Jun 30 2008

The Latest Pile of Books

It’s summer time and I’ve once again been powering through a bunch of books.  Amy and I are heading to our place in Homer, Alaska tomorrow where I’ll likely continue my pace of at least a book a day.  Look for regularly updates and quick reviews here.  In the meantime, here’s the latest set from the last week.

The Turnaround Kid: What I Learned Rescuing America’s Most Troubled Companies: This is the autobiography of Steve Miller, a well known turnaround executive.  He started his career at GM and progressed to be part of Lee Iacocca’s turnaround team at Chrysler (he was the CFO).  After Chrysler, he has been involved in a number of turnarounds including Federal-Mogul, Morrisson-Knudson, Bethlehem Steel, Waste Management, and Delphi.  Miller is a guy that’s not afraid of a Chapter 11 filing and appears to have skin as thick as the steel that Bethlehem Steel produced.  Good business history, especially if you enjoy reading about difficult situations.

Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide: This is an update of Hal Higdon’s classic.  I picked it up at the Grandma’s Marathon Expo and wolfed it down.  I got a few new ideas from it – if you are a marathoner – especially a beginning, or aspiring, one – it’s definitely worth reading.

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto: I read this one on a trip last week to Raleigh Durham (started on the flight out; finished on the flight back).  As I ate my Balance Bar on the plane, I realized that everything that Michael Pollan was saying rang gigantic bells in my head.  The first half of the book describes the devolution of "food" from "food" to "nutrients" and has a scathing analysis of how the food industry and our government have completely screwed the American diet.  The second half of the book tells you what you can do about it.  Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.  That’s what I’m going to do for all of July – let’s see what happens when I combine that strategy with > 40 miles / week of running.

My Life on the Run: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon: A few weeks ago Dan Gannon at Newmerix told me to start running Yasso 800’s to get my marathon times down.  At Grandma’s as I was wandering around the Expo (apparently buying books) I ran into Bart Yasso.  I mumbled in a semi-star struck way something about Yasso 800’s and bought his book.  I also bought a copy for Dan that he should have by now.  Yasso is a fucking running maniac / hero / star.  I have a new running idol.  The book is a great story for anyone that likes to run.

Masters Running: A Guide to Running and Staying Fit After 40: Yeah – I picked this up at the Grandma’s Expo also.  I’m 42 so the subtitle (something about running over the age of 40) appealed to me.  This book was a no-op – Higdon seems to have slapped this one together and didn’t really do anything substantive.  I got nothing from it.  Oh well – two out of three ain’t bad.

Fear & Greed: After all the running books, I needed some mental floss.  I can’t remember when / why I bought this book (or maybe someone sent it to me) but it had reached the top of the infinite pile of unread books.  I got to page 100 before I quit – it should have been called "Dumb & Stupid" with a subtitle of "Poorly Written Mental Floss".