars

Star Wars Lost Stars

Vol 1

Gray, Komiyama

★★★★★

Two children from the same planet but separate castes join the newly formed Empire as it brings unity and stability to their edge of space. However, after their enlistment, they end up taking two different paths.

A Case for the American People

A Case for the American People

The United States v. Donald J. Trump

Norman Eisen

★★★★

A behind the scenes look at the 10 Articles of Impeachment drafted for President Trump by a lawyer from the congressional prosecution team. Although only two Articles were voted on, you see (again) the self-serving behavior and the betrayal of public trust created by Donald J. Trump.

Utopia for Realists

Utopia for Realists

How We Can Build the Ideal World

Rutger Bregman

★★★★★

Rutger Bregman is probably most well known for his takedown of billionaires at Davos or his TED talk where he asserts poverty is not a lack of character, but a lack of cash. This book continues those presentations advocating for Universal Basic Income (UBI) and dispelling lies from yesteryear. For me, the book reframed UBI from being some liberalistic ideal to what all labor and society has been building towards for centuries. Lots of data and case studies I’d never heard about. For instance, for $4500/yr is enough to lift most people out of poverty. That seems so achievable. Productivity is at record level, innovation has never been faster, and yet, we have a falling median income and billionaires are getting richer… something has to change.

Design for Cognitive Bias

Design for Cognitive Bias

David Dylan Thomas

How to Be an Antiracist

How to Be an Antiracist

Ibram X. Kendi

★★★★★

Initally I shied away from this book. I worried it —because of the strong typeface or Kendi’s academic pedigree— was going to lecture me. Or perhaps my worry was that this book would be a source of shame. But it is not. Instead Kendi’s obsession of understanding this delicate subject is wrapped in a heartwarming personal narrative. The crux of the position is that everyone, regardless of race, is in a constant battle with racist and anti-racist attitudes and ideas. To be holistically anti-racist, we must also inclusively look at how classist, anti-feminist, heteronormative, and capitalistic ideas (especially standardized testing!) all factor into the equation and then do the hard work to uproot racist policies and inequities.

Creative Selection

Creative Selection

Inside Apple's Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs

Ken Kocienda

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My first ever 5 Gold Star rating. This book is incredible and sums up nearly my entire ethos about prototyping and how to build successful and creative software products. It’s good to know I’m not delusional. So many takeaways, I hope to do a proper review soon.

The Nameless City

The Nameless City

Faith Erin Hicks

★★★★

A young boy dropped off in a strange city with a sordid political past. He attends the military training academy for the ruling class and meets his father who has been stationed in the city his whole life. He befriends a young girl, a street urchin, who teaches him how to parkour from rooftop to rooftop. A mix of a coming of age story and a classist political drama, it’s an enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to continuing the series.

The Adventure Zone

The Adventure Zone

Petals to the Metal

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

★★★★

Another fun one with tres horny boys. Probably the best and most emotional arc of the whole series. I teared up a bit. But the pacing is very compact; a lot of dialog, sound effects, particle effects cram each panel. It works, but it does feel somewhat busy or claustrophobic.

How to Do Nothing

How to Do Nothing

Resisting the Attention Economy

Jenny Odell

🤷‍ Gave Up

I picked this book up because Obama listed it on his reading list. I devoured the first two chapters, highlighting every anti-capitalist screed, but I was lost in the third chapter’s focus on the essentric greek philosopher Diogenes. And further lost in the fourth chapter as it went a bit art school. I tried hard to like this book, and I did like this book, but I slipped away from it as it meandered about.

Talking to Strangers

Talking to Strangers

What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know

Malcom Gladwell

★★★½

Library recalled this with like an hour left in the audiobook 😭 I loved the spy stuff and the explorations around Timothy R. Levine’s truth-default theory, but the latter half of the book had a morbid obsession with rape, suicide, torture, and murder. I felt that brought major bummer overtones to an otherwise interesting look into a fascinating dynamic of human-to-human communication.

Why We Sleep

Why We Sleep

Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Matthew Walker PhD

★★★★½

Provoking read! Basically anything less than 8 hours of sleep is trying to kill you. While I’m suspect of cure-alls and broad claims, this book presents a lot of science to justify the importance of sleep. I’m definitely re-evaluating some of my late night habits and may need to prioritize more, quality sleep.

Big Black

Big Black

Stand at Attica

Frank "Big Black" Smith

★★★★★

The story of the 1971 Attica Prison riots as told by someone on the inside, Frank “Big Black” Smith. A pertinent read in our era of police violence, echoing a lot of the same criticisms as the Black Lives Matter movement. Militarism coupled with structural and outright racism is an awful disease.

Raiders

Raiders

Crom, Freedman

★★★★★

A man wants to get out of the raiding business, but is eventually drug back by his brother’s misfortune. I enjoyed this little tale, gory violence, and a wonderful little bit of world-building.

The Phoenix Project

The Phoenix Project

A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

Kim, Behr, Spafford

★★★★★

A modern translation of Goldratt’s The Goal for IT departments. I lvoe how the Theory of Constraints applies the enterprise development as well as it does to industrial manufacturing. An intensely cathartic read and one I’d heartily recommend if you are a part of an underperforming or dysfunctional team.

What the Dog Saw

What the Dog Saw

And Other Adventures

Malcom Gladwell

★★★

A good but somewhat unmemorable collection of Gladwell’s essays for the New Yorker. No giant takeaway but the stories were interesting enough.

Visions

Visions

Issue Two: Visions of Humanity

Analog

Analog

A Cyborg-Dystopian Noir Vol. 2

Dugan, O'Sullivan, Spicer

★★★★½

A billionaire, who doxxed the Earth, is building an authoritarian AI in order to rule the world. Churches are armed to the gills. And a small group of bounty hunters must deliver a package to save the world. This book hardly sounds like fiction but is an excellent ride.

Falling Upward

Falling Upward

A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life

Richard Rohr

★½

I did not like this book. The whole book is based on the idea that humans experience suffering, which is very.. um.. Catholic. Additionally there’s frequent X is true, if you don't believe it, it's because don't understand it assertions that highlight their own laziness the third and fourth time around. At one point he argues that a monarchy is the best form of government and basically says “Don’t @-me”. Unbelieveable, really. Only the last ⅕ of the book is salvagable where it speaks that communities should possess people in the warring first-half of life and the unifying last-half of life, there you achieve a balance of perspective.

Head Lopper Vol. 3

Head Lopper Vol. 3

The Knights of Venora

MacLean, Spicer

★★★★★

More war, gore, and swords! A battle of epic proportions, political subterfuge, and a mysterious egg.

Head Lopper Vol. 2

Head Lopper Vol. 2

The Crimson Tower

MacLean, Spicer

★★★★★

More war, gore, and swords. This time the Head Lopper is joined by two C-3P0 and R2D2 types as they enter a cruel game.

Crime in Progress

Crime in Progress

Inside the Steele Dossier and the Fusion GPS Investigation of Donald Trump

Glenn Simpson

★★★★½

A book that offers some background and a defence of the contents contained within the infamous Steele Dossier. Inside contains a list of all of the Trump Family’s lies and crimes and the decades of money laundering for the Russians. A must read if you want a chronological look at how the Trump-Russia scandal broke out and the partisan politics that exonorated an impeached, guilty man. I will say, I feel there’s something that’s not being told here, but I can’t put my finger on what it is.

Never Split the Difference

Never Split the Difference

Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

Chris Voss

★★★★

Weird this transcends into a business book, but interesting to learn the art of negotiation from the lens of a former FBI hostage negotiator. Similar to Daniel H. Pink’s To Sell is Human, but from a very different perspective and authority. I don’t frequently find myself in hostage or contract negotiation situations, so I’m sure my new found skills will atrophy, but hopefully will raise self-awareness of when I am being mirrored, nudged, or leveraged in a negotiation. Probably the greatest day-to-day takeway is reframing “No” as a starting point for negotiation (typing this sounds very date-rapey, but it makes more sense in context).

Head Lopper Vol. 1

Head Lopper Vol. 1

The Island or A Plague Of Beasts

MacLean, Spicer

★★★★

War, gore, and swords. I really enjoyed the art and color in this book. The story felt a bit jumpy as it kicked off, but overall it was a fantastic fantasy adventure.

Is This Guy For Real?

Is This Guy For Real?

The Unbelievable Andy Kaufman

Box Brown

★★★★½

I hesistated on this book because I wasn’t sure I’d care about Andy Kaufman. Box Brown however did an amazing job and humanized the provocateur using professional wrestling as a lens to understand his dream of being an entertainer.

A Warning

A Warning

Anonymous

★★★★

Another confirmation of that there’s a dangerously incompetent man in the White House. This time from inside the White House, supposedly. Huge if true, I guess. In the era of Deep States and Fake News I feel credibility is everything, and without a name attached to these alarm bells, the “Warning” falls flat. I also disgree with the author’s conclusion that the worst thing we could do is to remove an incompetent man from office, one who ignores and lacks the ability to understand security briefings. It seems like the extreme systems we have were put in place just for this.

Coda Vol 3

Coda Vol 3

Spurrier, Bergara

★★★★★

This book might be the best one in the series because all the magical rules and major players are well-known.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

Mark Manson

★½

The author sounded like someone I’d never want to talk to, so I’m not sure why I’d listen to his self-help advice. There’s some decent principles and discoveries here, but though it rages against entitlement, it sounded like an entitled asshole giving himself license to be an entitled asshole. Bookend it with some Buddha parallels and … woof. I waited a long time to get this from the library and I’m not sure why this book is so popular. Maybe the punchy title appeals to airport bros?

Morning Star

Morning Star

Pierce Brown

★★★★★

The third installment of the series my wife and I affectionately call “Gamma Turds”. Another driving space war adventure with all the twists and turns and payoffs you crave in a fun read. There are two more books in the series, but after 12 weeks of this series, I’m at a good point to take a bit of a break.

Atomic Habits

Atomic Habits

An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

James Clear

★★★★½

This is such a short, fact-based book that it’s hard to critique. It spurred a lot of thinking about my current habits and the kind of habits I’d like to possess. The idea of habit stacking (tying habits to other habits) is very compelling and in someways I already do that with audiobooks and podcasts.

The Goal

The Goal

A Business Graphic Novel

Goldratt, Zimmerman, and Motter

★★★★½

I liked the book so much I bought the comic! A great little refresher and introduction into the Theory of Constraints. The art was a tad low-budget (compared to other graphic novels I read), but the content, storytelling, and subtle modernizations were wonderfully done. I’ll keep this around whenever I want to remind myself to design processes around bottlenecks.

A Very Stable Genius

A Very Stable Genius

Donald J. Trump's Testing of America

Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig

★★★★★

Possibly the best biography of the Trump administration. Trump’s impulsivity, ignorance, and the yes-men that surround him are erroding an institution. I was re-appalled by the now infamous Tank Meeting. The blatant and admitted use of American troops to fabricate a border crisis in exchange for votes terminates my faith in the executive branch. How we’ve fallen protecting the fragile ego of one petty, revenge-driven, narcissistic man-child.

Golden Son

Golden Son

Pierce Brown

★★★★★

I gorydamn love this series. I was a bit apprehensive about picking up the second book in the series, but it is a speeding train ride from beat to beat and the space between the beats is filled with even more depth and world-building.

Magic for Liars

Magic for Liars

A Novel

Sarah Gailey

Twenty Bits I Learned About Design, Business & Community

Twenty Bits I Learned About Design, Business & Community

Dan Cederholm

Parti Pris

Dan is a calm and cool river. It was great to hear his reflections on creating Dribbble and echos some of my own experience.

Coders

Coders

The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World

Clive Thompson

★★★★½

A nice summation of the programming industry and would recommend. I found the juxtaposition of the “10× developers are real” and “systemic misogyny” chapters a bit ironic, but I suppose those are two prevailing headwinds that do exist and that our industry must overcome. It was also nice to see friends appear in this book.

The Making of a Manager

The Making of a Manager

What to Do When Everyone Looks to You

Julie Zhuo

★★★★

The pathway from Individual Contributor to Manager. This is one of the best and most honest management books I’ve read. While I entusiastically would recommend this book, the use of Facebook as the primary case study woven throughout the book soured the impact some for me due to their ethical failures.

Cross-Cultural Design

Cross-Cultural Design

Senongo Akpem

Red Rising

Red Rising

Pierce Brown

★★★★★

After a few recommendations, I finally picked up this book. It was a wonderful escape to a harsh dystopian future, but a compelling universe nonetheless.

Blink

Blink

The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Malcolm Gladwell

★★★

A tribute to the gut instinct! It’s a nice blend of research data and anecdotes that lend credence to the idea that you should follow your gut.

The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point

How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Malcolm Gladwell

★★★★

Listening to a book about social epidemics while a pandemic is breaking out wasn’t the smartest move. That said, I appreciate the connection of popular phenomenon to Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen. It also made me wonder if you can become a famous author by you interviewing popular Connectors, Mavens, and Salesman.

Why We're Polarized

Why We're Polarized

Ezra Klein

★★★★½

An extremely level look at why America is experiencing increasing polarization. Some key factoids that grabbed me most were:

  1. The more politically engaged you are, the more warped your perspective of the other group becomes.
  2. Parties are weaker, but partisans have gotten stronger
  3. Our primary system favors demagogues and extremists.
Ms. Marvel

Ms. Marvel

Vol 10: Time and Again

Wilson

★★★★

The culmination of G. Willow Wilson’s run on Ms. Marvel. A bit surreal at times and you could sense the series was losing steam (bringing in new authors like Hasan Minhaj to spice it up), but in general, a good end to a five year series.

Shadow of the Batgirl

Shadow of the Batgirl

Kuhn, Goux

★★★★★

The story by Sarah Kuhn is amazing and the art by Nicole Goux is unforgettable. I will probably buy physical copies of this book and hand them out.

Indistractable

Indistractable

How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life

Nir Eyal

★★★½

No miracle tips discovered (turn off notifications, etc) but it does make you reflect on your triggers and how the need for distraction is sometimes coupled with depression. I also realized my book reading here might be a form of distraction.

Ms. Marvel

Ms. Marvel

Vol 9: Teenage Wasteland

Wilson, Leon

★★★★

Kamalah is tired and weary and figuring out love. Probably the best part is that it made Kamalah and her friends more multi-dimensional.

The Real World of Technology

The Real World of Technology

Ursula M. Franklin

David and Goliath

David and Goliath

Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

Malcom Gladwell

★★★½

An intereting look at how in order to beat the odds or the status quo, you must be clever and quite often break the rules. Filled with interesting anecdotes but ends on a slightly gruesome note.

Tools and Weapons

Tools and Weapons

The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age

Brad Smith, Carol Ann Browne

★★★★

An important summation at the legal history around data and privacy, the effect on data and privacy are currently having on our democracies, and a glimpse of how those impact future AI. It takes off around Chapter 11 for me when talking about the impact of AI on the workforce and society. It’s great that a company like Microsoft is weighing establishing its moral compass with focus on safety, transparency, and accountability.

The Happiness Advantage

The Happiness Advantage

How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life

Shawn Achor

★★★★★

Pleasure, Purpose, and Meaning. That’s the secret to being happy at what you do. A simple message that goes beyond general “power of positivity” advice and is more science-driven. It echoes a lot of what I discovered personally over the last year as well as reinforces some points from other business books I’ve read. This will probably be a book I visit again.

Outliers

Outliers

The Story of Success

Malcom Gladwell

★★★★½

I enjoyed this book and found the “10,000 Hours” of deliberate practice stuff interesting, but very minor to the overall book and not sure why its so widely criticized. The parts I found more interesting (and don’t hear discussed much) were the parts about privilege, cultures of honor, and the phenomenon around Power Distance Index.

Ms. Marvel

Ms. Marvel

Vol 8: Mecca

Wilson, Alphona, Miyazawa

★★★★

A flashy real estate developer mysteriuosly becomes mayor and his goons begin kidnapping and over-policing superheroes! What modern day events could this be alluding to? Another great story and I’m happy comics are tackling these subjects.

Moonbound

Moonbound

Apollo 11 and the Dream of Spaceflight

Jonathan Fetter-Vorm

★★★★★

A historic account of the centuries mankind’s curiousity and steps towards that “one small step for mankind” made by the crew of the Apollo 11. An excellent read. Fetter-Vorm has a gift to for transporting you across time.

Scrum

Scrum

The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

Jeff Sutherland

★★★★

This book changed my perspective of Scrum quite a bit. I was also able to pinpoint parts of the methodology I don’t agree with or have seen implemented poorly.

The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition

The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition

Strunk

★★★★

A simple, short, opinionated book on writing and grammar. It was a good rundown on “the rules” even though my ebook version had a typo and two Chapter 18’s in it. Reading about grammar and punctuation made the English language seem quite inefficient. Me write pretty one day.

I Am Alfonso Jones

I Am Alfonso Jones

Medina, Robinson, Jennings

★★★½

The story of fifteen year old Alfonso Jones who was murdered by a police officer while shopping for a suit. While the pacing of this book is frenic (61 chapters over ~150 pages), the message is not lost; no justice, no peace.

They Called Us Enemy

They Called Us Enemy

Takei, Eisinger, Scott, Becker

★★★★★

It’s hard to believe this is a story about America imprisoning its own citizens and immigrants. It’s one of those “maybe we’re the monsters” sort of situations. It’s very relevant to today and I think George Takei for shining light on this horrifying chapter of American history.

The Wizard and the Prophet

The Wizard and the Prophet

Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow's World

Charles C. Mann

★★★★★

Absolutely stunning book. At its core, this is a book about Technologists vs Conservationists, covering over 100 years of debate over climate change, peak oil, genetically engineered foods, and population control. All perfectly personified in the storied lives of two American scientists.

Inclusive Components

Inclusive Components

Heydon Pickering

2019

Ms. Marvel

Ms. Marvel

Vol 7: Damage Per Second

Wilson, Miyazawa

★★★★

Didn’t really expect a dissertation on Internet privacy and security but this was a fun series and I like that Kamala faces a manifestion of society’s problems.

Ms. Marvel

Ms. Marvel

Vol 6: Civil War II

Wilson, Alphona, Miyazawa

★★★★½

Kamala Khan gets politically conflicted by her heroes, her friends, her family and using inhuman precognition to detect crimes-not-yet-comitted. It’s not everyday superheroes confront possible human rights abuses.

Dare to Lead

Dare to Lead

Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

Brené Brown

★★★★½

First management leadership book I read that was dedicated entirely to the emotional side of the job.

Ms. Marvel

Ms. Marvel

Vol 5: Super Famous

Wilson, Miyazawa

★★★★★

I was afraid this wouldn’t live up to the previous arc which I loved so much. But it shattered my expectations and really delivered on the inherent fun of the Kamala Khan series.

Talk like TED

Talk like TED

The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds

Carmine Gallo

★★★★

A little TED fanboy-ish, but I felt like this cemented a lot of my thinking about giving talks. Garnered a few takeaways I may try to fold into future talks.

Illegal

Illegal

Colfer, Donkin, Rigano

★★★★★

The harrowing story of two brothers’ escape from poverty across the desert and sea to Europe. Made even more personal for me becuase I know people who have made this journey.

Walden Two

Walden Two

B.F. Skinner

★★★★

An economically efficient society. Income is guaranteed and labor is reduced to four hours a day. The good parts of religion appropriated. The commune is governed and controlled by behavioral social science and engineering. There is something both inspiring and frightening about this new controlled utopia, like the humanity had been stripped out of society.

Where Do We Go From Here

Where Do We Go From Here

Chaos or Community?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

★★★★★

I wish we were forced to read this book in high school after the “I Have a Dream” speech. It’s a roadmap –a prophecy– for America with so many social and racial insights from one of America’s greatest social organizers. It’s the next chapter of American History that we were supposed to embark on. Fixing poverty and militarism. It’s nearly socialism in its vision and that makes me wonder if that’s why I’m only reading this book now.

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power

Shoshana Zuboff

★★★★★

Amazing insight into the atrocities of our modern tech industry as well as how surveillance and totalitarianism are intertwined. In her own words: “What is at stake is the dominate principle of social ordering in an information society and our rights as individuals and society’s to answer the questions: Who knows? Who decides? And who decides who decides?” This book should be required reading for anyone entering tech.

Coda Vol. 2

Coda Vol. 2

Spurrier, Bergara

★★★★

A slow start on this issue but this twist on the story of a someone trying to “save” their partner is touching and powerful.

Just Mercy

Just Mercy

A Story of Justice and Redemption

Bryan Stevenson

★★★★★

Justice applied unequally is inequality. Bryan Stevenson humbly shares stories of his life’s work of getting people off of death row. It’s eye open and may force you to rethink your opinions on capital punishment. I think even most conservative people could agree that murder is wrong and when a judicial system produces life-threatening errors that result in the murder of innocent men and women, it needs to be re-evaluated.

The Goal

The Goal

A Process of Ongoing Improvement

Eliyahu M. Goldratt

★★★★★

This book had a few things going against it right out of the gate; the cover and the use of narrative. But it worked! The narrative personalized what would otherwise have been a few boring business principles. Within the first chapter I was hooked by the parallels between industrial bottlenecks and website bottlenecks.

Second Foundation

Second Foundation

Isaac Asimov

In Progress

To Sell is Human

To Sell is Human

The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

Daniel H. Pink

★★★

I didn’t plan on reading this, got lured in by sacharrine pop-sci, but it turned out to be an interesting book. Traditional sales relied on information asymmetry where the buyer was ignorant, but the Internet has eradicated that and now sales must modernize. Not to mention that lots of us are in the business of selling in some form or fashion. The book gives some practical human interaction tips that may be helpful for selling your ideas.

The Mueller Report

The Mueller Report

The Washington Post

★★★★

It’s very clear that Trump obstructed his own investigation and the only reason he wasn’t indicted is because Mueller (per DOJ policy) couldn’t indict a sitting President. At the very least, Trump misled and repeatedly asked people to lie on his behalf in order to mislead the American public. His administration has forged a conspiracy. It is clear that he has abdicated his duty to faithfully execute the law.

Ruined by Design

Ruined by Design

How Designers Destroyed the World and What They Can Do To Fix It

Mike Monteiro

In Progress

Measure What Matters

Measure What Matters

John Doerr

★★★★

Objectives and Key Results… I have an averse reaction to bizspeak but Doerr warmed me up to the idea of OKRs. Setting quarterly goals and evaluating those with measurable key results seems beneficial to the person and the organization. Employees have a right to know how they’re measured. I think a weakpoint in this framework is “Good OKRs” vs. “Bad OKRs” is somewhat nebulous and probably takes practice. Overall, I found this book to be similar to and on par with Drucker’s, Collins’, and Drove’s books.

Principles

Principles

Life and Work

Ray Dalio

★★★½

I agreed with a lot of the Dalio’s Principles, especially around transparency and openness in your organization, but began distancing my stance when talk began of doing psychometric testing on your employees. And at “Use public hangings for misbehavior.” That said, I think there’s value in writing down your personal and corporate principles and even systemitizing that if possible.

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

Robert A. Heinlein

★★★★★

A computer on a lunar slave colony becomes a sentient AI. First it starts of learning jokes… then quickly begins manipulating politics. If this isn’t a parable for the present, I don’t know what is. This book is really well constructed and I found the reimagination and deconstructing of marriage as a function of economics an interesting addition..

The Adventure Zone

The Adventure Zone

Murder on the Rockport Limited!

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

★★★★

I was able to appreciate this volume way more than the last. I think it’s the mix of action and mystery that kept me entrenched. Love these tres horny boys.

My Brother's Husband

My Brother's Husband

Volume 2

Gengoroh Tagame

★★★★★

A sweet story of a stay-at-home single father Yaichi meeting his brother’s husband Mike, a Canadian, for the first time. Mike and his neice Kana bond instantly. Yaichi struggles to accept Mike… or maybe he struggles to accept his brother Ryoji. There’s a wonderful story of love and loss and overcoming one’s own homophobic tendencies all taking place inside the backdrop of conservative Japan.

My Brother's Husband

My Brother's Husband

Volume 1

Gengoroh Tagame

★★★★★

See Volume 2.

Good to Great

Good to Great

Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't

Jim Collins

★★★★

I enjoyed this management book quite a bit. I grifted quite a few learnings and took copious notes. I think the biggest takeaway from me was “getting the right people on the bus first” before you decide where you’re going. I appreciated the fact they heavily relied on research and allowed that to change and inform their opinions. Being written in 2001, however, some of the companies cited as “great” didn’t turn out that great; I’m not sure if this undermines the research or not. Not sure it’s gospel, but it points at some good basics for high performing employees.

Psychological test

Psychological test

Rampo Edogawa

★★★★

A murderer commits the perfect crime, except for one detail. I recently read that this story written in 1925 and the rest of the Kogoro Akechi detective series inspired Shu Takumi to create the Phoenix Wright video game series, so I jumped on it. It was a fun read even if the translation was a bit clumsy and confusing in places.

Make Time

Make Time

How to Focus on What Matters Every Day

Knapp & Zeratsky

★★★★½

A collection of 87 lifehacks that aim to help you reclaim your time, attention, and energy. Feeling out of time myself, this was a gem. I’ll probably pick up a physical copy to browse through occasionally.

Resilient Management

Resilient Management

Lara Hogan

Parti Pris

Whereas most management books are business erotica, this book focus on giving practical management tips for building and growing your teams. I wholeheartedly recommend this book if you are a manager, potentially becoming a manager, or spend any amount of time being managed. It raises the bar on understanding workplace psychology.

High Output Management

High Output Management

Andrew Grove

In Progress

The Impossible Fortress

The Impossible Fortress

A Novel

Jason Rekulak

★★★★

Three horny teenagers devise a heist to boost the 1987 Vanna White Playboy from a local merchant. One of the boys, a video game programmer, meets a girl. Chock full of Ready Player One levels of nostalgia, I quite enjoyed this simple and fun coming of age story.

The New One Minute Manager

The New One Minute Manager

Blanchard & Johnson

½

An insufferable book filled with un-scientific anecdotes and an utterly ficticious power fantasy where a young mentee asks and praises a manager for his insights. On the surface Goals, Praise, and Redirects aren’t awful concepts but it’s presented in such a hokey way it’s tough to believe anything about it.

Writing for Designers

Writing for Designers

Scott Kubie

Parti Pris

Content and copy are often an afterthought. Scott Kubie gives you a framework (Prepare, Compose, Edit, Finish) and some tools to start organzing and wrangling and improving your site’s content even if it’s not your expertise.

Hip Hop Family Tree

Hip Hop Family Tree

Book 1: 1970s-1981

Ed Piskor

★★★★

The birth of Hip Hop in graphic novel form. A wordy but worthy adaptation. I was overwhelmed and slowed by the sheer density and numerous characters in this book, but the book does a great job documenting key players in the early rap scene and you get a sense of the competition and vitality surrounding this new art form in its early days.

Nonviolent Communication

Nonviolent Communication

Create Your Life, Your Relationships, and Your World in Harmony with Your Values

Marshall Rosenberg PhD

★★★★

I’m willing to wager the audiobook is quite different than the paperback. It had the feeling of an gentile, elderly professor talking and sharing sensational anecdotes from his life’s work. The part that challenged me the most was about offering observations and feelings instead of judgements when conflict arises. I know I tend to cast judgements instead of trying to offer a) observations that stuck out to me and b) my feelings to those observations in a candid way. I also had some uneasyness of his take on positive feedback, but I think it stems from him being a somewhat literal person who is constantly driving towards meaning.

Managing Oneself

Managing Oneself

Peter F. Drucker

★★★★

Short, quaint, and to the point book on the business importance of understanding your strengths and weaknesses as well as seeking to understand the strengths and weaknesses of others (managers, subordinates, peers, etc). I feel like I’ve learned a lot of these lessons over time.

Buddha

Buddha

Vol 8: Jetavana

Osamu Tezuka

★★★★★

The melancholic culmination of the Buddha’s story. Lots of storylines come to a head in this volume. It didn’t dawn on me until the eighth volume, but I find it interesting that in the West, Buddhism tends to be fairly apolitical. But the Buddha’s story is very intertwined with politics, kingdoms, land grants, and vengeful princes. What a wonderful retelling in a fitting format by Osamu Tezuka. I’m very glad I took this ~3,000 page journey of understanding more about the life of the Buddha.

Technically Wrong

Technically Wrong

Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech

Sara Wachter-Boettcher

Parti Pris

Sara Wachter-Boettcher does an excellent job highlighting the areas where the tech industry repeatedly fails. Without proper criticism, technology causes harm and reinforces broken systems. This book pairs nicely with Brotopia and Weapons of Math Destruction and may the best starting point for tech criticism books, a diving off point for those more single issue books.

Buddha

Buddha

Vol 7: Prince Ajatasattu

Osamu Tezuka

★★★★

Another enjoyable volume of this series. This volume highlights Buddha’s disciples, their personal struggles, as well as Buddha’s enemies and their attempts rid the world of him.

Brotopia

Brotopia

Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley

Emily Chang

★★★★★

This should be required reading for any person in tech. Chang does an amazing job addressing a lot of the challenges and barriers that women face in a male dominated tech industry. It’s disheartening that sexism and bro culture still run rampant today. One particular point that hit close to home was the account of the 90s bro culture at Trilogy in Austin, TX. It was relevant because a lot of VC and CEOs in Austin are ex-Trilogy, which no doubt impacts our local tech scene.

Uncivil Agreement

Uncivil Agreement

How Politics Became Our Identity

Lilliana Mason

★★★½

America is being socially sorted politically and its polarizing our society and social groups. Lilliana Mason take a sociological look at this widening gulf of partisan politics, the influence of anger and outrage, and whether or not we can fix it. It’s a good book, thick with charts and graphs, but I’d maybe recommend the podcast version first before diving into the (somewhat dry) book.

Introduction to Disciplined Agile Delivery

Introduction to Disciplined Agile Delivery

Lines, Ambler

I read this for work to better understand a client’s perferred agile method. This is maybe the worst book I’ve ever read. The entire second half is a weird agile power fantasy fan fiction where everything ends up hunky-dory. While I picked up a few things that will help me better understand work, I’m also fairly certain based on this book that we’re doing it all wrong.

Becoming

Becoming

Michelle Obama

★★★★★

Growing up in an apartment on the south side of Chicago, father with a disability working a boiler to send her to Princeton, becoming a lawyer, marrying a man who would one day become the first black President, becoming a mother, and becoming her role as the one-and-true “FLOTUS”. Michelle Obama’s story is special. A redefinition of the American Story.

Foundation and Empire

Foundation and Empire

Isaac Asimov

★★★

I struggled with this book but pushed on becuase I’m interested in the third book. Like the last book, I felt the chaptering and storytelling was very disconnected. The second half of the book was frustrating, but the twist paid off for me.

Foundation

Foundation

Isaac Asimov

★★★★

It’s the year 12,000 and psychohistorians can predict the future. Scientists establish a colony on the outer rim of the galaxy. The only thing I didn’t like about the book was the time travel between chapters; disorienting jumps of either 4 hours, 4 days, 4 months, 4 years, or 4 decades.

Decision Points

Decision Points

George W. Bush

★★★½

It was both helpful and frustrating to hear Bush’s perspective of his presidency. You do see points where Bush was judged too harshly by the Left. But on the next chapter, I would get frustrated by some blatant hypocricy in his policies. I found Bush’s faith in God both humanizing and naive as a basis of government policy. I was also repeatedly frustrated by his Texan ability to go into great details about an old friend from Midland’s dog, but when it came to justifying Iraq or the Stock Market Collapse, it was a few bullet points of spin.

Buddha

Buddha

Vol 6: Andanda

Osamu Tezuka

★★★★★

Ananda, son of the devil. This was the best volume so far. An interesting story and twist and a lot of points of action converging story lines. Quite enjoyable.

Radical Candor

Radical Candor

Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

Kim Scott

★★★★

The Radical Candor management philosophy seems in-part Kim Scott self-justifying her own candid personality, but I like the concept. Alternative management styles are ineffective or manipulative and dishonest in comparison. Being candid and clear prevents miscommunications. Kim Scott seems a great manager because she thinks about it and cares about it and there’s lots of takeaways from this book.

Fear

Fear

Trump in the White House

Bob Woodward

★★★★½

Probably the most neutral biography on the Trump Administration to date and you truly get the sense our country is being governed by a child. Former Chief of Staff John Kelly sums it up succinctly, “He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try and convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in crazy town.”

White Fragility

White Fragility

Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

Robin DiAngelo

★★★

In some ways the title of this book self-selects its audience which was likely intentional since its aimed at progressive whites. One thing I liked about this book was how it pointed out that we are all prone to discriminate, but it’s the institutional authority and oppression that makes it racism. Lots to think about and self-reflect from this book.

Blood, Sweat, and Pixels

Blood, Sweat, and Pixels

The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made

Jason Schreier

★★★★★

An excellent look into the process of creating video games.

Flash Boys

Flash Boys

A Wall Street Revolt

Michael Lewis

★★★★★

Amazing to learn about the value of a millisecond. Also frightening to know the stock market isn’t about being good at picking stocks, but more about frontrunning and trying to hijack well-meaning trades, like the card game of slaps. The whole stock market now seems like a house of cards and I wonder if all “successful” companies are just benefactors of these high frequency trading manipulations.

Russian Roulette

Russian Roulette

The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump

Isikoff, Corn

★★★★★

A relatively neutral account of the entire Trump-Russia collusion scandal. It’s a breath of fresh air to see the facts all laid out but also utterly frightening that America has been exploited and social media has been weaponized against us.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

A Novel

Robin Sloan

★★★★½

I enjoyed this. A classic unfolding mystery set in modern times. I was hooked by the protagonist’s web designer background. The greatest embellishment of this book however is when Clay codes a 3D model using Ruby.

Americanah

Americanah

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

🤷‍ Gave Up

The library called to return the loan and I didn’t renew. The life and perspective of a Nigerian woman is very outside my own and I enjoyed this immigrant story aspect of the book. But the story telling framework (at least in the first chapters) had a very Jane Austen’y “he likes her but is engaged to her but she like him who is married to her” vibe. I hope to pick it up again some day.

The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up

The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up

A Magical Story

Marie Kondō

★★★★½

Loved the Netflix show so much, I bought the book. Actually, there’s a book and a manga version of the book and I’ve never made an easier decision in my life. I definitely identify with feeling crowded and overwhelmed by “stuff”. I look forward to my own tidying journey and finding what sparks joy. Joy as a metric is maybe naive, but as good as any I suppose.

Can't We All Disagree More Constructively?

Can't We All Disagree More Constructively?

Jonathan Haidt

★★★

I picked up a single chapter of a book I’ve read before. It was 99¢. It read like a different book which was nice, but there was also quite a bit missing out of context.

The World of Edena

The World of Edena

Moebius

★★★★½

A beautifully illustrated and colored sci-fi creation story. Good, evil, the corruption of technological progress; it’s all thoughtfully explored.

Go Tell It On The Mountain

Go Tell It On The Mountain

James Baldwin

★★★★★

A uniquely American tragedy wrapped in a garment of pentecostalism. Perhaps due to my evangelical past, I was unexpectedly raptured by this book. Baldwin, a former preacher himself, respectfully and poetically captures the American pentecostal experience while also admonshing critique; its holiness, its other worldliness, and its patriarchal and hypocritical pitfalls.

2018

Feynman

Feynman

Ottaviani & Myrick

★★½

A dull depiction of an otherwise interesting individual. I’ve always imagined Feynman as a charismatic and infectious individual, but this one seems very self-focused. This book however paired nicely with Grit showing that dedication and singular focus can achieve great results.

Grit

Grit

The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Angela Duckworth

★★★★

Wonderful look into the psychology of productivity and human achievement. A lot of success and mastery are less about talent and more about showing up and being intentional. Some of the anecdotes towards the end were lost on me.

Fire and Fury

Fire and Fury

Inside the Trump White House

Michael Wolff

★★★★★

I know this is the more salacious of the two Trump White House biographies but it’s not too far from how I imagine the hideous language, internal leaking, and power struggles to play out. At one point Wolff reminds the reader that Trump is a literal WWE Superstar (in the Hall of Fame even) and Trump’s entire being all started to make sense. His insecure bravado, his needing to be the biggest personality in the room, his rallies with violent language against his “enemies”; it all makes sense now.

Buddha

Buddha

Vol 5: Deer Park

Osamu Tezuka

★★★★★

Although most of the story is about the heroicism, deception, and tragedy surrounding Tatta, we finally get into Buddha’s teachings. The divinity of Buddha comes off awkward to me but I liked the first sermon on the interconnectedness of all living things. I found the second teaching to be an re-invention of the caste system based on animal kingdom rank. I suppose this is maybe a carryover from other animistic religions local to the Indian subcontinent.

The Fire Next Time

The Fire Next Time

James Baldwin

★★★★★

I didn’t know this would be the inspiration for Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book, even down to even the phrase “Between the World and Me”. I enjoyed this immensely. Baldwin has amazing insight into the struggles of young black men, and while I don’t completely agree with his views on religion, I can’t say that I’m too far away from them. It is a shame this book and Coates’ book written half-a-century later are so similar.

MLK on

MLK on "The Other America" and "Black Power"

Martin Luther King

★★★★★

Two short homilies by Dr. King while very centered in the late 1960s they get to the root of some of America’s racial indivision today. I found “The Other America” to be quite an indictment against our society and am once again renewed by Dr. King’s relentless desire to root out injustice.

The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point

How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Malcolm Gladwell

(In Progress)

Black Panther

Black Panther

A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1

Coates, Stelfreeze

★★½

I enjoyed Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book so much I thought I’d give his Black Panther series another try. I like convergence of plotlines building up and there is beautiful imagery in this book, but was somewhat bored by this first volume. Not sure if it’s worth $20/volume to continue.

Weapons of Math Destruction

Weapons of Math Destruction

How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy

Cathy O'Neil

★★★★★

Eye-opening. Makes me want to throw all computers into the ocean. Prioritizing profits over fairness, people are just casualties in the wake of algorithmic irresponsibility.

Coda Vol. 1

Coda Vol. 1

Spurrier, Bergara

★★★★★

The beautiful Moebius-like color palleteart of Coda is incredible and though it takes quite a few pages for the story to really unfold, it has all the makings of a modern classic like Saga.

What Happened

What Happened

Hillary Clinton

★★★★

I enjoyed hearing Hillary’s perspective on her candidacy and the ensuing fallout of the 2016 election. Even though I voted for Hillary, this was maybe the first time I got the whole picture of her platform and what she personally values. I agreed with a lot of her perspectives. I wish this had come out more in the election, not overshadowed by Trump’s idiocy.

A Higher Loyalty

A Higher Loyalty

Truth, Lies, and Leadership

James Comey

★★★★

Part book on integrity and leadership, part thinly encoded message. Comey is no stranger to political circus cases and goes in depth on most of them, but what I found most valuable about this book as an American was a look inside at the FBI and how it attempts to be neutral in its examination of the facts.

Between the World and Me

Between the World and Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates

★★★★★

Incredible. Every sentence is potent. Not a single word in this book is wasted. I was arrested by Coates’ poeticism on multiple occasions, forced to ponder his words.

The Audacity of Hope

The Audacity of Hope

Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

Barack Obama

★★★★★

It’s a bit haunting that nearly all of the topics covered here (identity politics, Supreme Court appointments, campaign finance reform, racism in America) are just as relevant today as they were in 2006. I feel like this is the book and the roadmap the Democratic party needs, but wonder if anyone over there has read it. I miss Obama the Orator.

Buddha

Buddha

Vol. 4: The Forest of Uruvela

Osamu Tezuka

★★★★

Siddhartha undergoes more ascetic trials. You get a sense of how counter-cultural Buddha was to the mainstream religious activities of the time. That punk rock aesthetic I appreciate, but I still struggle with some of the attitudes Siddhartha presents.

Analog, A Cyber-Dystopian Noir

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

Barefoot Gen

Vol. 2: The Day After

Keiji Nakazawa

★★★★★

Aboslutlely horrifying depiction of the day after the atomic bomb. Melting flesh hanging off victims’ bodies. Begging for water. No food. Radiation sickness setting in. What a horrible thing that the gods of war have brought into this world.

Showa 1953-1989

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

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

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

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

The Three-Body Problem

Cixin Liu

★★

A slightly slow start but then around Chapter 5 this book goes full-WTF. This explosion of mysteries is fuel to get you through the rest of the book. I didn’t feel like it paid off. In a lot of ways Three Body Problem was like a season of Lost, and not in a good way for me.

Accessibility for Everyone

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

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

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 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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Silence of Our Friends

The social justice 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 social justice Movement to zoom in on two families (one white, one black) in Houston, TX.

Theft

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

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

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

So You've Been Publicly Shamed

Jon Ronson

★★★★★

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

Tetris

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

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

March

John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell

★★★★★

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

Plutona

Plutona

Jeff Lemire

★★★★★

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

Overwatch: Anthology Volume 1

Overwatch: Anthology Volume 1

Blizzard

★★★★

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

Game Feel

Game Feel

A Game Designer's Guide to Virtual Sensation

Steve Swink

(Not Finished)

Nudge

Nudge

Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Richard Thaler

(Not Finished)

2016

The Imposter's Handbook

The Imposter's Handbook

A CS Primer for Self-Taught Programmers

Rob Conery

★★★★

Excellent break down Computer Science concepts in simple terms.

Creativity, Inc.

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

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

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

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

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

This Idea Must Die

Scientific Theories That Are Blocking Progress

John Brockman

(Not Finished)

The Martian

The Martian

Andy Weir

★★★★★

Science the shit outta shit.

Jane Austen, Game Theorist

Jane Austen, Game Theorist

Michael Suk-Young Chwe

(Not Finished)

When to Rob a Bank

When to Rob a Bank

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

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

Lost at Sea

Lost at Sea

The Jon Ronson Mysteries

Jon Ronson

The Psychopath Test

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

Ready Player One

Ernest Cline

★★★★★

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

2014

Reinventing Comics

Reinventing Comics

The Evolution of an Art Form

Scott McCloud

(Not Finished)

Understanding Comics

Understanding Comics

The Invisible Art

Scott McCloud

★★★★★

Weaving the Web

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

Think Like a Freak

The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

Eats, Shoots & Leaves

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

SuperFreakonomics

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

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner