Dilla Time - This is one of the best books I have read in the last 10 years. It is about J.Dilla, possibly my favorite producer of all time, but it is also about the history of Black music in America, technological development and disruption, the entire neo soul movement, and the cost of enabling a single minded obsession. This book left me speechless.
Cien Años de Soledad - This was a bucket list book for me. After I got back from Spain and my Spanish was at its peak I started this book. Then the semester started back up, and I had to set it down. Then on the next break I tried again. I’d probably read the first 75 pages 3 times, but had never gotten through it. This time I did. Technology helps: I’d read the kindle book, while listening to the spanish audio book with Audible. Then after finishing a chapter in Spanish, I’d read it in English, then re-read it in Spanish. It’s a difficult book and probably wasn’t a wise choice for my first foray back into reading in Spanish but I’m glad I did it.
Scorecasting - This was a fine beach read but nothing special. It had a “freakanomics but for sports” vibe but wasn’t as engaging as I remember Freakanomics being (althogh it has been 15+ years since I read that)
Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis - The stories of how different countries responded to crises in different ways were interesting. The attempt to construct an underlying theory for how nations respond to crisis from an N of ~8 was… a stretch.
Talent: How to Identify Energizers, Creatives, and Winners Around the World - Interesting and thought provoking read. But I was left with the feeling that the specific techniques suggested by the authors wouldn’t necessarily generalize to normal recruiting without some additional guardrails. Tyler Cowen is a professor and a lot of his interviewing is part of grantmaking and Daniel Gross is an early stage VC who is interviwing founders. In both of those scenarios you’re seeking outlier performers and high variance is fine (it is fine if most grants / investments don’t pan out if you find one or two “hits”). But in interviewing at a normal company, even a top notch company with very high standards, your downside risk is higher.
Locos, Ricos, and Asiáticos - After Cien Años de Soledad I needed something lighter so went with the Spanish translation of Crazy Rich Asians. Wasn’t quite as easy as I was hoping for as there is a ton of luxury goods vocabulary that I didn’t know. Fun read though overall. I had enjoyed the movie, but, as always, the book is better.
Hábitos Atómicos - Now this was more my speed. Turns out that mass market business / personal development books are written with relatively clear language so this was a way easier read. Also a good book. Emphasis on
Rome: An Empire’s Story - We went to Italy in July and I like to learn a bit about the places I went. This wasn’t a comprehensive history of the Roman Empire, but was more a history of the development of the concept of empire.
The Anarchy - A history of the East India company and more specifically the 100 year period of chaos following the East India company’s toppling of the Mughal empire. Almost everything in this book is insane, from a private company essentially acting as sovereign of one of the largest nations on earth to descriptions of torture more depraved than anything in Game of Thrones.
Net Gains - I’m a sucker for analytical soccer books. I really enjoyed that this book was written by an American who came up in our youth development system and played through college. Good overview of the evolution of an analytical understanding of the game. Not a ton here that is new if you’ve read “Football Hackers” but I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend.
Mindset: La Actitud del Éxito - I’ve been familiar with the concept of Growth Mindset and have found it a useful tool for thinking about how I approach challenges and how I attempt to steer my children. The book is a bit of a mixed bag, particualrly because I was already coming convinced that Growth Mindset was a real thing (they even did a well [designed replication study(https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2018/03/growth-mindset-replicates.html)]). There are some good examples of how to phrase praise to. But I think the book at time veered into labeling anything the authour liked as “Growth Mindset” and anything they didn’t like as “Fixed Mindset”. In particular, I found the chapter arguing for Jack Welch—famous for living in an $80,000/month GE owned apartment even after he retired—as a down to earth, man of the people, Growth Mindset CEO boderline hilarious because he cut the executive dining room. Reading it in Spanish I learned a lot of synonyms for “challenge”