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

What I Read – March 2016

I made a New Year’s resolutions in 2015 and 2016 to read more books and share what it is I have been reading. I added some new ratings with the intention of being more helpful – Must, Should, Could, and Skip.


How to Cook Your Life by Dogen Zenji, commentary by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi, translated by Thomas Wright – These is the Instructions to the Tenzo, or cook,  written by the founder of Zen Buddhism. This was a temple position that always existed but he elevated its importance in his time through these writings. The directions are simple and provide a view for bringing practice into everyday life. Dogen says, “Maintain an attitude that tries to build great temples from ordinary greens.”Must if you practice Zen

Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar – The best takeaway from the book is that greater happiness comes from taking time to self-reflect through things like meditation or keeping a journal. I had a hard time connecting with the rest of the abstract feeling material. Skip

One Bird, One Stone by Sean Murphy – This is a collection of modern stories from the people who brought Zen Buddhism from Japan to the United States and the first generation of American teachers who helped it take root. Murphy interviewed as many of them as he could and the book is structured with that narrative interspersed with collected stories. I really liked this book. Should if interested in Zen

Sprint by Jake Knapp with John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz – Three Google Venture partners show how to run one week sprints that create workable, successful prototypes.They have determined the people you need and exactly how you should spend your time over those five days. Their process design is firmly seated in insights about where ideas come from and the challenges of group decision making. My favorite piece was a first time exposure to the almost 50 year old technique of “How Might We…?” This book is written to address a specific problem in a highly structured way. I left wanting something more modular or something with more visual treatment that would have been short and more effective at conveying this material. Should if you innovate or facilitate.

Graphic Novels

All Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely – Morrison’s World of Superman is fun and classic. Strange things happen. Everyone feels a little paranoid. You can say that about many of his works, but underneath it all he gets what Superman is about – the secret identity, the fight with Lex, and, of course, Lois. We get to see all the characters – Jimmy, Bizarro, Ma and Pa.  And it all starts with the question – what if Superman were dying? MUST

Nichiren by Masahiko Murakami and Ken Tanaka – This is a manga version of the life of Nichiren, a buddhist monk that lived in the 13th century. He is founded a entire branch to Buddhism solely based on the teaching of the Lotus Sutra and the practice of chanting the phrase “Nam Myoho-Renge-Kyo”. Courtney Love actively practices.  This fictionalized version of Nichiren’s life is just OK. I wanted something more like Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha. I am not sure I came away with a good sense of the monk’s life or how this practice came to be. Skip

The Zen of Steve Jobs by Caleb Melby, Forbes, and JESS3  – This short graphic novel was published in 2012 and it attempts to shed light on the relationship between Jobs and his Zen teacher Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi. It is fictionalized account taken from interviews with those who studied with Kobun and alongside Jobs. The interchanges feel real. The jumps back into his real life don’t feel like the right cause and effect. Zen practice isn’t that obvious. Even with my complaints, I love that this exists. Could to Should

Guardians of the Galaxy (#7-#25,War of Kings Vol 1 and Vol 2 and Realm of Kings) – The rest of the series was messy for me. Lots of characters, over the top action to keep the universe whole and shifting versions of one side versus another with the Guardians stuck in the middle.  I realize that sounds like every comic book storyline, but there are some that do it better than others. Could

Multiversity by Grant Morrison – I tried. I didn’t get it. Skip

Other Stuff

The Expanse on SyFy – I gave it two episodes to see if it would stick and I ended up buying the whole series to binge watch in two days. There is something to this series.  The characters are interesting. There are mysteries to solve. Should

How To Cook Your Life (with Edward Espe Brown and directed by Doris Dörrie) – I found this documentary as I would searching for Dogen’s version. I bought it on a lark. The film is largely a collection of Brown’s dharma talks during cooking classes he held. Could



What I Read – February 2016



I made a New Year’s resolutions in 2015 and 2016 to read more books and share what it is I have been reading.


Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown – Really interesting look at a kind of activity that we don’t think about much. Brown draw from a wide range of disciplines to make his case for the importance of play. “The opposite of play is not work; it is depression.” Even with that praise, I lost some interest about halfway through and decided to move onto another book. Still recommend it. 7.5/10

Non-Violent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall Rosenburg – I finally read this book after hearing about it for a very long time. I like the model alot – observations, feelings, needs, requests. Rosenberg had been doing working in the field for so long that the book is filled with nothing but stories, similar style to Covey’s 7 Habits. Even if the title doesn’t feel right (I didn’t for me), consider giving it a shot. I plan to do a yearly read on the book from this point forward. 10/10

Graphics Novels

East of West Volume 2, Volume 3, and Volume 4 by Jonathan Hickman and Nicholas Dragotta- I continue to really enjoy this series. There are certainly well worn tropes in use but I can’t help but like this ride into the Apacolypse. 9/10

Lazarus Volume 4 by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark – The story pushes forward as House Caryle struggles with war on several fronts and Forever continues to save the day. 9/10

Ms Marvel Volume 4 by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona- Kamala dealing with an ex-boyfriend, family, the boy next door and parallel universes. Luckily, she is gets a little help from her namesake – Captain Marvel. Liking this series more and more. 9/10

Guardian of the Galaxy: Legacy Volume 1 by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning – This is the start of the 2008 run that served as the base material for the movie version. There are a few more members to the team in the comics series, but it shares the same challenges of pulling a group of misfits together toward a common goal. I’ll keep reading. 8/10

FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics Volume 4 by Simon Oliver and Alberto Ponticelli – This collection closes out the series. This is one of those stories where you don’t 100% believe what the characters do at the end of the book. I am still a big fan of Oliver did with this series and the premise is so interesting.  This issue – 6.5/10 Overall: I recommend Volume 1 and 2 of FBP and stopping 9/10

Other Stuff

Oprah Winfrey presents BELIEF  – This seven part series originally broadcast last fall look at belief systems from all over the world. Oprah says she was inspired by the Planet Earth series and the photography in Belief is beautiful. The series is about struggle, faith and forgiveness. The stories inspire to differing degrees, but the real strength of the series is its creation of a mosaic of spirituality that show striking similarities, not decisive differences. 8/10 (and there is follow-up stories on the website)

What I Read – January 2016

startherenowhawkeye v4msmarvel v3eastofwest v1serial podcast

I am very happy to be returning to some emphasis to reading books again in 2016.

Each month I share what I have been reading and listening to.


  • Work Rules! by Laszlo Bock – I had high hopes for this one. I was really interested to hear what Google’s People Operations did differently. The book has too much fluff surrounding a couple of mildy interesting anecdotes. After 125 pages, I had to move on.  5/10
  • Start Here Now by Susan Piver – I saw the book recommended as a good introduction to meditation. I have had a meditation practice for five years and books didn’t work well for me when I was starting. I like the flavor of Susan’s cautions and encouragement. Start Here Now would have been a nice touchpoint in the beginning and I feel like I have a book I can recommend to others now. 8/10
  • Mindful Work by David Gelles – I really wanted to like this book.  Gelles reports on people who are bringing mindfulness to the world of business. He provides neutral account of individual mindfulness efforts in a range of applications across the ethical spectrum, making the uneven outcomes not surprising. My bias wanted something less neutral. 7/10

Graphic Novels

  • Hawkeye Volume 4: Rio Bravo by Matt Fraction, David Aja, Chris Eliopoulos, and Francesco Francavilla – This completes the amazing Fraction/Aja run.  The story. The design. The art. Loved what they did with it. I will miss it. 10/10
  • Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye Volume 1 – I got a strong recommendation from the ComicsAlliance and it didn’t work for me. On a very practical level, all the characters look the same and it was hard to follow the plot and dialogue. Maybe I don’t know my Autobot canon well enough, but I can’t suggest this run based on the first volume 6/10
  • Ms. Marvel Volume 2 and Volume 3 – I went back to it after my lukewarm response to Volume 1. There is something more here now and they needed the set-up to ground Kamala as a character. I still think the plot is sometimes too much on the nose, but I like the ernestness of Kamala trying to figure out growing up.  I have my oldest soon-to-be teenage son reading it and he likes it. 8/10, 10/10 for tweens/teens
  • Locke & Key Master Edition Volume 1 – I checked this out on a strong recommendation from a friend. Just not my game. A little too dark, a little too graphic. 6/10
  • East of West Volume 1 – I am sure others have tried to describe this series, but it is hard.  There is some alt-history, some western, some sci-fi, and some bible borrowing.  The mash-up made me want to compare it to Gaiman’s Sandman, but this series can stand on it own just fine. 9/10


  • Serial Season 2 – They are telling the story of POW Bowe Bergdahl and like last season, we are finding out stories like this are complicated. I am five episdoes in and really love the work they are doing. 9/10

You can always find more recommendations on my What to Read page.

What I Read – July 2015

identity crisis

I made a New Year’s resolution to read more books and share what it is I have been reading.

Graphic Novels

  • Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer and Rags Morales – What happens when someone targets the partners and family of superheroes? This was a wonderful premise for the series. And Meltzer takes the story in so many wonderful directions. The ending bothered me, but I still would recommend this series. 8/10

What I Read – June 2015

I made a New Year’s resolution to read more books and share what it is I have been reading.

I really slowed up reading last month. I had less time in general as we were closing out the school year and what free time I did have was spent more playing games. Splatoon is a little addictive.

So, just two books this month…

FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics  Vol 3 – The writers were trying to go from one place to another and the transition was rocky.  The new destination seems a little forced. I will probably stay with it to see what happens but this left me a little more unsure about the series. 7/10

Monster Factory by Ernie Harker – The book shows step by step how to draw monsters. It was an impulse pick up from the front display at the library and I am glad I picked it up. There were some great examples and now the trick is to picked up the pencil and start doing it.

What I Read – May 2015


crossroads booksstartup podcastdark knight coverlegends of zita

I made a New Year’s resolution to read more books and share what it is I have been reading.

Non Fiction

  • The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna – This book proves there are still a thousand ways to write a beautiful book that can help people find their purpose and Elle picks the right two words to pivot around. 8/10
  • Startup Season 1 (Alex Bloomberg) – This is the podcast about a guy who wants to start a podcast company. It is not just any guy – Alex worked on This American Life and Planet Money.  I think of it as reality radio, a mix between the reported articles of Inc. Magazine and memoir stories of Moth. The shows on mistakes (#9) and burnout (#12) are incredible and should be required listened for everyone who works in business today and start a conversation about how to deal with both better. 10/10

Graphic Novels

  • Batman: The Dark Knight Saga by Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, and Lynn Varley – This hardcover edition includes both the famous Dark Knight Returns and Dark Knight Strikes Again. These stories by Miller set the stage for Christopher Nolan’s films and in reading them now, I find something much more raw than what made it on the screen. Miller extracts the myths of these heroes and shows us how broken they all are. 10/10
  • Legends of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke – The adventure continues and the story of Zita grows, but there are impersonators in their midsts.  A wonderful second volume to the series. 9/10
  • Black Widow: The Finely Woven Thread by Nathan Edmonson and Phil Noto – Natasha is atoning for her past – doing solo gigs to give money back to the ones she hurt. This reboot is just OK for me. I can’t quite figure out what is at stake for her, so Black Widow ends up flat. 6/10

What I Read – March 2015

Do Purpose by David HieattLeap First by Seth GodinRocket Girl by Montclair and Reeder

For 2015, I decided to put an greater emphasis reading more books. Each month I share what I have been reading and listening to.


  • Do Purpose by David Hieatt – Loved it. I would call it cranial caffeine for entrepreneurs. A fast read that reminds you of the important things in startups and points you to examples of people doing them. 10/10
  • Leap First by Seth Godin – This is Seth’s new two disc live audio set from Sounds True. I like that it was recorded as a talk with the intention of being listened to. He talks about a host of things from his last few books–meaningful work, hope, prajna, and just doing the next thing.  If you like Seth, you will like this. 9/10
  • Scary Close by Donald Miller – I saw Don at WDS in 2013 and he was highlight of the event for me. I find him clear, honest and funny. Scary Close is his latest book and uses the courtship with his now wife as the arc to explore intimacy and what health relationships look like. His anecdotes are universal, his honesty is uncommon. 8/10


  • Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey – This was another suggestion in a list of sexy SFF titles that Tor.com published in response to the fervor over the Fifty Shades of Gray movie release.  The main character Phèdre is a courtesan who lives in a fictionalized Europe and listens very close to her clients (and their secrets). The Fifty Shades nod comes from how Phèdre “experience[s] pain and pleasure as one.” I read 300 pages but I eventually ran out of interest in medieval political maneuvering and the kind of services Phèdre offered. A very subjective 6.5/10.

Graphic Novels

  • Rocket Girl – Volume 1 by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder – What a great book. A protagonist has the courage to go back in time to right a wrong not knowing the effects it will have. Did I mention she is 15 and wears a jetpack? There are so many juicy dualities of young/old, good/evil, past/future that I had to go back and read it a second time.  They leave you hanging a little at the end, but the good news is the next arc starts with issue #6 in May. Required reading girls 10 or older 8.5/10
  • Ms. Marvel – Volume 1 by Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona – This book is important. Kamala Khan is the first Muslim character to headline a Marvel title. Kamala’s family and culture play large in these first five issues. For me, I wanted to like it more. Everything centered around the awkward teenage origin story and the fierce conflict with her family. That misses the mark for me as a reader. 10/10 for comics, 7/10 for me.

What I Read – February 2015

World War Z FBP-Vol-2-1

For 2015, I decided to put an greater emphasis reading more books.

I slowed down a little in February and have partially gotten through a pile of books, leaving me plenty to report on next month.


  • World War Z – The Complete Edition: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks – I throughly enjoyed this audiobook edition of WWZ. The structure of the book lent itself so well to bringing in a cast of Hollywood actors to play the characters that are interviewed in the aftermath of a decade long war that nearly kills humanity. Brooks creates an expansive alternate history with enormous failures to recognize the growing threat, surprising shifts in geo-poltical power, and the haunting regrets carried by so many survivors.10/10 And P.S. there are several audio editions and you want ISBN 978-0804165730.
  • Dawn from Lilth’s Brood by Octavia Butler – Tor.com publish a list of sexy SFF titles in response to the fervor over the Fifty Shades of Gray movie release.  Lilth’s Brood, a complied trilogy, was listed and the concept was intriguing. Dawn is the first book in a trilogy and traces the life of Lilth after she is taken aboard a vessel after a nuclear war nearly destroys all life on Earth. The story is her journey of meeting her captors and slowly understanding what they have in store for the human race and their own. I couldn’t stay away from the story and read continuously.  The way some of the important details were shared felt clunky at times, but I would recommend this one with hesitation. 8.5/10

Business Books

  • Jobs-to-be-Done The Handbook by Chris Spiek and Bob Moesta – I am on the #JTBD bandwagon and I hoped this $20 book would deepen my understanding of this method.  The book is only 66 pages and it looks like it was adapted from a powerpoint deck with 24 point font and copious illustrations.  It’s a beta book that I wish was sold more clearly as that.  Having said all that, I just want more and I would be happy to hear when a more detailed edition is released. 5.5/10 in its current state with 2.5 points reserved for when they add more material.

Graphic Novels

  • Sex Criminals Volume 1 by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky – I understand the interest in this book but I don’t get all the buzz.  The book puts sex at the center of the plot; the twist is that the main characters stop time when they do. What they do in those frozen moments is bad, ranging from rude to illegal.  I am probably in the minority but that angle doesn’t work for me. The same thing happened to me when I read The Superior Foes of Spiderman, too much of watching people make bad choices. This is sad because their approach to the character and their sex lives is honest and very human. 6/10 for me.
  • FBP Volume 2  by Simon Oliver and Robbi Rodriguez – As I said last month, I went barreling into the next volume of Federal Bureau of Physics and it doesn’t disappointed. The creators explore a new story with wonderful character diversity and a crazy fun story that plays with our perception of reality(s). And the reality is that they are in big trouble as this arc ends. Volume 3 is due out May 5th 🙂 9/10

What I Read – January 2015

Smartest by Shane SnowFBP - Federal Bureau of PhysicsThe Wake by Synder and Murphy

Over the last two years, my book reading has dropped off significantly. I often blame it on the amount of reading I am doing in my day job but the further away from actively reviewing of books, the more I find myself reading magazines and online features.  I certainly like that I am still avidly reading. What I miss with this current content mix is the deliberateness you find in the writing for books.  There is a more careful consideration for a topic. Books are containers with boundaries and edges.

So in January, I adjusted my reading mix to heavy dose of hardcovers and paperbacks.  I largely read in two categories – business in a very general sense and comics/graphic novels. Each group is organized roughly in the order I finished them and with a hint of commentary.

Business Books

  • Creativity for Sale: How I Made $1,000,000 by Wearing T-shirts and How You can Turn Your Passion into Profit by Jason Surfapp – Jason sold $75,000 worth of advertising in this book before he got started on the book. I had to see what it was about. Jason does a lot of selling himself – the shirt he wears, the right to his last name – so it would only make sense that he would bring that to his book.  His story was interesting, the rest was OK. 5/10
  • Customers Included: How to Transform Products, Companies, and the World – With a Single Step by Mark Hurst and Phil Terry – I could never figure out what the authors were trying to do with this book. Didn’t get past page 20. 2/10
  • Everything I Know by Paul Jarvis – Couldn’t get into it. Lots of high level, commonly heard advice that made it difficult to grab on. ?/10
  • Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow – I liked this book. There is some nice unexpectedness in the stories and research. My one smallish complaint is that Snow turns the corner too fast with many of his chapters hinging on a person’s story and one interesting piece of research. I would like to have seen more material to bolster the points in his framework. (which are Hack the Ladder, Train with Masters, Rapid Fastback, Platforms, Waves, Superconductors, Momentum, Simplicity, and 10X Thinking). 7/10.
  • Hipster Business Models : How To Make A Living in The Modern World by the team at Priceonomics – I like this book a lot but it is a little hard for me to know who I would recommend to. The authors have pulled together 22 stories that have been featured on their blog and filled out the details a little more.  The stories are of people doing what they want to do and possibly finding a way to make money doing it – underwear with a pocket, jellyfish tanks, a better frisbee. If you love seeing lots of alternative business models or reading about entrepreneurs trying to make their businesses work, this book will work for you.  Otherwise, skip it because you will likely fail to see how cool all of these people are. 8/10 for me.

Comics and Graphic Novels

  • Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 1 – The Ronin by Stan Sakai – This rabbit samurai bodyboard has been saving feudal Japan since 1984.  This is my first run through this classic series and it is fun. 8.5/10
  • The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 1  by Gillen McKelvie and Wilson Cowles – If you follow comics at all, you have been hearing about this title.  There is a soundtrack. All the praise is well deserved. I only buy collected issues in paperback and Vol.1 ends with amazing things just getting started. Given that, I recommend waiting until July until Vol. 2 is released, so you can read straight through. 8/10
  • Viktor Kalvachev’s Blue Estate Hardcover – I bought this on a tip from Wink Books and I liked it. What is there not to like about movie stars, assassins, Russian mobsters fighting Italian gangsters and a few misunderstandings that create a self-propelled storyline? 7.5/10
  • The Wake by Scott Snyder and Sean – I liked this limited run too. Lots of nice alt-biology and alt-future history running through two storylines separated by 200 years. 8.5/10
  • FBP by Simon Oliver, Robbi Rodriguez, and Ricorenzis – Buy this now! The authors have created a world where the laws of physics aren’t as constant as they used to be and the Federal Bureau of Physics is called to investigate and fix the rips and tears in space-time, some accidental and other created on purpose. I burned through Vol.1 and had to buy Vol. 2 immediately. 9/10
  • The Fear Agent Volume 1 by Remender, Moore and Opena – I wanted to like this more. Maybe it is the reckless cowboy angle that didn’t work for me. I am not sure. You should give it a shot if you haven’t. 6/10