I am a part of everything that I have read. – Theodore Rosevelt
My 2019 most recommended are:
Fiction: Judas, Breakfast of Champions, and Sea of Death
Non-Fiction: Tom Wolf- Right Stuff, As a Man Thinketh, Value Investing, Everything is Obvious,
- The Goal -Eliyahu Goldratt (**)
The goal is a less than interesting read that tries to put operational business principles into a story. It is an introductory book that I fear makes people feel that they understand more than they really do.
2. Edison, His Life and Inventions– Frank Lewis Dyer (****)
A must read for any engineer and scientist. It is amazing to read about this engineer, inventor, entrepreneur. From his beginnings as a newspaper boy and chemist to his days as a telegraph man and his final empire. It talks about his trials and his failures and his in some ways lucky rise and his non stop work ethic. It is a shame he was not too fond of Jews but still a great read written by a person who worked along his side.
3. Sinbad– Kurt Vonnegut (***)
A short story about a shipwrecked man who is rescued by a small community of people acting as strangely and as rationally as any other human but in a very particular way. As the only thinking man, he lives with them, until one day he sees how pointless it all is and that he unlike they, has a choice.
4. Sea of Death – Jorge Amado (****)
A book of a sailor village in the early 20th century. It’s a sad story of a sailor, his friends and the changing world and the hard work that they love. Amazingly written and gives you a great sense of Brazil at the turn of the century.
5. As A Man Thinketh- James Allen (60p) (*****)
This should be a must read for any student. This talks about the necessity of positive thinking, of correct thinking of being moral and how wrong thoughts corrupt and undermine people, their goals, their life. An amazing and quick read. Really, a must.
6. The Sayings of Conscious- Confuscious 300p (***)
Most of the sayings I did not understand. The man said them 1500 years ago. However, there are so many gems there. There was a religion created because of him. His thoughts on governance, on being a human being, on love and leadership are wise, thought provoking, lead kings to correct actions for centuries. Highly recommended.
7. Stalin’s Gulag – Zalman Shifrin (140p) (****)
Zalman recounds his time in a small Belorussian shtetle, he recounts the pogroms that made their family leave, the Soviet system that bankrupted his family and the paranoid Stalinist regime that sent him without cause to Siberia for 10 years. He recounts the humanity and brutality and the will to survive and the kindness of the people without whom he would not have survived. An amazing account of one man’s triumph over tyranny.
I’m currently working on creating a translation and ebook of this for Amazon.
8. Always Know What To Say- Peter Murphy (130p) (****)
Great little reader on how to be more confident in starting and carrying conversations. Has why some people fear conversations, why they should over come those fears and then ideas on how to start and hold those conversations.
9. Everything is Obvious, Once You Know the Answer.– Duncan Watts (300p) (****)
This is why science exists. Because the world is not as we think it is. Our thoughts are shaped by past experience and perception. What we think are the causes are often not the causes. The only way to know what truly is is understand where we assume too much, make too much of common sense and the only way to find the truth is to test and test thoroughly. This is a must read for pretty much everyone and especially scientists of all disciplines. Very well written, cited and explained. It also shows how writers like Malcom Gladwell and others who have used outdated science confuse us as they present things they don’t fully understand.
10. Breakfast of Champions– Kurt Vonnegut – 300p ****
Written as if Vonnegut gave up on humans reading and learning from him. It’s his expose on humans through a narrative of one town and a huge event in the town that Vonnegut created. Written as if describing what happened to humans and planet earth to aliens in a long time from now. He describes how we are in essence machines, incapable of thought, how we destroyed the earth for profit. He describes this in 1973 and things have only gotten remarkably worse. It’s sad and in someways hard to read.
11. Anxiety Tool Kit – Alice Boyes (400p) ****
A wonderfully written book for people who have anxiety but don’t know it. Or know it but are scared to do something about it. Each chapter begins with a test to see how you are doing and then explains why you are the way you are and how to catch symptoms and deal with your reactions. Great book and I’m sad I didn’t find something like it earlier.
12. Time Management in 20 Minutes a Day- Holly Reisem Hannah (200p) ****
A quick read for people who want to learn about tips on how to manage better their day to day lives. Holly gives easy things to do to take ownership of your day through simple to do tasks. The end of the book has links to resources and other tools that can help you be more productive and less stressed.
13. Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery– Scott Kelly (400p) *****
I’ve read a few books by Astronauts, but none have been written by someone who spent so much time in space and with such candor nor by someone with so much experience with so many space agencies. Scott Kelly bares all by speaking about effect of a dream on family members, of a job on his kids and wife, about the difficulty of living in isolation far from earth and the physical aspects of getting used to life in Zero G. I was captivated the whole time and I am so glad the book is nice and long as it allowed me to read it and tell many many people. Some great parts of the book are about the differences between NASA and Russian space programs, the differences in work load and lives of astronauts and cosmonauts, the training and learning and pressures. I have so much more appreciation for the kind of talent it takes to fly a shuttle and service and work on the Space Station. This dream is not for everyone and not every family can handle the stress. Additional point I liked in this book is realization just how sadly underfunded the program is and how the private with multiple launch explosions and failures while cheaper to fly, has destroyed months of work and priceless equipment. We are so lucky to have these brave men up there but we do not treat them as the priceless individuals who embody everything good that is about our planet, furthering science and humanity.
13. Physics of Biology – Paul Davidovits (****)
A fairly short book that goes from mechanics to quantum mechanics involved in Biology. Shows how our bodies work, the limits of our bodies and how we find and calculate those limits.
14. Negotiating for Success– George Seidel (***)
A decent text that outlines various techniques for negotiations, and understanding psychological pitfalls. Many of these I was taught in business school classes on negotiations and leadership.
15. Judas– Amos Oz (****)
Amos Oz, Israel’s best author writes a story that discusses Zionism, occupation and Jesus and Judas. An R rated philosophical story that uses sex to drive the philosophical discussion of Israel’s founding and of Jewish people in the Christian world due to Jesus and Judas.
16. Value Investing- Benjamin Grahm (****)
This book is written by the teacher of Warren Buffet and the book that Warren Buffet refers to. In fact, it is not just a book, but an investment philosophy. It was written in 1970’s and the new one comes with a commentary that updates it for the 21st century.
17. The Right Stuff- Tom Wolfe (*****)
A biography of the seven American pilots who were first Americans in space. It is an amazing book about the risks that test pilots undertook, their courage and the effects of becoming single mission pilots as part of the astronaut program that was also a front of the cold war. I’ve read books by astronauts and there’s a difference between a book by a pilot and a book by a writer. His research is so thorough that you feel you are there, you feel their disappointment when they lose a mission, you feel their awe when they are in space, you feel how their wives feel and what they see and what they think. This book is a must read.
18. Fluent in Three Months- Benny Lewis (****)
A book by a man who started learning languages after college. It’s a good guide that I wish I had read before moving abroad. It has great techniques and tips for how to learn the language you need, how to learn words in a better way and how to improve pronunciation. For anyone planning to learn a language later in life, I highly recommend you read this book before starting (and failing). I think reading the book will up your chances to have a game plan and succeed.
19. Comedy Sex God- Pete Holmes (****)
I’m not a big fan of his comedy, but he writes well. Or his writer writes well, either way it’s an interesting read about his coming of age from a lost and brainwashed Christian kid, into an atheist and then into a spiritual man. It’s inspiring just to see how he keeps working his craft and how he moves through life in a difficult to succeed field with faith in himself, even if he lacks faith in God at times.
20. 100 Quotes That Make You Think-Wolfgang Riebe (***)
Quick little book that is good and easy and makes you think but also, doesn’t bog you down for a long time.
21. HBR on Leadership (in progress)
22. Art of War- Sun Tzu (in progress)
A Ku By Any Other Name- Clayton BeachStart-Up NationConsciousness (in progress)HBS-Entrepreneurship (in progress)The Stars Among Us-Sholem Aleihem (in progress)Anti-Judaism (in progress)Shalimar The Clown-Salman Rushdie (in progress)Bold-Peter Diamandis (in progress)Priceless (in progress)The Hard thing about hard things15 commitments of conscious leadershipNonviolent CommunicationThe Tao of LeadershipSuperintelligenceGödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden BraidTake a walk down wall streetSlicing the pieThe art of the startLights out – Ted CopelEdward Tufte0998Autoimmune SolutionAutoimmune FixThe Fifth ChimpThe Plot to Hack AmericaNothing is True and Everything is PossibleThe Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck- Mark Manson