This January, Mark Zuckerberg announced “A Year of Books“, a very interesting initative. Something simple and cool: the symbolic target to read a book every month. So, a minimum of twelve books every year.
I really liked it, and made it mine. So, in january, I started my “Year of Books” too. I will use this post to take notes about my year books.
Note: the links you are going to see here are not referral links.
Last Update: September 18, 2015
January – Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott
My first book was this fantastic satirical novel by Edwin Abbott Abbott. At a glance it seems something nerd, but if you read it carefully things change.
It’s a fantastic work with a fantastic message about diversity and going beyond what we can see and perceive.
My year could not start in a better way.
February – The Fall by Albert Camus
In february, I chosen “The Fall”. I liked Camus style, and I liked to hear (well, actually read is more appropriate) the stories of Jean-Baptiste. I am not going deep into the story, I don’t want to spoiler nothing. However, a very appreciated book.
Honestly, I think I will read it again in the future.
However, it was a very short book, so I finished my february book during the first days of the month. Obviously, I could not wait the end of the month to eat another book…
March – How Google Works by Eric Schmidt
And now, something more technical.
I really enjoyed this “full-of-good-advices” books from Eric Schmidt (Google CEO until 2011). It was cool because, you don’t need to be the CEO of a multi-billion company to follow his advices and improve yourself.
A teaching that I will not forget is really simple quote: “be a router”. Of course, it wasn’t the only one. This is one of those books that I would suggest to anyone, not only to IT people.
April – Appunti di un Venditore di Donne by Giorgio Faletti
In April, I went back to novels. I chosen this one because I love Faletti’s writing style. Easy to read, fluid, with a special consideration for descriptions, without losing the focus on the story.
The book follows the story of Bravo, a man who sells women.
May – Zero to One by Peter Thiel
I am serious when I say that I love this book. The startup world is literally full of commonplaces: this book deflates them one by one.
Starting from the 2000 dotcom bubble, this book analyses many aspects of the startup world and, in general, of the business world from a new perspective.
I really enjoyed Thiel’s visions about competition and monopolies, also related to the school system. A must read, imho.
June – Seven Brief Lessons in Physics by Carlo Rovelli
I seriously think that this one will easily enter in my top three.
Carlo Rovelli is a real divulger. His style is perfect, fluid, easy to understand and I think that everyone should read this little book.
I particularly love the lesson about the Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the “most beautiful theory”. A specific sentence, in this chapter, will be impressed forever in my mind: “holidays are the moments when you can study in a better way, because you are not distracted by school“.
July – Submission by Michel Houellebecq
Time for another novel. The story of a professor, in a very different France from the one we know.
To be honest, the book tells two different stories. The “inner” story of Francois, the main character, about his thoughts, about his life in every aspect, and the “outer” story of Francois. A story about a whole country. It made me think about Islam and its culture. It’s a totally different world than the one we live everyday. And this was the most impressive thing in this book. The different culture, that slowly overcome everything else, every previous custom, or law.
I really appreciated it.
August – The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
On May, I dedicated my month to Peter Thiel’s “Zero To One”. When I bought it from Amazon I also took “Creativity Inc.” by Ed Catmull and this awesome piece by Ben Horowitz. If you don’t know Horowitz you probably know one or more company in which he invested. Just a couple of names: Facebook, Twitter, Github, AirBnb.
Quite impressive, huh? However, if it’s not enough, he’s one of the few people that was able to make an exit of $1.6 billion dollars with a company that survived the dotcom bubble.
In this book, he talks about “the hard thing about hard things”. The main concept is quite simple: everyone is able to study the “right way” of company organization design but… what to do when things go really wrong? How can you fire a loyal friend, or how you can understand if “that” guy is ok for an high management position?
It’s really difficult, because, as he says: “Everybody learns to be a CEO by being a CEO. No training as a manager, general manager, or in any other job prepares you to run a company. The only thing that prepares you to run a company is running a company“.
Another awesome choice for my “Year of Books”.
September – Stammi Felice by Luciano de Crescenzo
The first time I saw a book by Luciano de Crescenzo was many, many years ago at my grandma house. Just like me, she was a very great book-eater. To be honest, I don’t remember what books it was, however I was captured by the writer style. Probably I was reading “Storia della Filosofia Greca” (“History of Greek Philosophy”).
However, I can say that I always loved Luciano de Crescenzo. For many reasons. For his writing style, his humour, and after many years I also learned that he was an IBMer (maybe one day I will talk about my love for IBM).
In this book, that I read some days ago, he speaks about happiness and how it could be conceived by many philosophers, picturing himself during a dinner with them. Starting from Socrates and finishing with Antonio de Curtis, also known as Totò.
October – Ti Sembra il Caso? by Erri de Luca
Another relaxing lecture this month. A really short book, but I have a good excuse: it was a really hard month. I changed my entire life (again) as I have found a new job, so… hope you understand.
“Ti Sembra il Caso” is a dialogue between a writer and a biologist, and between two friends. Erri and Paolo. They speak about DNA (Paolo studies are related to some specific genes), about life, about feelings. A little bit of everything. Well, it’s not exactly a dialogue in the literal way: to be more precise, a correspondence.
A really enjoyable and “light” lecture.
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