Thursday, January 16, 2014

The year 2013 in terms of books read

As per tradition, I always like to mark the year that had just passed by looking at the books I've read. Long time ago, I made myself a challenge that I would read 52 books a year - that's an equivalent of 1 book per week, regardless of length. I no longer do that, though I must admit that with the challenge, I did treat reading books with a lot more discipline and thus allocate more time towards it. Let's see how many books I've devoured in the year 2013.

To Catch a Tartar - Francis Seow
Go down together: The true, untold story of Bonnie & Clyde - Jeff Guinn
The happy prince and other tales - Oscar Wilde
Mockingjay - Book 3 - Suzanne Collins
Catching fire - Book 2 - Suzanne Collins
Hunger Games - Book 1 - Suzanne Collins
The Accidental Buddhist - Dinty W. Moore
You Need A Budget YNAB - Jesse
The Last Threshold - Neverwinter saga Book IV - R.A. Salvatore
Charon's Claw - Neverwinter saga Book III - R.A. Salvatore
Neverwinter - Neverwinter saga Book II - R.A. Salvatore
Gauntlgrym - Neverwinter saga Book I - R.A. Salvatore
The Two Swords - R.A. Salvatore
The Lone Drow - R.A. Salvatore
Tesla: Man out of time - Margaret Cheney
Badass - Ben Thompson
Survivors - Z.A. Recht / Thom Brannan
Thunder and Ashes - Z.A. Recht
Plague of the Dead - Z. A. Recht
Antifragile - Nicholas Nassim Taleb
Answers of an alien from andromeda galaxy - Mythi (?)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling
Ghost World - Daniel Clowes
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling
Yes! - Noah Goldstein & Robert Cialdini
Kick Ass comics - Mark Millar & John Romita Jr
Kick Ass 2 comics - Mark Millar & John Romita J
The miracle of mindfulness - Thich Nhat Hanh
The Tibetan book of living and dying - Sogyal Rinpoche
Hit girl - Mark Millar & John Romita J

This is a total of 30 books. Not too shabby eh? I've kept a list of the numbers of books that I've read since I've started in 2007. Here it is:

2007 - 27 books
2008 - 55 books

As usual, I've highlighted a list of books that are the top 5 reads for me in 2013.

1. To catch a Tartar - Francis Seow

At once an engaging and exciting read from someone who is a political refugee and living in US now, it shows you accounts of our government you would not read of in local media. I've not read the autobiography of LKY (in fact all his books) yet, so I thought this would form the first of the series of reads to find out more about the history of Singapore in different players' perspectives. He writes clearly and in that old educated style of language, not unlike those great writers of olden days. Everyone should read this.

2. Tesla: Man out of time - Margaret Cheney

This year I've developed a liking for autobiography. I've read a couple - Francis Seow, Bonnie and Clyde, and Nikola Tesla. This book talks about his feud with Thomas Edison in the AC vs DC war and also about his remarkable memory and visions. He alone holds 300 patents under his name, and probably more because he has not the time to file them, most of which are revolutionary and way ahead of his time. What interests me most is how he is in the process of researching on wireless power (he succeeded but no one can replicate his experiments since it's destroyed in a fire) before the cruel world decide it was way out of time and cut short his work. A very engaging read from cover to cover.

3. Antifragile - Nicholas Nassim Taleb

I'm always a big fan of his books, so this is not any different. I've made a post here after reading his thesis that binds all his other books together, so I shall not elaborate further here, other than to highly recommend it again and again. If you like his previous Black swan, fooled by randomness, you'll find yourself praising this ground breaking work of his again in Antifragile. Here's an original author whose thoughts are so original that he had to invent new words to form his thesis.

4. Yes! - Noah Goldstein & Rober Cialdini

If you've ever wondered how certain people have this magnetic and persuasive powers that can sell you anything and convince you to do things you wouldn't normally do, you need to read this book. From the same author who wrote the "Influence: The psychology of persuasion", this book details many more ways to persuade people to do your bidding and/or to prevent others from persuading you to do theirs. I think it's very insightful in how little things like the sequence of the lists can make a huge difference in persuading people to choose certain outcome. Am I using it here, you suspect? Haha!

5. The Tibetan book of living and dying - Sogyal Rinpoche

This is somewhat religious and scientific way of looking at the process of dying, and hence living. Magical and true all at once, you'll realise how true these are if you've ever watched someone in a dying process. Older folks? Pets? It's the same process. Certain parts of this book are rather dry, I must admit. Worth a re-read because there's just too many information packed here. Very suitable for Buddhists, especially the Tibetan kind, but equally a good read for anyone.

Do you have any top 5 reads for the year 2013 that you'll like to share with me? The whole world has so many old books and still more books are added every year, so we all would appreciate a recommendation of books that are worth reading. 


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