The 15 Books I Read in 2018

The 15 Books I Read in 2018

Another year, plenty of books. The list is even shorter than last year. However, this is probably due to the children’s books I read with my family, which has become a little tradition. Therefore, I put an unrated list of children books at the end.

5 Stars

  • Thinking fast and slow (Science) Not an easy read, but pretty amazing insights
  • Great at Work (Business) This is like “The 7 habits”, but purely for the work environment. Empirically proven habits for being better at work!
  • The Prefect (SciFi) Another Revelation Space story by Alastair Reynolds. This one really stands out, great action, fast story, surprising ending. Kudos!

4 Stars

  • Driving Digital (Business) While “Digital Transformation” is one of those buzzwords, Isaac Sacolick makes it tangible and actionable. Kudos!
  • Demonstrating to Win (Business) Showcasing products should not be an afterthought, and this books explains on how to do it right, with a focus on value.
  • The Peace War (SciFi) The first Vernor Vinge book that follows the hard SciFi concept of stasis fields that freeze spheres for long period of time.

3 Stars

  • Finity’s End (SciFi) My first C. J. Cherryh, which is a touching story that focuses on societies and family.

2 Stars

  • Altered Carbon (SciFi) I tried it on Netflix, but abandoned it. I read the book, which is decent, but nothing special.

1 Star

  • Cloud Atlas (SciFi) I liked the movie, but it’s next to impossible to understand the story. The book makes the story understandable, but is hard to read, and, frankly, boring.
  • Hyperion (SciFi) This book consists of a number of people telling stories. The idea is to use storytelling to describe a world. Sorry, but I much prefer Tolkiens approach for describing a world. The concept just did not work for me.

Children’s Books

  • Harry Potter – this year, we finally finished the last Harry Potter book! Yay!
  • Teslas unvorstellbar geniales und verblüffend katastrophales Vermächtnis – very cool book, where Tesla’s hidden inventions are collected by a group of children, who have to fight the evil secret society founded by Eddision.
  • Teslas irrsinnig böse und atemberaubend revolutionäre Verschwörung – this is part 2. Part 3 is planned for 2019.
  • Space Kids – this is a simple series of kids working on the rescuing of earth. Rather soft SciFi, but simple and fun reading.
  • Princess Insomnia – After having read the really well-written “Die 13 1/2 Leben des Käpt’n Blaubär” and “Die Stadt der träumenden Bücher”, this was very disappointing.

The 14 Books I read in 2017

2017 was a year with different priorities, forcing me to put book reading a little on the back burner. Here is my list:

5 Stars

4 Stars

  • Zurück an die Arbeit (Business) Wir wollen doch nur produktiv sein – liebe Leute, haltet uns nicht davon ab!
  • How to write Magnetic Headlines (Business) Sadly, headlines are more important than ever if you want your audience to look further.
  • Sit happens (Spirituality) A great, timely book that demonstrates how to incorporate spirituality into daily life
  • The Art of closing the deal (Business) As I am doing more and more technical presales, this was useful reading for me.
  • Kid’s Planet (Children) A neat SciFi for children, that makes an attempt to take the science seriously, while delivering an engaging story. Good job!

3 Stars

  • Chasm City (SciFi) The second book from the Revelation universe I read, and by far not as engaging as the first.
  • Redemption Ark (SciFi) I gave Reynolds another try, but again, just average.
  • Der Schlüssel zum Universum (Children) This book is written by Stephen Hawkins, together with his daughter Lucy. The story is okay, but it’s a great way to engage kids with Science

2 Stars

  • Subscribe Me (Business) As I built up an online library based on a subscription model (ReqIF.academy), I needed to learn more about these concept. But this book is a mixture of self-serving garbage and advertisement. Clearly not recommended.

1 Star

  • 4-hour-Week (Business) This guy brags about tricking into buying the book by fine-tuning the title for maximum sales, bends the truth and certainly does not provide a way for a 4-hour work week (at least not sustainable). Garbage!

The 15 books I read in 2016

This year, I did not read as much as wanted to – just 15 books (vs. 18 books last year). Most were recreational, as I did a lot of technical reading in proceedings.

5 Stars

  • Grundkurs programmieren in Java (Tech) I was teaching an introductory class in procedural programming and found this book. Now in its 7th edition, it’s really polished, and still has been updated with the latest language features. Kudos!
  • Model-Based Systems Architecture (Tech) Excellent, well-researched book on the topic.
  • Hardcore Zen (Spirituality) Refreshing look at meditation, Buddhism and spirituality, written by a punk.

4 Stars

  • The Memory of Earth (SciFi) First book of the homecoming saga. The homecoming saga is a five-part tome, modeled after the Mormon bible. Except that there is no god, but a supercomputer.
  • The Call for Earth (SciFi) Second book of the homecoming saga
  • The Ships of Earth (SciFi) Third book of the homecoming saga
  • The Ghost Brigades (SciFi) Part two of Old man’s war. Nice and entertaining continuation of the story.
  • Marooned in Realtime (SciFi) Not as good as other books by Vernor Vinge, but still pretty high up there!

3 Stars

  • Launch (Marketing) The book contains great advice on online marketing and selling. Unfortunately, the substance of the book fits of 20 pages, and it fells like it’s written by a used car seller.
  • Earthfall (SciFi) Forth book of the homecoming saga. Now the series starts to get seriously weird.
  • Er ist wieder da (Novel) Super-dark satire of Hitler in the 20th century. A fun, quick, read, but not very deep.
  • The Swarm (SciFi) This is by now a classic, and a great story. But the last part of the book is just… too much, and the resolution not very convincing.
  • Unterseebootbau (Tech) I read this fairly old book for work.

2 Stars

  • Earthborn (SciFi) Fifth book of the homecoming saga. The ending totally disappointed. A lot of questions are not resolved, and with a whole new set of characters, it feels quite disconnected from the previous four books.
  • Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All (Novel) I abandoned this book, but picked it up again. It definitely got better. But still, a book full of miserable characters.

The 18 books I read in 2015

This year I read 18 books, more than last year. Here they are:

5 Stars

  • A Deepness in the Sky (Hard SciFi) – Absolutely amazing story where a planet is invaded by aliens – but the invading aliens are humans.
  • The 48 Laws of Power (Politics, Leadership) – Great book to understand power people, and how to deal with them. Chock-full of fun anecdotes and historical facts.

4 Stars

3 Stars

  •  Encounter with Tiber (Hard SciFi) – Decent SciFi of aliens unsuccessfully trying to invade earth.
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Novel) – This was a strange book, about monsters and children with special powers living in a time bubble.
  • Think like a freak (Business) – This "Sequel" to Freakonomics was a little disappointing, as it was essentially just a collection of anecdotes, with little analysis.
  • Incose Systems Engineering Handbook 4.0 – Finally a professionally edited version of this standard book. While a must-read for systems engineers, it’s not the greatest technical book I ever encountered.

2 Stars

  • Santiago (SciFi, Western) – Essentially a Western set in space about a bounty hunter’s chase. Full of plot holes, and, well, just stupid. I almost abandoned it.
  • And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead (Cyberpunk, Short Story) – Quick read of a synthetic girl saving her partner, who was stuck in a computer. Not memorable.
  • Bright Messengers (SciFi) – This book is set in the Rama Universe, and as I enjoyed the Rama books, I picked this up. The story starts promising, but becomes stranger, and at the same time feels like a rehash of the Rama story. The book ended halfway through, so I picked up the sequel, which I abandoned (see below).
  • Organisation für Komplexität (Business) – I got this book at a conference where the author held a keynote. The book is little more than a collection of platitudes, sorry.

1 Star

  • F (Novel) – A book full of miserable, two-dimensional characters. Really not worth it.

Abandoned

  • Double Full Moon Night (SciFi) – This is the sequel to Bright Messengers, which I abandoned halfway through. It just got too stupid. When I read the synopsis online, I got confirmed in my assessment that this is an utterly unoriginal story that just recycles bits and pieces from the Rama series.

The 14 Books I read in 2014

I started to use Goodreads to track what I am reading (but I prefer to tell you about here).Here is the list:

5 Stars

4 Stars

3 Stars

Abandoned

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (Book)

Recommended: This is a classic from Robert Heinlein, one of my favorite SciFi authors.Storyline: The moon is a prison colony and becomes independent with a help of a computer that gained consciousness.

Triiibes Q&A Book complete

I’ve been lucky enough to be part of an exciting experiment.  Several months back, Seth Godin set up an invitation-only website called Triiibes. This accompanied the preparation for his new book Tribes.  To get a glimpse on what’s going on there, check out The Daily Triiibunal.

This group is inspiring, and moreover, productive!  Together with the book launch in October, the group released the first accompanying eBook, the Tribes Case Book.  And they just released the second one, the Q&A Book.  Especially the second one is amazing in quality and done just by volunteers who are passionate about Tribes.  Check the books out, they are free and quite amazing.

Book Reviews: Feynman vs. Watson

Recently I read the biography of Richard Feynman, "Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman" and just now the biography of James Watson, "Avoid Boring People".  Feynman won the Nobel Prize in Physics 1965 and Watson the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962.

The Feynman book I can wholeheartedly recommend the Watson-Book not at all!

Feynman starts off a little slow, but the book gets really interesting and shows a man who is truly passionate about physics.  He couldn’t care less about the Nobel price and was even considering to turn it down.  The book is entertaining and shows a man with integrity and passion.

Watson starts off slow and stays slow.  His book almost reads like a telephone book, with far too many names and facts that are irrelevant to the story.  Although I really enjoyed the science parts of the book.  But after the discovery of the double helix (after the first 3rd of the book) it really goes downhill.  Watson starts to complain about not getting enough salary, he says really nasty things about some people, and in generall comes across as petty, self-centered and back-stabbing.

Don’t forget: Summer is book-reading time!