2011 in Books

Since I got my Kindle a bit more than a year ago, I have finally been able to slake my thirst for reading materials, something that was prohibitively expensive when ordering English language books via Amazon.co.uk, and took lots of time to boot.

Here are some of the interesting books I've happened on in the past year:

The big one was "Start Small, Stay Small": which has tons of ideas on how to do small, niche startups, "for the rest of us".  Those of us who aren't in Silicon Valley, who aren't seeking millions in VC funding, those who don't want to aim for "astronomically rich", but just a comfortable lifestyle with more control over our own destiny.  This book gets special mention for being a big inspiration for LiberWriter.

Here is a list of the others.

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow: http://amzn.to/sXQGSR – probably makes my list because I just finished it, and as he writes, "what you see is all there is" – we're biased towards things that come to mind easily. Actually, it is a pretty good book even looking through all the others I've read.

  • 1491: http://amzn.to/uaR0yf – about the Americas prior to the arrival of "Cristoforo Colombo". I have the sequel, 1493 in my reading list, but haven't gotten to it just yet.

  • Built to Sell: http://amzn.to/ukmyNP – how to create a business that is something that you can sell because it can exist without you. Not quite so relevant to startups working on a product, but some good concepts nonetheless. A good summary is probably just as good as reading the book, as the core concepts are fairly simple.

  • A History of the World in 6 Glasses: http://amzn.to/vF9FgN and An Edible History of the World: http://amzn.to/w1kTg3 – two interesting looks at the history of the world based on what we drink and eat.

  • Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World: http://amzn.to/tVvltK the history of the world as seen through languages. It's interesting to read about why some languages lasted so long even though their speakers were conquered, why others swept all before them and disappeared, and so on.

  • The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East: http://amzn.to/spQCF7 – a look at how the legal systems of 'the west' and the middle east differed and the results those systems led to. Limited liability companies are an important innovation. The book can be a bit dry and repetitive at times, but the material is very interesting.

  • Warlord: http://amzn.to/spjf73 – Winston Churchill's "war years".

  • Positioning: http://amzn.to/sSJRnw – a classic about branding.

  • The Intelligent Investor: http://amzn.to/tffzgJ and A Random Walk Down Wall Street: http://amzn.to/vXIsTT two classics on investing. I'm more inclined towards the 'random' view of things myself.

  • The Great Stagnation: http://amzn.to/vccI3c about "what ails us" as a country. One of the recommendations is that we need to "raise the social status of scientists."

  • The Party: http://amzn.to/tWX1hA an interesting, and balanced (well, it seemed that way to me, but knowing essentially nothing about the place I could be completely wrong) book on how China is run.

And for fun, a variety of Sci fi and Western books, but nothing particularly noteworthy. Neal Stephenson's REAMDE was fun, but I'm not sure I'd read it more than once, like some of his other books.

Here are my Amazon wishlists of things I'm considering reading at some point in the future. Comments welcome on the value of the books listed.

"Regular" books: http://amzn.com/w/20I0Y1YGD1FUB and random fun books and movies.

Business books: http://amzn.com/w/5B2JQOP8VZEW – although some of them are not strictly business books.

Yes, if you're curious, the book links do have referral codes in them, to help sustain my reading habit.

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