What I Read, 2018 Edition

  1. Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker. Fascinating research about the importance of sleep. Pretty dense and informative, was quite a slow read. Get your 8 hours in if you want to live longer!
  2. Bossypants, Tina Fey. Read this in one sitting on a train to Glasgow. Love the anecdotes about SNL and 30 Rock. A little dated, sadly.
  3. Onwards, Howard Schultz. Schultz’s second memoir, about returning to Starbucks to replace the CEO in 2008. A little less fluffy than most other CEO memoirs, but still full of plenty of guff, like when Schultz talks about his reluctance to come out of retirement, or how Starbucks is a people company that serves coffee. Doesn’t talk about how he screwed Seattle out of their NBA team if he’s so into the community. Particularly relevant now that he’s retired for good, presumably to run for political office. Starbucks just seems kind of saturated worldwide.
  4. On Patagonia, Bruce Chatwin. I had high hopes for this one, but it kind of fizzled out towards the end. Lots of anecdotes about people, but it’s hard to verify their veracity. Didn’t get as much of a sense of place as I’d hoped for.
  5. Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer. Fascinating read about Alexander Supertramp, I read this in one sitting in Seville. I don’t think he had a suicide wish, but he did seem pretty unprepared to survive the summer. Not sure how much credence to give to Krakauer’s theory that he poisoned himself.
  6. The Functional Art, Alberto Cairo. Great read about data visualization with well-explained examples, both from the author and from other data journalists.
  7. The Alchemist, Paulo Coehlo. I really don’t get the hype over this. Read in Scotland, around Glen Coe and Oban.
  8. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood. Interesting treatment of the subject, something like Orwell’s 1984 or Huxley’s Brave New World gave a much richer, more logically consistent treatment. How did all the minorities just get shipped off?
  9. Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl. “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how” — Nietzsche’s dictum becomes one of the founding principles of logotherapy. A great, short read that still feels current in modern times. Frankl is able to describe the horrors of the concentration camp with detachment and, at times, humour. Finally, he transcends his situation through his work and encourages us to do likewise.
  10. I am Zlatan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. One of the rare few ghost-written autobiographies that feels really authentic. Some good insight into how the world of European football transfers works. Zlatan has a lot to share about his past experiences at Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona and AC Milan. We are reminded of how good that Juve squad could have been, if it hadn’t been undone by calciopoli in 2006.
  11. Almost a Psychopath, Ronald Schouten, James Silver. A collection of case studies showing how boundaries between normalcy and psychopathy can be blurred. It’s a spectrum, after all. Recognize anyone you might know?
  12. The Marble Collector, Cecilia Ahern. Quite a light read, comparing the protagonist’s journey through marriage with her father’s secret double-life as a marble player. A bit meandering at times, with sketchy renderings of secondary characters. Requires some suspension of disbelief regarding the timeline.