I set my self reading challenge of 24 books for 2018. Considering last year I only managed 9 books, 24 looked ambitious. I however convinced myself to break this up and focus on reading 2 books a month, which at least made it the challenge look less daunting. What I did not account for was how hectic 2018 was going to turn up. I travelled a lot ,over 30,000 miles, changed jobs, bought a house. As I reach the end of the year, and look back I had read 16 wonderful books. Here they are:-
Into The Water - A fiction by British author by Paula Hawkins. I really liked Hawkins The Girl On The Train and I wanted to start 2018 with a easy fun read. I picked this one up at the LAX airport and it was my first read of 2018.
Peak - A non-fiction by K. Anders Ericsson, I found this one by accident. Glad I did. The book introduced me to deliberate practice. A research of successful individuals across diverse fields to understand what makes them special. Anders takes a different look at talent and how to become an expert in any field.
Ghost In The Wires - From one of the most famous hackers of our times, the Memoir by Kevin Mitnick is also a thriller as he describes his cat and mouse game with the authorities where has always managed to stay a step ahead. In his book Kevin talks about the early days of phone jacking to breaking into computer systems and hacking cellular networks. In addition to his technical exploits, Kevin also details his social engineering encounters.
A Killer's Mind - Amazon first reads author Mike Omer’s debut with the Zoey Bentley series is captivating thriller between the protagonist and a serial killer.
Genius Foods - By Max Lugavere, was one of the best books I have read this year, probably all time. Max provides some wonderful insights on the impact of what we eat on our cognitive ability. I loved the book so much that I have gifted couple of hardcovers to friends and family.
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories - A collection of short futuristic science fiction stories by Ken Liu. I found this similar to the popular Netflix original, Black Mirror. Some of these stories seem eerily similar to reality or at least not as far fetched in the future as your typical science fiction.
The Unexpected Inheritance Of Inspector Chopra - By Vaseem Khan is a detective fiction set in Mumbai, India. An former cop turned private detective with a unexpected sidekick, a baby elephant.
I Can’t Make This Up - A memoir by stand up comedian Kevin Hart. The book came by as a good reads recommendation and it did not disappoint. A behind the scenes look at the world of stand up comedy, Kevin visits some of his deepest and darkest alleys of past.
Exit West - A novel by Mohsin Hamid it takes us on an emotional journey of a couple escaping civil war in search of a better times only to be faced with racism and suspicion as they become refugees. Sounds too familiar?
The Phoenix Project - Highly recommended in the DevOps community, this has been on my to read list for sometime. Gene Kim’s novel is about fictitious legacy company’s DevOps journey and the challenges they encounter.
The Perplexing Theft Of The Jewel In The Crown - Book two by Vaseem Khan in the baby Ganesha series is as much fun and as much interesting as the first one. A cozy comfort read.
How To Win Friends And Influence People - By Dale Carnegie. I do not read self help that much but I have had a handed down copy this book for years. I am so glad I finally read it. My only regret, not reading it early. The world would be so much a better place if this was a mandatory read for everyone.
The Bullet Journal Method - Over the years, I have tried out countless apps, ToDo lists techniques and tools. They all started off nicely, as time went by, they either became too cumbersome to maintain or just did not change with my needs. I will confess, I have tried the bullet journal method before, but gave up on it. The book, by the inventor of the bullet journal system Ryder Carroll takes you through the basics of the system. After reading this, I realized the last time I tried bullet journaling, I was doing it incorrectly. The book got me restarted on a bullet journal.
10% Happier - A book about meditation and mindfulness, it is also a memoir by Dan Harris. If you find the title a bit cheesy, don’t worry, the book itself is very good. Whether you are a beginner, a seasoned practitioner or skeptic, you will find something interesting in this book.
Bad Blood - By John Carreyrou, a must read for anyone working in the silicon valley or with startups and technology anywhere in the world. This is the story behind the Theranos expose by the wall street journal. Shocking and bold, it is investigative journalism at its best.
On Writing Well - This came highly recommended at work. Writing feels hard, because it is. Technology makes it easy to publish, good writing however takes time. It is writing, pruning the fluffiness, the murkiness and rewriting. It is a craft not an art. The book by William Zinsser talks about the reader as someone who has an attention span of 30 seconds or less, if you are callus with your writing, you will lose them.
As I look forward to 2019, a quote by J.K. Rowling strikes out “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.” I feel lucky to have found all the right books to keep reading on.