One of my favorite parts of vacation is to voraciously consume a pile of books. I’m a fast reader (and a good skimmer when I’m bored of a book) so most vacations end up with at least a book a day read. My algorithm for picking the books to read is random. I have shelves of unread books, piles of unread books, and bookstores full of unread books. Of course, there is also Amazon where a book is merely 1–Click away. I try to mix in “mental floss” every three books (e.g. a novel) – just to make sure I don’t become a “dull non-fiction only” reader (ok – it’s actually because I like to read fiction.)
Following are short reviews of the books I read last week – in order. Some were great, some were ok, and a few sucked.
Bone Games: I started this one on the way back from the New Mexico Marathon. It was a fascinating personal exploration by the author into extreme sports, shamanism, zen, and the search for transcendence (whatever that means.) I’m regularly asked why I’m running a marathon on the North Pole in April – the long answer is “read this book.” Recommended for all athletes and extreme sports fanatics.
Anonymous Lawyer: Two works – “fucking hilarious.” For a taste, check out the blog. This was – by far – the funniest / funnest book of the week. If you blog, or like to read blogs, are a lawyer, or hate lawyers, this is for you.
4 Hour Marathon: I must get faster. 5 hours is too long to be running 26.2 miles. My PR is 4:05 – there is no question that I should be able to comfortably break 4 hours in a marathon. However, I didn’t learn anything from this book – it basically said (a) run more, (b) do intervals, (c) do tempo workouts, and (d) lift weights. Doh.
Promoting Your Podcast: I can’t remember who recommended this book, but I figured I should read it since I’ve got investments in companies that are related to podcasting, including FeedBurner, NewsGator, and ClickCaster. If you are a beginning (or aspiring) podcaster, this is full of great information. I was delighted that FeedBurner is a key part of this book’s recommendations.
The I Chong: Another awesome book. I vaguely knew that Tommy Chong had recently spent some time in jail. As a child of the 70’s, Cheech and Chong was my first real exposure to “The Herb.” While I’ve never been a stoner, I remember being a young Dallas Cowboys fan while rolling around on the floor laughing at Up in Smoke. Our current administration busted Chong for ostensibly selling glass bong pipes across state lines and tossed him in jail for nine months. This is his story of the experience along with a bunch of personal philosophy tossed in. Excellent.
The End of Medicine: Every book that Andy Kessler has written has been superb. The End of Medicine was no different – it was deep, insightful, fun to read, and full of great stuff. If you are an investor, entrepreneur, or are interested in the health care system, this is a must read.
The Return of the Player: I loved Robert Altman’s movie The Player so I thought I’d give Michael Tolkin’s sequel a try. It was ok. I’m a little bored of the “LA Novel” – this is another one that fits the genre. The first half drags on while the second half happens too fast. As I read it, I felt like I was watching a movie, so feel free to wait for the screenplay to come to a theater near you.
The Connoisseur’s Guide to Sushi: I love sushi. I learned a lot from this book. It’s long so I was reduced to skimming since I didn’t want to learn endless details about every type of sushi known to man. But – it was good. And no – I don’t put that neon green stuff in my soy sauce (although I like to put in on pickled ginger and snarf it down while I’m waiting for my fish to come.)
24: Veto Power: January 2007 can’t come soon enough for me so I’ve been reduced to reading Jack Bauer novels.
The Art of The Long View: I dug deep into my bookshelf for this one. I can’t even remember when I bought this – Peter Schwartz is a well known futurist and the chairman of Global Business Network. This book was originally published in 1991 (and the dust on it showed – I wonder if I hauled it all the way from Boston.) It was fascinating, especially to read the history of what a futurist predicted. Some of the “how to scenario plan” stuff was dull (and got skimmed), but all of the predictions and theorizing was super interesting.
Sense & Nonsense in the Office: Sucked. Boring.
24 more hours and I’m back in the real world. Doink, Doink, Doink.