I just don’t find enough good stuff to write Reading List posts that often. That’s why it’s been a few years since I’ve written one. Below are seven books I rated above average in that time. Seven whole books. It is almost depressing that there are not more good books out there …or that there is no decent recommendation engine. (If you are interested in all the books I rated average or below you can see them on Goodreads.)
I read Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods a few years before and didn’t care for it, so I’m not sure what prompted me to pick up In a Sunburned Country but it was a great read.
After having so much fun with In a Sunburned Country and thinking about a pending trip back to the US, I decided to read Bryson’s I’m a Stranger Here Myself. Also highly recommended.
I’ve rekindled my interest in computing, and Linux specifically, in the last year or so and decided to read a few books on open source software. Paul Graham’s Hackers & Painters was great. Most of his essays are available on his blog but I’d never read most of them. Graham writes in a way that is easy to understand even when the subject matter is complex.
Then there was Eric S. Raymond’s The Cathedral & the Bazaar; a perennial hacker favorite. Raymond uses his tenure as the lead developer of Fetchmail to help you understand the thinking of an open source hacker. If you only read one book about Linux and open source software, make it this one.
After getting excited about programming after all these years I knew I’d need some exceptional focus. Cal Newport’s Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World covers just that and gives a decent overview of how you can implement deep work.
Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith had been on my Kindle for a while and, for a lot of people, software is just as “invisible” as services. I thought the overlap between running a service business and running a software business would make this worth reading, and it was.
Just in case you thought I haven’t read any fiction, Barry Eisler’s Graveyard of Memories was great. I think it’ll be the last book in the John Rain series and that makes me a little sad.
Update: July 2017:
A new John Rain book, Zero Sum, was just published.
Here are the best of the best web articles I’ve read over the last few years. It’s quite a few links, but they are all good.