Reading

Archer book
I might as well face it, I’m addicted to books: it’s rare for me to walk into a bookstore and not walk out with at least one book.

If you’re wondering what I’ve read, or what I think about what I’ve read, then you’ve come to the right place:

Of course, if you want to recommend something, then please drop me a line or use the comments section below! Some of the books I’ve most enjoyed were ones I wouldn’t normally have picked up that were recommended to me by a friend, so I’m definitely open to your suggestions.

List too long? You might want to check out this post of my favourite books.

Book Reports

The table below links to each book report and suggests why you should or might want to read each book.

Book Title Author(s) Read This Book If… Date Added
Natural Born Heroes – How a Daring Band of Misfits Mastered the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance Christopher McDougall …You want to be useful. 2018-07-09
Mindware – Tools For Smart Thinking Richard E. Nisbett …You want to be a better thinker. 2018-07-04
Escape Velocity – Free Your Company’s Future from the Pull of the Past Geoffrey A. Moore …You’re a product manager or portfolio manager, have oversight of either, or simply want to understand the bigger picture relating to those two areas of responsibility. 2018-06-08
A Higher Loyalty – Truth, Lies, and Leadership James Comey …You want to learn more about effective, ethical leadership (or if you’re addicted to all scandals Trump-related – and I hope you’re not, because that must be exhausting). 2018-06-06
Microstyle – The Art of Writing Little Christopher Johnson …Either you want a crash course in what makes effective ‘micro’ content, or you want to put fancy names to tricks and heuristics you’ve already figured out. 2018-05-13
The Inner Lives of Markets – How People Shape Them – and They Shape Us Ray Fisman

Tim Sullivan

…You want a decent explanation of how market economics have evolved and how markets pervade modern life. 2018-04-06
Scale – The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation Sustainability and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies Geoffrey West …You’re a nerd; or, I suppose, if you’re some sort of policymaker who deals with economies, cities, or sustainability of human civilization. 2018-04-01
The Only Rule Is It Has To Work – Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team Ben Lindberg

Sam Miller

…You’re interested in sports analytics, professional sports management, or just like a good sports story. 2018-03-21
The Hard Thing About Hard Things – Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers Ben Horowitz …You’re an aspiring leader within a technology startup. 2018-03-17
The Lean Startup – How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses Eric Ries …You’re in a position where innovation is a key objective. 2018-03-08
Weapons of Math Destruction – How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy Cathy O’Neil …You work with data of any reasonable magnitude, or algorithms that rely on data (personally, I think we’ve got a professional obligation to do so); or, simply, if you want a glimpse into how opaque algorithms are coming to exert enormous (and often very negative) influence on our lives as individuals and on society as a whole. 2018-03-03
Superforecasting – The Art and Science of Prediction Philip E. Tetlock

Dan Gardner

…You’re interested in understanding how to make and assess forecasts, and in recognizing BS forecasts and forecasters when you see them – and you will see them almost everywhere you look. 2018-02-26
The HEAD Game – High Efficiency Analytic Decision-Making and the Art of Solving Complex Problems Quickly Philip Mudd …You want to improve your own analytic decision-making, or that of an organization of which you are a part. 2018-02-15
Deep Thinking – Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins Garry Kasparov …You will appreciate a thorough philosophical and pragmatic examination of the evolving relationship between humans and machines, or just want to find out what was going through Kasparov’s head as he took on the challenge of Deep Blue. 2018-01-28
Prisoners of Geography – Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World Tim Marshall …You want a crash course in the geopolitics that have shaped the modern world, so that you can better understand what’s happening today and what’s likely to happen tomorrow. 2018-01-13
Black Box Thinking – The Surprising Truth About Success (and Why Some People Never Learn from Their Mistakes) Matthew Syed …You want to help create organizations that learn from mistakes, or at the very least want to be able to understand why many organizations (and people) don’t. 2018-01-12
Success and Luck – Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy Robert H. Frank …Here’s the situation: if you’re a reasonable person, then you probably already suspect or recognize that luck’s had a pretty big impact in any success you’ve achieved. In that case, you might enjoy this book.

However, if you’re hellbent that no one but you deserves credit for your own successes, then you’d probably think you’re an exception to every point Frank makes. In that case, save yourself the effort and just keep being super-wrong about everything.

2017-09-17
The Daily Show (The Book) – An Oral History – As Told by Jon Stewart, The Correspondents, Staff and Guests Chris Smith (foreword by Jon Stewart) …You’re a fan of The Daily Show or comedy, or need to learn how to produce an award-winning daily program. 2018-09-01
On Tyranny – Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century Timothy Snyder …Just read this damn book. 2017-08-17
Will There Be Donuts? Better Business One Meeting at a Time David Pearl (quoting David Pearl) “…the donuts are the most interesting thing about your meetings.” 2017-08-07
Why Should I Choose You? Answering the Most Important Question in Business in Seven Words or Less Ian Chamandy and Ken Aber, with Howard Lichtman …You want to ask yourself and your business some tough questions, to get some revealing and powerful answers. 2017-02-21
Drunk Tank Pink – And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave Adam Alter …You want to gain an understanding and appreciation for the ways we’re all influenced by seemingly unremarkable things (and kindly don’t read this book if you’re going to be a nefarious jerk who tries to abuse the knowledge herein). 2017-01-27
Data and Goliath – The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World Bruce Schneier …You’re a human alive today. 2017-01-21
The Game of Our Lives – The English Premier League and the Making of Modern Britain David Goldblatt …You’re very interested in professional soccer, particularly in Great Britain. 2016-07-04
Everything Bad Is Good For You – How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter Steven Johnson …You need to restore a little bit of faith in the modern world. 2016-04-24
Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble Dan Lyons N/A (not a traditional book report) 2016-04-20
Elements of Wit – Mastering the Art of Being Interesting Benjamin Errett …You want to build up your repertoire of cunning references, or you’re a robot who wants to be more human. 2016-04-02
The War of Art – Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles Steven Pressfield …You’re your own worst enemy. 2016-03-19
The Ghost Map – The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic – and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World Steven Johnson …You want some insight into scientific progress and the dawn of epidemiology. 2016-03-12
The Pentagon’s Brain – An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top Secret Military Research Agency Annie Jacobsen …You’re curious about the origins of many of today’s technological wonders, or want to get freaked out about biological warfare or killer robots. 2016-03-05
Eats, Shoots & Leaves – The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation Lynne Truss …You’re a stickler for punctuation, or want to stop mucking up your punctuation. 2016-01-23
What Should We Be Worried About – Real Scenarios That Keep Scientists Up at Night (edited by) John Brockman …You want to worry responsibly. 2016-01-18
Brainiac – Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs Ken Jennings …You like trivia or knowing stuff about trivia (I assume you’ve already read it if you’re a Ken Jennings fan). 2016-01-11
The Secret Footballer – Access All Areas The Secret Footballer …You want to gain some understanding of the real world of professional football/soccer, but do so knowing that the knowledge might take some of the lustre off the beautiful game. 2015-12-27
Mind Wide Open – Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life Steven Johnson …You want to gain a deeper understanding of your ‘self’, both mind and brain, and all the wonderful components (both psychological and anatomical). 2015-11-22
Operation Paperclip – The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America Annie Jacobsen …You want to have your eyes opened to the horrors of World War 2, and the lengths to which governments will go to increase their own war-making capabilities while simultaneously crippling their enemies.

In today’s age of secrets, lies, and denials, we would do well to understand the past.

2015-09-13
The Secret Footballer’s Guide to the Modern Game – Tips and Tactics from the Ultimate Insider The Secret Footballer …You want an insider’s very pragmatic and unromantic view into the modern soccer/football world. 2015-08-03
Emergence – The connected lives of ants, brains, cities, and software Steven Johnson …You want to open your mind to some amazing phenomena that seem to defy all expectation (i.e., crazy complex higher-order behaviour emerging with no coordination), and want to gain a foundation in the concepts of emergence. 2015-07-13
Soccer iQ Vol. 2 – More of What Smart Players Do Dan Blank …You play or coach soccer, and want to improve at either, or even if you just want to better understand what you see on the television. 2015-07-04
I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic Zlatan Ibrahimovic, told to David Lagercrantz, translated by Ruth Urbom …You want to gain an understanding of the inner workings of professional soccer, and/or of Zlatan’s mind. 2015-06-30
Where Good Ideas Come From – The Natural History of Innovation Steven Johnson …You have a passion for innovation. 2015-06-15
Winner Take All – China’s Race for Resources and What it Means for the Rest of the World Dambisa Moyo …You want a glimpse into the future, and want an explanation for why things are going to get a lot more expensive in a couple of decades. 2015-03-31
How We Got to Now – Six innovations that made the modern world Steven Johnson …You want to appreciate the everyday luxuries of the modern world, or enjoy learning about all sorts of crazy connections. 2015-03-09
Smart People Should Build Things – How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America Andrew Yang …You’re wondering why so many bright minds are going into finance and consulting, why they aren’t venturing off on their own, and what can be done about it. 2015-03-01
The Numbers Game – Why Everything You Know About Soccer Is Wrong Chris Anderson and David Sally …You’re into soccer (especially if you want to pick arguments with folks who think they know about it) or the power of analytics, really. 2015-02-23
Youtility – Why smart marketing is about help not hype Jay Baer …You want to be useful to your prospects and customers, and the same old approach is giving you the same old results. 2015-02-18
Soccer iQ Dan Blank …You play or coach soccer, or even if you just want to better understand what you see on the television. 2015-02-16
Not Everyone Gets a Trophy – How to Manage Generation Y Bruce Tulgan …You are managing Generation Y/Z/Millenials, because it contains a great deal of practical advice and might shift your perspective slightly, or if you are a Generation Y/Z/Millenial, because it will give you some valuable context about the working world and how to succeed within it. 2014-10-20
Born to Run – A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen Christopher McDougall …You love running, don’t love running, are wondering why your feet/knees/ankles/hips hurt from running, want to get a taste of the crazy world of ultramarathons, or just want to read a good (true) story. 2014-09-29
Obliquity – Why Our Goals are Best Achieved Indirectly John Kay …You want to understand why best-laid plans sometimes don’t work out, or if you’re in an environment where people constantly over-simplify and seem to fail to grasp the complexity of situations and projects. 2014-09-22
Mind Gym – An athlete’s guide to inner excellence Gary Mack with David Casstevens …You want to learn what it takes to be mentally strong in the face of adversity. 2014-08-18
Flash Boys – A Wall Street Revolt Michael Lewis …You’re ready for a tale of hope, triumph, and “doing the right thing” that overcomes the usual corporate greed and destructive, selfish, short-term interests that usually win out on Wall Street. 2014-06-27
The Improbability Principle – Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day David J. Hand …You want to understand why seemingly unlikely things happen all the time. 2014-06-16
The  Sports Gene – Inside the science of extraordinary athletic performance David Epstein …You are or aspire to be an athlete or coach, or just want to better understand why there is such variation in human athletic performance. 2014-04-26
Words that Work – It’s not what you way, it’s what people hear Frank Luntz …You want to become a more effective communicator, in work or life. 2014-04-18
How to Lie with Statistics Darrell Huff …You don’t want to be manipulated by our stat-crazy media, politicians, employers, etc. Even if you don’t aspire to critically examine every stat with which you are presented, simply seeing how easily we can be fooled (or at least seen the tricks that are used to fool us) might develop a healthy skepticism that will cause you to think twice. 2014-02-04
How to Lie with Maps Mark Monmonier …You want to be able to critically examine maps, in all their forms. Do you watch or read the news? Then no doubt you’ve seen maps representing unemployment, political polling, impacts of weather, and so on.  Are you on a town council?  Then understanding maps will help you avoid being hoodwinked by property or infrastructure developers. If you keep your eyes open, I think you’ll find that you’re presented with maps far more than you might initially suspect. 2014-01-26
Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind – how to be seen and heard in the overcrowded marketplace Al Ries and Jack Trout …You work in marketing, or have a casual (e.g., “marketing is neat!”) or vested (e.g., “I own my own business!”) interest in marketing. 2014-01-12
Lessons from the Top: How Successful Leaders Tell Stories to Get Ahead – and Stay There Gavin Esler …You aspire to be an effective leader or want to critically evaluate leaders with which you’re presented. 2014-01-02
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing Al Ries and Jack Trout …You want to be an effective marketer (applies to B2B and B2C), or really want to turn some heads at your next strategy meeting by suggesting something that goes against all the so-called common wisdom. 2013-11-28
Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein – Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe Mario Livio …You like science, the scientific method, and human discovery, or want to feel better about the mistakes you make in your own life. 2013-11-23
The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen Year-Old Boy with Autism Naoki Higashida …You are even remotely interested in learning more about autism, or simply want to be amazed and inspired.  In fact, even if you’re none of those, read it anyway if you get the opportunity and you will gain something, 2013-11-17
Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction Annalee Newitz …You liked (or got freaked out by) Collapse or Guns, Germs, and Steel, or have ever asked yourself what would happen if the Earth got directly smoked by a gamma ray burst (spoiler alert: bad stuff…bad stuff happens). 2013-11-13
Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet Andrew Blum …You’ve ever yourself wondered where your data goes, or how it gets to your home. 2013-11-04
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine Michael Lewis …You liked Inside Job or related documentaries, or simply want to confirm your belief that the financial industry and markets are just one giant carnival game designed to take advantage of suckers everyone.  If you’re an idealist and/or live in a wonderfully insulated bubble, then you might want to skip this one because reading it will make you cry. 2013-10-28
Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success Matthew Syed …You’re at all interested in achieving peak performance for complex tasks. 2013-08-08

Others I’ve Read

I’ve also read these ones in the last few years (they aren’t listed in any order, and cover many, many themes), and shall endeavour to write a book report on each, at some point in the future:

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[Source: Frinkiac]

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