Some of the books I read in 2017 were new, some were re-reads of the books I had already read in the past. While the booklist spans categories – I haven’t limited my reading or this list to a specific genre or category of books not to the latest releases, I will set the context for each book when it comes on the list. This list isn’t in any particular order (chronological or best/worst ranking), it’s just a list.
Gardens of the Moon | Steven Erikson (still reading)
Genre: high fantasy
This is a beautiful book. Exquisitely written, passionately crafted and splendidly structured. I love the way it’s been written, in fact, it was reading this book that prompted me to start writing again and change the way I write. The way Steven Erikson uses words to describe the background is inspired. It compels one to draw a mental picture of what the setting of the world he constructs would be like.
This book is the first in the Malazan, Book of the Fallen series and it sets up the universe, characters relationships and hierarchies.
I do have a problem with the character building, they aren’t as crisp as some of the other books I’ve read over the years, nor are they as compelling. There isn’t a character yet I’ve fallen in love with, but there are characters I have come to know – not sure if I care what happens to them yet. But like I said, I recommend reading this book just see how a picture can be beautifully woven using a string of words.
American Gods | Neil Gaiman
When I heard Amazon was making a show on the book I immediately put it on my reading list, I’d anyways been planning to explore Neil Gaiman’s work. It’s a very interesting premise – ancient Gods existing in today’s world and competing with the new Gods created throughout history. Will not give anything apart from this away. The readers have to be patient. The pacing of the book keeps changing, but the concept kept me interested. The main character shadow – is likable, not loveable and most of the other characters are okay-ish. I liked the second half better than the first half of the book.
Anansi Boys | Neil Gaiman
I started this book after finishing American Gods. Got halfway through and then gave up. It couldn’t keep me engaged as a reader. I like the characters, I did start caring about Charlie and didn’t like his a-hole of a brother. Alas, it wasn’t enough to keep me glued to the book. I wasn’t able to get myself to read further and follow Charlie’s fate.
Preacher | Garth Ennis
THIS WAS AMAZING!!!!!
A preacher his on again-off again girlfriend and a Vampire looking for God (who seems to have run away) across America! The premise is interesting, the characters are engaging – even the peripheral ones, the story moves at a great pace and the panels are beautiful. The concept reminded me a little of the TV series Supernatural in its 3-5th season where the brothers go on a quest looking for God.
Let me be clear – this is definitely NOT your PG-13 comic book. Lot of violence, some nudity and copious amounts of profanity.
I would recommend this comic series – if you’re an adult, who loves mystery, violence and are not pseudo-religious.
PS: Preacher is now available as a TV series on Amazon Prime. The first 2 seasons are out. I would still recommend reading the comic series before you watch the Amazon Series.
Entire New 52 | DC Comics
Genre: Comics – Superheroes
Read the entire DC new 52 line, I know, late to the party, but I hate waiting for the new issue to come out every week, so decided to start with stories I could binge read. I didn’t hate it as much as some people did. It was okay. Kept me engrossed and reading on.
I did like the Aquaman story the best, it finally does justice to his character. Green Lantern was my other favorite.
I have also started reading DC rebirth and I must say it’s at a different level!
ThinkerToys | Michael Michalko (still reading)
Genre: Management, Design Thinking, Workshop Facilitation
I really like this book. It’s basically a handbook of creative thinking techniques that you pick as is and apply in a workplace/workshop setting. About 80% of the content is BS, but the stuff that works – works well. I wouldn’t recommend a deep dive, a skim of the book to identify relevant exercises and then a focused read of the relevant parts should be enough.
Change by Design | Tim Brown
Genre: Management, Design Thinking
I’ve watched a lot of Tim Brown videos on Youtube and read his articles online and on LinkedIn, wanted to read this book to glean some case stories and anecdotes for my design thinking workshops and discussions. In that regard, I must say I’ve found it a little wanting – so far.
It’s not a boring single tone read. It captures the essence of Design Thinking well. The deep dive concepts in Design Thinking and the ‘process’ of design thinking are touched upon throughout the book.
The Back of the Napkin | Dan Roam
Genre: Management, Creativity
This book was gifted to me by my ex-boss! The book has an interesting premise – it talks about how to explain complex ideas using simple drawings, anytime, anywhere. It is a good book to read if you are someone in consulting, sales, workshop facilitation and needs to write about new ideas and concepts on a regular basis.
There are some books I read once every year. These books have had an impact on my work and contain stories and anecdotes I love to quote. These books are mostly domain specific, limited to design thinking and behavioral economics.
Predictably Irrational | Dan Ariely
Genre: Management, Behavioral Economics
This is a book I recommend to anyone and everyone who wants to know what behavioral economics is. It is written in a very simple, easy to relate form by Dan Ariely and has a lot of concepts from Behavioral Economics that one can take and apply in live scenarios. Highly recommended for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Sticky Wisdom | ?What if!
Another great book to read if you’re into conducting Ideation led workshops around design thinking and innovation.
There is no specific author, the book has a list of ideation techniques used by an organization called what if that explores dimensions of creativity led ideation and innovation.
Nudge | Richard H Thaler and Cass R Sunstein
Genre: Management, Behavioral Economics
This was the year of Nudge! Not only did Thaler receive his Nobel in Economics for his work in the field of Behavioral economics but there were also a lot of stories of how organizations and governments across the globe have applied behavioral economics influencing consumer decision making. The focus of this book, unlike Predictably Irrational is more on the social impact of behavioral economics through government interventions and nudges.
The Power of Creative Confidence | Tony Buzan
Genre: Non-Fiction, Creativity
This is a short but powerful book. It was my wife who nudged me into re-reading this book. It talks about the initial research into creativity and how the human brain processes it. It also gives a handful of ways to stimulate one’s creative thinking prowess in daily life.
Made to Stick | Chip and Dan Heath
Genre: Non-Fiction, Management, Communication
Love this book. It is a must for anyone and everyone who wants to communicate or design communication at any level. Very effective, very impressive, very sticky. The SUCCESS framework works every time. There are a lot of great stories and anecdotes how this framework has been applied to achieve great results – whether it is a marketing campaign by a brand or a public service initiative by an NGO or a government. To anyone who reads this book I also recommend SWITCH by the same authors. It’s a book about change and how to manage it.
That’s it, folks! These are the books I managed to read in 2017, apart from any white papers/articles I might have consumed. I’m not sure if this is enough or if it’s too less.
In my next article, I will share the list of books I intend to read in 2018.
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