I've been a longtime fan of American fiction; Kurt Vonnegut is a favorite, and I finally read Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man recently - what an amazing story. But I also enjoy biographies and non-fiction. I'd love to know what you're reading. If you have a favorite business book, let me know about it. Here’s what I’m reading, and what I just finished, in chrono order.

Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman

Kahneman won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work in behavioral economics. He’s a psychologist and economist famous for his work detailing human judgment and decision making. This 2011 book won several awards, and is text-book like but way more interesting than “text book” makes it sound.

I keep a note pad and pen in my copy - yes, I’m taking notes as I read it. If you enjoy psychology, this book will give you a lot to think about. As a business book, “Thinking” will allow you to better understand decision making at the workplace, both your decisions and those of your co-workers.

I’m still working on this one, and probably will keep this in my “always reading it” file. (Also on that shelf is “Information Anxiety 2” by Richard Saul Wurman.)

Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert M. Pirsig

Reviewed ad nauseam and oft-touted as life changing, this 70s-era popular piece is fun and challenging and worth a second read. Of course, you have to read it the first time before you can reread it. But I’m not sure I’d recommend Zen to an adult who has never read it. Unless they’re into motorcycles, then it’s a great read for anyone. It’s not, however, a motorcycle book, nor a travel piece, nor a fictional tale. It’s all of that plus philosophy and self-care.

If you read it in college (and if that was more than 10 years ago) then you should read Zen again. It’s not necessarily better the second time around, but I think you’ll appreciate it more. I sure did.

Pushcart Prize XLII, Best of the Small Press - anthology

Read poetry, please. And if you don’t read it often, know that you’re not going to like some of it. Keep trying. Because you will find poetic treasures worth rereading and sharing and Instagramming. This particular collection of work is not all poetry, in fact it contains some breathtaking short story work. But it’s the poetry that has me opening this book again and again.

“About the Tongue” by Christopher Todd Anderson, gives me, “Though it can pronounce diphtheria and Quetzalcoatl, it can spit and slather, dangle and curse like any workworn lubber.” Then there’s “Latchkey” by Nick Norwood … you just need to read this one. It’s a joy to read short pieces from small presses. Try it.

Disrupt You!, by Jay Samit

I met Jay Samit - author, entrepreneur, tech innovator - at an event where he spoke about "Disrupt You!", his new book on personal transformation in the age of disruption. The cost of admission got me a signed copy of the book, so that's cool. 

I just started reading it, and in the intro pages, Samit shares an enticing tale that has me motivated to keep going. And I needed that motivation because I'm kinda tired of the endless talk about "disruption." I understand the concept of Uber, AirBnb, and countless others as industry disrupters. I just don't like the term. A disruption has only been a negative concept for me; it's an interruption but much worse.

I'm not sure I want to Disrupt Me! But I was quite impressed hear Mr. Samit speak, and I'm going to give the book my un-interrupted attention. 

Thank You For Being Late, by Thomas Friedman

"That is when AI (artificial intelligence) meets AI (artificial insemination," is indeed one of my favorite parts of this book. The author is quoting a Microsoft VP who's telling a story about data collection from dairy cows in Japan - it's one of several illuminating examples of how our world is changing faster than we can keep up. And, no, you won't find this book in my Little Free Library. I'm hanging on to "Thank You For Being Late", Thomas Friedman's latest book. 

I was visiting my 85-year-old parents when I started reading this, and I stopped so many times to share bits with my dad that I thought I might never finish the first 100 pages of this 450+ hardcover. Part modern tech history and part visionary ... it's always personal and memorable. You could read the first half or so and get more than your money's worth.

Read the rest of the review here. 

Arthur & George, by Julian Barnes

Since my son moved to England, I have been reading as much as I can of British writers, and of books set in the U.K. On a recent trip to England and Scotland, I was given "Arthur & George," a coming-together tale of two men whose lives could hardly be more different. 

The son of a vicar, George grew up sheltered in a small village in England's Midlands. His Indian ethnicity caused significant challenges in 19th century England, and circumstances around that set the stage for much of his adult life. 

Arthur enjoyed a much more refined upbringing, and he became famous throughout England for accomplishments made. 

Okay, I don't want to tell you anymore, aside from this: the author delivers these two characters, and their family members, with a style that is both deliberate and imaginative. You will get to know Arthur and George, because you already do. 

It's a fantastic read, and I'm eager to loan it to any legal professionals who might be interested. 

The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth

"The Plot Against America" is a work of fiction, wrote Philip Roth in the Postscript to his 2004 novel - I guess he felt he needed to emphasize the "fiction" part. As I started reading this book, I was actively "googling" 1940s political activity and the life of Charles A. Lindbergh, and I found Roth was sticking pretty close to historical fact. The author then drives into the fictional style for which he's known, as Lindbergh wins the GOP presidential nomination and then the highest office itself. I'm still reading this one, and it's another great read from this award-winning author. Without getting too far into our current political environment, just know that Roth's now 12-year-old book could pass as a new book today. 

Christianity and World Religions, by Adam Hamilton

For the last five years or so, I meet with a group of friends weekly for Bible Study. We read a variety of books that help us understand the Bible, and the life of Jesus Christ. We are taking our first steps into better comprehension of world religions by reading this thin but engaging text that examines Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism - as well as Christianity. Hamilton's book gives just an introductory overview into these religions, and we'll follow up with more study (textual and personal) after this book. 

My Little Free Library

The first Little Free Library was built in a quiet neighborhood in Hudson, Wisconsin. The concept is book sharing in public. Place a Little Free Library outside your home, fill it with books, and let neighbors and the general public take books as they wish, and leave books they think others will enjoy reading. 

I don't get a lot of traffic at my Little Free Library, but I do get a few "customers," including the pre-teen who left his own hand-written book inside - I'm not sharing that one. I've built another library for a friend in town, and would like to build and install others in my area. 

I've stopped at Little Free Libraries throughout Southern California and other towns wherever I can find one. And while getting a new book is fun, there is little as rewarding as sharing a good read. 

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