Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Book List

Wow, I can't believe I made it.  This year was busy, and fun, and if I may say so, successful. I set several goals for myself in 2017, and I hit pretty much all of them.  One of those goals was to read 52 books this year.  With everything else going well, I looked at my progress in October and realized that I was in trouble.  The last few months were a sprint, with the last week of December being almost constantly reading.  I will admit to a little bit of gamesmanship in the 11th hour as I cherry picked a number of smaller books to help me get there, but when I look at my overall average, I don't think this at all takes away from my goal.  Memory of Light, Way of Kings, Words of Radiance.... need I say more?

So on to 2018.  I will be setting the same goal again: 52 books in 2018.  My life was blessed by the books I read this year, and I look forward to the opportunities that will come from my efforts next year.  To enhance my goal, I want to set a few more parameters than I usually do.  In 2018 I want to read at least 12 religious books, 12 self help/business books and 12 fantasy books.  The rest can be from any genre, but I want to make sure I at least cover my bases in those three areas.  In 2017 my counts were roughly as follows: Self Help/Business (16), Fantasy (18), Religion (5).  Other notable categories were history, mystery, and general fiction.  This is the first time I have tried an additional breakout like this, so we will see how it goes.  I may amend it. The purpose is to maximize the value I get from this investment in reading, which is a combinations of new ideas, motivation and pleasure.

1How to Be a Great BossGino WickmanJanuary 7
2Married And Still Loving It: The Joys and Challenges of the Second HalfGary ChapmanJanuary 11
3And Then There Were NoneAgatha ChristieJanuary 15
4The Gathering StormRobert Jordan & Brandon SandersonJanuary 23
5Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others DieChip HeathJanuary 27
6Towers of MidnightRobert Jordan & Brandon SandersonFebruary 17
7Memory of LightRobert Jordan & Brandon SandersonMarch 6
8The Legacy JourneyDave RamseyApril 3
9Cutting for StoneAbraham VergheseApril 4
10The Diamond ThroneDavid EddingsApril 14
11The Ruby KnightDavid EddingsApril 27
12Don't Call It ThatEli AltmanMay 3
13Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True InspirationEd CatmullMay 5
14The Sapphire RoseDavid EddingsMay 14
15The E-myth RevisitedMichael GerberMay 16
16Ready Player OneErnest ClineMay 27
17A Red Herring Without MustardAlan BradleyJune 4
18I Am Half Sick of ShadowsAlan BradleyJune 8
19The Dead in Their Vaulted ArchesAlan BradleyJune 19
20As Chimney Sweepers Come to DustAlan BradleyJune 29
21Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'dAlan BradleyJuly 3
22Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon GreatnessScott JurekJuly 14
23WarbreakerBrandon SandersonJuly 19
24You Can Write a MysteryGillian RobertsJuly 21
25The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and OrganizingMarie KondoJuly 31
26A Wise Man's FearPatrick RothfussAugust 4
27The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl Timothy EganAugust 9
28New Sales. Simplified.: The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business DevelopmentMike WeinbergAugust 13
29Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a GeniusMarc SeiferAugust 30
30The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important GoalsChris McChesneySeptember 9
31ElantrisBrandon SandersonSeptember 19
32A Darker Shade of MagicV.E. SchwabSeptember 24
33A Gathering of ShadowsV.E. SchwabSeptember 28
34The CircleDave EggersOctober 4
35The Way of KingsBrandon SandersonOctober 31
36Words of RadianceBrandon SandersonNovember 13
37Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of LessGreg McKeownNovember 20
38David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling GiantsMalcolm GladwellNovember 26
39EdgedancerBrandon SandersonNovember 30
40To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving OthersDaniel H. PinkDecember 3
41Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are HighKerry PattersonDecember 7
42Ready Player OneErnest ClineDecember 21
43Born to WinTom ZiglarDecember 25
44Alcatraz Versus the Evil LibrariansBrandon SandersonDecember 25
45Worth the WrestleSheri DewDecember 27
46A Conjuring of LightV.E. SchwabDecember 29
47The Science of Getting RichWallace D. WattlesDecember 29
48Truth RestoredGordon B. HinckleyDecember 30
49Mere ChristianityC.S. LewisDecember 30
50Even the Prophet Started Out as a Deacon: The Power of Your Aaronic Priesthood OrdinationShane BarkerDecember 31
51Questions are the Answers: How to Get to 'Yes' in Network MarketingAllan PeaseDecember 31
52The Red Green Book: Wit and Wisdom of Possum LodgeSteve SmithDecember 31

The Red Green Book: Wit and Wisdom of Possum Lodge by Steve Smith

The Red Green Book: Wit and Wisdom of Possum LodgeThe Red Green Book: Wit and Wisdom of Possum Lodge by Steve Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a gift from years ago, based on a PBS show I used to enjoy watching in the evenings. I was looking for something quick and lighthearted to close out my reading year, and this was perfect. Some of it was dated, and none of it was informative or useful in any way. But I laughed. Several times I laughed hard. I read several passages to those who were around me, many of which were greeted with eye-rolls and exasperated questions of why I couldn't read that somewhere else. It was great.

I can't give this kind of book of plotless comedy, much of it lifted from scripts of the show, a 5-star rating. It would be insulting to my other 5 star reads, but I will give it 4 stars for fulfilling all of the promises it made to me for some lighthearted laughs and relaxation (and nothing more.)

Questions are the Answers: How to Get to 'Yes' in Network Marketing by Allan Pease

Questions are the Answers: How to Get to 'Yes' in Network MarketingQuestions are the Answers: How to Get to 'Yes' in Network Marketing by Allan Pease
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I acquired this book years ago when I was going through a phase of joining Network Marketing companies. It had been years since my last reading, and I picked it up off of my book shelf to see if it was as good as I had remembered. I had remembered this book as a practical sales guide, specifically toward closing techniques. Sales training is a current problem at my day job, so I thought this little book might remind me of some good tips or best practices.

I was wrong. I was disappointed to see that this book was written more specifically for network marketers than I had remembered, and that much of the advice was really advice on conversation manipulation. It is this kind of manipulation that I think has given network marketers, and in some industries sales as a whole, a bad name. If I altruistically think of sales as a way to help people solve real problems with a useful product or service, manipulating them into a purchase does not seem right. Nor does it build a positive ongoing relationship with that person who sold me "dreams" instead of real solutions.

If you want a targeted treatment of tacky sales manipulation, without any greater context of how to really help someone with real problems by offering useful products or services, then this book is for you. Otherwise, I recommend not bothering with this one.