Book Recommendations – May 2018

I talk about books I’ve read and I’m asked for recommendations occasionally. I have an email that I update and send people and was updating/sending it this morning, I decided posting a copy would be beneficial as well. Each book has it’s own insight making it worth reading.

Most of the books I “Read”, I actually listen to. Most I listen to while in transit driving, flying or other modes of transportation. I’ve also taken to walking while listening using the time to get in a little exercise and fresh air. The other benefit of this when I hear a comment or idea I wish to remember, I take a mental note to visually place it in whatever location I happen to be walking.  This has helped with recall when needed. The same works for podcasts as well.

I’m going to start with the last few months. I’m going to save the all time for another post as this already ran long.

Measure What Matters by John Doerr: An excellent book on setting and executing goals and objectives. Mr. Doerr combines real world examples with the Intel Way of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). An analogy I use of attempting to walk a tightrope or fence is to keep moving and keep focused your next two steps forward. This book provides an excellent methodology for setting an individuals or teams direction and defining the results or milestones showing positive movement forward. The audible version of the book contains several clips from the people outlined in the book such as Bono and Google founders.

Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite by Jake Bernstein: I knew a little of the Panama papers and have seen how some corporations were setup to benefit from tax laws. This book dived into the who what where how and why going back to how the business of setting up businesses in these “Tax Havens” was started and enhanced. The author does a good job of presenting facts which could be dry with conversational fiction to enhance the understanding of the topic. Tax Avoidance is NOT illegal, Tax Evasion IS. As these papers show, many individuals knowingly crossed that line.

American Sketches: Great Leaders, Creative Thinkers, and Heroes of a Hurricane by Walter Isaacson:  One of my favorite biographers. This book is a collection of essays. He presents insight in several key figures of history which he has researched or interviewed over the years. He is able to remain fairly objective and provides the reader with enough detail to gain an understanding of the figures and what made them noteworthy. There is more than an overview on each and well worth the investment of time, even if you have read about these figures in his or books by others.

American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road by Nick Bilton: I’ve had many conversations about Silk Road explaining the website and how the dark web works. I never knew the story behind how The Silk Road began or the individuals behind it. The author tells the story with the flow of a fiction novel and the details of a biography. This is the book I recommend to people curious about The Silk Road and that part of the internet.

Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue by Ryan Holiday. Another one of my favorite authors. This is a slight deviation from his usual books. Two of his books are on my all time recommend list. I knew only a headline of this case before reading the book. The book is entertaining at the same time provides some business insights into the minds of several business and public figures of the past few decades.

Agent in Place by Mark Greaney: I will read anything by Mark Greaney. My dad used to read anything by Louis L’Amour. I never understood this until I discovered Fritz Leiber and would read any of his work. But I came to understand this better with Greaney’s work. His detail and prose carries the reader through the events and activities of the Gray Man to allow one to understand and be there with him. His work with Patterson and others is always the same high level. If you have not read The Gray Man series, I highly recommend the purchase and reservation of some weekend/vacation time to enjoy.

The Terminal List: A Thriller by Jack Carr: A fiction novel about a Navy Seal taking revenge on the people who killed his family and friends. An action novel in line with Mark Greaney’s writing for detail and action. Well written and one that keeps your attention, I identified with several locations in this novel which added to my enjoyment.

Built from Scratch: How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew The Home Depot from Nothing to $30 Billion by Bernie Marcus, Arthur Blank, and Bob Andelman: This is the story by the founders of Home Depot. I am not a  retail industry person and this book does not require you to be. It details the ins and outs of how these gentleman came together and built this business has many insights for anyone starting a business today. Plus the story of the Million Dollar couch’s. (Employee bough furniture cashing in stock that would be worth millions several years later)

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House by Alyssa Mastromonaco and Lauren Oyler: I can’t say what attracted me to this book. I think I was looking for an unabashed and non-political description of a white house staffer. This book did not disappoint in that. While I would have several topics for debate with the authors political views, there is a clear passion to serve and a sense of duty while giving a straight forward view of what it’s like to serve in the white house. I listened to this book read by the author which added to my enjoyment.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman: Another author I enjoy. This was not as easy listening as some of his novels. The Graveyard Book and Neverwhere which are my favorites and I highly recommend. It is insightful and I wrote several notes from it. If you have an interest in the subject, I would recommend it. Though unlike some of his other books, I don’t consider this a vacation book.

Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio: One of the business leaders I follow for thought leadership. His explanation of Economic Cycles and his  Principles for Success videos provided some easy explanations on the subjects which I have forwarded many times. This book outlines not just his principles for success but the ways and methods he came to them. The how is sometimes as important a lesson and the what. This can be an easy read if you skim through it or can be a thought provoking book, worthy of notes and ponder. I did both reading thru once and then listening to the audiobook while taking notes which provided some genuine insight for me.

Currency by L Todd Wood: I came across this book by searching for books about Bahamas. A place I work and have grown fond of. When it combined  my American founding father interests with a fact based work of fiction, I decided to buy it. The enjoyment of it has me looking forward to his other books which should they be of the same quality, will make a future list here.



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