During 2010 I’ve tried to read more books. Here I describe those that have stood out. A note on timing – 2010 is the year I’ve read these books, most were published earlier.
The Ghosts of Cannae: Hannibal and the Darkest Hour of the Roman Republic
One of the best ways to really understand strategy is good military history, and this is excellent military history. It describes Hannibal and his military engagements with the Roman Empire, all the more impressive because the events happened so long ago and the research required to produce this account is tremendous.
Steig Larsson’s “The Girl Who…” Trilogy
This is a great series, driven primarily by the development of such a strong lead character. I don’t read much fiction, but this was by far the best fiction I read.
The Doors of Perception – Heaven and Hell
This book isn’t even close to being published in 2010, but it’s a series of essays by Aldous Huxley (author of Brave New World) by far the most interesting essay is the one where Huxley takes the narcotic, mescaline (similar to LSD) and writes about it. It’s meticulously well observed, and the book is worth this essay alone.
A Russian Diary: A Journalist’s Final Account of Life, Corruption, and Death in Putin’s Russia
This is one bleak book. The author was murdered on Putin’s birthday. The fragments of her diary lack flow and cohesion, but still a picture emerges of the darker side of Russia. It’s a very one sided account of course, but something we should all consider.
A perfect, brief manifesto from the successful startup 37 Signals on how businesses should be run. Short and very readable.
Other book reviews are here