book review

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

Churchill – Sebastian Haffner

Writing a Churchill biography is not an easy assignment, even though it would be difficult to butcher the job. Churchill lead an unprecedented rich and varied life and just writing down the bare facts would already be enough for a great story. But it would also be a massive undertaking. Haffner took a different route. He chose the high-level helicopter approach. And he managed to produce an impressive sketch and… Read More »Churchill – Sebastian Haffner

Capitalism without brakes – Maarten van Rossem

In his highly distinctive ‘tone of voice’, Maarten van Rossem provides the most succinct available lecture on the root causes which lead to the 2008 financial crisis. From the change in Keynes thinking (after the 1920s) to the Hayek and Friedman ideology — embodied by the neoliberal policies of Reagan and Thatcher. Van Rossem explains how culture and ideology shifted and, combined with technology and humanity’s never-ending greed, provided the… Read More »Capitalism without brakes – Maarten van Rossem

Dream Dare Do – Ben Tiggelaar

Dare Dream Do (Dromen Durven Doen) is one of the all-time bestselling Dutch self-management books. Tiggelaar is a popular figure and he has a charming, personal and pragmatic writing style. There are few new concepts in the book (at least for me). Practices like visualisation, goalsetting, checking goals, taking responsibility and being grateful. These are all familiar concepts, shared by many other similar well-known management theories. And with that, Tiggelaar… Read More »Dream Dare Do – Ben Tiggelaar

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

When I started college in 1998 this was literally one of the first books I had to buy. It was part of a — cheaply thrown together — five-pack of paperback management book ‘classics’. And my particular copy is printed on recycled paper, with boring frugal typesetting, and even has a Dutch translation error on the back. Not normally a book you would hold on to for 21 years. Management… Read More »The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

Glove Pond – Roger Thorpe

Roger Thorpe is just as good a writer as Douglas Coupland is. As a matter of fact, he is also as real as a Douglas Coupland character. Glove Pond is his first novel. I got this book bundled with The Gum Thief, and I was thrown off guard by the high praises on the backcover by Coupland himself. How come I had never heard of this writer? But as soon… Read More »Glove Pond – Roger Thorpe

Sex, Blogs and Rock-‘n-Roll – Ernst Jan Pfauth

The rather sensationalist title would normally be a reason to not want to read this book. But since this book came out in 2010, the author E.J. Pfauth has become known for more than just this book. He is the co-founder of the Correspondent (a journalism platform), has written other books and he hosts a rather entertaining podcast. So I thought it would be fun to see where his head… Read More »Sex, Blogs and Rock-‘n-Roll – Ernst Jan Pfauth

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again – David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace could write. And not just write, he could really write extraordinarily well. In related news: water is wet. Wallace’s writing struck me as an epiphany, a beacon of light, a clear and unmistakable differentiator between merely good writing and exceptional writing. I have known about DFW for some time now, and I have seen his famous commencement speech several times. It strongly resonates with me. As some… Read More »A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again – David Foster Wallace

Thomas Dekker: The Descent (Mijn Gevecht) – Thijs Zonneveld

I finished this book in one sitting. Partly because Zonneveld has a pleasant writing style. But also because the rather recent story of a hugely talented and (very) young cyclist who early on in his career got involved with dope and raced towards destruction is fascinating. It’s the (auto)biography of Thomas Dekker but it is just as much the biography of the cycling world in the early 2000s. And this… Read More »Thomas Dekker: The Descent (Mijn Gevecht) – Thijs Zonneveld