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Books I Can Remember


The best part of reading is forgetting.

This is why I struggle with book reviews—it’s hard to know how
valuable a book is until later. But sometimes you find yourself
declaiming a book’s key point long after you’ve forgotten most of

That’s when you know a book is worthwhile.

Here are some books I’ve forgotten most of, mostly from memory:

The Death and Life of Great American Cities

The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs

This book explains the life you can feel in some neighborhoods. And
the complete sterility of others.

🌠 What I remember: The normalcy of strangers makes
a neighborhood safer.

Mixing offices, shops, restaurants, and family housing in a single
neighborhood creates a diversity of use, making the place lively. And
there will always be eyes on the street, day or night.

Neighborhoods feel sterile when strangers seem out of place. When a
stranger is a common sight: you’ve found a community.


How to Read a Book

How to Read a Book by Mortimer J Adler and Charles Van Doren

I read every day.

But much of what I read is garbage—pulp sci-fi or book-of-the-month
junk I’ll have forgotten I read by year’s end.

🌠 What I remember: There are different levels of
reading. And each book demands its own style of reading.

tl;dr: spend less effort (and feel less guilty) reading Malcolm
Gladwell vs. Darwin.


The Manager’s Path

The Manager’s Path

Almost every page in my dog-eared copy of “The Manager’s Path” is
underlined, scribbled in, or marked up.

🌠 What I remember:

  • Management is a different skillset vs. development
  • Deliver feedback quickly (especially if it’s negative)
  • Using manager powers to override technical decisions is a bad
  • Never surprise your direct reports


The E-Myth Revisited

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

Few people win medals in the final round of the biggest
homebrewing competition on the planet
. I’ve won two.

In college, I was certain I’d open a brewery. Then, in senior year, I
read “The E-Myth Revisited” and changed my mind.

🌠 What I remember: the technical work of a business
has little to do with running the business.

I have zero interest in the operations of a brewery—I’m just a guy
who likes beer. Why ruin that by making it my job?


Storytelling with Data

Storytelling with Data by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic

Once you know how to make a good graph, you’ll see bad graphs

XKCD #1015 by Randall Monroe CC-By-NC 2.5

🌠 What I remember:

  • Pie charts are tricky for most people to read (see also Stephen
    Few’s “Save
    the Pies for Dessert
  • Sometimes the best data representation is a table
  • Only use colors in a graph if they mean something

My personal pet peve: the default Google Sheets chart colors


The Elements of Style

The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White

🌠 What I remember: omit needless words.

But really—how necessary is “needless” in that dictum?


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By |2023-03-01T04:19:51+00:00March 1st, 2023|Education|0 Comments

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