Running a little bit late on this month’s reading list, but better late than never. Computer issues in October =(. Maybe I will write a post about it. Anyway…
Here’s what I read in October of 2013. Numbers are for chronology, not rank.
1 – Song of Susannah (Dark Tower book 6) by Stephen King: This wasn’t as good as book 5, and I thought the formatting hindered the story a little bit. But, really it keeps the story moving along, and its flaws don’t get in the way of the overall flow of the story. One step closer to the tower.
2 – Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela (audiobook): This is the autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Before reading it, I had great respect for the mythos that Mandela is associated with. After reading this, I have even more respect for the man. I highly recommend you check this one out, and grab the audiobook for the African pronunciations, and the clips of songs and speeches that end the chapters.
3 – Masters of Doom by David Kushner: Remember the video game Doom? It was super popular with people a few years older than me, but I caught the derivative games that were built on the Doom engines. If you read this blog prior to the database crash you may remember my Half-Life post.
Well, this is the story of the company that made Doom, the wacky founders, and the shit show that was their company, id Software. I thought it made for fantastic reading. This book starts off a little bit slow, but stick with it; totally worth it in the end.
Hat tip to Alexis Ohanian (Reddit co-founder) who recommended it as the best book he’s ever read on starting a company.
4 – How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months by John Locke: It isn’t bragging if you back it up, right? Well, Locke’s sales figures back up the title of this book. Read the Amazon reviews and you’ll see the haters are out in full force on this one – most likely their own ebooks didn’t sell quite so well. They say his writing is bad (I don’t think it’s terrible, but it also isn’t great), and that he bought fake Amazon reviews (against Amazon’s terms of service).
I really don’t care if he did or didn’t buy reviews. The biggest takeaway from this book, and the thing that very few of the people who read it will do, is to go find people who like books similar to the one you wrote, AND THEN TELL THEM ABOUT YOUR BOOK! Everyone wants an easy button – run some ads, write a blog post, buy some SEO software, but nobody wants to go talk to people to hustle up some business.
If you want apostles, you gotta convert em. And there’s an entire blueprint laid out in this book to do just that.
Another takeaway here: your writing doesn’t have to be perfect, just good enough. Goes back to the Robert Kiyosaki quote, “I’m a bestselling author, not a best writing author.”
5 – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (audiobook): I guess most people read this in high school, but I didn’t. I’m glad of that, because I would have interpreted it much differently back then. Still, I wish I had read this sooner than now. It seems like the true classics never age, and it wouldn’t be hard to imagine this was recently penned. The ending is brilliant.
6 – Warren Buffett’s Management Secrets by Mary Buffett (audiobook): After reading previous books by Mary Buffett I knew not to expect too much. Some of this is rehashed from the other stuff I’ve read, and I loved the ludicrous example she gave about Coca Cola being such an awesome product that you never have to change a thing (this said some 2 decades after the “new Coke” disaster). I recommend that you skip this one.
7 – World War Z by Max Brooks (audiobook): Much better than The Zombie Survival Guide, this one is written as a series of interviews with survivors and figureheads from the great zombie war. Very well done.
8 – World War Z: The Lost Files by Max Brooks (audiobook): I’m not sure if this one wasn’t as good as the first, or if the novelty of the theme was just wearing thin on me by this point, but I struggled through this. The above and this one MIGHT be available as a combined package, but I’m not 100% sure of this, and I apologize if I’m wrong. (I got this tip on Wikipedia.)
9 – The Stranger by Albert Camus (audiobook): So much of this book felt right, even though it is quite odd. Definitely a must-read just to experience.