What I've Read: January 2018

Wow. What happened this month? I read so many books already! I almost can’t believe it. The thing is, now that I’m writing a blog series to help people at reading, I’m using my own tips to read more too. And it’s working! Hooray!

Here are the eleven(!) books I’ve read in January, as well as my February goal!

Coaching for Performance

I started reading Coaching for Performance in December already. On the train, it was a nice book about training. Haha, I love that joke. The late John Whitmore wrote a great book here. I found it in the library of my work, and I’m very happy I read it.

Anybody who wants to coach people, should really read this book. It describes a framework on helping your coachee grow. Whitmore helps you at asking the right questions and providing the right guidance. Read this book and let me know: are you a better coach now?

The 8-Minute Writing Habit

I’ve read my first book about writing in a long time. It’s a dream I’ve had for so many years that I haven’t yet lived. But it’s something that I want. So I read The 8-Minute Writing Habit. This book is supposed to help you get a writing habit by, you’ve guessed it, advising you to write at least 8 minutes per day.

Monica Leonelle does her best to help you create a habit. And it works. Since I’ve read this book, I’ve written 15 minutes every day. Maybe I’ve skipped it once, but I’ve also gone for more than 15 minutes on other days. So this book really helps! If you want to create a writing habit, read this. Let me know what you think of it!

Six of Crows

Six of Crows is a fantasy story about a bunch of young adults attempting the greatest theft of their time and place. There are books that can grab you by the first page. This one wasn’t one of those. Yet, this book received immensely good reviews. So I read on. And the last two chapters were great. They made it worth the read. I’m going to read the follow-up story. It’s just not so high on my priority list.

The Joy of Pi

Can a book about mathematics be fun? Can it even be interesting? That is what a lot of people ask me when I tell them I read The Joy of Pi. The answer is simply yes. This book is fun. It is interesting. I even learnt some new things, even though I have a mathematical background.

What David Blatner does great with this book, is provide you small facts and fun stories about the most researched number in history. Why is Pi so special? What are odd things about it? Answers to those questions can be found in the book. I mean it, try it out. Math might not be so dull as you think!

Side Jobs

Ah. Harry Dresden. So we meet again! It’s been a while. I’ve read the entire series in 2016, starting at book one and ending at book 15. When I was done, I put this book on my to-read list. But I never got to it. I think it was mostly because the stories take place between books 10 and 13. And I was already further. But it was time to relive the magical wonders of Harry. And I’m glad I did.

The only wizard in the yellow pages has some short stories that give you a lot more background for certain characters. Like his brother or his friend Murphy. A necessary read if you’re a fan of the series, like me. A good read as well. If you’re a Harry Dresden fan, be sure to read this book. If you’re interested, you might want to begin with Storm Front. Let me know when you do!

Writing Fight Scenes

After The 8-Minute Writing Habit was a success for me, I decided to take my dream of a writing career one step further. With Writing Fight Scenes I could get some tips on, well, how to write fight scenes. How to describe a punch or stab. That kind of stuff. I was not disappointed.

The main reason why I read this book is because Rayne Hall has written a number of writer-help books. This was her very first. It seemed like a great place to start. And I liked it. I’m thinking of writing an example fight scene just to show what this book taught me. If you’re writing a book but struggling with your fight scenes, be sure to check out this book. It’s worth it!

Play at Work

Except for Coaching for Performance, which I started in December 2017, I hadn’t really read any work-related things yet. As I’m a fan of gamification, I found this book and assumed it would be about the subject. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t. It’s more a collection on how some companies have used gamification instead of the failsafe guide to implementing it yourself. The latter is what I was looking for.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Sometimes we find books that really trigger something in us. Sometimes it’s happiness, other times we feel sad. I’m Thinking of Ending Things gives you strange feelings. Like, WTF just happened kind-of feelings. I was very, very happy that I read this book.

If you’re a fan of horror stories, psychological mindfucks and that kind of things, this book is perfect for you! At the end of I’m Thinking of Ending Things, you’ll be like: wow. A job well done, Iain Reid. If you’re a horror fan, read this book. Let me know your thoughts about it!

Gamification by Design

I spent a whole day on a train, not knowing what to do. I could listen to my audiobook for five hours, but I didn’t feel like it. Instead, I found this e-book on gamification. A real book on gamification! Would I find out the path to a great gamification design? The title sure looks promising, right?

Gamification by Design does live up to my expectations. After reading it, I have a great idea on what I need to gamify certain parts of my job, my personal life or just random things in life I notice. It opened up a whole new way of thinking for me. It can do the same for you too, if you give it a try. I’m curious what you make of it!

Brilliance

For some reason, I had already stumbled by Marcus Sakey in the past. But I’d never read his books. I was running short on books to read. So I did what any man in my situation would do: I randomly picked one. Brilliance was the winner of my story lottery. After reading the book, I have the feeling that I was the winner!

Sakey does a great job with this first book of the Brilliance Saga. I immediately want to read the second book. You can expect a review of it in February. I’m very happy to have read this first part and I’m quite sure the other parts will be just as good. Or even better. I might be a bit biased by Goodreads rating when saying that. Pick up this book if you want a good action book!

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Mark Manson gives a quick overview of his life in his bestselling book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. His advice: stop giving so many fucks. Don’t get it? Read the book. It’s really well written. If you get over the bluntness Manson uses in the beginning of the book, you’ll notice that you really start to like his style of writing. If you got some priority issues or just want to read a good book, here’s your deal! Go read!

What’s Next? February 2018

I might need to refine my reading goal this year. I wanted to read 60 books. I’ve already finished 11… So I’m going to be fair with you: I won’t play safe. I could say that I’ll read 5 books next month and surely reach that goal. But I’ll go for some more. Because what’s a challenge if it’s not challenging, right? My goal for February: 8 books! Here are some candidates.

So, how do these books fit my new year’s resolutions? Change Agent has a blue cover, so it fits my winter theme. A Better World and Hellbent both are part of a series. Check! A lot of the books above are stand-alone and many are non-fiction. That meets the requirements!

I’m really looking forward to February. Can I keep this rate up? I have my doubts… but that doesn’t mean I won’t try. How about you? What did you read in January? Let me know via Twitter or by leaving a comment!