My Top Books 2006

Here is what I read and liked in 2006. I’ve picked 3 favorites in 3 categories: Work related, Pleasure, and Kids books. I’ve also added a long list of honorable mentions and some books I’ve stuggled with. My most read authors were of the “fun” variety — PG Wodehouse the most (6 titles) and Carl Hiassen second most (5 titles).

  • Work Related
    1. jPod, Douglas Coupland — This is a work related book 😉 Not since his Microserfs did I “feel” the “real” office in print. There a lots of books that discuss “the office”, but this covers all the other parts of working life …. Like the crazy co-workers, family, friends, external world, etc. To make it even more realistic for me, the book is set in Vancouver. Is it satire or reality? A little of both.
    2. Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki — I really really liked this. In short, apply properties of good statistics to groups of people – independence, diversity, aggregation, etc. Easy in principle, tough in practice. Very mind bending.
    3. The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture, John Battelle — This is a well written history of “Internet search” and Google. All techies need to know this stuff. We think we do, but this book fills in all the gaps.

  • Pleasure
    1. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion — This is a very emotional book. It was not easy to read, death of a loved one being a difficult topic. I really like how she described her trajectory through this terrible time in her life. It has helped me cope with this type of event. Excellent Stuff!
    2. Leave it to PSmith, PG Wodehouse — I read the last 3 PSmith books this year. This is the last in the series and is the lead into the Blandings series. Lots & Lots of fun!
    3. Aubrey/Maturin Series — Books 2 “Post Captain” & 3 “H.M.S. Surprise”, Patrick O’Brian This series is very addictive. If you’re an engineering type and you’ve read all of Neal Stephenson. Then this is you’re next read.

  • Kids Books
    1. Flush, Carl Hiassen — Carl cleaned up for kids. Great Stuff!
    2. Hoot, Carl Hiassen
    3. Midnight for Charlie Bone, Jenny Nimmo — Lotsa fun.

  • Honorable Mentions
    • Freakanomics, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner — Serious & Great fun.
    • The Planets, Dava Sobel – This is the Longitude and Galileo’s Daughter lady. Another good one. Longitude is my favorite of hers.
    • Nature Girl, Skin Tight & Double Whammy, Carl Hiassen – I read 5 of his books this year. Hmmm. What does this say about me 😉 These are lots of fun. He picks on everyone, no one is spared.
    • PSmith in the City, PSmith Journalist, Summer Lightning, Joy in the Morning (BBC), Lord Emsworth & Others – PG Wodehouse — Way too much fun! If you’re new to PG Wodehouse, and want to give him a try you may find choosing the first book overwhelming. I’d recommend looking at PG Wodehouse in Wikipedia and start with the Blandings or Jeeves series. Also, the BBC ran a TV series “Jeeves & Wooster” with Hugh Laurie (now House) and Stephen Frye. This is also very fun & a great place to start.
    • Charlie Bone and the Time Twister, Jenny Nimmo – 2nd book in series. Great family car ride entertainment.
    • The Golfer’s Mind, Dr. Bob Rotella with Bob Cullen – Wow! The only golf book I read this year. I could say that I cut back, but it is more like “I’ve read them all”. In desperation I read this during the fall when I began to score poorly 😦
    • My Life in and out of the Rough, John Daly – Ok, I lied 2 golf books. This book is a lot of fun and is further proof of the the phrase “The truth is often stranger than fiction”.
    • Minority Report, Paycheck, Mars, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Philip K. Dick – These are the short stories that became the movies. PK is great reading.
    • The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom – I liked “Tuesday’s with Morrie” better, but this is worth reading.
    • Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams – Interesting points on Collaboration using Web 2.0 & lots of practical examples, but it often feels like advertising for their consultancy 😦

  • Struggled & Unfinished
    1. The Weather Makers, Tim Flannery – I’m finding this tough slogging. Lots of friends read it. I’ll keep trying.
    2. Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer — Can’t do it. Ugh 😦

  • Other Stuff – I do most of my “reading” via audio book these days. I have to thank my buddy Dave Wong for introducing me to audible, it has worked great for me.


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