Books

Me at a book signing with my favorite biographer Walter Isaacson.

I used to blog about just the interesting books I read, but as of 2019 I blog about every book I read. I try to keep these blogs deliberately short (max. 250 words), as an exercise to get to the point.

Partly because of this limit, I also TRY not to go into detail about the book plot or subject — whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. Instead I try to focus on if this is a book worth reading*. And I focus more on style, approach and form.

I take this approach for the same reason that dissecting a movie plot is only a small part of a movie discussion. Movies work (or don’t) because of the techniques used in the storytelling, so those are usually more interesting to look at than the plot.

And lastly, I try to love every book I read. Writing books takes time and dedication. I may not agree or like everything I read, but still someone poured part of themselves in there. So I try to respect that.

* The definition of “worth reading” is of course something you could write a book about. Worth reading for me heavily depends on “what you can take away” or “how it alters your views”. The best books have the ability to change your perception. 

Working 101

Do you struggle to organise your work, because it seems everybody wants something from you? Of do you often wonder whether you’re doing the right things? This post helps you to answer those questions. Here are the six basic responsibilities you have as a professional in the modern workplace. Follow these and you are on the right path. I wrote these down as a reminder to myself and to pass… Read More »Working 101

Moby-Dick – Herman Melville

I suspect Moby-Dick — the quintessential Great American Novel — has the curious accolade of being one of the most famous books ever, while also being one of the least read books. Its reputation greatly exceeds its appeal. Nonetheless, I had always wanted to read this extraordinary 170 year old book. And now that I did, I think I understand its reputation as well as I understand the incongruent appeal.… Read More »Moby-Dick – Herman Melville

How I read 52 books in a year

My book tracking app alerted me that I read 52 books over the last twelve months. So, *franticly crunching numbers* yes, indeed, that averages to one book per week! I follow a couple of blogs of people that read way more than I do. Like these guys, respectively read 116, 105, 74 and 58 books in 2019. I don’t know how they managed to do so, but 52 is definitely… Read More »How I read 52 books in a year

Bono on Bono – Michka Assayas

I have a soft spot for Bono. The megalomaniac lead singer of probably the world’s most commercial band (“the only band with their own iPod”). The Irish humanitarian multi-millionaire. Yes, I get all the criticism. Still, few singers can belt it out like Bono can. And I will forever stand by that. On May 10th this year, Bono turned 60. So I thought it would be a good time to… Read More »Bono on Bono – Michka Assayas

Who moved my cheese? – Spencer Johnson

People like stories, people remember stories. So, tell stories! This is what I learned from Seth Godin. But Spencer Johnson clearly understands this concept too. This little book embodies the concepts of how to deal with change in one memorable parable. Johnson probably wasn’t the first to do so, but this concept — packing management theories as stories — is everywhere now. And this little book, probably has a lot… Read More »Who moved my cheese? – Spencer Johnson

Marx – Peter Singer

This was the third book in a twelve part series of introductions to famous thinkers/philosophers (previously I read Plato and Kierkegaard). You might expect these books to be small (check) and comprehensible (not so much). So like the other two books, this book suffers from the same problems. Sure, you’ll get an introduction on Marx, and you get a better understanding of what influenced his thinking and what his special… Read More »Marx – Peter Singer

Impatient Optimist: Bill Gates in His Own Words – Lisa Rogak

I have a lot of respect for Bill Gates and tend to follow what he does. So this book, just like the one on Steve Jobs, is a nice reminder of the man’s personality and his thinking process. As it spans some 30+ years, there are mild variations noticeable, but overall: what you see is what you get and with Bill Gates and that is head-on, rational straightforwardness and a… Read More »Impatient Optimist: Bill Gates in His Own Words – Lisa Rogak

iSteve – George Beahm en Wim Zefat

This is a book just with quotes from late Apple founder Steve Jobs. I already knew most of them, having read more than one book about Steve Jobs. Nonetheless, seeing his most salient quotes in one place is a good indication and reminder of the man’s personality and vision. Since the quotes are all dated I particularly noticed 3 types of Steve. The brass, cocky, young Steve (everything up until… Read More »iSteve – George Beahm en Wim Zefat

I, Robot – Isaac Asimov

If one writer is responsible for how we think about robots it is, of course, Isaac Asimov. The terrifically prolific writer and groundbreaking author of the science-fiction genre, produced numerous works with terrific futuristic insight — and, some were about robots. And I, Robot is a seminal work in this oeuvre. But this book is of course not really about robots, or the famous law of robotics. No, this law… Read More »I, Robot – Isaac Asimov

Volume 1: From Savoy Stompers to Clock Rockers – Andrew Hickey

One of my favorite podcasts is “A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs”. I’ve written about it before, it’s an absolutely terrific podcast. But this post is not about the podcast but about the book! After the first 50 episodes creator Andrew Hickey bundled the adapted episode transcripts into the first volume of a book series. And, of course, I had to get it, as an unmissable reference and… Read More »Volume 1: From Savoy Stompers to Clock Rockers – Andrew Hickey

The Trial – Franz Kafka

Max Brod is probably the worlds’ greatest publicist. He famously refused his writer friends’ dying wish to destroy all his work after his passing. This friend was of course, Franz Kafka. And against Kafka’s wishes Max Brod did publish his works and subsequently Kafka became known to the world as an absolute literary genius. The Trial The only other Kafka I read before this was one was The Metamorphosis and… Read More »The Trial – Franz Kafka