• February Reading

    At Home: a short history of private life by Bill Bryson.  An interesting exploration of home mostly in England and some in the US with riffs about historical bits – inventors, disease and governments.


    Spies: a novel by Michael Frayn.  I enjoyed it, but didn’t think it was a happy novel.  Another of his novels, A Landing on the Sun, was on the list that Gretchen Rubin suggested for happy reading.  Our library didn’t have that one so I got this one.  Saturday by Ian McEwan that I read last month was on this list.  I didn’t finish Gilead – it wasn’t working for me.  Interesting choices.


    The Smart Swarm: how understanding flocks, schools and colonies can make us better at communicating, decision making and getting things done by Peter Miller.  Good read, lots of great examples of nature, people and science/ technology learned from and used.  Referenced Ants at Work by Deborah Gordon, another book I would suggest.


    Committed: a skeptic makes peace with marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert.  This is a long essay about marriage woven around her story about immigration and marriage. I love her writing.


    The Upside of Irrationality: the unexpected benefits of defying logic at work and at home by Dan Ariely.  I love Dan Ariely’s writing.  He designs interesting experiments and adds fun comments.  He works with a wide variety of people – he picks great teams.  He starts many sections with, ‘I was talking to _ and _ and we were discussing _.”  Makes me wish I could have lunch with him.  We are irrational, but that’s what makes us adapt to new environments, trust others.  These irrational forces help us achieve great things and live well in a social structure.


    Free-Range Kids: giving our children the freedom we had without going nuts with worry by Lenore Skenazy (America’s worst mom).  Lenore is a witty and insightful writer.  Lighten up and let your kids learn how to be in the world.  She let her 9 yo ride the subway alone and was blasted in the media for it.  The world is not statistically any scarier, we have just become adverse to any hurt and we have the belief that everything is in our control and therefore it is our fault if anything goes wrong.


    Roar!: get heard in the sales and marketing jungle – a business fable by Kevin Daum with Daniel A Turner.  The story of Ryan, VP of marketing at a Furniture Supply business learning marketing from his friend Lenny, owner of a thriving packaging company.  Create a clear Value Proposition and ROAR (recognize, observe from their perspective, acknowledge them and respond to their needs) for the 4 types of buyers: wise, cynical, simple and unwilling to ask.

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