December 6, 2017

What I Read in November 2017

I read seven books in November, which is a few less than in October, but still a decent amount. Unfortunately, I wasn’t wowed by too many books this month, but I made up for that with the last book I read in November, Drop the Ball, which was easily one of the best books I’ve read all year. And that brought my total for the year to 96 books, which means I only need to read 4 books in the month of December in order to reach my goal of 100 books for 2017. Easy peasy!

I gave Drop the Ball 5 stars – one of the best books I’ve read all year, and I highly recommend it. I also gave 4 stars to The Heiresses for being a light but engaging novel.

5 stars:

Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less, by Tiffany Dufu: This is one of the best books for women in business that I’ve read in a long time. I completely connected with the author, who has an incredibly strong voice, with so many moments causing me to think, “Yes, me too!” (Like when one of her friends told her that some people don’t want to be the best at everything, and that did.not.compute for Tiffany. I don’t understand that either?!) Whether you have a spouse/family or not, Drop the Ball has a lot of practical tips for letting go of certain things in life in order to get ahead in the areas that matter, and I just loved every bit of it. I am buying this in bulk to give copies to lots of my colleagues, something I have never done before. Highly, highly recommend this book!

4 stars:

The Heiresses, by Sara Shepard: An interesting and fluffy murder mystery – exactly the kind of light reading I was looking for. Nothing groundbreaking but I’m looking forward to the next in the series!

3 stars:

Out of Line: A Life of Playing with Fire, by Barbara Lynch: Although it was interesting to see how Barbara rose through the ranks, I found her to be extremely unlikable at many points and rather lacking in self-awareness. The first half of the book was much more personal than the second, and the second half of the book was rather dull as a result – even though I would have preferred reading more about her restaurants than childhood. Overall, this was just okay; probably would have been a lot more enjoyable if I was more familiar with her cooking / restaurants.

Leaders Eat Last, by Simon Sinek: I mostly enjoyed this book, but the best part by far was the updated section at the end on managing millennials – with tips for both millennials and their bosses. There were some great actionable tips as well as a lot of context for understanding why millennials have certain characteristics and how you can adapt your style to better work with them.

How Remarkable Women Lead: The Breakthrough Model for Work and Life, by Joanna Barsh, Geoffrey Lewis, Susie Cranston: This reminded me a lot of Getting There, by Gillian Zoe Segal, but a lot less compelling. While some of the stories were really interesting (I particularly enjoyed reading Christine Lagarde’s chapter), there wasn’t much of a throughline even as the author tried to espouse Centered Leadership in the intro / conclusion. Overall, some interesting vignettes, but I didn’t love it.

Artemis, by Andy Weir: I was really excited to have the opportunity to read this book a few months ahead of publication, especially since I LOVED Weir’s debut novel, The Martian. Unfortunately, this didn’t compare. The protagonist, Jazz, was a female version of Mark Watney – but the sarcastic, crude humor that worked so well in The Martian fell flat here. In The Martian, I got the sense that Watney was making crude jokes to take the edge off his dire situation, and I liked his optimism; in Artemis, it felt like Jazz had never matured since middle school and was overall a pretty obnoxious and self-centered person – I never really liked her, even by the end. Also, while I admittedly didn’t follow all the science in The Martian, it was central to the plot (and made sense for an astronaut to disclose). In Artemis, it seemed like a lot of the welding details could have been skipped rather than narrated in excruciating detail. Overall, the plot wasn’t nearly as compelling as The Martian, but it was a reasonably entertaining read if you skipped the welding bits. Decent, but disappointing in comparison.

2 stars:

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, by B.J. Novak: This was really weird. There were a few stories that I thought were clever, but in general the stories were very hit or miss. This read like scenes from an average improv class: some funny, some smart, some none of the above. I wish it had been edited more to have only the good ones.

Any book recommendations for me? Follow me here on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading in real time.


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