September 9, 2019

What I Read in August 2019

I was doing a pretty good job reading a lot in August, but then lagged when I was volunteering at Experience Camp for a week. No electronics allowed (bummer for my Kindle!), plus, I was too tired at the end of each night to do more than fall into bed and fast asleep. But I still managed to read eight books in August, and two books a week is right about where I aim to be. I’m currently at 55 books read in 2019, which is 13 books behind – so one book closer to caught up than last month. That’s pretty good for taking a week off!


Bad Blood stole the show with a 5 star rating, but I gave several books 4 stars in August as well.5 stars:

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by John Carreyrou: Fascinating book that I couldn’t put down! I knew very little about Theranos before I started this; it was really unsettling to remember some profiles I had read about what an accomplished businesswoman Elizabeth Holmes was. Carreyrou did an excellent job explaining the science in layman’s terms, where I felt I understood what was going on, and I also loved his switch to the first person perspective toward the end of the book. This was such a fascinating read that I ended up diving into the Theranos podcast as well, and devoured it in one day. Highly recommended!

4 stars:

Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight: This had been recommended to me for several years, but the concept sounded kind of boring. I was totally wrong! It was fascinating to learn all the intricacies of how Phil Knight built his business, although I will admit that I didn’t fully understand the Nissho funding. It was interesting to see the chances he took and how they worked out in hindsight. Highly recommend this to businesspeople interested in seeing the rise of a small startup to a major empire. (On the flip side, not sure I would recommend this to my runner friends who aren’t interested in business.)

The Passion Paradox: A Guide to Going All In, Finding Success, and Discovering the Benefits of an Unbalanced Life, by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness: I read this for my women’s professional development book club, and had mixed opinions. I really liked the exploration of how passion could be a positive or a negative force, but I was hoping for more on how to actually discover a passion vs just how to nurture it once you’ve found it, and the end fell a little bit flat. However, I really loved the sports examples throughout, and definitely felt a kinship with Brad – who had in the back of his mind always wanted to be a journalist, then was a consultant who pivoted to sports journalism. Something to think about… 🙂

The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne: This book gets such fabulous reviews, but I found the main character really frustrating. Why did she insist on playing “the hating game” instead of giving Josh a chance from the beginning? She seemed incredibly immature on a lot of fronts. That said, I did enjoy it in the end as a light, sweet romantic read… just not nearly worthy of all the rave reviews it’s gotten.

Bond Girl, by Erin Duffy: I thought this was a really interesting look at the world of investment banking – some of it was so over the top that I wondered if it were exaggerated, but sadly, I’m guessing not. I loved that it took place in 2007 (right when I was starting my own career in consulting, at the same age, in New York)! However, the end was wrapped up a little too neatly / quickly for my taste.

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, by Nir Eyal: I was fortunate to attend a workshop with the author in person at Qualtrics’ 2018 conference; I’ve also read Nir Eyal’s blog for years. As such, this book was a bit of a repeat for me, so I didn’t feel I got a lot out of it. However, the concepts in it are excellent, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone working on product management / development or the customer sphere.

3 stars:

There Are No Grown-ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story, by Pamela Druckerman: Some good insights, but also rather depressing at times. Not nearly as good as Druckerman’s first book, Bringing Up Bebe! But I liked the pithy lists that opened each chapter.

The Farm, by Joanne Ramos: I loved this up until about 80% of the way through when things went a little off the rails. While I understood the main character’s rationale for going a little crazy and behaving completely out-of-character, the response to that by others didn’t make sense. Furthermore, Lisa’s character drove me absolutely nuts and I kept getting frustrated she was still in the book. I would have preferred the ending not unfold as it did – it was nowhere near as enjoyable as the first 3/4 of the book. Disappointing, as this plot concept was intriguing!

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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