Sunday, January 6, 2013

2012 in books

In 2012, I read as many books as in 2011 (though not as many as I'd like):

Living Buddha, Living Christ (Thich Nhat Hanh)
True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart (Thich Nhat Hanh)
The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology (Thich Nhat Hanh)
One-Minute Mindfulness (Donald Altman)
Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life (Len Fisher)
Farewell, My Subaru (Doug Fine)
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder (Richard Louv)
Programming Collective Intelligence (Toby Segaran)
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Fisher, et al)
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Richard Feynman)
Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive (Bruce Schneier)
The Zen of Zombie: Better Living Through the Undead (Scott Kenemore)

Not surprisingly, I didn't read a single fiction book this year, though this last one (a gift from +Krista) might be considered something close to one.

As I finish some of these books, I've been sending them out into the great big world with one of my projects,, as a way to both [a] get rid of household clutter and [b] to let others enjoy things for which I have little to no use. The World We Have and True Love are already out there somewhere; the former, I dropped off at Parkour Visions, and the latter I don't remember where I left it.

Farewell, My Subaru was a gift from +Aaron and +Elissa Ballman that I read and promptly returned so they could enjoy it. It was a very entertaining read about a man that setup a ranch in New Mexico and tried to live as off-the-grid and self-sufficient as possible.

Most the other books were actually library-borrowed. Last Child in the Woods is about how childrens' distance from nature negatively effects their behavior and cognition (and, inversely, how proximity to nature is good for us). I enjoyed it, but it did get a bit long and repetitive.

Programming Collective Intelligence was a somewhat tedious survey of machine learning. An interesting read, but one I wouldn't buy.

Getting to Yes, as with other books (and podcasts; see Planet Money's An FBI Hostage Negotiator Buys A Car) on negotiating are really interesting to me -- someone who has terrible intuition about negotiating. This book, written almost 30 years ago, was a great resource for learning about many of the aspects of negotiating deals.

Schneier's Liars and Outliers was a great, approachable book on security. Not merely technical security, mind you, but the gamut of topics from biology and evolution to psychology and society. This is a book that I would actually recommend to others that have no particular technical or security interest, as it helps you think in a new way about why people defect and why you can only go so far in law enforcement, counter-terrorism, and so on.

In 2013, I'd like to break my habit of reading only non-fiction. I'm considering Frank Herbert's Dune and Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, among a few others.

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