Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Some books I read last year (featuring mini reviews!)

These are some of the best books I read last year. I didn't get to nearly all the books I wanted to. But I did get to read several especially good books. (note: I have blogged previously about some of these, so I keep it brief here).
Perhaps since we are still sort of in the season I could rate these books as library card or amazon card worthy?

Freakonomics- Read it mostly on the subway. Easy to grasp and a fast read. It includes quite a bit of economic and social commentary that is good fuel for thought and conversation. I conversed with I think 5+ people about what the books states about the relationship between Roe V. Wade and crime. The book seems to be part of modern econ-political mantra these days.

Rats- Like the first book its a freaky title, but if you've lived in New York (or many other cities) you have probably experienced what led this author to write this book, seeing rats in all over alleys and subways. In interesting fashion this book describes the history of the struggle and clash cities have fought with our crawling fury little foes. Its mostly interesting, occacionally gross and like good non-fiction good come away with some off the wall facts that come in handy when you are talking about, say poison gasses used in Korea in World War II, seriously it happened to me.
P.S--I lived in NY less than a short block from where the author observed rats for a year as part of his research, crazy huh.

The Brother Karamazov- This is 900 pages of some of the deepest stuff I have ever touched. First 100 pages were not too captivating but it really had me soon after. It follows a pattern of story-philosophy-story-more philosophy/social commentary-story. The author explores some of the deepest human struggles with questions about religion, government, law and social mores. Very deep, very fascinating and worth the unending paragraphs and words that fill up the entire page.

Icon- This books takes you through the ride that is the life of Steve Jobs. Intertwined heavily is his life with the respective lives of the companies he helped build (Apple, Next, Pixar) and later reinvent. Not too techie and written so anybody interested in Apple, Business, Entreprenuerism or even just entertainment would really enjoy it. Insightful and motivating

The Innovator's Dilemma- This book is just over 10 years old now, and is still higihly regarded as an authority on why most companies (not just tech companies) succeed for a time and then fail. Not all of the companies discussed (in Harvard Business School's very Case Study Method style of course!) are equally interesting, but the business insights reading this gave me were invaluable. It seems like my few years of business study and experience were sort of pieced together as I read this (Hooray now I can strategize with the corporate Big Whigs), and it just might for you too... Maybe thats a sappy endorsement.


Territorial Soufleé said...

Wow, check you out. You're all sorts of sophisticated now. Very admirable that you've invested your time in such worthwhile pursuits.

Livi said...

The rat guy honestly needs to get a girlfriend

Brock said...

I just finished Freakonomics (got it for Christmas). It was very interesting as you said. The section about Roe v Wade definitely showed an unexpected relationship. I think I will check out some of the other books you mentioned too... thanks for the recommendations!

Also, check out my new blog:

I haven't figured everything out yet (like how to make a blogroll to link to friends) but it's coming along.