Friday, December 30, 2016

Books I Read in 2016

I read a lot of books.  Well, to be fair, I don't "read" very many at all.  But I do listen to a lot of audiobooks.  This is because I drive a lot, and I enjoy listening to audiobooks while I drive.  

Here's a list of the books I read in the past year.  At least, the ones I can remember.

Fascinating!  This book explains a LOT of the stories I've read about Amazon and their work culture.




Scott Adams' latest book.  This was an enjoyable read, but not much more than that.




I didn't enjoy this much.  I've read other books from Cialdini and some of them were great.  But this was the least enjoyable.  It's got too much derivative content.  I really enjoyed two of his earlier books: Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive and Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.




This was interesting.  Kevin Lacz was on some of the same ops as Chris Kyle so I wanted to hear his point of view.  I enjoyed this book.  If you liked American Sniper, then you'll like this book also.




I liked this book, but not quite as much as American Sniper and The Last Punisher.  That's not to diminish the hard work, skills, talent, and achievement of Nicholas Irving. 





While the book was interesting, with many interviews of people who have been labeled as psychopaths by either the media or doctors, I didn't enjoy it as much as I was hoping.  I think it just didn't satisfy an itch I must have had.  Also, it was a little challenging to get past the heavy Welsh accent - the audiobook is read by the author.  Several people have provided much better reviews on Amazon, so if the title is interesting then please go there to read more.


Great book!  But if you are even slightly into science fiction, then you already know this.  I really enjoyed this.  However, I haven't yet read the remainder of the trilogy: The Dark Forest and Death's End.





I wasn't very impressed with this book and the author's prolonged description of the Peltzman Effect as it applies to various industries.  I'm not entirely alone, as there are some mixed reviews on Amazon.





I liked this book, but it was a bit dry.  See my previous post about it here.





This is a very good book.  If you've ever heard of Alexander von Humboldt, then you should read this book.  See my previous post about it here.





I enjoyed this book.  It stitches together various events and people related to the atomic bomb's development in the US.  See my previous post about it here.





This was an interesting book but it lacked the sort of depth that I was hoping for.  I've read so many books on the topic of behavioral economics that they are beginning to repeat the same research results.  In a sense, that's fine since the results are important.  I enjoyed the author's earlier book, Nudge, more.  I also recommend Dan Ariely's books, Predictably Irrational and Payoff.





This is a good book for those who don't have much training in the area.  For me it was a bit boring.  But I forgive the author because it is clearly touted as capturing the content from a training curriculum, and so it is bound to start from basics.





This is an outstanding book.  The best I read in 2016.  I strongly recommend it!  See my earlier post here for details.





This fast-paced story was fun to read.  The audiobook is read by Wil Wheaton, who is a fan of Scalzi's work.  See my previous post about it here.





Covert One Novels
I like the Covert One series of novels that were started by Robert Ludlum.  The main character, Dr. John Smith, makes an interesting (if not entirely believable) secret agent for the modern world.  This year I listened to the audiobook versions of The Patriot Attack, The Paris Option, The Cassandra Compact and The Janus Reprisal.  See my previous post about the first two here.  The quality of writing varies with each book since they have different authors.  I tolerate that well because these are great books for long drives.

I also like the John Rain espionage thriller series from the former CIA officer Barry Eisler.  I think I've now read them all.





I enjoyed this.  I read it twice this year.  If you like Top Gear, then you must read this book.  Here's my earlier post about it.





This wasn't the book I was expecting.  But then it turned out to be very interesting.  It's all about the industry of managing the wealth of the very super rich.  Largely, this entails the intricate legal maneuvers necessary to minimize the loss of wealth to taxes.  For example, the pros and cons of putting your money into foundations or trusts or corporations.



Light and funny.  I ended up with zero sympathy for the author/protagonist, since I've worked in a dot-com and even I'm smart enough to spot the work culture elements that he refused to see around him.  I was hoping for him to get fired, long before it happened.





I heard about this from Scott Adams' blog.  It was interesting, but not very enlightening.  Probably because I'm already familiar with many of the techniques described.





Too brief.  My interests and knowledge are apparently more detailed than this book can satisfy.  I realize this is not very helpful to the reader.  Sorry.





I had to stop the audiobook.  It was making me too angry.





Written by Ben Collins - the famous Stig from Top Gear UK.  This was interesting.  Even though it's aimed at a general audience, I learned a few things.




Mary Roach's latest - it's not her best, but it's still interesting and I learned a lot.  Of her books, I like Stiff best.





This is Piketty's highly acclaimed treatise on capital markets.  Frequent readers of my blog will have noticed that I read a lot of economics books.  This one was different.  I had very high hopes.  If you don't have a genuine interest in macroeconomics, then do NOT read this book.  I do have an interest and yet I had a hard time, entirely because the audio format made it harder to take in this sort of information.  My bad.



I liked this book.  I like any book that offers some behind-the-scenes stories about something that I like.  If you enjoyed Star Trek then you'll enjoy this book.  If you're undecided, then some of the reviewers on Amazon offer much more information about the book.





This was an interesting string of history tales related to the Pacific Ocean and the territories within it and surround it.  The author also wrote Krakatoa and I really liked that book.  His writing style is similar to Bill Bryson; a series of localized stories strung together, with no attempt to be rigorous or comprehensive, but still satisfyingly informative and interesting.  I enjoyed this book.  It's perfect for a long drive.


This book is written by Ron Chernow, who's book Alexander Hamilton inspired the popular musical play (according to Amazon).  I liked this book.  It was very interesting.  I learned far more about Washington and the American Revolutionary war than I ever learned in school.  OK, that's not really saying much.  




I did not finish this book.  I didn't even finish half of it.  I did not like this book.  This would be a good way to torture me - forcing me to listen to this drivel.  So, if you like Covert One novels or John Rain novels, then stay away from this book.












This list doesn't include the books on hiking or diet and some odd skills-development books I've read.


I'm currently listening to this book:

This is a new book from Gary Taubes.  He previously wrote the acclaimed books Why We Get Fat and Good Calories, Bad Calories.  I really liked Why We Get Fat and so far I'm enjoying this new book.  Full disclosure: I think we all eat way too much sugar and I am currently on a ketogenic diet.









Next Up:

I'm really looking forward to this one, ever since I listened to an interview of the author.

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