The Books I Read in 2013

I have tracked (most of) the books I read for a while now. This year was no exception. (Though I did quit tracking during the middle of this year…)

Finished Books

These are some of the books I finished reading in 2013.

19 I read Poseidon’s Arrow by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler. I’ve read Clive Cussler books for a long time, too long, in fact. Clive apparently likes the name “Dirk” because it’s the name he gave to his protagonist, the protagonist’s son, and his own (co-author) son. I guess there’s something to be said for consistency. This book is something to read on a plane or a beach when reading anything too deep would result in losing the plot. There’s no risk of that here. You will lose your credulity along the way, though. Move along…

18 I read The Racketeer by John Grisham. I don’t really need to tell you a John Grisham book is good, do I?

17 I read Taking Ivy Seriously by Matthew David Brozik. A combination of IP law and a novel. What’s not to like?

16 I read The Cross in the Closet by Timothy Kurek. Similar to the plot of Black Like Me, a straight male comes out as gay and lives as such for one year. Although some circumstances seemed too contrived or convenient, I recommend this book for anyone who still thinks of LGBTQ as “other” or “them.”

15 I read Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. I’ll read anything these guys write. You should too…

11, 12, 13, 14 I read A Game of Thrones , A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows, the first four books in the never-ending A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. This series has been criticized for being filled with characters dying (both insignificant nobodies and assumed main characters). I became bored with the series more because dead characters came back to life after having been hacked so bad that they should have died. Well, that and it needs editing — extensive editing. I still can’t believe I bought and started the fifth book after reading this review.

10 I read What We Talk About When We Talk About God by Rob Bell. I don’t expect Rob to get as much flack for this book as he did for Love Wins. Though, I could be wrong. Finished May 8.

9 Lesterland: The Corruption of Congress and How to End It by Lawrence Lessig is an expansion of his TED talk. Well worth reading if you have any interest in understanding corruption in our system of government and want to be part of the solution. Read April 4-5.

8 I read The Innocent by David Baldacci. Okay, that plot was just a little unrealistic. Escapist to the extreme. I’m not sure that’s a good thing… Finished March 20.

7 Josh Bancroft recommends Constellation Games by Leonard Richardson, linking Cory Doctorow’s review of the book. I read the ebook sample and was hooked. Not being a gamer, I’m not in this book’s target demographic. That’s fine. I found it to be an interesting and worthy read. Read March 5-14.

7 I read The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business by Patrick M. Lencioni. After all, I love all of Pat’s1 previous books. To top it off, I had the privilege of hearing Pat talk about org health, summarizing parts of this book and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team on February 6. I finished this book later that evening on the flight home.

This is a book I will re-read, outline, talk about with my team, etc. Started January 22.

6 I read The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau. This is a great book, one that should inspire most anyone to think of a side business (or even a main business) that they could start. It gives practical advice on getting started and how to grow or not. Finished January 29.

5 I re-read (I’m sensing a short pattern here) The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin. A humorous yet tender story of a man dealing with life. As I read this book, I had to read aloud paragraphs to family members nearby. Too funny! Finished January 23.

4 I re-read Excavating Jesus: Beneath the Stones, Behind the Texts by John Dominic Crossan and Jonathan L. Reed. I last read Excavating Jesus in 2009 when I borrowed it from the library. I found a used copy at Powell’s Books and couldn’t pass it up. Finished January 19.

3 Dave Sharrock tweeted a link to Mark Miller’s blog post “Understanding the Next Generation,” which mentioned You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith by David Kinnaman. I figured it was worth checking out. After reading it, I wonder. You Lost Me does a good job of explaining how the world has changed and different classes of reasons why Christian Millenials might leave the church. Unfortuantely, even though Kinnaman collected a lot of data on the topic, I’m not convinced that he really understands why or has the solution.

The 50 solutions proposed by others in the last chapter are much better.

Finished January 10.

2 I discovered Do the Work by Steven Pressfield on a list of Seth Godin’s favorite business books and then I found it in my local public library. I read it sitting in seat 3E on the way from Portland to Sacramento, and still had bunches of time to take pictures out the window.

This is another book that I will buy and reread, multiple times.

Started and finished January 9.

1 I found The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks at the local public library. In early 2009, the British Humanist Association placed advertisements on London buses saying, “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” This book is Rabbi Sacks’ response, about why it matters, what’s at risk, and why the conflict is misplaced, that science and religion need not be at odds with each other, and in fact, that both science and religion are stronger and better when they aren’t. In Partnership, Rabbi Sacks addresses evolution/cosmology, why there is evil in the world, and why so much of it seems to be exhibited by those claiming to be religious.

This is a book that I will buy and reread.

Finished January 1.

Do you have any books you’d recommend?

Interesting Books

These are books I’ve read about, that I’ve been told about, or that I’ve run across in the bookstore during 2013 and don’t want to forget about. I use this list when perusing book stores and the local public library.

Karen Armstrong emailed a holiday message mentioning her book, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. Somehow, I had missed this one.

William Carlton writes a book report on This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral-Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!-in America’s Gilded Capital by Mark Leibovich.

Daniel H. Pink interviews Heidi Grant Halvorson Ph.D. and E. Tory Higgins Ph.D. about their book, Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing the World for Success and Influence by Heidi Grant Halvorson Ph.D. and E. Tory Higgins Ph.D.

I learned about a bunch of books at Intel’s Agile and Lean Development Conference. I list them below:

It Starts with One: Changing Individuals Changes Organizations by J. Stewart Black and Hal Gregersen.

Ready, Set, Dominate: Implement Toyota’s Set-based Learning for Developing Products and Nobody Can Catch You by Michael N. Kennedy and Kent Harmon.

Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit by Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck.

The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development by Donald G. Reinertsen.

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries.

Lean Product and Process Development by Allen C. Ward.

Yup, this is the end of the Agile/Lean books.

Cousin Shelby mentions The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You by Eli Pariser and You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto by Jaron Lanier in a blog post referencing “The Meme Hustler; Tim O’Reilly’s crazy talk,” a lengthy article by Evgeny Morozov.

Greg Mankiw (professor and chairman of the economics department at Harvard University) recommends The Little Book of Economics: How the Economy Works in the Real World by Greg Ip.

Chris Coyier mentioned Execute by Drew Wilson and Josh Long. The book eats its own dogfood, having been written in only eight days.

Will Richardson of excerpts the introduction of The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning by James Paul Gee:

This book is about what it means to be smart and to be a fully awake participant in our high-risk global world in the twenty-first century. It is about what parents ought to do to forestall their children becoming victims in that high-risk world. The book is about how to think about the future before we humans don’t have one. We need to save our children and ourselves from the sorts of human stupidity to which we are all prone, but that are now way too dangerous to indulge in. To have a future we need to start exercising our smart side more, a side that today’s schools, colleges, and media have too often put to sleep.

We discussed The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr at school board. Looks worth reading.

What books do you think I should read?


  1. Maybe a little informal, but hey — I did get to meet Pat and shake his hand. :-) 

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Author: Brent Logan

Engineer. Lawyer. WordPress geek. Longboarder. Blood donor. Photographer. More about Brent.

2 thoughts on “The Books I Read in 2013”

    1. That’s too kind. I wouldn’t recommend all of these books. In fact, I’d only recommend books 1-7, 9-10, 15-16, and 18 if you like John Grisham. I guess that’s a little more than half of them.

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