Category: Books

  • My Books of 2018

    2018 was a year that unconsciously revolved around power and entropy. The 48 books were dominated by Robert Caro’s incredible LBJ series, a late fascination with the physics and neuroscience of time and a renewed love of sci-fi and fantasy heralded by N. K. Jemisin, Cixin Liu, Ted Chiang and Naomi Alderman. History and Biography […]

  • My Books of 2016

    I fell one short of my book a week goal at 51 books in 2016. This year I’ve excerpted some books where I thought a particular passage was self contained and gave a sense of the whole. However, books that were not excerpted should not be considered less eloquent or inspiring, some of the best defied […]

  • My books of 2015

    In 2015, I got the chance to read 54 new books, though they seemed to fall into narrower fields than in previous years. I’ve divided them into categories and the starred books at the top of each are my top picks. History and Biography *Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari *Alexander […]

  • My books of 2014

    As Chartbeat has grown to 95 people, I’ve found it harder and harder to devote significant time to reading. I found more escape than usual in fiction and some months felt very meagre indeed. Still, the 54 books I did make it through in 2014 gave me much to think about. If I had to […]

  • My Books of 2013

    I missed my goal by four and read 56 books in 2013. Some I had to struggle through for a month (I’m looking at you Advertising Media Planning) and others left me speechless at their brilliance. I’ve put an asterisk next to the books I particularly recommend and given short notes about those and a […]

  • My Books of 2012

    Here are the books that devoured my weekends and early mornings this year. Fiction I loved Tom Robbins and Gillian Flynn this year, but didn’t see the fuss about Hilary Mantel and Wolf Hall. I relished every perfect morsel of Saki’s short stories for the sheer craft that they displayed. Old favourites such as Wilt […]

  • 2011 in Books

    In 2011, 41 books taught, challenged and entertained me (down from 43 in 2010, a worrying trend). This was how it played out. Philsophy Straw dogs by John Gray The Enchiridion by Epictetus The Writings of Musonius Rufus translated by Cynthia King Straw Dogs was recommended to me by a close friend and it was […]

  • 2010 in Books

    These are the books that kept me company and taught me in 2010: Business Four Steps to the Epiphany: Steve Blank The Checklist Manifesto: Atul Garawande The Innovators Dilemma: Clayton Christensen The Innovators Solution: Clayton Christensen Positioning: Al Ries Lean Thinking: James Womack/Daniel Jones Perfect Pitch: Jon Steel Complete Guide to Accelerating Sales Force Performance: […]

  • The Blank Slate

    Blank Slate by Stephen Pinker is one of those books that you should never read before heading out to meet friends. Quite pleasant conversations about gardening or sports will be interrupted by a diatribe as you attempt to explain the mind-blowing chapter you have just read. This will inevitably lead to an argument as Pinker […]

  • Self Reliance and other Essays

    ‘Every man is an impossibility, until he is born; everything impossible, until we see a success.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson rocks. I’d read about Emerson in Louis Menand’s The Metaphysical Club and made a note to find out more about this polymath of the 19th Century. Reading his essays on Self Reliance, History and his controversial […]

  • The Invisible People

    “A century from now, when historians write about our era, one question will dwarf all others, and it won’t be about finance or politics or even terrorism. The question will be, simply, how could our rich and civilised society allow a known and beatable enemy to kill millions of people.” This is the question Greg […]

  • The Metaphysical Club

      I was a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to philosophy. I think the first book that really got me thinking about the subject (if we don’t count Dawkin’s Selfish Gene, which got me thinking about everything) was A.C. Grayling’s What is Good?, a superb and accessible read. Since then, I’ve been […]