- 2017 Goal: 15 books
- 2017 Outcome: 21 books
In 2017, I spent my first full year as a father, and I was busy at work helping to build a lot of infrastructure.
- (10) Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike – Phil Knight (probably the best business autobiography I’ve ever read, but I was disappointed the story ends at the IPO)
- (9) On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century – Timothy Snyder (a post-Trump book from an expert who focuses on pre-fascism conditions)
- (10) Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner – Judy Melinek (fantastic detail about the investigative, bureaucratic, scientific, and human idiosyncracies of examining corpses in NYC)
- (8) Birth Partner, The: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions – Penny Simkin (covers a little bit of everything and is useful for the first baby; identifies emotions mother and father can be expected to have in different situations and thus how to deal with them)
- (8) AWS Lambda: A Guide to Serverless Microservices – Matthew Fuller (about as good as you’re going to get for understanding what Lambda can and cannot do)
- (6) Software Architect Bootcamp – Malveau Raphael Mowbray Thomas (referred by my boss; a good but outdated primer to software architecture lexicon)
- (7) Alexander McQueen: The Life and Legacy – Judith Watt (thoroughly covers his upbringing but I felt dissatisfied with my understanding of the cursory descriptions of his exhibitions)
- (9) Change Agent: A Novel – Daniel Suarez (am not typically into bioengineering/bioterrorism fiction but this is near-future enough to be awesome)
- (10) Return of the King: LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Greatest NBA Comeback in History: Brian Windhorst, Dave McMenamin (I followed the Cavs and Warriors as much as any other fan last year but this added a whole new dimension of my understanding through the Cavs internal team narrative)
- (6) The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance – Timothy Gallwey (oft-referenced and valid argument, I just didn’t find it as useful or life-changing as others did)
- (10) The Swarm: The Second Formic War (Volume 1) – Orson Scott Card, Aaron Johnston (I love the Ender series; this is a solid contribution to canon; I particularly love the engineering thought progressions for techs)
- (8) Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know – Meg Meeker (more useful for older daughters but I do appreciate this gives dads license to hold high standards)
- (9) Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley – Antonio Garcia Martinez (brusque insider baseball for acquihires and tech startup foodchain)
- (7) Now: The Physics of Time – Richard A. Muller (worth it alone for the discussion of what “now” is)
- (10) The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road – Finn Murphy (Why I read books, basically. Everything you might want to know about trucking.)
- (10) Designing Data-Intensive Applications: The Big Ideas Behind Reliable, Scalable, and Maintainable Systems – Martin Kleppman (In-depth discussion and comparison of scaling concepts. Best book I’ve read on the subject. No fluff.)
- (3) Mincemeat: The Education of an Italian Chef – Leonardo Lucarelli (autobio of a normal dude who works as a normal chef; expect no grand insights here)
- (10) Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars from 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-Right – Angela Nagle (indispensable guide to the mentality and history of the alt-right)
- (10) Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest – Zeynep Tufekci (she always challenges my assumptions and lays a strong foundation for her arguments — a true educator)
- (10) The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change – Camille Fournier (referred by my VP — describes my roles and responsibilities to a T and how to grow into them)
- (8) Artemis: A Novel – Andy Weir (just as readable as The Martian, but suffers from endless Baymageddon at the end)
There were a lot of books I rated as a 10 this year (8/21). I was surprised at how stellar these books were; true delights to read. A full 1/3 (7/21) of the authors were female, the highest percentage for me to date.
In terms of my reading habits, I’ve fully transitioned away from reading a dedicated Kindle tablet to reading on my iPhone’s Kindle app on the slightly longer Brooklyn-Manhattan commute. I also began reading way more news links via my phone (versus my PC) than I used to, but Twitter is still the primary source of reading material. In general I’m reading fewer links from Twitter and social media in general as I don’t have much time to browse at work. I stalled out trying to read some highly-rated scifi novels (generally a bad move for me) and some cooking memoirs that were busts. I tried to augment my parenting education with some fairly popular books. With regards to software engineering, I find that blog posts have become indispensable and excelsior sources of information, as different companies’ engineering departments tend to have pretty competitive and detailed blogs. I have a backlog of hardcopy books because I don’t have many opportunities to read them (it’s tough for me to read an actual book on the subway since it typically requires 1.5+ reasonably available hands).
I would suspect in 2018 I will read more books than last. Work will be less of research and experimentation than it was last year, so I should have more time for recreational learning instead of work-focused learning. I’ll set 2018’s goal to 25.
Feel free to look through my previous years’ lists of books.