The 22 Books I Read in 2020

In the year of Corona, I read a lot. I did not read as many non-fiction books as usually, but escaped into some great novels, alone and with my family/kid.

5 Stars

  • Der Fisch in uns: Eine Reise durch die 3,5 Milliarden Jahre alte Geschichte unseres Körpers – awesome and entertaining book about evolution, from the point of view of an archeologist.
  • The Lean Startup – totally overdue for me to read this great classic on starting a business,

4 Stars

  • Solaris – reading this was triggered by the release of the movie. The book is awesome, the movie is horrible.
  • Children of Time – hard science fiction, the way I like it!
  • Todesengel – a great and depressing story on populism and hate.
  • Im Krieg – another great science fiction on weaponized animals. He was a good dog!

3 Stars

  • Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth – this is a wonderful book, as it makes sure that you are not blind to promising sales channels.
  • The Technology Fallacy: How People Are the Real Key to Digital Transformation –bringing the buzz-word topic of digital transformation and people together.
  • Productized Services – a useful book for freelancers who want to productize their services without employing people.
  • Children of Ruin – not as good as “Children of Time”, but still a fascinating read.

2 Stars

  • Project to Product – I have a hard time buying into the framework that is supposed to solve the problem of the digital disruption.
  • Das Jesus-Video – interesting idea, but compared to other Eschbach books it is just “okay”.
  • Die lymphatersche Formel – short story by Lem, I came across it when looking for Solaris.
  • Awaken the Giant Within – I like to check out books like this once in a while that provide guidance in your life, but it was too much anecdotes and feel-good stuff, without much substance.

1 Star

  • Im nächsten Leben wird alles besser – too much lecturing, twice as long as it needs to be and an end that was totally predictable. Not sure why this book got such good reviews.

Children Books

  • Blackthorn Book 3 and 4 – Book 2 is still my absolute favorite. Book 3 was decent, book 4 a little disappointing.
  • Der Ratz-Fatz-x-weg 23 – Fast and fun story, perfect to read with the family.
  • Die Nachtflüsterer 1-3 – I got the audio book because it was read by Oliver Rohrbeck. But the story itself was so-so.
  • Das schwarze Mal – pretty good fantasy, set 500 years in the future. However, the end is rushed and a little anticlimactic.

The 18 Books I Read in 2019

The 18 Books I Read in 2019

It somehow did not feel like I read this much. This is probably due to the fact that there were quite a few short and fun books that were not really that memorable, but still worthwhile reading.

5 Stars

  • Elon Musk: Tesla, PayPal, SpaceX (Biography) – While Musk may not be the nicest person, he’s absolutely inspiring. Well-written book.
  • Radical Candor (Business) – Absolutely amazing book about leadership and managing people.

4 Stars

  • A Practitioner’s Guide to Account-Based Marketing (Biz) – An excellent book that shows how to bring marketing and B2B-sales together!
  • Becoming (Biography) – Quick and enlightening read about the Obamas. Don’t expect it to be political.
  • Playing For Keeps (SciFi) – Fun and quick read about second-class superheroes.
  • Measure what Matters (Biz) – I always liked the concept of OKRs. This book adds a lot of context, but could be more specific regarding implementation.

3 Stars

  • The Algebraist (SciFi) – A fun read of hard science fiction, at times a bit too lengthy, the end a little bit anticlimactic.
  • Solarstation (SciFi) – Another fun and quick read, not very deep, but plenty of action.
  • The Enemy Stars (SciFi) – Hard SciFi with the premise that teleporting is possible, but it is mainly about the interaction of a small group of people in crisis. Decent, but feels like the 50s.
  • Fish (Motivation) – Quick read that I got as a gift. Doesn’t really stand out, but useful for people looking for a starting point.

2 Stars

  • Altered Carbon (SciFi) – I abandoned watching the show. The book is okay.
  • Wenn es auch unmöglich scheint (Spirituality) – A classical Buddhist story retold.

1 Star

  • The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (SciFi) – I like the early books from Heinlein, but the later ones dilute a good story with his strange ideas on society and relationships
  • Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street (Biz) – A collection of true stories, but not on Business, but on Finance, and that made it boring for me.
  • Cloud Atlas (SciFi) –I liked the movie much better. On the positive side, finally the story made sense, although to me the story was rather boring.

Children’s Books

  • Blackthorn Series – Set in the 17th century, this is a great series full of riddles and secrets, and it holds great values for children. The reading of the German audio book is extremely well done.
  • Lucifer Junior – Even though the main character is the son of the devil, this is fun reading for children, again with good values.
  • Schrecksenmeister – Not the best, not the worst book by Walter Moers

Quote from The Cat Who Walks Through Walls

Reading old Scifi sometimes makes me chuckle: we reached this point in the 90s:

“I use Sony Megawafers, each good for half a million words, each two centimeters wide, three millimeters thick, with information packed so densely that it doesn’t bear thinking about.”

Quote from The Technology Fallacy (Management on the Cutting Edge)

I love the Internet:

We can even recommend John Gallaugher’s undergraduate textbook, Information Systems: A Manager’s Guide to Harnessing Technology, as perhaps the most consistently up-to-date discussion of digital strategy out there—he updates the material yearly, and it’s readily available online as a PDF file.

Quote from Measure What Matters

Starter-Questions for 1:1s: I like to start with three questions: What makes you very happy? What saps your energy? How would you describe your dream job?