What I Read – February 2018


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.


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 definite 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.


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.

What I Read – January 2018

I haven’t posted any entries to my What I Read series in about six months. The main reason is I was doing an enormous amount of research on my #happier project. I didn’t want posting my source material to give away the pieces I was working on. To kick things off again, I am going to share several books I read.

  • The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor – This was my favorite book, mainly beacause it took a “business book” approach to the topic. Achor focused on how managers could work with employees better using the happiness research. Must
  • The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky – This book showed me the depth of the research that has been done and convinced me I need to read more.  The pitch for this book is “Happiness is hard to maintain, but here are the reliable things you can do to improve your overall happiness.” Must
  • Love 2.0 by Barbara Fredrickson – From the book – “To put it in a nutshell, love is the momentary upwelling of three tightly interwoven events: first, a sharing of one or more positive emotions between you and another; second a synchrony  between your and the other person’s biochemistry and behaviors,; and third a reflected motive to invest in each other’s well-being that brings mutual care.” Must
  • Thanks! by Robert Emmons – Emmons is the leading researcher on gratitude and gratitude is one of the most reliable ways to become happier. Recognize the benefit, acknowledge receiving it and return the favor. Should
  • Happier by Tal Ben Sahara – Out of his many books, this one is the best at covering the research and some different mental frameworks for happiness. He also does a good job of drawing on prior applicable research in things like self-esteem. Should
  • The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith – The author was headed in the right direction but didn’t land it. I am still recommending it because this topic of finding purpose and meaning to so important for everyone. Could
  • Solve For Happy by Mo Gawdat – I don’t agree with everything that Gawdat says but the chart on page 134 is worth the price of the entire book. Could

Emotions Chart - Mo Gawdat

What I Read – May 2017


The Crowdsourceress by Alex Daly – I’ve supported over 140 crowdfunded projects. I love everything about kickstarting stuff and is what lead me to this book. Alex has built a creative services agency for creators needing help launching projects.  The book is the collection of her knowledge having launched 60+ projects. The case studies focus on a handful of her most successful ones. This book is a Should for creators just getting started with crowdfunding and with building skills in the world of marketing. The appendix has everything from sample email newsletters and questions to expect in press interviews. For the rest, this is probably a Skip.


Startup of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha – I remember when this book came out in 2012. I liked the concept of bringing startup principles to managing career.  The book does a good job on that front. It pushes a little too much on LinkedIn specifically and some strategies that I think are only available to set of people with substantial resources. Could if you know startups, Should if you don’t.
Three things I learned:
  1. Brian Uzzi’s research into Broadway musicals showed creative teams with both people who have worked together before AND new members are more successful. That group with strong and weak ties boosted creativity and has enough existing trust to support the work.
  2. Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson sums up our flaws in decision-making with three mistakes: we overestimate threats, underestimating opportunities, and underestimate resources. A study of 700 executives showed that it boiled down to one yes-or no question: Can I tolerate the outcome if the worst-case scenario happens?
  3. “The fastest way to change yourself is to hangout with people who are already the way you want to be.” They draw on the research of Nicholas Christakis snd James Fowler (see Connected) that shows how easily you can catch the emotional states of your friends, imitate their actions, and literally absorb their values.
How to Be Everything by Emilie Wapnick – I am a multipotentialite. I knew it from the first time I heard Emile talk about it. Her book is a exploration of what is it like to work with the desire to explore many things – the problems, work models, and how to be productive. The book was helpful in describing the condition but I left wanting a little more surprise. I feel like I still have the same amount of uncertainty around working with lots of interests. Help! Could.
Three things I learned:
  1. Do any of these labels resonate with you? -> multipotentialite, polymath, renaissance person, jack-of-all-trades, generalist, scanner, puttylike
  2. Multipotentialite superpowers include idea synthesis, rapid learning, adaptability, big-picture thinking, and relating & translating. This reminds of the Symphony skill from Dan Pin’s A Whole New Mind.
  3. Emile suggests four work models:
    • Group Hug (one multifaceted job)
    • Slash (job/job/job)
    • Einsten (one job to enable other passions)
    • Phoenix (Career->Career->Career…)
The Captain Class by Sam Walker – Walker went through an elaborate process to determine the best sports teams of all time. He wanted teams that dominated over the course of years and his follow-on efforts where to find out what made the difference. He ruled out great players, great teams of players, great management, great coaches, and big bags of money. Walker thinks it is great captains. That makes it an interesting book because only the most stalwart sports fans are going to know these figures. This also creates an interesting question about whether individuals with these qualities have perceived value in today’s major sports. Could.
Walker’s Seven Traits of Elite Captains
  1. Extreme doggedness and focus on competition
  2. Aggressive play that tests the limits of the rules
  3. A  willingness to do thankless jobs in the shadows
  4. A low-key, practical , and democratic communication style
  5. Motivates others with passionate nonverbal displays
  6. Strong convictions and the courage to stand apart
  7. Ironclad emotional control

Graphic Novels

Black Panther Volume 3 by Ta-Nehisi Coates and company- Great and real end to the story arc. Must.

Mockingbird Volume 1 by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk – This was fun. I like the attitude throughout. Must.

What I Read – April 2017


So you want to publish a magazine? by Angharad Lewis – I love this sorts of books. You could read a Dummies How-To but this is written by a fan for a fan.  Lewis gathered wonderful interviews with indie magazine publishers. The book has a strong European flavor, but it doesn’t take away from the lessons taught. If you are interested in the magazine business, this book is a Should.

TED Talks by Chris Anderson – No one knows how to do compelling presentations better than TED. Somehow, that knowledge got mangled and the book ended up confusing and kind of boring. So many strange decisions about what Anderson thought the reader would want to hear – what to wear? traps to avoid? Make eye contact? This should have been a master’s class in public speaking and feels more like a basic “Presentations for Dummies” title instead. Skip.

Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans – Design is the key word.  The authors believe there is huge value in bringing design principles to finding your life’s work.  Try stuff. Be curious. These are antidotes to how fixed we get in our mindset when we want to move or need to move to something else. The book is well done and provides exactly what is needed to deliver on the promise. I’d point you to this one if you need some help figure out what is next. Should.


The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines Translated by Edward Conze – This is the text that established Mahayana Buddhism and is foundational to Zen. I read it as a part of a class  Must for Mahayana Buddhists.

Graphic Novels

Saga Vol 4, 5, and 6 – Yes. Yes. Yes. Must.

Old Man Logan Volume 3 by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino- I am sucker for Wolverine playing the Ronin in Japan. This book seems to best storytelling the combination of his past and present from the new series. Still just a Should for me.

What I Read – March 2017


Search Inside Yourself by Chande-Meng Tan – Tan created a mindfulness based program at Google based on the Emotional Intelligence framework.  His approach takes the teachings one step passed Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and bring in some stories and practices from Buddhism. Tan also brings the science and research that has been conducted on these practices, which gives the strict business applications more justification. I liked alot about the book, but the structure made it hard for me to moved easily through the book and tie it all back together. That also makes it hard for me to describe why you might like it…because you might. Could.

Unshakeable by Tony Robbins with Peter Mallouk – This is the shorter version his 2014 book Money: Master The Game. If you need convincing on index funds, the right kind of financial advisor, and allocation diversity, read the book. If you are looking for the next level of detail or advice, get the other book. Could.

Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer – This is a beautiful book, written with deep care and deep thought for both word and idea. Palmer writes about the work to find our life’s work. After reading the first essay, my wife handed the book back to me and said, “This is heavy.” She’s right. He asks you to take care and look deeply at your life. Find the threads, honor the limits and work in a vocation that expresses your true self. Should.

Graphic Novels

Old Man Logan Volume 0, Volume 1 and Volume 2 – After the original eight issue run in 2008, Marvel brought the story line into an ongoing series in 2015 and those have been released in four collected editions. I read the first three volume and they are good. The storyline quickly uses time travel to move Wolverine back into the current Marvel time line. He starts to track down all of his past enemies, only to find they may not be his enemies. The whole series has this feel of looking again at common Wolverine tropes from another angle. As I said it is good, but it never captures the originality or quentessial nature of the original run of Old Man Logan. Could.

Black Widow Volume 1 by Mark Waid and Chris Samee – This reboot is kind of interesting. New villian, return to the Red Room, and lots of spycraft. The art for me to was rough and tough to follow, made me want to skip through the story. Wished for me, won’t be continuing on with the series. Could.

What I Read – February 2017


Whiplash: How To Survive Our Faster Future by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe – Not sure. The authors lay out nine concepts that define the age we live in. The concepts are set up to be provocative with a “this vs. that” format. All of the concepts are good. Pull over Push. Systems over Objects. Some of the stories are interesting, but it is not always clear how they support the main concept.  I am not sure the main concepts are always compellingly explained as important. The book is certainly a nod to the MIT Media Lab and I like hearing about the Lab more than I expected. The book though was a mixed bag for me. Could.

Dear Data: A Friendship in 52 Weeks of Postcards by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec – This book collects the mail interchange of two data designers over the course of a year. Each week, they asked a question, collected data and created a representation to send to the other.  The postcards feel more artistic than graphic. Watching the project evolve and seeing their follow-up commentary adds the right amount of context. The book is fun and inspiring. Should.


The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, Narrated by John Lee – I was looking for a book to match with my trip to India in January. The title won the Booker Prize in 2008 and it kept showing up on my radar around books about India and books about entrepreneurship. I chose to go with the audiobook edition, which worked very well given the book is written in first person (and that I can’t read in cars). The protagonist, Balram Halwai, is writing a letter to the Premier of China about his life story and what the Premier could learn from an entrepreneur like himself. The 21st century description of the caste system, bribery, loyalty, and globalization in India resonated with him. I could see glimmers of what Adiga describes. Strangely, the core of the story felt a little hollow to me but the circumstances that drove the story forward were fascinating. Should. 


Life of the Buddha by Ashvaghosha, Translated by Patrick Olivelle – This is an epic poem of the Buddha’s life that was likely written in the first century CE. The official translation runs from his birth through the enlightenment. It is a good, but formal version of the story. Should.

Graphic Novels

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet  – Book Two by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, and Laura Martin – The story continue and T’Challa fights to see what is going on in his crumbling country and starts to see what must be done to save it. Must.

Wolverine: Old Man Logan by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven – I needed to read the original run to be ready for the movie. It’s dark and sad, but it’s Wolverine and it suits him. Must.


What I Read – January 2017



Great by Choice by Jim Collins and Morten Hansen – In this 2011 book, Collins’ points his research practice at emerging companies. The question was how do start-up deal with the uncertainity, chaos and luck during their first decade. Collins with Morten Hansen use the paired approach, comparing 10X companies to their less successful comparables. They found a steady pace, small bets before big ones, consistent strategy, and a healthy dose of “productive paranoia”. The sum of the findings advocates greater discpline and how that discpline creates shapes outcomes in a world with luck, both good and bad.  Must.

Graphic Novels

Ms. Marvel Volume 6 – The book continues its amazing run. Things get more complicated and the consequences more severe. This book takes place during Civil War II event and the influence comes in and goes back out. Must.

What I Read – December 2016


The Revenge of Analog by David Sax – This is a strange one. On the one hand, this book was written for me. I collect Moleskines and Field Notes. I bought a Poloroid camera so I could try out Impossible Film went it came on the market. I supported a number of board games that have been launched through Kickstarter. Our Holiday card in 2014 was eight pages of newsprint from Newspaper Club. Sax does a good job reporting this continuing phenonomen of indie, on-demand, analog creation–old forms finding new life with improved or revived technologies. The trouble was that I knew many of these stories well. I subscribed to Stack. I purchase Monocle. I’ve scouted the Amazon Books stores. I am not sure I could have written it, but it needed a little more (and I can’t believe I am saying this) fanboy amazement at what has happened and what more is possible. Could if you already get analog, Should if you want to understand.

Long Story Short by Margot Leitman – I like short books on storytelling, but this one didn’t click for me. The stories from students in Leitman’s classes were interesting but I am not sure her approach to the mechanics of storytelling gave me a new take. Could.

The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly – I have been reading Kelly’s work for a long time. We chose Out of Control for The 100 Best. There were a few high points but this one didn’t have enough surprises for me. It felt a little too abstract, some of the concepts were mushing in how they could overlap and that I had heard these many of these riffs before. Sadly, Could.

Graphic Novels

Hellboy Volume 1 by Mike Mignola and John Bryne – This is a collection of the first two story arcs of Hellboy. We get the origin story and lots of people tell him he is not doing what he was meant to do. I have always wanted to read this title and I wasn’t disappointed. Must.

Special YA Edition from Ethan Sattersten

My son Ethan is a reader.  Since he started tracking in June, he has finished 50 books. I asked him to share his favorite series of the year.

Keeper of the Lost Cities Series by Shannon Messenger -Sophie is a normal human girl in high school at the age of 12 with Yale trying to accept her. Normal, right? But Sophie can hear minds and one day she meets a boy named Fitz whose minds she can’t hear. Sophie is sucked into a worlddo different than her own. She also isn’t who she thinks she is. I love books that have two things: adventure/fight scenes and mystical legends with a twist (courtesy of the author).   This series has a lore that will make you crave the next book. Must – books in the Series include Keepers of the Lost Cities, Exile, Everblaze, Neverseen, Lodestar and two more planned but unreleased titles.

Keys To The Kingdom Series by Garth Nix – This is the story of Arthur, a kid who is given a key by Mr. Monday. The strange events start to occur. I don’t want to spoil it (and it’s hard to explain anyway). I like these books because of the epic battles and reality bending physics. That     WORTH IT. I kinda play up the book series I love, so bear with my fan boying. Check it out! MUST – books in the Series include Mister Monday, Grim Tuesday, Drowned Wednesday, Sir Thursday, Lady Friday, Superior Saturday, and Lord Sunday.

Skulduggery Pleasant Series by Derek Landy – Stephanie Egley is an average 12 year old living in Ireland until her uncle’s unusual death. At the reading of his will, , she inherits all of her uncle’s royalties and riches, and Stephanie meets a strange man wrapped in a scarf. From there, her life and destiny are changed forever.  This story known as The Dead Bestseller brings you to a world that could easily be a single plot for every typical hero arc there ever was or will be, all in this seven book series. Warning: There are many deaths in these books of important characters or not) Should – books in the Series include Skulduggery Pleasant, Playing with Fire, The Faceless Ones, Dark Days, Mortal Coil, Death Bringer, Kingdom of the Wicked, Last Stand of Dead Men, The Dying of the Light, and a planned release in 2017.

What I Read – November 2016


Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton – This book is full of intriguing places off the beaten path. If the book is for you, you’ll find those few stops you have been to and so many more that you’ll need to visit. Such a lovely collection. Must.

Resilience by Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy – This one has been sitting in my reading pile for a while.  I love the topic of resilience. The authors touch on all sort of interesting hot buttons – mindfulness, prisoner’s dilimina, swarming – but the book doesn’t hold together enough around the big idea.  Could.

Travel The Planet Overland by Graeme and Luisa Bell – This book came out of the travels that the Bells made all over the planet in their Land Rover and they created a Kickstarter project to publish the book. I couldn’t say no. The book designed to convey advice about vehicle choice, essential gear, how to make money and food that works best for long-term overland travel. Could.

Super Sushi Ramen Express by Michael Booth – This is a wonderful book about traveling through Japan with food as the central focus. I traveled to Japan in 2014 and visited some of the places that Booth reports on, but he does so much more. The book made me realize how much Japanese food culture has moved into Western food culture – sushi, tempura, miso, soy sauce, sake, unami.  Each of those serves as an essay topic along with along with several other stops including modern day pearl divers, poisonous fugu fish and the dualing schools of Japanese cooking. The writing style is simple and clear; Booth’s attitude is fun and mildly adventrous. This book is a Should for most people, and if you love Japan, it is a Must.

Graphic Novels

Trees Volume 2 by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard – The storyline gets stale. It moves away from the mystery and gets all muddled up in other motivations of a few characters. It confuses me. I am putting this series down. Skip.

Other Things

Doctor Strange – I honestly don’t know how Marvel continues to produce one great movie after another. I know part of it is being careful to produce across a growing set of genres. I also know they are careful to do too much or reuse plot devices across their movies. As for Doctor Strange, their version of magic is interesting and like in Thor, they show how it intersects with the observable world. Must.

Moana – Walt Disney Animation continues to put out amazing stories. Moana is fun, touching and leads with another great female role model (they even poke fun at the whole Disney princess thing). We took the whole family and everyone loved it. Must.

What I Read – October 2016


Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World by Donald Sull and Kathleen Eisenhardt – I can remember reading the original 2001 HBR article while I was in business school. I loved it and its idea of simplifying decisions with a short list of effective rules. The book is an extension of the article 15 years later and this felt like a good idea with too many pages. The best of the book can be found in chapter 5, where the authors give solid examples for using simple rules in business context. Sprinkled throughout the book there are other interesting anecdotes about how simple rules create better outcomes, but they are too far between.  Could.

The Best Interface Is No Interface by Golden Krishna – Skip. I didn’t want to say that about this book. The topic is great. The design is interesting. The trouble is that the book suffers from too much rant, not enough hope, and the need for a wider variety of interesting examples that describe non-obvious solutions to today’s problems with interfaces.

A Book About Love by Jonah Lehrer – I learned things reading this one (yes, I was wrong about letting kids cry to learn to soothe themselves; very bad idea). I loved spending time thinking about relationships, effort and the stories we tell ourselves. At other points, Lehrer inserts himself into the narrative in very poignant, jolting ways. He uses literary authors and characters to open some chapters. It felt weird.  Overall I wanted something smoother. Move quickly and you will likely find interesting and useful things to think about. The best I can offer is a Could.

Graphic Novels

Ms. Marvel Volume 5: Super Famous by Wilson, Miyazawa, Leon, and Alphona – This book continues its great run. Ms. Marvel somehow keeps bumping into bad time baddies in Jersey City. Family and friends are changing too.  It’s a lot for our main character to keep up with and she sometimes makes decisions that make things worse. Her job is to work it all out. Must.

East of West: Volume Six by Jonathon Hickman and Nick Dragotta – This far into the series it gets hard to talk it about with giving away the story. Just keep reading this one. It is great. Must.

What I Read – September 2016


Grit by Angela Duckworth -This is my favorite book of 2016, hands-down. Duckworth theory is that effort is the key to achievement because it builds skills AND contributes to achievement. Our desire to engage in continued effort comes from passion and perseverance. Her narrative delightfully balances research, case studies and memoir. Her own research is rich and interesting, but even more so as she connects the dots with other researchers like Carol Dweck, Anders Ericsson,  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and others. I’ll be writing a longer summary of the book soon, but until then this is a MUST.

Graphic Novels

Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze – Coates is telling a big story in the newest reboot of Black Panther. What makes the story special is that everyone is right but no one agrees.  What happens when your superpowers can’t save what you love most? Must.

What I Read – August 2016



The Aspirational Investor by Ashvin Chhabra – I rarely read personal finance books because the advice is so repeated – savings more than you spend & balance your investment classes. Chhabra makes a run at doing something different. Most is the same advice but his take on what gets people on the Forbes 400 list and three tranches of investing is interesting. It needed more interesting. Could.

The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei by John Stevens – There are a set of monks outside Kyoto who practice by running.  Monks start by running 100 days of kaihōgyō and very select few continue into a 1000 day challenge that takes seven years to complete. In modern times, only 46 men have completed the longer challenge.  The book describes the history of the Tendai at Mount Hiei, the requirements of kaihōgyō, and the profile of the people who have completed. Fascinating. Could.

Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel – This book was one of the first to introduce Zen to the West. A German philosophy professor searches for a kyūdō master to teach him and satisfy his curosity in mysticism as he perceived Zen to be. Herrigel, in this short book, writes most of the narrative in disbelief and frustration by the seeming indirect and oblique instruction he receives. Even after he passes his teacher’s test, Herrigel worries the reader won’t believe or understand the journey he has taken. I can relate to the student in protest; his skepticism created a distance for me. Could.

The Theory That Would Not Die by Sharon Bertsch Mcgrayne – I have been fascinated by Bayes’ theorem for some time and this book covers the 325 year history of the concept. For a long time, many people thought you could only predict the likelihood of something happening after you observed it happen at least once. Thomas Bayes, Pierre-Simon Laplace and a host of others that followed showed you could take a host of variables and their probablities to help predict these unseen events. Even more importantly, you could keep feeding back new information to improve the predictive outcomes as you progressed. The theory has been used to find lost submarines, break German codes during World War II, show the underrepresented risks with flying large numbers of bomber flights with nuclear weapons onboard.  Heavy on history, my favorite material was in the latter half of the book with the stronger emphasis on modern application.  Could for most.

Graphic Novels

Aya of Yop City by Maguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie – I dropped into the second book in the six book series. The fictional story follows Aya and a cast of characters in Côte d’Ivoire during the 1970’s. I remember seeing a quote from the author saying the goal of the series was to create a more normal portrayal of Africans, one that breaks down the assumptions and stereotypes. The story has shunned relatives “out in the village”, searches for love, and people who are just trying to make their lives a little better. Should.


Chef’s Table – Just finished watching the first season of this documentary series that introduces us to innovative chefs from around the world. This was amazing brain candy for me. I love watching people who do things differently and can explain why. And I love the food they make. I am heading into Season Two immediately. Must.

Kubo and The Two Strings – Fun. Beautiful. Loved it. Must.

What I Read – June 2016


Not Invented Here by Ramon Vullings and Marc Heleven – This is a fun run through being better at taking ideas and inspiration from other places. Lots of going framing and examples. My favorite – “In Germany–companies such as Daimler, Bayer, Siemens, and SAP all have an entire department of Grundsatzfragen (in English: a department of Fundamental Questions). It’s clear these companies see questionsing as a strategic asset.” Should.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – Many people will be drawn in and love the inspiration that Gilbert provides. We live in a world where many people need permission practice their art. This is a beautiful answer for them.  For me, I feel I might have read it at the wrong time or I too easily recognized her angle. Could.

Graphic Novels

Authority Volume 1 by Warren Ellis, Bryan Hitch and Paul Neary – This is a solid 12 issue run with a interesting set of heroes, a dimension traveling ship and bad bad guys. Should.

Letter 44 by Charles Soule and Alberto Jiménez Alburquerque – I read on through Volume 2 and Volume 3. It was OK.  I felt the idea lost its legs and got a little predictable as the story went on. Could.


Cool Japan Guide by Abby Denson – I really enjoyed this comics drawn travel guide to Japan. The book has a nice geek flavor to it with emphasis on manga, food and quirky places to visit. The book is also fun and personal. It is a nice read for anyone planning a trip. Should.


Mozart in The Jungle Season 1 – The appeal for me is in both my inner band geek and the quirky, human way the story plays out. Should.

Drawing is Magic by John Hendrix and Draw Your Big Idea by Nora Herting and Heather Willems – I keep buying these cute books with themed drawing prompts. They are not enough to get over the bump to start; that is my own challenge. Could.

What I Read – May 2016


Connected by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler – I have been wanting to read this book for a long time. Understanding how we are connected and how ideas and influences pass between us is fascinating to me and strongly connected to my work.  The authors draw from a wide range of sources and from their own original research. Strangely, the book overall suffers from too much research and data with not enough connective tissue to form a smoother overall narrative.  Could.

Draplin Design Co. – Pretty Much Everything by Aaron James Draplin – A beautiful capture of Draplin’s 20 year body of work – Snowboarder, Field Notes, Thick Lines, and all the logos. A wonderful testament to being prolific, taking inspiration from everywhere and just being nice Should.

Graphic Novels

Saga Book 1 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples – The series is as wonderful and real. It’s about war and family and like all great stories, characters doing things they never knew they could. This version is a collection of the first 18 issues. Must.

Lando by Charles Soule and Alex Maleev – It is a fun single arc story with Lando Calrissian and his advisor Lobot. They pick up a few others to help with a heist and quickly end up over their heads. I thought it was good-ish. He felt more like previous owner of the Millenium Falcon and less like leader of Cloud City in this one. Could.

Captain America by Ed Brubaker and various artists – I checked Volume 1 and Volume 2 of Brubaker’s run on Captain America.  I liked Volume 1 alot. You can see its influence on the CA movies. Volume 2 was OK. It started a completely new story line, bringing in Winter Soldier and Red Skull, but didn’t feel as compelling. Volume 1 Should, Volume 2 Could.

The Manhattan Projects Volume 1 by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra – This is a re-imagining of the what it was like during World War II and the bringing together of the most brilliant men of the time. In this retelling, creating the A-bomb is a sideshow project for much more important matters. As I kept reading, I wasn’t sure if I should keep going, and still…I turned the page. I will be moving onto Volume 2 and you Should too.

Letter 44 Volume 1 by Charles Soule and Alberto Jiménez Alburquerque – This is another alt-history where the 44th President shows up for his first day on the job and finds out there is a secret space mission that has been underway for three years. It quickly gets more complicated and intersting. Moving onto Vol 2 and 3. Should.


Been out watching all the superhero movies as they released in theaters.

Here is my ranked order:

  1. Captain America: Civil War – Best of the bunch. Marvel has figured out that right mix of drama, action and humor. Really bad things happen in this movie and that provides so much fuel to propel this movie from start to finish. And if you have been watching the whole MCU arc from the start, it is really starting to payoff for viewers. MUST.
  2. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice – Really bad things happening in the DCU but they seem to weigh down the characters. Clark and Bruce carry the weight of their worldviews. Wonder Woman tells us she left because she gave up on humanity. This leaves Lex Luthor seems as the only character with curosity and vision. The series needs some hope, because they is what superheros are all about. Should.
  3. X-Men: Apocalypse – The weakest of the pre-summer releases. It felt like it needed to be big for big’s sake.  The three decade long run across the three most recent movies takes a heavy toll on the continuity, not just with the prior X-men movies but the earlier ones in this series. Big, confusing and a more than a little random. Could.

What I Read – April 2016


The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor – This book follows perfectly the script for the modern business book. Achor lays out the problem: When comparing studies done on psychology, for every 17 studies on negative psychology, there is only one on positive psychology. He defines his language: “Happiness is the joy we feel striving after our potential.” And then he delivers utility backed up by the best psychology research of the last 15 years. Here are some things you can do to have a more positive mindset: meditate, find something to look forward to, commit conscious acts of kindness,  infuse positvity into your surroundings, exercise, spend money on experiences-not things, exercise a personal strength. Should

Culturematic by Grant McCracken – I am a fan of McCracken and had been sitting on this book for too long.   As an anthropologist, he looks for the things that make and shape culture. In his watching, McCracken has started to see a pattern for how memes, ideaviruses, and metaphoric mapmaking happens. He points to food trucks, Apple Genius Bar, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Wordle, NFL Films. The book is written as a hypothesis and that might frustrate some readers, but there is enough pattern matching to satisfy those looking for utility. I know this because I see culturematics all around me – How It Should Have Ended?, Portlandiathe $100 giveaway at 2012 World Domination Summit,  Shasha Martin’s journey cooking a weekly family meal from every country on the planet, Tyler Murphy filling in the blanks with Ben Solo and Chewbecca, Wine Library TV and now #AskGaryVee, Morioka Shoten Ginza: Japan’s One Book Bookstoresketchnoting, Black Lives MatterUniform Project, PechaKucha 20×20, WeWork Should

Graphic Novels

East of West Volume 5 by Hickman, Dragotta, and Martin – Just out paperback. This series is so good. I might need to start buying single issues. I haven’t done that in 35 years. They spent five issues just thickening the plot. Must

The Return of Zita The Spacegirl by Ben Hatke – This is the final book in the current trilogy. Hatke is clever with character, there is great action, and so. much. heart. My favorite line which sums up the series

“[Zita], you’ve helped a lot ‘o folk. An’ you did it by knowin’ when t’do what’s right, not by worryin’ ’bout what’s allowed.”

We need more Zita in the world. Must

Hawkeye vs Deadpool by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli and Jacopo Camagni – If you are going to do Deadpool, it has to be funny. I thought this one was OK. Could

Little Robot by Ben Hatke – I started looking for more books by Mr. Hatke.  This one works well for a younger (and older) audience.  The book is about a little girl who finds a robot that fell off a truck and what happens when the factory finds out. It’s also about how we do the best we can for the things we care about and how our best sometimes isn’t good enough. Should


Zen Flesh, Zen Bones complied by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki – This compliation of Zen stories and koans is made up of four smaller works: the modern 101 Zen Stories, the 13th century Gateless Gate, Ten Bulls and Centering. Many of the stories like A Cup of Tea and The Sound of One Hand have entered common culture as a result of its publication. Must

Reboot Podcast with Jerry Colonna – Jerry is doing something important on this podcast.  You could call it business with heart.  You could call it enlightened leadership.  I find he is at his best when he is coaching startup founders through their current challenge. He is so good at meeting them where they are and helping them see their struggle from a slighly different place. Should


Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisian Bread and Pizza by Ken Forkish –  The book opens with his story of leaving a sales job at IBM to learn to bake bread in California, Minnesota, and France.  The author ended up in Portland and he now bread bakes and pizza makes. The book is a wonderful combination of narrative, better strategy for home bread making and infinite combinations of loaves. Probably need to go buy this one for my shelf. Should

WTF Podcast with Marc Maron – Lorne Michaels – Maron tried out for Saturday Night Live and failed twenty years ago. In his style, he resolves that open wound with Michaels and explores what makes SNL so amazing. Should

The Voyeur’s Motel by Gay Talese – It is impossible to read this and not have some reaction. It is the best piece of writing I have read so far in 2016. Must

WTF Podcast with Marc Maron – Louis CK – This is a great episode about the behind-the-scenes making of Horace and Pete.  I have only watched first episode so I can’t speak for the series, but I found the creative process that Louis CK described as fascinating. We wanted to make this thing that didn’t really exist – somewhere between theater and episodic television.  He wanted to say things and do things that didn’t match his past work. He wanted to show it to people as fast as he could put it out and without any warning or preview. He was able to get Edie Falco, Alan Alda, and Steve Buscemi to sign on to the show with one script (that should be endorsement enough to watch it all). Marc does such of good job of giving Louis space to talk about the emotions of making the series. Must