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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. 

Humor schept evenwicht (Humor creates balance) – Jaap Bakker

  • Books

Jaap Bakker, a local storyteller from a small rural town in the Netherlands (Urk), has written down anecdotes and jokes from the last hundred years or so. Either things he experienced first hand or that were told to him. So expect hundreds of fun little stories. Stories anyone can identify with, about human interaction and small town life, that make you smile, laugh or even burst out. Needless to say,… Read More »Humor schept evenwicht (Humor creates balance) – Jaap Bakker

The Effective Executive – Peter Drucker

Pick up any good management book and chances are that Peter Drucker will be mentioned. He is the godfather of management theory. I encountered Drucker many times before in other books and quotes, but I had never read anything directly by him. I have now, and I can only wish I had done so sooner. The sublime classic The Effective Executive from 1967 was a good place to start. After… Read More »The Effective Executive – Peter Drucker

Getting Things Done – David Allen

For some reason I had never read the David Allen classic Getting Things Done. But I found out that 18 years after its release it’s still a good introduction to time and action management. David Allen tries to make the natural, systematic. He does so by introducing a 5 step workflow: capture, clarify, organize, reflect, and engage. Allen does a great job of explaining these steps with real world examples… Read More »Getting Things Done – David Allen

Leonardo da Vinci – Walter Isaacson

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My favorite biographer, Walter Isaacson, did it again. He created a gorgeously illustrated book about the quintessential renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci. The book is based on the mind blowing — in number and content — 7200 pages of notes Leonardo left behind (which probably only accounts for one quarter, the rest is lost). As far as I am concerned this biography is the definitive introduction to this left-handed, mirror… Read More »Leonardo da Vinci – Walter Isaacson

Blue Bananas – Wouter de Vries jr. & Thiemo van Rossum

Blauwe Bananen (Blue Bananas) is a management book that was number one for 38 days on It is aimed at people who generally don’t read management books. So it sometimes tries to be unnecessarily funny, seemingly afraid to alienate the reader with otherwise dry concepts. Nonetheless the message itself is pretty solid. The theme being: how to become a blue banana. A blue banana is a business with a… Read More »Blue Bananas – Wouter de Vries jr. & Thiemo van Rossum

Plato – R.M. Hare

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Writing short introductions to classic philosophers are hard. This book tries, but falls a bit short as a true introduction. Plato, the first documented, Western philosopher set the pace for 25 centuries of philosophy. This book explains the culture and setting where Plato developed his philosophy, and their interrelation. It also touches on the main aspects of his philosophy as well as you could possibly expect in a short book… Read More »Plato – R.M. Hare

High Output Management – Andrew S. Grove

This classic management book started off with two confusing and underwhelming chapters, but ended up being one of the best three management books I have ever read. And I would highly recommend it to any manager. If you run into a book recommendation thread on Hacker News or someplace else where tech savvy people congregate, chances are, High Output Management will be mentioned. Published in 1983, updated in 1995 and… Read More »High Output Management – Andrew S. Grove

Bad Blood – John Carreyrou

Everything you read and hear about Bad Blood by John Carreyrou is true. It is an incredible — TRUE — story, told exceptionally well, about the lethal cocktail of greed, ambition and narcissism. If this wasn’t non-fiction I would have dismissed parts of this book as contrived. We are used to Silicon Valley success stories, but reading about such a supposed success, which raised 900 million dollars at a 10… Read More »Bad Blood – John Carreyrou

Kierkegaard – Patrick Gardiner

In general, philosophy has a reputation of being hard to understand, and Kierkegaard certainly does nothing to lessen this reputation. He was largely misunderstood in his lifetime, but also very aware that he was ahead of his time. Maybe that’s why he was an enormously prolific writer. His works are often complex and paradoxical in tone and plentiful enough to ponder on its meaning for many lifetimes. This book has… Read More »Kierkegaard – Patrick Gardiner

The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway

On my honeymoon in 2009 I asked the store clerk at the Hemingway house on Key West: “what’s a good book to start with?”. She recommended The Sun also Rises. And I understand why. Because this novel is probably the most accessible summary of the typical Hemingway writing style. Very much set in the 1920s — yet timeless — it is a story about classic themes such as friendship, love,… Read More »The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway

Joy Division and the making of Unknown Pleasures – Jake Kennedy

I picked up this book in the bargain bin of a HMV in Manchester in 2006, when I was on a — sort of — pilgrimage. But I left it on my bookshelf for 12 years, thinking I probably knew most of it already. But books are meant to be read, so I had to get to it eventually. I think I understand why this book was already in the… Read More »Joy Division and the making of Unknown Pleasures – Jake Kennedy

Faith – Jimmy Carter

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I literally received this book from the hands of Jimmy Carter himself at a book signing in New York. I never met a president before — even if only for a few seconds — so I was keen to read his book! Carter always struck me as an interesting person. A multifaceted outlier: deeply religious but pro science and evolution, anti-NRA but pro guns, peanut farmer by trade and a… Read More »Faith – Jimmy Carter