Here is a list of the books I read in 2013. There are quite a few coding books on this list so they were not particularly long reads, but they were fairly difficult to parse. There’s not much of a way to quantify non-book reading (blog posts, newspaper articles, etc.) but I’ve definitely stopped reading as much about politics and economics and more from experts in their fields (particularly software engineering). I still have a sweet tooth for foreign policy and military affairs — WaPo, NYT, and LA Times for their international news reporting fill the bill (which is good because most everyone else closed their international stations). Newswires (AP, Reuters) continue to be stellar.
I’m probably most turned off by this year’s cyber-libertarian literature — it reads like lobbyist spin and less like 80’s-era hacker or 90’s-era cypherpunk. As always I’m obsessed with famous American magnates.
- (3) The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption – Clay A. Johnson
- (5) The SALT Summaries: Condensed Ideas About Long-Term Thinking – Stewart Brand
- (6) Homeland – Cory Doctorow
- (7) Pukka’s Promise: A Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs – Ted Kerasote
- (6) Rainbows End – Vernor Vinge
- (8) Test Driven Development: By Example – Kent Beck
- (6) Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability – Steve Krug
- (9) Who Owns the Future? – Jaron Lanier
- (10) Decoded – Jay-Z
- (6) A Programmer’s Guide to Drupal – Jennifer Hodgdon
- (10) Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture – David Kushner
- (10) Wherever I Wind Up: Truth, Authenticity, and the Pursuit of the Perfect Knuckleball – R.A. Dickey
- (7) Pro Drupal Development – John K. VanDyk
- (7) MongoDB Applied Design Patterns – Rick Copeland
- (7) Hackers & Slackers: The New York New Media Underground in the Early 1990’s – Kevin Walker
- (6) 10 Print Chr$(205.5+rnd(1)); Goto 10 – Montfort, Nick, et al
- (9) The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth – Mark Mazzetti
- (7) Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection – Ethan Zuckerman
- (6) The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master – Hunt & Thomas
- (7) Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace – Ronald J. Deibert
- (6) The Great Persuasion: Reinventing Free Markets Since the Depression – Angus Burgin
- (9) The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court – Jeffrey Toobin
- (8) MongoDB: The Definitive Guide, Second Edition – Kristina Chodorow
- (9) Beginning MySQL Database Design and Optimization: From Novice to Professional – Chad Russell, Jon Stephens
- (5) David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants – Malcolm Gladwell
- (9) Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile – Nate Jackson
- (7) Understanding Color: An Introduction for Designers – Linda Holtzschue
- (10) Reminiscences of a Stock Operator – Edwin Lefevre
- (8) Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code – Martin Fowler
Unfortunately, worse than most years, only 3 of the 30 books were written by women (compared with, say, last year, where 11 of the 30 books were written by women). I’d like more parity there but save for a few spurious books on this list, most of the books were targeted reads based on topic.
As always, a book with a rating (in the parentheses) of 10 is a must-read by my count. This year it was Jay-Z’s autobio “Decoded”, “Masters of Doom” (a book about id Software, John Carmack, and John Romero), “Wherever I Wind Up” (an autobio about the Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey who is the MLB’s last full knuckleballer), and “Reminiscences of a Stock Operator” (one of my favorite books ever, written back in the early 1900’s but which still rings true on Wall Street today). There were probably fewer 10s this year than before — unfortunately a lot of these books were the kind of book you should probably read, but which aren’t really that good).
School ended in May so my book-read count will probably decrease this year — the only time I really spend reading now is when I’m on planes or trains or buses or whatever. Though I might try to carve out regular time during every day since I’ve got a list of like 7 books I really want to read. I’m going to put 2014’s goal at 20 books.