Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 Book List

What can I say? I did it in 2019!  I hit my goal of 52, and added an extra like a cherry on top. And I finished 10 days before the end of the year.  That makes this my most successful reading year yet.  And as I observed last year, success seems to be an all or nothing proposition. I hit most of the goals I set this year.  Interesting.

As for my sub-goal of reading at least 12 books in 3 genres, to keep me balanced, once again I didn't really track that well, so I'll go back and get the numbers and see how I did after the fact.

Religion (3)  +1 from 2018
Fantasy (28)  +2 from 2018
Self Help / Business (9) -2 from 2018

It looks like I read a little more of what I enjoyed, and a few more that didn't fit in any of these categories (like mysteries). And overall, I just read more.  Again, interesting.

So the next steps are the same.  I'm going to re-affirm my 2020 goal of 52 books, and try to keep this rolling.

Here's the 2019 List

1White Sand, Volume 2Brandon SandersonJan 1
2Winnie-the-PoohA.A. MilneJan 3
3Newt's EmeraldGarth Nix Jan 7
4To Kill a MockingbirdHarper LeeJan 15
5UnwindNeal ShustermanJan 21
6LiraelGarth NixJan 27
7AbhorsenGarth NixJan 31
8GoldenhandGarth NixFeb 8
9The Year of LessCait FlandersFeb 11
10To Hold the BridgeGarth NixFeb 20
11Assassin's ApprenticeRobin HobbMar 1
12Royal AssassinRobin HobbMar 4
13Assassin's QuestRobin HobbMar 21
14Economics in One LessonHenry HazlittMar 26
15The Princess BrideWilliam GoldmanMar 29
16The Talent CodeDaniel CoyleMar 30
17ClarielGarth NixApr 9
18Ms. Bixby's Last DayJohn David AndersonApr 11
19The Grave's a Fine and Private PlaceAlan BradleyApr 16
20The Golden Tresses of the DeadAlan BradleyApr 20
21Cold IronMiles CameronMay 3
22Whose Body?Dorothy L. SayersMay 8
23Have Sword Will TravelGarth NixMay 13
24Mister MondayGarth NixMay 16
25Grim TuesdayGarth NixMay 21
26Drowned WednesdayGarth NixMay 25
27The Feather ThiefKirk Wallace JohnsonJun 4
28Sir ThursdayGarth NixJun 5
29Five Languages of Appreciation in the WorkplaceGary ChapmanJun 12
30Lady FridayGarth NixJun 20
31Superior SaturdayGarth NixJun 27
32Lord SundayGarth NixJul 6
33Catch-22Joseph HellerJul 17
34LegionBrandon SandersonJul 26
35SnapshotBrandon SandersonJul 30
36Willpower Doesn't WorkBenjamin HardyJul 31
37Let Sleeping Dragons LieGarth NixAug 10
38The Hidden CityDavid EddingsAug 21
39Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young GirlAnne FrankAug 24
40Death on the NileAgatha ChristieSep 1
41Walking with Jesus: A Way Forward for the ChurchPope FrancisSep 6
42Brigham Young: Pioneer ProphetJohn G TurnerSep 25
43Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success: Building Blocks for a Better LifeJohn WoodenSep 29
44The Fifth SeasonN.K. JemisinOct 2
45Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take ActionSimon SinekOct 9
46Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's KillerJames L. SwansonOct 26
47The Library at Mount Char Scott HawkinsNov 15
48The Dragonet ProphecyTui T. SutherlandNov 21
49The Last Days of NightGraham MooreNov 29
50StarsightBrandon SandersonDec 3
51The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership FablePatrick LencioniDec 3
52Influence: The Psychology of PersuasionRobert B. Cialdini LencioniDec 14
53On Writing: A Memior of the CraftStephen KingDec 21

Saturday, December 21, 2019

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

On Writing: A Memoir of the CraftOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a re-read for me (from before I started keeping a list), and I found King's advice, style, and experience with writing to be everything one could hope for. Direct, efficient, and validated by success. While he does speak to the use of crude language in your writing, and when you should and shouldn't use it, he sure uses a lot of it himself. In his quest to be true to himself as a character, he drops a lot of f-bombs and other colorful terms. This tells me that his true self is crass and unfiltered, which is a great way to be true to a character, but this is nonfiction. I'm less interested in the character of Stephen King, and more interested in his content, so I don't know if all of that was necessary, but whatever. So I dropped a star because I can't recommend this book to all audiences of aspiring authors, but if you can handle the adult content and want to be a better creative writer, this is a great read.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

Influence: The Psychology of PersuasionInfluence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

At first glance this appeared to be a dry, but relevant, book on persuasion that came up in my search for the book Influencer, a past favorite that I was looking to revisit. I started listening to it, and found it to be dated, with pre-Millenial examples.

Having said all of that, I was surprised to find myself fascinated by this book. It moved at a decent pace, and had relevant insights. I am a sucker for social science books, so that might play into my opinion quite a bit, but I appreciated the content and the presentation. I found the cult references to be fascinating, and that the reciprocation principles hit too close to home. This is a great read for anyone in sales or marketing, but really is a great read for anyone who can stay engaged with it.

The writing voice was a little dry, or at least academic, at times, but with my original expectations being low, I'm going to give this one a rare 5 stars.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership FableThe Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I continue to review this book with my team annually, and every couple of years I do a complete cover-to-cover re-read.  This was one of those years.  See my previous reviews here:




Starsight by Brandon Sanderson

Starsight (Skyward, #2)Starsight by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been experiencing a drought of sorts. It's been ages since I encountered a true page turner. Like the drop-everything-including-the-important-stuff-because-I-have-to-know-what-happens-next level of page turner. Well, the drought is over. Starsight isn't a perfect book, but it is fantastic compared to most of the other stuff I've read this year. It almost makes me think I should just give up on all the books I try to read and just cycle through the collected works of Brandon Sanderson instead.

There isn't much I can say without spoiling the whole book... so I guess this is your SPOILER ALERT. Stop reading if that kind of thing bothers you. Spoilers, that is.

I only have one major beef with this one. Delvers are immensely powerful creatures from another realm that can invade Spensa's realm and go around turning everyone to dust, right? So how come you can literally fly into a Delver in a ship and not get disintegrated? And when you do fly into one and not get disintegrated, why does this immensely powerful, other-worldly being resort to hucking rocks at your ship? I feel like I missed something there. I am confident that if I asked Sanderson this question he would have an answer. I attended the release party for this book, and after a short speech he took questions. It was less a serious Q&A and more of a game called lets-try-to-stump-Brandon-about-the-worlds-he-has-in-his-head. Yeah, B-Sand won hands down. He knew every detail about everything.

In case you want to know, if a Mistborn tried to burn a piece of a shard blade, it would work, since shard blades are theoretically allomantically active. Yeah. I know. Trippy.

So that Delver issue was my one big complaint. The rest of the book flowed well. The characters faced conflict and had to grow and change to overcome it. The plot and world building for this series both took steps forward. The pace was good, and the cliff hanger at the end is as frustrating as it is calculated. I will admit that this space setting isn't my fave (I'd rather be on Roshar), but I can live with it, considering what I'm getting as part of the package.