Yes I read a bunch, but I don’t finish every book I read. In fact this year I’ve decided to put down books faster instead of muscling through them because there will some grain in them that makes the whole endeavour worthwhile.
Today I’m going to talk about the books I decided not to finish so far in 2020.
In the Plex
Okay so I was pretty close on this one. I was down to the last chapter or two and was near the library so I returned the book instead of finishing it. The truth is the book was dry reporting about the history of Google. Unlike other books I’ve read, like Innovators, in a similar genre, this one was simply boring.
Where Innovators was also a history, Walter Isaacson, put together a good story and pulled insight in so that it was all interesting. In the Plex was simply boring newspaper article after article in book form.
There has to be a better book on the history of Google if you want to read about it.
Why I Read
I like reading about books in general. Libraries are interesting and getting down to why people invest so much time and so much of their personality in being a reader is wonderful because I’m one of those people. Unfortunately I’m not one of the people in Why I Read.
I hadn’t read any of the books that Wendy Lesser was talking about as she discussed the pleasures of reading. I haven’t worked my way through all the “classics” and I don’t have any plan to fix that at this moment. That meant most of her examples had no foundation for me. I had no idea what she was talking about because I didn’t share the same reading context.
If you’ve happened to read all the stuff Lesser has then it may be a better read for you because you share her context. If she had worked a bit harder at showing how her specific context could be a bit broader then maybe I’d be drawn in. But I wasn’t and I barely made it through 2 chapters.
48 Laws of Power
I’ve read Mastery by Robert Greene and found it to be a great book. I’ve heard that 48 Laws of Power was also great from many people.
To me it feels like a scummy book though. So many times Greene would use phrases like “taking advantage of your adversary”. The content is all about business context and getting “power” over other people without letting them get any power over you. It feels like a capitalist manifesto that’s helping justify how awesome it is to be in power and win everything while never allowing yourself to be confronted by all the people that have to live in a pile of shit so you can have power.
I got about 4 chapters in and just couldn’t stomach the thoughts being advised in the book. I got it from the local used bookstore and I may even just take it back once they’re taking returns again. I can’t think of a reason to keep it in my library.
The City We Became
So the premise of this book was really interesting. At a certain point a city becomes a living being and has itself embodied in people in that city. Some other force (I didn’t read far enough to find out what force) hates that and tries to destroy the city. The two sides clash and maybe a city is born into a fully self-aware organism.
Really it sounds interesting, but I just couldn’t get into it. I saw people talking about it and gave it another chapter, and still when it was time to read I didn’t want to pick it up because it was boring. With this one I can see how people would like it, but I didn’t ever get into the story. I love the idea though.