My 2011 Reading List In Retrospect, Shall We Call It “Dark Unbroken Amazonian Hornet’s Nests with Coke”?

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December 17th, 2011

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As an early adopter of the original Kindle, and the new and improved Kindle Fire, I find it faster, easier and more convenient to read. As noted in blogs of days gone by, I try to read a mix of books from business topics to inspirational stories to those offering rewards merely from an entertainment perspective. I like to read at least a book a month, I read 15 this year, a dozen of which are listed below, in no particular order.

  • The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey, Millard, Candice
  • 50 Ways To Love Your Startup, Mancinelli, BruceĀ 
    Sell More & Work - January 2012
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains, Kidder, Tracy
  • Dark Tide: The Great Molasses Flood of 1919, Puleo, Stephen
  • Google Places Success, Towland, Chris
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, Hillenbrand, Laura
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Franklin, Benjamin
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Larsson, Stieg
  • The Coke Machine, The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink, Blanding, Michael
  • The Secret Life of Houdini, The Making of America’s First Superhero, Kalush, William and Sloman, Lary
  • A Splendid Exchange, How Trade Shaped the World, Bernstein, William
  • Sell More & Work Less, Web Selling Techniques Everyone Should Use, A. Blume, J. Scranton, M. Lauducci, A.J. Blume

These books range from truly inspirational stories of triumph over hardship (Unbroken and River of Doubt for example) to small business best practices (50 Ways to Love Your Startup). Some were fast and easy reads like The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, while others like Franklin’s autobiography and Houdini’s life offered granular detail amidst historic context. Dark Tide and Unbroken fall under their own unique category as in, “are you kidding me – do these things really happen”? And my most recent read arguably falls into the same genre, with Roosevelt’s (of the Bull Moose variety) journey through the Amazon. The book I spent the most time reading this year, was the book which I was writing this year. With the assistance of three colleagues, we put the finishing touches on Sell More & Work Less, Web Selling Techniques Everyone Should Use this past week and hope to see it finally hit the virtual Amazon book shelves in January. Writing and publishing requires multiple read through cycles, and I expect the final cycle to happen this month. Sell More & Work Less is just over half the number of words when compared to my first book, Your Virtual Success, but the reading cycles were certainly comparable. The latter was over 60,000 words while the former, a more succinct “web selling tips book”, is only 35,000 words.

My recently purchased Kindle Fire helped me rip through The River of Doubt, the crisp text and improved user interface makes it really fast and easy to read (at least for this user). These days, I find both reading and writing enlightening and cathartic and wished that I read more when I was younger, compelling me to think of the famous Shaw quote, “youth is wasted on the young”. Will the day come that most of youths will be using Electronic Reading devices? And upon such a day will that help them read and assimilate more information? Only time will tell, then again technology may be an enabler, but it isn’t necessarily a motivator.

Three of these books were gifts (The Coke Machine, The Secret Life of Houdini and A Splendid Exchange) of the “paper” variety, the rest were downloaded to my Kindle. I can recommend all of the books on this list, though my favorites were Unbroken, River of Doubt and Dark Tide). And it is with obvious prejudice that the last item is even included on the list. As my years progress, I’m gaining momentum with writing and hope to publish another book around the end of 2012, then a novel in 2013 or 2014. The novel would be a departure for me as most of my works have been in the business genre. It’s a challenge I look forward to, mundane in comparison to the challenges faced in Unbroken or River of Doubt (or Mountain’s Beyond Mountains), but a challenge nonetheless. Sell More & Work Less will be available in January.