Reading

Rated on a scale 7-point scale where 1=Awful and 7=Harry Potter

2017

5 The Fellowship of the Rings
Fun to remember the details that don't appear in the movie. Good old Tom Bombadil. A tad slow moving overall.
4 The Golem's Eye (Book II Bartimaeus Trilogy)
Somewhat juvenile, but I there were parts that were very humerous as they spewed forth from the mouth of a cheeky demon.
3 The Last Star (3rd book in The 5th Wave)
4 Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Thought provoking. Mostly enjoyed the second to last chapter where it discussed human happiness. The summary was that everyone needs a purpose in life. Gospel maybe?
4 Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Slow start. Didn't finish. It's made me more aware of my own personal growth/fixed mindset and helped me understand other people better.
6 Rich Dad Poor Dad
This book changed me. I've never thought about assets and liabilities so clearly. I listened to this on the Tanner family reunion in Portland and still a week later I feel like a man possessed. Opened a YNAB account, uninstalled League, and started working on growing assets. Feeling motivated to make my money work for me. Love the idea of each dollar being like an employee.
7 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The book is always better than the movie. Although... I did miss Luna's "Harry Potter you listen to me right now!"
5 Killing Reagan
Informative and entertaining. I didn't know anything about Reagan besides what he looked like before listening.
7 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
5 The Practicing Mind
6 The Bartimaeus Trilogy
4 The Confession
5 The Infinite Sea
5 The Practicing Mind
4 Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions
6 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

2016

2 Hughes
A biography of Howard Hughes, America's first billionarie. Not inspiring in the least. He went crazy in the end, but I don't feel like he accomplished much before that.
3 The 100
Earth was destroyed in a nuclear winter. A small number of survivors live in a space station. One-hundred prisoners on the station are sent back to the earth to determine if it is safe. I enjoyed the storyline, but there was a little too much high school romance for me.
3 The Goldfinch
Super long book that covers about 20 years of a boy's unfortunate life. It was interesting getting a glimpse of a different life and how small decisions can snowball in the end.
4 By the Light of the Moon
A mad scientist releases his life work into individuals he's kidnapped and tells them to run for their lives. The main character has an autistic brother and I loved how he added to the story. Koontz is able to add so much believable drama through the brother.
5 The Gate Thief
Book 2 in the series.
5 Creativity, Inc.
Need to start a brain trust group.
6 The Wright Brothers
I was impressed with how much the brothers didn't care about the lack of attention in the beginning. They were self financed and although they had bouts of feeling like giving up, they always woke up the next day with a determination to succeed. I was sad to see that they spent a large portion of their final years in patent lawsuits. Seems like a terrible waste of time and talent.
6 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Can't go wrong with some Harry Potter in Germany!
6 Steal Like an Artist
Short book about how to be a creative. Really sound advice. Highly recommend.
5 100 Cupboards
A story about traveling through space and time using cupboards. I liked the idea of the story, but not necessarily the story itself.
3 "A" is for Alibi (Sue Grafton)
Prett blah murder mystery book.
4 Fantastic Mr. Fox
Quick. Goofy.
6 The Fifth Wave
Fun book that examines what if an alien invasion didn't come like the movies portray it with fighter jets and lots of bombs?
5 The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Fun short Harry Potter read.
4 Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
Somewhat of a Charlie and the Chocolate factory knock-off. A tad too childish.
5 Animal Farm
I must work harder. Napeloen is always right.
4 Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Slightly childish.
4 David and Goliath
What appear to be advantages are not always so. Talks a lot about U curves where there's an optimal size for things such as classroom sizes. Too small and there's not enough momentum, too large and it's unruly.
5 The Tipping Point
What causes things to reach their tipping point? Talks about companies and marketing, crime rates, Paul Revere.
3 The life changing magic of tidying up
A book by Marie Kondo and her tactics for keeping a house tidy.
5 Frank — The Voice
I really enjoyed this book. I found it really engaging and fun to hear about someone with a completely different life mission than myself. This book does drop the F-bomb a lot though... I was with my grandparents the week after I finished this and it was fun to talk to them about Frank Sinatra and other musicians that were big during that era.
4 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Fun quick listen about Captain Nemo and his Nautilus.
6 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
6 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
5 The Snowball - Warren Buffett and the Business of Life
I'm amazed how often I see Berkshire Hathaway references now.
4 Killing Kennedy
Not as enjoyable as Killing Lincoln, but interesting to learn more about President Kennedy. The book references Martin Luther King Jr. and Frank Sinatra which makes me want to read books on them.
3 Mozart's Wife
Had some interesting details about Mozart's life from the perspective of his wife, but too much time was spent on sexual innuendos. Probably wouldn't recommend.
4 The Great Gatsby
Felt a lot like the movie actually. It was enjoyable, but I honestly don't think I picked up anything that I didn't remember from the movie. I'm sure that's not true, but it felt that way.
5 Randy Pausch
A famous CMU professor that is diagnosed with cancer and given 3-6 months to live. He gives a famous "last lecture" and then writes a book about that speech. Mostly it's short life lessons he wants to pass along. I think he has some good things to say and I'm familiar with his Alice research, so it was interesting to think how recent this was. I bet some of my professors know Randy.
4 Spirit Animals
A book about a group of select individuals that can summon spirit animals. It was a decent listen, but nothing super engaging.
2 The Good Guy
A really dark book about a serial killer. Too dark. Didn't like it.
5 Eragon
This was another re-read for me, but it's my favorite use of magic in a fictional world. I love that the cost of magic is equal to the strength it would do to accomplish the magic physically. I really enjoyed Eragon, but the next 3 books got progressively worse. I wanted to re-visit this one in preparation for my Throne books.
4 Rework
Really respect a lot of the ideas that are shared in this book. It's from the guys behind Basecamp. They are a group of 14 remote workers and they keep their products very simple. They also don't believe in taking outside funding. In a world where startups are measured by how much money they can raise, this was a refreshing contrast.
5 The Racketeer
Very enjoyable light read. The wrapup was done really nicely and I appreciated how clever the main character was. It's a story about a murdered judge, a guy who is falsely incarcerated, and the connection between the two.
2 Matched
I enjoyed the details surrounding this Utopian society, but this book was definitely written for a teenage girl. Probably shouldn't have powered through it.
2 The Diamond Age
I read this because James really likes the idea of the Primer. The book was really weird and I found it quite boring, but there was interesting technology to think about. I did appreciate that one of the major takeaways is that to successfully raise children, they need a parent. Being raised by a book wasn't enough.
6 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
First time *listening* to the book. This year I think I'm going to start working on my Five Thrones books and so I paid special attention to how Rowlings crafted the story and what elements I really liked. I'm impressed that she hooks you already in the first 2 minutes of the story. The book left me feeling inspired rather than intimidated so I guess that's a good thing.
6 Winnie the Pooh
This book completely surprised me. I almost gave it a 7 based on how much I enjoyed listening to it. The humor was very subtle, but incredibly funny. It made me wonder if Monty Python learned a thing or two from this book.
3 The Appeal (John Grisham)
Typical John Grisham book. Still a good read, but not as enthralling as others. Based on his other books I guessed the ending, and I'm never a huge fan of being able to do that.

2015

4 Death Match
I would have given this book a 6, except the end was pretty lousy. The first 80% was really interesting and moved very quickly, but the end bogged down. Book about advanced computer AI and its use in bringing couples together.
3 Calico Joe
Very predictable and only semi-interesting. I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoyed his lawyer books.
4 Where Good Ideas Come From
Covers the history of innovation and how it is brought about. A key takeaway is that innovation doesn't come from someone sitting in their lab thinking about a problem. Instead it comes from the collision of ideas that come when people interact with each other. Those collisions spark new ideas that people then apply to problems that they are familiar with (that's where the time in the lab is actually useful). I thought that was a really good insight and that has inspired me to continue "colliding" with the world around me.
3 A Series of Unfortunate Events
Read this while helping Jane babysit. I was unfamiliar with the story so decided it was time to figure it out. A little too childish for me without any clever storyline. I did enjoy how the book used foreign words and explained them in context. I imagine that being a very good subtle way of helping kids learn new kids. Who am I kidding, I learned the word insipid from this book.
3 Anthem
Throwback to high school. I was actually surprised how much of this book I still remembered. Pretty much all of it. Probably not worth the re-read, but it did make me think of the importance of individuality.
3 Fortunately, the Milk
A bizarre short story about a dad who guys to buy milk for his kid's breakfast cereal and ends up going on time traveling journey including dinosaurs, aliens, volcanoes, vampires and milk from different dimensions.
5 The Martian
Unique story line with an interesting way of telling it. The story is told almost 70% from journal entries made by the man living on mars. He's writing them as if he's talking to people in the future, so he only includes the exciting bits and plenty of humour. I watched the movie version 12 hours after I finished the book, and it was also enjoyable.
1 Lost Boys
Hated this book. Didn't realize it was a tragedy and horror story.
6 Ghost in the Wires
Read this book in college and LOVED it. It's about Kevin Mitnick, a hacker and social engineer that's addicted to hacking. He never does anything too malicious with the secrets he uncovers, he is just addicted to the high. In the end he gets caught, but not before he successfully progreses through several different identities. Reminds me that I need to read Catch Me If You Can.
5 Killing Lincoln
Interesting to learn more about the Civil War, Lincoln, and Booth. The book ends as a tragedy and lots of people die, so it was definitely a downer, but I felt more American and patriotic after reading the book.
4 The Magician's Nephew (C.S. Lewis)
Read this because Kohler is working his way through the Narnia books. I'd read a couple of the others, but I didn't remember this story. I liked the book and enjoyed trying to think about it's Gospel connotations.
5 The Lost Gates
Another Orson Scott Card book I like. This one is about a certain group of people that have magical abilities and one ability is to travel through gates (like Portal). This power has disappeared because of a Great Gate Mage that destroyed all the others.
7 Ender's Game
Third time through this book, but this was the first time that I listened to it on audio and it was fantastic. I wondered if I was missing out on "reading" because I was listening to the books, but at least with this interesting of a book, I think I enjoyed it even more. I don't do a great job of giving different voices in my head to people, so it was fun to have that forced on me by the audio and it brought some of the characters to life.
5 Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
I've been an Elon Musk fan for awhile and this book was fascinating. I came away with an appreciation for his vision and work ethic, but disdain for his manner of dealing with people. Makes me wonder if you could have a leader like Elon or Steve Jobs but kinder.
3 Think and Grow Rich
Very slow go. Nuggets per page was rather low I thought.
2 The Collectors (David Baldacci)
A story about a book collector, an assassin, and a scam artist and their worlds colliding. The scam storyline was actually really interesting, but the same is not true of the others. I wouldn't bother reading this one.
2 The Monkey's Raincoat
A detective story about a drug ring and a kidnapping. Had to look up on the summary on this again so it obviously wasn't that memorable.
4 The Testament
My dad told me a little about the storyline of this book a long long time ago and it's stuck with me. I decided to finally get the full scoop and I'm glad I did. I enjoyed
3 The Clone Wars (Karen Traviss)
After reading the last Star Wars book, I wanted to try another with a storyline that I was more familiar with. This one was on par with the last one.
3 Backlash, Fate of the Jedi (Aaron Allston)
I've been a Star Wars fan my whole life, and I knew that there were TONS of books written in the Star Wars universe, but I hadn't ever taken the time to read one. So... this was my foray into said books. Overall it was a light fun read. Not a page turner, but enjoyable. One thing I did enjoy was the futuristic technology. I want to read more books that speculate on future tech.
5 The Litigators
Fun to read a Grisham book again. I think it's fair to say he is my dad's favorite author, and despite my not being a lawyer, I enjoy them as well.
3 Psychology of Human Behavior
This book was decent, but it wasn't what I expected. It turned out to be a quick overview of a ton of different areas of psychology. It didn't dive deep into any one area, so while informative, I didn't glean much practical knowledge from it.
6 The Practicing Mind
This book had a big impact on me. It has really helped me focus on the present and not always be so focused on the end goal. Doing so has helped me find a lot more joy in the journey. Instead of learning django so I can finish the current app I'm working on, I've been able to focus on learning django for the joy of learning django. Eventually I will have a finished app, but until then, I'll enjoy the learning. I've also been encouraged to start practicing new skills. I've started doing graphic design again, something I've always admired in others.
4 Redwall
I loved these books growing up. I thought it might be fun to listen to on Audible because of the fun dialects of the animals. The story is definitely childish, but it was a fun throwback for me.
2 14
A book about an apartment building that has a lot of weird things going on in it. I liked the first half because it was intriguing, but the wrapup of this book was too bizarre/unbelievable for me.
5 The Innovators
This book helped me understand more about the history of the computer and the internet. It was fun to read about people whom I've heard referenced in my CS classes. I would recommend this book to historians and those interested in computers.
4 The Art of Negotiating the Best Deal
A friend recommended The Great Courses to me and this was the first book I tried. I learned some good things about negotiating, but it was a little long.
5 The Shadow of What Was Lost
A fantasy book that was interesting, but probably not enough to be mainstream. It made me think more about writing my Throne Rooms series. I've decided I want to read more sci-fi books.

2014

4 Mind What You Wear
5 The Other Wes Moore
6 Brilliance (Books 1 and 2)**
2 The Atlantis Gene (Books 1 and 2)
4 Made to Stick
2 The Maze Runner (liked the movie, disliked the book)

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