Best 2012 Book Reads

Ender’s Game

by Orson Scott Card

Great SciFi Classic that I hear is going to be a movie soon. Great work of fiction that predicts the power of blogs, in a way.

In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives

by Steven Levy

The inside story of Google that’s quite comprehensive until the date of its publication. However, the weak point of the book is a lack of criticism on the failed projects.

The Life of Pi

by Yann Martel

Yes, the movie just came out, but I read it earlier this year. It was so impactful to me spiritually. The last analogy of the animals to humans on the boat just makes me think harder.

If This Is A Man

by Primo Levi

If there’s one book to read about the holocaust, this one is it. Levi’s first-hand account of the events at Auschwitz and his truly excellent work doesn’t condemn Nazis or glorify the survivors. We are people in the end that live.

How To Be Black

by Baratunde Thurston

I thought this book was just going to be just humorous, but it’s actually about society and racism today in the US. And it’s interesting, not being either or on the white or black spectrum, to hear the opinions of how black people see black, or how they may not.

Stumbling on Happiness

by Daniel Gilbert

This book isn’t a self-help guide to finding happiness, but about how humans make fallacies based on their ability to think they are being rational when in doubt they are not.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

by Daniel Kahneman

There’s just so much in this book that’s just is almost eye-opening. But it’s not that the research is ground-breaking, but more of a matter of summarizing Kahneman’s work in the field with Amos and putting it in perspective of our lives. And it takes a long time to get through for some reason (the language isn’t that dense).

My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey

by Jill Bolte Taylor

The story is quite astonishing and is helpful for people going through recovery and supportive members who help out.

What Technology Wants

by Kevin Kelly

This book is an exploration of technological advancement of what Kelly calls the “technium.” It’s a very optimistic look on technology, quite refreshing from the opposite view from the book “A Short History of Progress.”

Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World

by Joel Salatin

Farming should be a better renounced profession than it is thought to be today. It’s strange how we live in such an upside-down world where we don’t have the slightest clue where our food comes from. While the solutions Salatin proposes in this book may not sound completely feasible, the book makes very sound arguments that we really should consider about food.

The Name of the Wind

by Patrick Rothfuss

If you’re into fantasy and very eloquently written books, this book is for you. It only follows one main character recounting his former days as a young prodigy and suffering in his upbringing.

Life

by Keith Richards

This inspired me to really practice and play more music. Richards is talented, and his story is quite revealing as what it is to be a junkie, to be famous, and to be a parent.

The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak ### Performance

by W. Timothy Gallwey

Mental performance is key to playing the game of any sports. As a tennis player, I suffer from psyching myself out, so this book is excellent with exercises that you can use.

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

by Walter Issacson

A biography of the life of Benjamin Franklin that’s worth reading if you enjoyed the Steve Jobs Biography from Issacson. This really reveals the life that Franklin had as one of the first American entrepreneurs. Franklin was no god though; he had his faults. But the thing that sets himself apart from others is his willingness that he can change, for example his stance on the abolitionists or breaking away from the British.

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

by Jonathon Haidt

This book looks at ancient wisdom and puts it under a psychologist’s eyes. It asks the main important questions of life and uses a elephant and a rider as an analogy to really make his arguments. At the end, it’s about finding the middle ground of it all, not just a life of pure meditation and being hyper-materialistic.

Life, on the Line: A Chef’s Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat

by Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas

The book is a memoir of Grant’s life, and Nick’s entrance in creating one of the most world renounced restaurant in Chicago. It deals with Grant’s passion for food, his mistakes of family life, and near-death experience. This book made me cry for a bit.

The Wind-up Bird Chronicles

by Haruki Murakami

I had not been exposed to Murakami before, and after so many people have recommended his books, I thought I’d start off with this one. This book doesn’t define reality, and it really sends you off in a strange journey with a hint of classical music (always a plus IMO).

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