Thursday, May 02, 2013

The year 2012 viewed in the eyes of books

I always like to note down the books that I've read and note down the ones that I might want to re-read again. By looking at the books that you've read, I'd like to review the year that had passed in 2012 too. It's a bit late, I know, but better than never, haha!

I've read a total of 35 books, way lower than the usual 52 books per year. I know I've said that I no longer want to count the number of books that I've read, but the funny thing is this: when I stopped counting, I stopped reading. Or reading as much. Sometimes the target to always read 1 book a week just makes me scrimp and collect all the weird pockets of time to do some bit of reading. To finish reading a book, you need discipline. As simple as that. A good book will help you to finish it in double quick time, no doubt. However, I realised that before you start to like a book, when the characters are strangers to you and you don't give a shit whether they are alive or dead, you just need to hit that psychological milestone pages before you can get 'into' the book. That requires discipline.

For those parents who dish out ipads and multi-media tablets to kids, beware of raising a generation of kids who can't delay their gratification and who wants instant rewards, especially when it comes in visually appealing graphics and nice sound effects. When you're reading, your mind creates all these itself and there's no need for external stimulus to make reading enjoyable. I feel this is very important to train in the youth these days, especially when it's so easy to get our kicks from the ubiquitous ipads. Something to think about.

Anyway, here's the list of books that I've read in 2012:

Alien Interview - Lawrence R. Spencer
Writing Tools: 50 essential strategies for every write - Roy Peter Clark
Fengshui for the classroom - Renee Heiss
Thick face, Black heart - Chin-Ning Chu
The elements of Persuasion - Richard Maxwell & Robert Dickman
Courage to teach - Parker J. Palmer
The truth about teaching - Coleen Armstrong
Influence - The psychology of persuasion - Robert B. Cialdini
The 22 immutable laws of branding - Al Ries
Guerrilla Marketing for Free - Jay Conrad Levinson
Secrets of building multi-million dollar business - Adam Khoo
The Night Eternal - Guillermo Del Toro / Chuck Hogan
Advertising for Dummies - Gary Dahl
The Fall - Guillermo Del Toro / Chuck Hogan
The Strain - Guillermo Del Toro / Chuck Hogan
I am Legend - Richard Matheson
The Last Colony - John Scalzi
The Ghost Brigades - John Scalzi
Old man's war - John Scalzi
The bed of procrustes - Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The sea of swords - R.A Salvatore
The Silent blade - R.A. Salvatore
The spine of the world - R.A Salvatore
The end of days - Zecharia Sitchin
A Thousand Orcs - R.A. Salvatore
The Cosmic Code - Zecharia Sitchin
Wool Omnibus Edition (1-5) - Hugh Howey
A Clash of Kings - George R.R. Martin
The Chaos Curse - R.A. Salvatore
The Fallen fortress - R.A. Salvatore
Night Masks - R.A. Salvatore
In Sylvan Shadows - R.A. Salvatore
Canticle - R.A. Salvatore
Speaker for the Dead - Orson Scott Card
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card

Those at the bottom of the list were books that I read in the earlier part of the year, and it's arranged chronologically. The ones I've highlighted are the top 5 worth re-reading again.

Let's see:

1. Wool omnibus (1-5 books)

This one is by Hugh Howey. I don't really buy physical books, but I will buy his books for keepsake. That's how good his works are. I recently also bought another omnibus, a series of 3 books by the same author from Amazon. If you like wasteland, fallout, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it kind of apocalyptic books, this is for you. That song from Fallout by Inkspots kept playing again and again in my head when reading this...tsk tsk... By the way, my list of books to re-read seldom include fiction. This must be one of the rare ones to appear in the list.

2. Secrets of building a multi-million dollar business

I don't usually like Adam Khoo's books, but I think this one is quite a easy read. It's good for people who wanted to have a brief overview of starting a business. If anything, Adam Khoo is a successful businessman located in Singapore. It's good to see what sort of viewpoints or advice he can give to someone starting out in Singapore too. That's plenty of general advice in other books, but this one is local and so it's more tailored to our unique context. I've read this twice already, and I'll probably read this again. It's still in my list of books to read in the future.

3. Guerrilla marketing for free

A marketing guru - Jay Conrad Levinson is the authoritative voice in this aspect of business. It's good for everybody because we're all salesman in one form or another. It gives you ideas - plenty of it - to think about and to use as you see fit. It's very readable, not like those textbooks for formal studies and I'm pretty sure some of the techniques work good too, because I've tried it myself. Definitely a good book to re-read in the future.

4. Influence - the psychology of persuasion

Oh man, I can't recommend this book enough. I've read this for maybe 2 times? Remember this name "Robert B. Cialdini"...if you see his books, just read it lah, can't go too far wrong. If you notice my books list for this year, I've already read another book co-authored by him, called 'Yes!'. If you ever need to persuade people, and we need to do it on a daily basis, then you should read this book. You should read it per year like me, just to remember the lessons learnt.

5. Alien interview

Usually this isn't a book that I'll recommend...I'm quite sick of reading about aliens. But this book is special because it's about an interview with an alien that survived the crash in the Roswell incident. You can take it as fiction or fact, it doesn't really matter. It's the ideas that count. The theory that is explained by the alien is so mind blowing that I think it can explain all the sort of things that I'm puzzled about. It's like the encompassing theory to tie up all the loose ends about the different religious beliefs regarding life on earth. Mind blowing, I repeat. It's a very short read, so I will recommend this to anyone interested in the mysteries of life on earth, about reincarnation, about aliens and ancient astronaut theories...very very refreshing read. Again, I stress that there's debate on whether this is real or just a work of doesn't matter to me. Either way, I treat works of facts like fiction and fiction like works of facts. The essence is what is important here.

Special mention: Cleric Quintet (Canticle, In Sylvan shadows, Night masks, The fallen fortress and the chaos curse) by R.A Salvatore

The author should be a familar name for those who love fantasy books like the Drizzt series. Having read many books on Drizzt already, I found it pretty repetitive. There's only so much adventure with the infamous dark elf ranger. That's the reason why the Cleric Quintet is so refreshing. It's a very engaging series of 5 books, following Cadderly, the prodigy cleric and his monk wife Danica. If you like the style of writing by Salvatore, this is going to be a great journey for you. Prepared to have nights where you just spent reading so deeply that time seemed to fly past.


Derek said...

Hi LP,

That's a good list of books. Guerrilla marketing for free seems like a good start. Going to borrow it from the lib.

Thanks Man.

la papillion said...

Hi Derek,

I've the ebook version of it, let me know if you want it :) I can lend you the book, lol

PanzerGrenadier said...


Good list. I'll add some of the books in your list for my future reading. :-)

Your point about discipline is so true. It's easier to re-read familiar books than to start on new books by unfamiliar authors.

Be well and prosper.

PanzerGrenadier said...

On a side note, how was Nicholas Nassim Taleb's lastest book? Heard it was less readable than his earlier "Black Swan" and "Fooled by Randomness".

By the way, "Enders Game" is being filmed and should be screened sometime later part of the year. I wonder if the film will live up to the excellent book.

Be well and prosper.

la papillion said...

Hi PG,

I read "Bed of Procrustes", which is really a book of quotations by different people on different topics. That's okay and there are some quotes that are quite memorable.

I haven't started reading on "Antifragile" yet, but I think I'll love it :)

Yup, I know about Enders Game the Movie...I think it has a lot to live up to :)

ping said...

hi LP...i am CSB...i jus send u an yahoo email