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1
The Schoolhouse Gates
Justin Driver
Stopped
NonFiction
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️
576
I picked this book up three years ago based on a podcast with the author. Starting with an intriguing premise- an examination of the modern school system at the intersection of education, legal rights, and technology - the author examines the role of schools in shaping the lives of students and the extent to which the law can limit or expand their rights. The book delves into landmark Supreme Court cases that have influenced the landscape of public education in the United States, analyzing their historical contexts, legal arguments, and implications for students and educators. Driver raises crucial questions about the balance between school authority and individual liberties within educational institutions. From issues of free speech and expression to privacy rights and disciplinary measures, the author provokes educators to reflect on their responsibilities, boundaries, and the potential impact of their decisions on students' lives. Through an exploration of significant court cases, such as Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District and Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, Driver emphasizes the importance of fostering an environment where students can engage in open dialogue, exercise their rights, and develop critical thinking skills. He encourages teachers to be cognizant of the power dynamics at play within the school system and to be mindful of how their actions can shape students' experiences and future prospects. I abandoned this book because the writing style made reading it a chore, rather than a delight. I asked ChatGPT to summarize the important points above. I still believe this book contains important ideas. In the future, I’ll seek to learn from podcasts or direct author interaction rather than reading his long-form content.
2
Failure Rules
Andrew Thorp King
Stopped
Self Improvement
e-Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️
531
Book about the author’s lived experiences with failure and rebounding. Lots of great stories from worlds I’ve never inhabited, but ultimately the advice was the same as I’ve heard elsewhere. I may revisit this later, but there are others I’d like to complete first.
3
Welcome to the Microbiome
Rob Desalle
Stopped
Hard Science
Book
⭐️⭐️
264
I really wanted to like this book, but after finding two factual errors in the first chapter, I skimmed it and put it down. Other reviews call out good key learnings. I ended I using those to revisit specific passages in the book. This is the only reason I gave it three stars. + Lots of good information. Use other reviews to locate it. - Very little actionable information for anyone seeking to optimize their microbiome. - Poorly edited, with visible, glaring mistakes.
4
Beyond Disruption
W. Chan Kim
Stopped
Innovation
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️
225
Lost interest. Summary: How to enter a crowded market by serving niches.
5
The Art of Dramatic Writing
Lajos Egri
Stopped
NonFiction
e-Book
338
6
DEI Deconstructed
Lilly Zheng
Stopped
DEI
Book
360
7
UTSS Atlantis
Eric Mantion
Reviewed
Science Fiction & Fantasy
e-Book
372
Fantastic hard science fiction with a military slant. Wonderful use of military jargon and slang. Tech that I personally want in my life. A story about first contact with aliens, with a rather huge twist, I won’t spoil. I read an early review copy and the final version is pretty great. Give it a read!
8
Oryx and Crake
Margaret Atwood
Not Started
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Book
James Parr
383
9
Fledgling
Octavia E. Butler
Not Started
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Book
320
10
A Test for our Time
Stephen S. Tang
Not Started
Innovation
David Kenney
11
Girl from Wudang
PJ Pereira
Not Started
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Book
12
Demystifying Disability
Emily Ladau
Finished
DEI
Audio Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Saara Kamppari-Miller
245
Fast, important read about what disability means and how to think about it when designing programs for people with disabilities
13
Call Us What We Carry
Amanda Gorman
Finished
Poetry
Book
240
I learned about Amanda Gorman while reading about Maya Angelou. I’m no poetry critic, but I learned a few things while reading her work: + Language can be used in a beautifully evocative way. I was told this was true of poetry I read in high school, but I didn’t feel it was true of the “classics.” Gorman’s lush descriptions of contemporary life and the particularly the pandemic opened my eyes and heart to poetic expression, like no other. Except Maya Angelou. + I own the book, but chose to listen to the audio version halfway through. My internal voice isn’t nearly the performer I needed to fully appreciate her work. + Very quick listen, but you miss out on the visual arrangements of the words. This collection is well worth your time, even if you don’t love poetry. One of my favorite authors once said that you should read a variety of genres, especially those you wouldn’t normally consider. That will “fill your well” with ideas and experiences you otherwise live in your blindspots. In that sense, “Call Us What We Carry” was a catalyst for me- perhaps it can be for you too.
14
Redefining the Room
Ashwani Jain
Finished
Politics
e-Book
147
15
The Courage to be Disliked
Ichiro Kichimi
Finished
Psychology
Audio Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
389
Written as a series of discussions between a wise man and a young hot-head determined to disprove his philosophy, this book gently introduces a different kind of psychology framework- Adlerian psychology. Proposed by Alfred Adler, a colleague of Sigmund Freud, it lays out the Teliology, where everything is goal-oriented versus cause/effect oriented. Lots to learn, but I won’t spoil it. + Much clearer to me how Jungian/Freudian psychology is embedded in our culture. + Made it clear that a single psychological framework might not be sufficient to understand every kind of problem. + Encouragement seems like praising effort, which is much more effective than praising outcome.
Adlerian thought / Teleology seems to share a disdain of hierarchical behavior with Octavia Butler’s Lilith’s Brood and Parable series. In those, humans’ hierarchical tendencies led to their ruin. In the former, aliens artificially eliminate some of those tendencies to save us. In the latter, citizens of a future United States are pitted against each other along class lines to maintain power structures. A central requirement of Teleology is to foster Horizontal relationships focused on equality vs. vertical relationships which are hierarchical. Encouragement is required in the former, praise/admonishment is used in the latter. In Multipliers the Five Principles center on characteristics of horizontal relationships between teams / managers that inspire exponential performance.
16
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
Mark Manson
Finished
Self Improvement
e-Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
212
17
Climate Changed: A Personal Journey through the Science
Philippe Squarzoni
Finished
Climate Science
Graphic Novel
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
480
720
I picked up this book while browsing through the library's selection of nonfiction graphic novels. Though the length was daunting, it is a fast, though-provoking read. + Simple explanations of climate science and the reasoning behind the crisis, without being reactionary or simplistic. + Though black and white, lovingly illustrated by the author. You can feel the depth of the author's internal conflict over taking action and his concern for the future. + A great primer on the basic issues. I triangulated what I learned here with two other books that explained the nuances of the issues in greater detail. - So much relentlessly negative perspective from the experts. For every prospective idea, there were always three reasons it couldn't work. Overall, well worth a read if you're trying to learn about climate science without investing a lot of time learning all the jargon.
Climate Science Learning
18
Strategic Business Transformation
Mohan Nair
Finished
Innovation
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Mohan Nair
240
I picked up this book after meeting the author at a workshop where the principles in this book were put into practice. To say that workshop would be transformational and eye-opening would be an understatement. For context, I've been a practitioner of Lean Startup and Customer Development methodologies since 2010 inside a large tech corporation and have taught these principles since 2015. Strategic Business Transformation covers seven areas that leadership cannot ignore for creating enduring organizations that deliver compelling products. I will point out three things that made this book 110% worth reading for me:
How to create lasting innovation as a servant leader, written by friend and mentor Mohan Nair. This is the missing manual to innovating with principle inside any large corporation. I’m looking forward to more by this author!
19
Dealing with Difficult People
Roy Lilley
Finished
Business
Audio Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️
256
240
A compendium of advice for dealing with different types of difficult people and a bonus chapter on dealing with change. The author disclaims that the book isn't comprehensive, nor meant to be read cover-to-cover, but provides some ideas to deal with various situations. + Basic advice with examples for each situation. Very easy to follow/read. - Some of the advice is quite dated (esp around social media) or quite limited. - Compared to other management books, this is both thin on details and lacking frameworks to think about approaching difficult people. Overall this won't take too much of your time to read and might serve as a handy reference for new managers.
20
Lillith’s Brood : The Xenogenesis Trilogy
Octavia E. Butler
Finished
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
752
1608
21
Parable of the Talents
Octavia E. Butler
Finished
Science Fiction & Fantasy
e-Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
424
900
22
The Three-Body Problem
Cixin Liu
Finished
Science Fiction & Fantasy
e-Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
400
780
23
Kindred
Octavia E. Butler
Finished
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
264
620
24
Ark
Veronica Roth
Finished
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Audio Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️
544
1314
This is a short tale about the end of the world and living in the moment, a combination that speaks to me. Unfortunately, this one didn’t.
25
Bloodchild and Other Stories
Octavia E. Butler
Finished
Science Fiction & Fantasy
e-Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
224
300
26
Clay’s Ark
Octavia E. Butler
Finished
Science Fiction & Fantasy
e-Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
336
675
27
Mind of My Mind
Octavia E. Butler
Finished
Science Fiction & Fantasy
e-Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
240
555
28
Wild Seed
Octavia E. Butler
Finished
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
320
690
29
Parable of the Sower
Octavia E. Butler
Finished
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
352
870
30
Patternmaster
Octavia E. Butler
Finished
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
208
480
31
All Tomorrows
C.M. Komesen
Finished
Science Fiction & Fantasy
e-Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
111
Discovered this on a Quora post about the most horrific Science Fiction aliens.
32
Disrupt Disruption
Pascal Finette
Finished
Innovation
e-Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
212
Another great read for corporate innovators. How to spot potential disruption and navigate it. Lots of practical tips, to use in conjunction with other methods. I’d pair this with “Think Again” by Adam Grant.
33
The Boys
Ron and Clint Howard
Finished
Memoir
Audio Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Jonathan Knowles
1380
A memoir by Ron and Clint Howard and one of the most wholesome and positive books I read this year. Ron Howard has brought us iconic characters (Richie Cunningham, Opie) and movies (Field of Dreams, Apollo 13). Clint brought us so many troubled, quirky characters, including several favorites from Star Trek (Balok!). Film and performance are the Howard family business and this book describes in detail their father’s journey as a performer in westerns, then as mentor to Ron/Clint as they emerged as child actors, and to advisor as his kids took ever greater career leaps. There’s a bit of the usual drama - Clint was no angel and experienced his share of substance abuse - but on the whole the book is a lovingly written tribute to the family. Well worth a read to gain insight into the Howards and how they put principle first.
34
Octavia’s Brood
Walidah Imarisha
Finished
NonFiction
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
285
I recently discovered OEB's work and inhaled it all in the span of four months. Big mistake- I'm left hungry for more of her work, that will never come. Reading the works of those inspired by her is a gift unto itself and this book delivered. Like any anthology, there were hits and misses. The hits- particularly Lalibela, Runway Blackout, Kafka's Last Laugh, and Aftermath - wormed their way into my psyche and asked me what I could be doing to effect change. My favorite piece was "The Only Lasting Truth" by Tananarive Due, which drew a thread between all of OEB's works and gave me a frame to discuss their importance and themes with friends. + The style and compositions were all different, but the thread of Change made each of these feel spiritually connected to OEB's work. + Discovering Levar Burton's own SciFi story was a special joy. + The essays made this book for me. - Some stories felt incomplete, like the first 50% of a larger narrative. That felt jarring.
35
Conversations With Octavia Butler
Conseula Francis
Finished
NonFiction
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
232
I inhaled all except the last of Octavia Butler's works in early 2023 and then started on every book about her work and life. This collection of interviews over the course of her career covered much of the biographical material included in her books, but slowly revealed her motivations and world view. A few gems: + Writers must read a lot to "fill your well" of ideas, but must withdraw from that well occasionally. + Master writing about how you feel first, then write about real experience. That will prepare you to write how others feel about fictional experiences. + We have all these myths, and we believe in them without even recognizing they're there. We just act on them.. and that's liable to be our downfall. + Tolerance, like any aspect of peace, is forever a work in progress, never complete, and if we're as intelligent as we think, never abandoned. Put in the terms of Oliver Burkeman's Four Thousand Weeks, Tolerance should be everyone's atelic activity. - The only slight negative was the repetitiveness of some stories. Given the minimal editing, I suppose that's understandable. Mirroring her own life, the book ended abruptly and on a slightly sad note. I wish I had discovered her work when she was alive and when I could have sat with her for a conversation. This book left me longing for more of her work, which is no longer possible. A must-read for fans of her excellent work.
36
The Neo-Generalist
Kenneth Mikkelsen
Finished
Innovation
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Recommended
John Tigh
256
An incredible book framing out how people like me migrate between Deep Specialist and Broad Generalist, depending on the project and context. This book is a framework for understanding Generalist careers and reframed how and why I work. Recommended by John Tigh and I highly recommend to any “switch hitter” out there.
37
100 Deadly Skills
Clint Emerson
Finished
How-To
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️
272
I picked this up purely on a whim. While it's filled with lots of interesting tips, it didn't hold my attention. + Short, punchy reads covering each type of survival tip. Bonus for having a BLUF (bottom-line up front) at bottom of each page + Checklists for minimum equipment for survival in different environments + Tips for finding food, making fire, distilling water, and creating shelter in each environment - Some pseudoscience that pulled me right out of the read. Wind washing UV radiation away? - The sections on taking down terrorists / suicide bombers felt like wishful thinking, rather than tips. - Goes for breadth, rather than depth. I was left wanting a lot more detail in some sections, particularly the checklists.
38
Station Eleven
Emily St. John Mandel
Finished
Fiction
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
352
I picked up “Station Eleven” after seeing the series on HBO Max. Though set in a post-apocalyptic world in which a global pandemic took down humanity in less than one week, Station Eleven read more as literary fiction. The book and series follow a Traveling Symphony that keeps the arts alive post-pandemic, focusing on Kirsten, a former child actor now performing Shakespeare for survivor communities. Kirsten’s story interweaves with Arthur Leander, who died at the dawn of the pandemic, but passed on an eponymous comic book to Kirsten. The comic serves a deep purpose for each of the main characters; it represents freedom to one, and a call to arms for another. I found myself so drawn into this book that I read it over two days. Some highlights for me: + My favorite quote : “Survival is not sufficient.” Surprisingly, this was quoted by a character as being from Star Trek: Voyager. It’s a fitting North Star for the Traveling Symphony, who remind their audiences that human connection is still possible, even without the luxuries lost with civilization. + I have read a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction and none have brought artists to life quite like Station Eleven. Usually artists are hungry bards looking for a handout in exchange for half-remembered songs and stories. The Traveling Symphony are musicians and actors, who are as serious about practicing their art as they are about protecting each other. The members were carefully fleshed out, even when their names were their position (i.e. The Clarinet, Sixth Guitar) - This is a rare case where I loved the changes made to the source material in the video series. The speed of the epidemic in the book drew me right out of the world, particularly after experiencing the COVID 19 pandemic. - A few threads were left dangling, including the Prophets child brides. I would have liked to learned more about Tyler’s story, but we got precious few pages. This was the big downer which dropped a star for me. Overall, a compelling, engrossing read that shouldn’t be missed. See the excellent HBO series as well!
39
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals
Oliver Burkeman
Finished
Self Improvement
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Oliver Burkeman
288
4000 weeks in our lifetime (avg 78 years) - we have much less time than we think
40
No One is Too Small to Make a Difference
Greta Thunberg
Finished
Climate Science
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
149
Climate Science Learning
41
Termination Shock
Neal Stephenson
Finished
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Audio Book
Recommended
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
1380
I love Neal Stephenson’s work.
Climate Science Learning
A wild primer on Climate Science told in Hard Science Fiction, as only Neal Stephenson could. You’ll learn more about the math and tech by examining a future where climate’s gone mostly wrong.
42
It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be
Paul Arden
Finished
Self Improvement
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
128
43
Kindle Self-Publishing for Beginners
James Moore
Finished
How-To
e-Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️
144
Channeling Creativity
44
Aftermath
LeVar Burton
Finished
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Audio Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
600
I picked up Aftermath based on an excerpt I read in Octavia's Brood and the fact that the author is LeVar Burton, someone I deeply admire for his lifelong commitment to literacy. The lead-in timeline absolutely hooked me and some of the concepts like skin farming and the end of NASA disturbed me enough to draw me in. It was a fun read, not really challenging. I felt like I might've enjoyed it more prior to having read all of Octavia Butler's works. The characterizations were less fleshed out that I would have liked and the plot points were a little too neatly wrapped up. It was a wild, fun ride while it lasted. + The intro timeline is breathtaking. I almost wish it was fleshed out more in an entire chapter, with accompanying maps, like sometimes seen in Harry Turtledove's works. + The audiobook is narrated by LeVar himself, with subtle sound effects. It was like a 10 hour version of Reading Rainbow, and is a large part of why I'm giving 4 stars. + The concept of skin farm was horrifying. The thought of people "solving" for UV exposure by grafting on black/brown skin to become human Zebras is bizarre and terrifying simultaneously. The latter is treated matter-of-factly in Aftermath. + The thought of building on the body's own healing facilities reminded of Anyanwu's healing capabilities in Wild Seed (more Octavia Butler influence?), just realized in technology.- The writing was rough in places and plot tangles a little too neatly resolved. There were spots with a lot of _showing_ rather than telling. - I felt there was some amazing worldbuilding, but not enough time spent inhabiting that world; more just running through it. Backhanded compliment?
45
The Future You
Brian David Johnson
Finished
Self Improvement
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Rick Turoczy and Cami Kaos
304
Self-help book from a Futurist perspective.
46
Unexpected Stories
Octavia E. Butler
Finished
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Audio Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
144
47
Nesting After Divorce
Beth Behrendt
Finished
Psychology
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
304
I didn’t know much about nesting before reading this book, though I had heard about it from reality TV shows. This covered both the aspirational reasons for nesting and practical advice for making it work for the long haul. I liked the concept of the book and wish it had been available sooner. It’s no longer applicable to my own situation, however.
48
Heart to Heart: A Conversation on Love and Hope for Our Precious Planet
The Dalai Lama
Finished
Poetry
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
144
A simple, elegant book with a powerful message, direct from the Dalai Lama. We’re all interconnected and we have a responsibility to each other. This includes humans, animals, the earth. Given that most people are focused on their own pleasure, a message of responsibility is likely to fall on deaf ears. At least for my generation. I am hopeful that GenZ has internalized this message and is acting on it. I should give kudos to the lovely illustrations that underscore the message, without overshadowing it. The artist, Patrick McDonnell, is famous for a long-running cartoon strip called Mutts. I’ll be seeking out more of his work.
Climate Science Learning
49
Invisible Differences: A Story of Asperger’s, Adulting, and Living a Life in Full Color.
Mademoiselle Caroline and Julie Dachez
Finished
DEI
Graphic Novel
196
DSM-V consolidated Asbergers Syndrome into Autism Spectrum Disorders. France has a backwards perspective on Autism and has been censured by the European Union for their treatment of Autistic children. Only 20% of Autistic children in France are educated.
50
The Age of Selfishness
Darryl Cunningham
Finished
NonFiction
Graphic Novel
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
240
Quick, easy read in three parts: an overview of Ayn Rand’s life, how her followers influenced US policy, and the ensuring chaos of the Financial crisis of 2008.
51
Murder of Ravens
Paty Jager
Finished
Mystery
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
292
Picked up this book at Jan’s books after meeting the author at a signing. I don’t read mysteries, but she was charming enough and I was intrigued by the local rural Oregon setting and the Indigenous protagonist that I had to give it a shot. + The book is simply written and easy to read in a day. + The plot moves quickly with a few twists and turns along the way. + What I loved most was how carefully the animals were written, and how much care the protagonist showed them. - A reviewer on GoodReads said this book needed much better editing. I took a star for misspellings and sentence structure that drew me out of the story. Five stars for the author, three for the editor, average of four stars. This is part of a mystery series of books centered around protagonist Gabriel Hawke, all set in rural Oregon, combining procedural with a natural twist. I think I’ll be picking up more.
52
Chain Gang All Stars
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Finished
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Folks at Magic City Books
384
Book within a book. Dystopian novel, gladiator games. Lesson on imprisonment in America and the modern abolition movement. If you like Death Race or The Running Man - violent reality TV with a message, you’ll love this book. Notable tech: Magnetic locks, Anchors to physically control movement or confine people wherever they are.
53
Black Internet Effect
Shavone Charles
Finished
DEI
Book
64
I picked this book up while walking out of my public library. I was captivated by a phrase at the top: “Pocket Change Collective.” It turns out they publish inspirational books for teens, this one highlighting the first Black woman hired into Instagram’s Communications team. It’s short, punchy, and relatable in a way that’s hard to describe. I read it through in one sitting and found myself repeating two phrases “So many of us are coached to validate ourselves with the jobs we do versus the value we ourselves bring to said job.” In other words, we don’t just take a job, we make a job. “Because in order to be seen, we have to see each other first.” Mic-drop at the end of the book, encouraging the reader to see others in their own position, whether in their company or in their community, and to lift them up as an imputed responsibility. Loved everything about this, will be reading more, and buying some to hand out!
54
the curious incident of the dog in the night-time
Mark Haddon
Finished
Fiction
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
226
I picked this up by chance while walking out of the library because of a wonderful little cut out in the cover of the book. Written from a (presumably) autistic boy in Swindon, England, this starts as a murder mystery, but quickly turns into a first-hand account of family drama. Reading this book is like stepping into someone deeply neurodivergent, which was equally fascinating and disturbing. This read is an experience that will stick with me for some time. +Stuff I loved: The text is riddled with diagrams and equations, because Christopher literally thinks in math and physics. These were droplets of joy intermingled with the bitterness of his self-defense mechanisms. + Christopher is easily overwhelmed and frightened and lashes out frequently. This ranges from self-soothing techniques (groaning, running, screaming) to violence (hitting a police officer, threatening others with a knife). + As a parent, I couldn’t imagine what it must be like to parent a child that is in a very real sense, not built for this world. I nearly docked this book two stars for the discomfort I felt, but on second thought, it was a gift. Any book worth the time will give you something to think about or will change your perspective. This did both, viscerally. The only other book that crept up on me this way was “Real Ultimate Power,” a book based on a blog of the same name, filled with wildly imaginative and inappropriate description of Ninjas through the eyes of a 10 year old. It’s everything you can imagine- Ninja’s kicking ass and taking names, doing everything they want. But buried in the footnotes is a deeply disturbing picture of the author’s family life, where the book itself is a coping mechanism for the author to escape the consequences of his own misbehavior (“Ninja training”). In the same way, Christopher of “the curious incident...” treats this book first as an investigation notebook of the dog’s “murder,” that transforms into his own inner thoughts in his journey back to his mother, then as a symbol of his own capability and agency. Living with Christopher these past few days is going to change how I approach teaching neurodivergent students. Just not sure how yet.
55
Still I Rise
Maya Angelou
Finished
Poetry
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
64
An incredibly short read, containing a single, provocative poem by Maya Angelou, arguably her most famous. I first experienced “Still I Rise” at the Greenwood Rising museum in Tulsa, OK, a memorial to the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. The poem is powerfully recited over imagery of the place and people, and it left me breathless. I sat through the three-minute video for at least half an hour, as the words soaked into my brain. The book overlays the powerful words of defiance and empowerment over the artwork of Diego Rivera, a national treasure of Mexico who is also famous for being partner to the inimitable Frieda Kahlo. Together, the two powerful works become far more than the sum of their parts. I felt the same energy tingling in the back of my brain in Tulsa while imbibing this book at home. If you’re dabbling with poetry like I am and are looking for powerful words, invest 10 minutes to read the book and reflect. Commit a few hours to the art, looking for details that amplify the message. I’ve read far more books in 2023 than I ever have till date. I’ve reduced lengthy books into 5 sentences of personal meaning. “Still I Rise” made me feel that a few artfully written lines could explode into many books worth of meaning. Have I just discovered the power of poems? Have I been reading the wrong ones all this time? Yes and yes. I’ll be looking for more. As an aside, the version I read had Diego Rivera artwork on the front and rear cover, and even on the dust cover. The version I linked only has art on the interior. Disappointing. I highly suggest finding the version with a nicer cover!
56
Phenomenal Woman
Maya Angelou
Finished
Poetry
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
32
A collection of four Maya Angelou poems, centering on empowering women. Poetry is new for me and I'm not really sure how to read it. How deep to I look for nuance? Do I have the mastery of language to appreciate anything beyond surface details? I don’t know, but I’ll learn as I read more. Of the four poems, “Still I Rise” felt like words of power and sizzled on the pages. “Weekend Glory” felt like peering into someone’s personal journal and synchronizing with their life’s rhythm. For future poetry I’ll pairing reading with video performance. Maybe that’ll trigger something more in me?
57
Open Circuits: The Inner Beauty of Electronics
Eric Schlaepfer and Windell Oskay
Finished
Science Fun
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
304
58
The Future is STEM
Rishab Kumar Jain
Finished
Science Fun
e-Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
372
A collection of 100 essays on the importance of STEM written by high school students, curated by Rishab Jain. Each essay touches on the personal journey of the student and how STEM transformed their lives. My pros/cons:
59
The Creative Act
Rick Rubin
Finished
Self Improvement
e-Book
Recommended
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Rex. St. John
432
An incredible book about channeling creativity in your life. Don’t look at reviews, just read it.
Channeling Creativity
A philosophical guide to preparing yourself to channel creativity and give it to the world. It’s so good I rationed out its passages, as there will only ever be one first read.
60
The War of Art
Steven Pressfield
Finished
Self Improvement
Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Rob Irizarry
300
A self-help book by Steven Pressfield, famous for “The Legend of Bagger Vance.” Recommended by Rob Irizarry to address my perplexing writer’s block. This work is organized into three books: Resistance, Turning Pro, and Beyond Resistance, in which the author defines the forces arrayed against the artist’s creativity (collectively called Resistance), their sources, how to work past them (by turning Pro), and other forces that aren’t quite Resistance, but block creative output just the same. A few good takeaways:
61
The Lady From the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick
Mallory O'Meara
Finished
Memoir
Audio Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️
Carl Wolcott
540
I abandoned this book because it isn’t really about Milicent Patrick, as much as the author’s obsessions with the former. The author uncovers tantalizing evidence that Ms. Patrick was the actual creator of the monster in the eponymous movie, but that material is sparse. This is really three books in one- a sparse bio of Milicent Patrick’s life, a memoir of the author’s journey in researching the book while becoming a filmmaker herself, and a scathing commentary on sexism (and credit stealing) in the movie industry. Until I understood this, I was frustrated by the book’s constant diversions. That said, my friend Carl recommended this book after having met the author. I loved the movie and was intrigued that there may have been more to the back story. I re-engaged with this book after reading other sources and primarily because I could listen to it in my car. I don’t think I would have given it another chance in print format, due to repetitive scathing commentary. What happened to Ms. Patrick was grossly unfair, but reading/listening to the same ideas phrased 15 ways was a little excessive for me.
62
Wheat Belly
William Davis
Finished
Food & Nutrition
Blinkist
⭐️⭐️⭐️
18
Pocket Change
63
Skate for Your Life
Leo Baker
Finished
DEI
Book
61
Pocket Change
64
Taking on the Plastics Crisis
Hannah Testa
Finished
DEI
Book
61
Climate Science Learning
65
Continuum
Chella Man
Finished
DEI
Book
64
Pocket Change
66
Giftology
John Ruhlin
Finished
Business
e-Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
184
A short, powerful read on the power of thoughtful gift-giving in a business setting.
67
The History of Science Fiction
Xavier Dollo
Finished
NonFiction
Graphic Novel
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
195
Searching for Indian Science Fiction Authors in the early 2000s (Samit Basu)
68
Strange Planet
Nathan W. Pyle
Finished
Humor
Graphic Novel
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
144
69
The Promise of a Pencil
Adam Braun
Finished
Memoir
Audio Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Recommended
450
My friend Franck challenged me to find an author who has walked the path I want to walk. And to ask ChatGPT to find them for me. With a few simple prompts, ChatGPT recommended this book as the confluence of servant leadership, underserved communities, deep tech, and mentorship.
The journey of one man to make a difference, by opening schools to children who would otherwise never be touched by education. Deeply personal for me. Recommended by ChatGPT.
70
When McKinsey Comes to Town
Walt Bogdanich, Michael Forsythe
Finished
Business
Audio Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Recommended
Jenn Gustetic
606
virtue-washing: enabling the worst in human behavior by claiming values and good deeds outweigh the negatives. This book is about every industry McKinsey has Virtue-Washed and why the world is as screwed up as it is as a result.
A horrifying book about the damage McKinsey consultants have wrought upon the world. Every unethical practice you can think of from the past 30 years (outsized exec pay, insurance non-payouts, etc.) can be traced back to McKinsey influencing Corp Execs. Eye opening in every sense of the word.
71
The 6 Types of Working Genius
Patrick M. Lencioni
Finished
Business
Audio Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
224
Frameworks are my thing and I started reading this book in the hardcover format. I couldn't get into it. The story, the religious references, and the style weren't working for me. I decided to give it another chance and borrowed the audiobook from the library. Ray Porter, the narrator, was as excellent as they come and his humor, irony and warmth drew me right past the problems I was experiencing. I got through the entire book in a day and I'm glad I did. The best books help me reframe my own experiences. and the WIDGET model definitely delivered that for me, particularly in categorizing myself and partners I've had success with. The best compliment I can give is that it helped me name a blindspot I was finding elusive. I wish I could take 1.5 stars, but goodreads doesn't allow that, so I've taken one. I'm not alone in finding this book a thinly-veiled attempt to pay more for the test. This book format isn't unfamiliar (I'm looking at you Strengthsfinder and EQ) but I wasn't expecting it here. Towards the end of the book, I was listening and following along in the physical copy. Seeing an full-page advertisement for the test (not even mentioned in the audiobook) was jarring. Give me the ideas and I'll seek out your help- advertisements in the book itself feel tacky, particularly when they don't include a discount or code after paying cover price. Summary: Insightful framework; get the audiobook version.
72
When We Cease to Understand the World
Benjamin Labatut
Finished
Science Fun
Audio Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Jenn Gustetic
360
Deceptive classification. What starts out as a history lesson quickly morphs into a fictionalization of the lives of mathematics’ most famous, game-changing inventors. Each made a pivotal discovery that changed our understanding of the physical world, which tore open ever increasing advances in technology. The book started with the invention of nitrogen extraction technology, through the use of poison gas in WWI to wave equations and finally to quantum theory and the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle. As we built more technology that changes the way we live, we paradoxically build it on physics that are increasingly confounding to explain. Each discovery was the result of the scientist opening themselves to the universe and letting it fill them with insights, sometimes in drug or illness induced manias. I’ve been reading a lot about the essence of inspiration and artistic resistance. Rick Rubin says in “The Creative Act” that one must empty oneself and listen to the patterns of nature and your subconscious will fill your mind with sublime art. In the same way these scientists made themselves open to understanding the patterns in the Universe and were rewarded with a glimpse into a level of understanding they were unprepared for, and sometimes who felt the world wasn’t ready for. The book ends with a quote that will AI - cease understanding worldy
73
This is What I Know about Art
Kimberly Drew
Finished
DEI
Book
64
Lovely read about the author’s quest to highlight contemporary Black artists through her blog and how that transformed her career. Inspiring, insightful, hopeful- exactly why I read this series. I have two students in mind I’d like to give this copy to.
Pocket Change
74
The Harvard Psychedelic Club: How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith, and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age for America
Don Lattin
Finished
NonFiction
Audio Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
467
I picked this up on a whim after it was suggested on Goodreads. This is one I couldn’t put down, largely because I already knew where it was heading, but was intensely curious who got us there and how.
75