Friday, May 8, 2009

Happiness is a Big Cup of Coffee and a Good Book

I always drink lots of coffee. Fortunately for me, I have been reading a fair amount of good books lately, too:

Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide - This one is sort of a handbook for how to do the things that the big web 2.0 sites (Facebook, Flickr, Linkedin) have done, which by itself is not that helpful. It would be like telling a football team to score more than the other team so they can win every game. This book digs a bit deeper and breaks down the recipe for success so you can use the constructs and concepts even if you aren't really competing in a similar space. I think it will be the kind of book I will re-read a few times just to spark my brain every so often. The 'further reading' section is really great. Tons of great follow-on reading for any of the topics make this book worthwhile by themselves.

A Thousand Splendid Suns - Everyone knows about this one. It's the 'highly anticipated follow-up' to the fabulous book The Kite Runner. I found the Kite Runner to be an incredibly well-written story, and I love when books can be good stories while serving as a window into cultures I am unfamiliar with. This book is no different, and if anything, the connection to the characters grows even stronger when reading this book. It's a wonderful story, and a wonderful social history of the female experience in modern-day Afghanistan. Reading this book will make you think a little deeper when you see stories of war being waged against the Taliban on the nightly news. Wonderful book.

The Lost City (Vintage Contemporaries) - This one was sort of a random recommendation by Amazon, and it has turned out to be pretty interesting - the story of a British ex-army drifter trying to find himself in a quest to find a lost city in the Andes. I am a bit more than half way through this one, and it is starting to get interesting. Full ratings to come.

I just started reading Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The book the Black Swan came highly recommended by my friend Ramsey, but I figured I'd read this one first, just to be wild and crazy. The introduction has already intrigued me. I am excited to really get into this one.

I am still working on The Wealth and Poverty of Nations. I hope that my new longer metro ride will make my transit reading more fruitful. I am also still creaking through my book on the Allied Campaign in Italy, but I am afraid that my progress through that book is as slow as the campaign itself!

I have been on a bit of a book-buying spree lately, spurred by Amazon Gift Cards. Here's what is in the queue:

The Ruin of J. Robert Oppenheimer: And the Birth of the Modern Arms Race - I thought this would be a good follow-up to the biography of him that I read. He's such a brilliant and polarizing character. Jena wonders if I am crazy buying this book since it took me about 9 months to read the giant biography of him. She's probably right, but hey this one is way shorter!

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations - I have had numerous people suggest this book to me, so I caved. These books are short and hopefully quick reads so even if they aren't profound works of genius, you can usually get a point or two out of them without putting too much effort in.

The Conscience of a Liberal - As a centrist, I thought I would read this one, then read a far-right manifesto. I think this one should be especially interesting considering how fervently I have disagreed with Krugman's take on the banking system plans.

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions - I thought this would be an interesting follow-up to 'Fooled By Randomness', and Amazon has been especially insistent in continuing to push this towards the top of my book recommendations, so I finally relented.
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