Monday, January 04, 2021

2020 in Books

goodreads books 2020

You would think a global pandemic would be good for your reading habit. This doesn't seem to be the case for me. I am not sure where the time I spent on commute went, but definitely not towards some good use.

This list is kind of in order, but also grouped by author and series. 

Most of the books are easy airport reads, with thrillers and some sci-fi. 

I also tried some of the management books I had on my reading list for a long time.


The Unicorn Project: A Novel about Digital Disruption, Redshirts, and Overthrowing the Ancient Powerful Order by

See also my post about this book. Both are engineering management books in the form of a novel. I was not 100% convinced, but at least the first part (Phoenix Project) was a fun read. This part was a drag. 

The Business of Changing the World: How Billionaires, Tech Disrupters, and Social Entrepreneurs Are Transforming the Global Aid Industry by

Written by my boss about the industry Devex is navigating in. I figured that it is probably a good idea to find out what he thinks about the industry while finding out more about the industry myself. I found a lot of interesting titbits and it might help me to make decisions about our products in the future.

In the Shadow of Power  (Sandhamn Murders #7) by
In the Name of Truth
(Sandhamn Murders #8) by Viveca Sten

I really like Nordic Noir TV series ... this is not that. It is a easy beach crime lecture in a cosy Swedish setting. Maybe Enid Blyton for grown ups. 

Infinity Born by

It did get off to a good start, but then it looked like someone searched for AI on Wikipedia and got lost for a couple of days. During this travel into the rabbit hole he seemed to have got fascinated by various billionaires and decided to write a book about it.
All the other characters were just decoration and I didn't care for any of them.
The plot, if you can even call it that, was so predictable that I was able to see the ending miles away. 

The Poet (Jack McEvoy #1) by Michael Connelly
The Scarecrow (Jack McEvoy #2) by Michael Connelly
Fair Warning
(Jack McEvoy #3) by Michael Connelly
The Lincoln Lawyer
(Mickey Haller #1) by Michael Connelly
The Fifth Witness
(Mickey Haller #4) by Michael Connelly
The Gods of Guilt
(Mickey Haller #5) by Michael Connelly
The Law of Innocence
(Mickey Haller #6) by Michael Connelly

These books all play in the Bosch universe. I really like the Harry Bosch series in books and on TV. Because I was yearning for more of the same I devoured the rest of the universe too. They are easy to read crime fiction with different angles depending on the main person. 

Harry Bosch is an ex-detective, Jack McEvoy a reporter and Mickey Haller a lawyer.  

They are all kind of broken, which is the way I like my heroes.

The Man Who Never Was (John Milton #16) by Mark Dawson
Killa City
(John Milton #17) by Mark Dawson
(John Milton #18) by Mark Dawson

Another crime series I am addicted too. John Milton is a British ex-spy on a Jason Bourne / Robin Hood mission. Another broken hero. Good fun to read.

The Art of Leadership: Small Things, Done Well by Michael Lopp

If you read his blog you probably can skip the book. It is structured in sections for managers, directors and executives. I only enjoyed the first two. 

Definitely worth reading though as he gives good actionable tips with believable examples.

Red Rising (Red Rising Saga #1) by Pierce Brown
Golden Son (Red Rising Saga #2) by Pierce Brown
Morning Star (Red Rising Saga #3) by Pierce Brown

Hunger Games meets Hogwart's Houses. This doesn't have enough science for me. But then I still read through three of these very large books. The world and cast building is pretty good. 

Change Journal by Tim Jaudszims

I started a workday journal this year and was looking for inspirations for structure and format. So far I haven't picked up anything from this book. Maybe 2021 :-)

Team Topologies: Organizing Business and Technology Teams for Fast Flow by Matthew Skelton

Very good read for every engineering manager. The focus is on product/stream teams with additional supporting teams. Most of it only makes sense for large companies and teams dealing with software. It is also relying on the use of micro-services a lot to split up projects for teams.

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier

I somehow feel that this could have been a blog post or a series of posts. I think the author felt the same, because the book is full of empty decorative pages and a large font type. 

Nonetheless the tips are good and maybe the repetition in the book helps with remembering them. 

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek  

I gave up on this very early. I am just not buying into the whole concept. I think there are also some talks by him on TED and YouTube that tell you everything you need to know about the concept. 

Similar to the Unicorn Project, this begins with a fictional story about a new CEO coaching her team to success. Apparently there is a 19 page version of this around or "busy" people, but these 250 pages are also a very quick read. 
Probably nothing new to people dealing with teams, but the the example story and explanations make it worth it. 


Doomsday Clock Series

I love The Watchmen graphic novel. It is one of my top five graphic novels. This is a cross-over with the DC universe (Batman & co). I really don't like cross-overs, but it was great to revisit the characters.

Criminal Series by  

Great crime comic from one of my favourite comic artists. 

The Boys Series by

Lazarus: Risen Series by

Greg Rucka is another one of my favourite comic artists. I love what he did with the Batman universe back in the days. This story is about some engineered super humans that are used by super rich families to fight each other, because they are to spoiled. 

Currently (or soon or never) reading

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams by Tom DeMarco 

I have read this a long time ago, but someone recommended it as a book that is still valid. So far it seems pretty good.

Iron Gold (Red Rising Saga #4) by Pierce Brown

The next part in the Saga. But #3 kind of closed it of nicely. I am not sure if I can be bothered.

Psychedelic Prayers: And Other Meditations by Timothy Leary

OK, this is as weird one. It is often used as lyrics in techno tracks. I sometimes cite it in strange places. 

Rise: 3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, and Liking Your Life by Patty Azzarello

I can't remember why I put it on my list. Maybe a recommendation by someone.

Rumble Strip by Woodrow Phoenix

Definitely a recommendation. It is a comic about how we treat the dangers of cars as normal. I read it very slowly, because it is super depressing.  

My to-read list on Goodreads is also way too long. 




1 comment:

  1. Amazing thanks for sharing Christof!
    Here’s a little 50 min audio book for you one of my favourites from 2020. The hardback book is delightful