Sunday, June 1, 2014

May Books

The full 2014 list is here.

On Conan DoyleOn Conan Doyle

A passionate lifelong fan of the Sherlock Holmes adventures, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Michael Dirda is a member of The Baker Street Irregulars--the most famous and romantic of all Sherlockian groups. Combining memoir and appreciation, On Conan Doyle is a highly engaging personal introduction to Holmes's creator, as well as a rare insider's account of the curiously delightful activities and playful scholarship of The Baker Street Irregulars.
Note: For hardcore Conan Doyle fans only, and even they might find it a little boring. The longest short book I have read in some time.

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life

Scott Adams has likely failed at more things than anyone you’ve ever met or anyone you’ve even heard of. So how did he go from hapless office worker and serial failure to the creator of Dilbert, one of the world’s most famous syndicated comic strips, in just a few years? In How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Adams shares the strategy he has used since he was a teen to invite failure in, embrace it, then pick its pocket. 
Note: Not a lot new for readers of his blog (of which I am one) but recommended nonetheless. A very funny and inquisitive guy who looks at various aspects of life in interesting and creative ways.

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving OthersTo Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

Whether we’re employees pitching colleagues on a new idea, entrepreneurs enticing funders to invest, or parents and teachers cajoling children to study, we spend our days trying to move others. Like it or not, we’re all in sales now.
Note: Makes the excellent point that anytime you're trying to convince someone to do something they are not sure about, you are in sales. Then goes on, a little bit less successfully to document the best ways to make a sale. I've read many of the books he recommends on sales (Cialdini's Persuasion, for example) and recommend all of those ahead of this one, once you've grasped his basic premise.

The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball DreamsThe Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams

It ought to be just a game, but basketball on the playgrounds of Coney Island is much more than that — for many young men it represents their only hope of escape from a life of crime, poverty, and despair. In The Last Shot, Darcy Frey chronicles the aspirations of four of the neighborhood’s most promising players. What they have going for them is athletic talent, grace, and years of dedication. But working against them are woefully inadequate schooling, family circumstances that are often desperate, and the slick, brutal world of college athletic recruitment. 
Note: Heartbreaking account of the lives and dreams of aspiring high school ballers on Coney Island. One, Stefon Marbury, went on to a checkered success in the NBA. Things didn't work out so well for the others

Confessions of an Advertising ManConfessions of an Advertising Man

David Ogilvy was an advertising genius. At the age of 37, he founded the New York-based agency that later merged to form the international company known as Ogilvy & Mather. Regarded as the father of modern advertising, Ogilvy was responsible for some of the most memorable advertising campaigns ever created. Confessions of an Advertising Manis the distillation of all the Ogilvy concepts, tactics, and techniques that made this international best-seller a blueprint for sound business practice. 

Note: Confident and sage advice from a true Mad man. Apparently well known in the trade, and for obvious reasons. A quick read with lots of good tips for any workplace.


  1. Rule of law? I would venture that 3/4 titles are career-related, though more focused on management.