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2020 in review: Books

About my relationship with books and reading this year.

During the first lockdown I went on a book-buying spree. Pretty sure it was a coping mechanism.

I bought everything and anything: fiction, biographies, comics, self-help, you name it.

At one point I was buying a book a day. But I couldn't bring myself to read anything, so the books piled up in my study.

In the second half of the year my existential dread calmed down and my concentration returned, so I managed to read a few things:

  1. Inside Apple: The Secrets Behind the Past and Future Success of Steve Jobs's Iconic Brand
  2. Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level
  3. Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life
  4. Hit Refresh: A Memoir by Microsoft’s CEO
  5. Man and His Symbols
  6. The Second Sleep
  7. Microserfs
  8. The Man Who Owns the News: How Rupert Murdoch Took the Wall Street Journal and Almost Everything Else
  9. Stealing MySpace: The Battle to Control the Most Popular Website in America

Lots of tech-centric non-fiction reading here. Keen to find any insights I can from the giants about their approaches to creation, process, structures, etc.

The two bits of fiction on the list (Microserfs and The Second Sleep) are both tech-centric, too. One more overtly as it's about Silicon Valley culture, and the other in a more secondary way. Both are great.

Probably the most "worthy" book out of the list is Jung, and it's a fascinating read. It's given me a basic understanding of the ideas surrounding dream interpretation, signs, and symbols, western over-reliance on rationalism, and more. Definitely becoming a fan of Jung as I dip my toes into reading around psychology.

More generally I'm just happy to get my reading habit back.

Here's what's on the shelf for early 2021:

  1. The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer
  2. Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal
  3. Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture
  4. The Discipline of Teams (Harvard Business Review Classics)
  5. A Single Man
  6. Spycatcher: The Candid Autobiography of a Senior Intelligence Officer

We'll see how it goes.

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