25 Apr

Books Lately

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I have been trying to concentrate on technical reading lately to no avail, I’m afraid.  We are going through planning for our new fiscal year at work and this amount of paperwork leaves me brain dead at the end of each day.  Strategic planning, team planning, goal statements, performance appraisals, budgeting, yeesh.

You can see why I haven’t had the fortitude lately to soldier through design patterns in bed at night. Here is a list of what I have been reading instead.


A Year in the South: 1865 by Steven Ash

Written by a colleague of my brother-in-law, this book explores the lives of 4 people in the most tumultuous year of American history, 1865.  Steven Ash is a history professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and an expert on the Civil War.  He meticulously researched this book and delivers the story in a way that personally involves us in the fate of these very real people.

I will never be able to fully comprehend the gravity of the emancipation proclamation, but this book gets awfully close to making me feel the intensity of the time.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

This story is The Giver meets The Stand.  A nameless father and son walk hopelessly starving through a post-apocalyptic America.  The worst part of this book is the fact that it is an Oprah Book Club book and now I am getting Dr. Phil recommendations on my Amazon front page. Gross.

The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins

Like most business books, this one is a collection of anecdotes and rules of thumb.  This rules of thumb in this particular book happen to be quite useful.  They appear an questions to ask yourself when moving into a new job or position.

Things like, “How will I be measured?” and “What motivates my new boss?”  Actually answering these things is a very valuable exercise.

Out of Nowhere by Martin Pegler

A history military snipers from the trenches of France in WWI to modern day, this book is definitive guide to the the evolution of today’s military sniper.  I appreciate the focus on marksmen and snipers from other branches than the Marine Corps.

What’s Up Next

The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki

The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, and Alan Lee

Agile Modeling by Scott W. Ambler and Ron Jeffries

Code Craft by Pete Goodliffe