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. 

Dylan Thomas – Sidney Michaels

This book is a play from 1965, based on several accounts of the infamous travels Welsh poet Dylan Thomas made in the early 1950s to the US. If you know anything about Dylan Thomas you probably know he died young (39), and that he was an alcoholic. This play captures the last two or three years of his life rather vividly. It’s an alcoholic mess and it details an explosive… Read More »Dylan Thomas – Sidney Michaels

Remote – Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

I saw this tweet yesterday, and If you know me, you know I will not pass on an opportunity for a free book! But more seriously, I have known Jason Fried and DHH for some time now. From their blog, their Twitter and multiple different podcasts. They have built their company around very clear and levelheaded thinking. So I wanted to read this anyway, and not just because it was… Read More »Remote – Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

The Quotable Walt Disney – Disney Book Group

I picked up this book on our honeymoon to Disney World. But I never read it, because; how do you read a book full of quotes? The answer is slowly! Just grab it every now and then. And read a few pages. Of course this is probably a heavily edited and well scrutinized book. Assembled under brand protection of the Disney Company, one of the biggest media companies in the… Read More »The Quotable Walt Disney – Disney Book Group

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! – Ralph Leighton and Richard Feynman

The next day I rolled up my picture, put it in the back of my station wagon, and my wife Gweneth wished me good luck as I set out to visit the brothels of Pasadena to sell my drawing. Richard Feynman Well, I definitely wasn’t expecting such sentences in this collection of anecdotes from famous popular physicist Feynman. But I can safely say, it certainly is in line with the… Read More »Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! – Ralph Leighton and Richard Feynman

Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace

Today is February 21st, David Foster Wallace‘s birthday. So it’s rather fitting that today I finished reading his magnum opus: Infinite Jest. The notoriously long and difficult book from 1996 with visionary insights on modern life. Infinite Jest is one of the biggest books ever written, and it certainly is the biggest book I have ever read. It took me somewhere between 50 and 60 hours over the course of… Read More »Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace

Gung Ho! Turn On the People in Any Organization – Ken Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles

Gung Ho! is a management book written by well-know author Ken Blanchard. It was somehow never on my radar, so because of the strange title and my unfamiliarity I wasn’t expecting too much, and I only picked it up because I know Blanchard’s other famous theory. But it turned out to be a delightful, short read. This book can help any starting, aspiring or even seasoned manager to get their… Read More »Gung Ho! Turn On the People in Any Organization – Ken Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles

Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

It’s clever. It’s smart. It’s eloquent. It’s articulate. It’s masterfully written. It’s the archetype of the whodunit. It’s the absolute queen of adverbs. It’s quintessential Agatha Christie. I enjoyed it thoroughly and can’t imagine someone who wouldn’t.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F* – Mark Manson

When this book came out it was seemingly everywhere. Especially in airport bookshops (I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not though). Or maybe I am imagining things and the book just sticks out, more than others, because of the swear word in the title, which is …. quaint? I happened to find* a Dutch copy and thought: well, why not? Seemed short enough. And sure enough you… Read More »The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F* – Mark Manson

Humanity’s Last New Year’s Eve – Niccolò Ammaniti

In 1996 — when he was just starting out — Ammaniti published a collection of short stories titled Fango. This particular story (which was also made into a movie) is one of the stories from Fango published as a separate book in 2010 and it’s absolutely vintage Ammaniti. Being one of his earliest stories, it’s coarse and crude and a actually a bit too much for my taste. His later… Read More »Humanity’s Last New Year’s Eve – Niccolò Ammaniti

Humankind: A Hopeful History (De Meeste Mensen Deugen) – Rutger Bregman

I don’t know what the English title translation for Rutger Bregman’s latest book will be. But I do know two things. One: there will be one. And two: it will be a bestseller. I do know now, and yes it will be a bestseller: The title will be something along the lines of: Most People Are Decent. Which is a terrible translation by me and I hope they come up… Read More »Humankind: A Hopeful History (De Meeste Mensen Deugen) – Rutger Bregman

Me and You – Niccolò Ammaniti

It’s probably fair to say Niccolò Ammaniti is one of my favorite writers at the moment. This being his third book I read since last year. He has a gut stomping way of describing the human condition in a funny, recognisable and smart way. His dialogue, characters and plot ooze effortlessly from the pages. And especially his metaphors are one of a kind. This book specifically touches on a more… Read More »Me and You – Niccolò Ammaniti

The Black Swan – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

When The Black Swan came out in 2007 it caused quite a stir. And understandably so. Taleb has a distinctive and fresh view of looking at the world through the lens of an emperic skeptic. He also likes to write, think out loud, and argue why he is right (and others are wrong). He greatly admires Kahneman, Poincaré and Mandelbrot. But he also dislikes a lot of things: the traditional… Read More »The Black Swan – Nassim Nicholas Taleb