What I Read – February 2018

Non-Fiction

Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss – This is my favorite book by Ferriss. Drawing from his podcast, he compiled a list of interesting questions that he asked a set of interesting people. Here is a sampling:

  • What books have you gifted the most to other people?
  • What are some unusual habits you have?
  • What $100 purchase has most improved your life?
  • What would you put on a billboard?
  • What is your favorite failure?

That structure made the book a page turner for me. I have a file with 12 pages of notes I took while reading the book. Must

Radical Candor by Kim Scott – Scott spent time at the world of startups, Google and Apple University.  Radical Candor is her take on the most effective way to manage and communicate with employees. I liked it. There are some solid frameworks for people to us. I was reminded of Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott and the needed combination of compassion and honesty. My takeaway is asking new employees to tell their life story by starting early in the childhood and looking for moments of change; those moments often illuminate values that are important to them. My only critique would be that it felt long and a little heavy on explanation.  Should for any manager, Must for new managers.

Spiritual

Don’t Be A Jerk by Brad Warner – This is a brave book. Brad chooses to translate and paraphrase the first section of Dogen’s Shobogenzo, the definitive work of the founder of Zen Buddhism. The book covers the first twenty four chapters with each fascicle getting a short introduction, the paraphrased material and a further expansion. This is also a wonderful book because it covers Japanese history, ancestors back to India, the attempts at translation, and he shares his path of learning Zen. I have been practicing for seven years and the book felt like an advanced class on my Zen Center. Must (and there is follow-up called It Came From Beyond Zen!)

Graphic Novels

Star Wars by Jason Aaron, John Cassaday and many amazing others – This series started after Disney bought Lucasfilm and turned the comics over to its previous acqusition Marvel.  Aaron envisioned the series as a running sequel to Star Wars (IV). I have read the first five volumes and it is outstanding. Luke is lost and searching for traces of the Jedi. Leia and Han don’t get along. Vader is trying to find the lucky kid who destroyed the Death Star. There is no shortage of themes to explore and new characters to sprinkle in. The trade paperbacks to a rare outstanding job of pulling together crossovers into solid story arcs. Read them in this order: Skywalker Strikes, Showdown on Smuggler’s Moon, Vader Down, Rebel Jail, The Last Flight of the Harbinger, Yoda’s Secret War, The Screaming Citadel, Out Among The StarsMUST! 

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Volume 1 by Kieron Gillen, Kev Walker, Marc Deering and Antonio Fabela – I heard buzz about the Aphra title and it didn’t live up to the hype for me. Aphra is a thinly veiled female version of Han Solo with (yes) a Wookie and (evil) droids. My real objection is my personal preference to read stories about heroes that are trying to make their world a better place; Doctor Aphra is not that. Skip

Invincible Iron Man: Ironheart Volume 1 and Volume 2 – I like Riri Williams. She’s smart. She is African-American. She has opinions. Tony Stark is hanging around as a amorphous AI. We get a “figuring out how to be a superhero” storyline, reminding me of Kamala Khan’s Ms. Marvel.  It got weird though when she took over a country without any complications. Wished there was more that defined her as a unique character, from the genius persona. Could/Should.

Other

Altered Carbon – I read a few early reviews for the new Netflix series and wondered if I should watch.  I ignored the critics, watched and I am glad I did. Yeah, there is the violence and nudity, but the story is interesting and complicated and it moves fast across the ten epsiodes. Ignore the reviewers if you like sci-fi (and watch after the kids go to bed). Must.

Lorne Stories from WTF podcast with Marc Maron – I am fascinated with Lorne Michaels and the makings of SNL. If you haven’t listened to the show, Maron tried out for SNL, and fixated about it for years. Most of these interviews took place before Maron finally interviews Lorne Michaels for the show. The most interesting thing about listening more than twenty people talk about Lorne is how much their stories are reflections of who each of them are as people. Should.

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