2009 Book Review

This post has been sitting in my draft list for quite some time, as you might imagine. Better to post rather than delete, I think.

I set the goal at the beginning of 2009 to read 12-books across the year. As previously noted, I came in quite a few books short – but it’s still progress. Here’s a quick review of the books that I read (my memory is foggy in places):

Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill)
The title is a giveaway on the topic. Despite it being a highly-rated book, I can’t say it was a particularly rememberable read. Will have to try again.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad (Robert Kiyosaki)
Another “get rich” self-help classic. The premise can be boiled down to a couple of sentences. Obtain income generating assets, build up a passive income streams and become incorporated to be tax efficient. The only solid example provided was real estate and  buy-to-let, which doesn’t play too nicely with current times, you could argue. I could firmly relate the content with the ‘virtual real estate‘ model that I’m familiar with. He rambles on about how a house should be regarded as a liability than an asset which gives interesting food for thought, although my father would certainly disagree.

Trick of the Mind (Derren Brown)
I’ve been a long-time fan of Derren and have seen him live on several occasions – so I was eager to get ahold of his first book. It’s not so much about his magical trickery, but rather how feeble our minds are. As a fellow atheist, I enjoyed some of his thoughts on religions and their survival.

The 4-hour Work Week (Timothy Ferriss)
Has become something of a bible for the digital nomad crowd. I was already on the path to become location independent (I naturally stumbled into using AdSense and other online income streams) but it was amazing to read something that resonating so much with my own views. The book contained a healthy dose of information on productivity and lifestyle design – something I should certainly read again. Not quite about how realistic some of his recommendations are for those in full-time occupations and I think he lacks some thought on the merits of building assets that could be passed down the family. Overall; a gem.

Lucid Dreaming (Stephen LaBerge)
LaBerge is the preeminent authority on the subject of lucid dreaming (the practice of being aware of dreaming during a dream). Part academic, part fruitloop, LaBergre provides all the practical theory with suggestions of the cool things you could achieve. The second half of the book takes a bit of a nose dive and reminds me of my university papers; sprinklings of semi-relevant quotes from a myryiad of sources just to pad out more content. There’s a lighter, less acedmic version of the book now available and provides a more well suited introduction to to the subject.

Let the Great World Spin (Colum McCann)
We collectively read this in our AdSense book club. A thick read, which I found largely overly descriptive. It was almost poetic with similes galore – it felt like the author/editor (who is still a relatively junior) has gone through the text with a fine tooth comb and sexed up anything and everything. The three chapters have conjoined stories, that come together – a concept perhaps pinched from films like Babel and Crash. There are many positive reviews, but it’s almost something you should like – a bit of intelectual snobbery. All in all, not that bad – interesting, but not a page turner.

The Official Driver Theory Test 4th Edition (DTT)
Okay, okay… I’m clutching at straws. It’s still a book, no? Hardly a cracker of a read, but it got the job done.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
It’s downright shameful that it’s taken me 25-years to read this book. Adams is a genius. The original TV and radio series are quite brilliant also, and certainly much better than the recent movie incarnation.

That’s all I can remember from 2009, but I believe there might have been 1 or 2 more additions. 2011 has involved a lot of articles (the Instapaper-to-Kindle link is incredible) which has put me behind schedule for this year. Time to catch up.

 Tags: Random   Published: 5th December '11

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