The 50 Books I Read in 2017

with some reviews

Crawford Collins
Jan 6, 2018 · 5 min read
My only hard copies of finished work.

Comedy

Thank You for Coming to Hattiesburg by Todd Barry

A great listen. A funny man with interesting thoughts on “secondary markets.” It’s hard to believe there was a time when someone could be a professional comic without presidential commentary.

So Anyway by John Cleese

A phenomenal listen. Old Jack Cheese does it again.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

A top-notch performance by Ron Swanson takes this tale to the next level.

Humblebrag by Harris Wittels

I listened to a comedian reads tweets for at least 2 hours. You will learn what a humblebrag is and how to avoid it.

Hollywood Said No! by Bob Odenkirk and David Cross

A collection of surreal scripts from Bob Odenkirk and David Cross. Easy to understand why they said No!


Science/Math

Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman

Not as easy he wants you to believe, but read it anyway.

Make Your Own Neural Network by Tariq Rashid

Medium is full of articles with titles like “Deep Learning for Dummies”, “Neural Nets for Trump Voters”, or “Machine Learning for People Who Can’t Tie Their Shoes.”

This book is better than that. I used what I learned from this book to finish in the top third of entries in the numer.ai competition.

How to Read Water by Tristan Gooley

Well worth reading. It helps connect with water on any scale.

Hidden In Plain Sight 8: How To Make An Atomic Bomb by Andrew Thomas

The concise guide to making a nuclear bomb.

Idea Makers by Stephen Wolfram

Bayes Theorem: A Visual Introduction

A New Kind of Science by Stephen Wolfram

An Introduction to Information Theory by John R. Pierce


The American West

Warlock by Oakley Hall

This book is best I have ever read. Oakley Hall keeps the reader in constant suspense with a tale of violence and redemption tying together every faction of a small western town.

True Grit by Charles Portis

Great narration took this classic to the next level.

Black Elk Speaks


Cognition

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are by Frans Der Waal

While about animals, this book challenges what it means to be human in terms of cognition and consciousness.

The Enigma of Reason by Hugo Mercier

This book will help you understand how you think.

Everything is Obvious: Once You Know the Answer by Duncan J. Watts

A pop-psychology take on why you are wrong.

Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar by Thomas Cathcart

A afternoon-long overview of philosophy using jokes.

The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

Sometimes a myth is just a myth.


Self-Improvement

My take away from these books is that you only need to read one and follow through with it.

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

The only book about how to deal with yourself that you will ever need.

Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual by Jocko Willink

Jocko flaunts his English degree, opening the book with about a hundred pages of free verse poetry concerning discipline.

Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston

This book will turn everything you thought you knew about your nightstand placement on its head.

5/3/1 by Jim Wendler

The Achievement Habit by Bernard Roth

Fluent in 3 Months by Benny Lewis

The Urban Monk by Pedram Shojai

Unbeatable Mind by Mark Divine


Business

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

This book will help you turn your passion into a career, as long as your passion is unique, you are good at it, and it’s not Excel.

Business Adventures by John Brooks

There are better books to read.

The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

If you’re reading this on Medium, there is a good chance you have Instagrammed yourself reading this book.


General Fiction

Many think-fluencers shun fiction as a waste of time. choosing the fiction of biased studies inherent in pop-psychology’s flavor of the month over the immortal truths found in stories. Don’t do that.

On the Road: The Original Scroll by Jack Kerouac

I started reading On the Road after it was mentioned in the Grateful Dead documentary. Using Kerouac’s, Neal Cassady’s, and Allen Ginsburg’s real names, relationships, and other previously censored adventures illuminates the beat era in a way the only an insider can.

Fun Fact: Jack wrote these four-hundred pages over three weeks, high on 50’s amphetamines, which is the same way Judy Bloom wrote Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman

Alexandra Kleeman delivers a story unlike anything you will ever read. Any more description feels like I’m giving away the best parts.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

This is a quick read. But if you find it too long, just add “Orwellian” to your tweets about the president.

Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

My one note to the author; More Grateful Dead references, fewer mentions of a girl’s first period.

Diamonds are Forever by Ian Flemming

Nothing like the movie, but still exactly what you expect.


Bauhaus

The one thing these works can agree on is that prominent museum art directors deserve a special place in hell.

From Bauhaus to Our House by Tom Wolfe

A man who puts a picture of himself on the back cover lectures on the self-importance of academic architects. But he is also generally correct. Read this if you never want to hear “minimalist design” ever again.

The Bauhaus Group by Nicholas Fox Weber

Weber collects six brief biographies spanning one of the unstable periods in history, late 19th century Germany, WWI, hyperinflation, the rise of Nazi’s, all the way through 1990’s America.


History

The History of Ancient Egypt from The Great Courses

If you only listen to one 24-hour course about Egypt on Audible, make it this one.

Across the Fence by John Stryker Meyer

This book is exactly what you expect from a Special Forces soldier named Stryker. Across the Fence brings a perspective into how the US can drop bombs into a country with which we are not in a war.

The Men Who Stare at Goats

Jon Ronson embedded himself with people who walk into walls every day believing that one day they will walk through them.

The History of Spain from The Great Courses

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

If you were planning on using this as the title for your book on the Trump presidency, too bad.

Aphorism and Thoughts from Napoleon

Thoughts on ruling from a somewhat benevolent dictator.

Perilous Interventions by Hardeep Singh Puri


Other

The Sovereign Individual: James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg

I recommend reading this book.

Sharp Sports Betting by Stanford Wong

At least you can learn which bets to avoid.

Atomic Design by Brad Frost

A useful book if you ever have to make anything.

Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday


Next Year

Goals for next year

Feel free to reach out with strong suggestions suggestions.

Crawford Collins

Written by

Studying data science and sharing what I learn.

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