Been reading some big ass books

No not books about big asses, but very large books.

First a couple of smaller books I read a couple of months back:

Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth

I finally got round to buying and reading this book (it’s not that old or anything but despite being an avid follower of I didn’t get the book straight away due to already having a large pile of books to read.)

Anyway, it started off almost a bit dry and technical (very logical, but Steve was a computer programmer, so maybe this is to be expected), then it got really good after the first chapter. Steve’s 7 Universal principles make a lot of sense and he is good at explaining how they relate to every area of your life. So in the end I found it to be a great book that I whizzed through, although it could have done with more real-life examples, which is what makes Dale Carnegie’s books so great. If you are into personal development in any shape or form, get it and see what you think of it.

Zen Bow, Zen Arrow: The Life and Teachings of Awa Kenzo, the Archery Master from “Zen in the Art of Archery”

My mum got me this and it turns out to have been a great choice. It’s both the story of a great Japanese archery master called Awa Kenzo, and his teachings in handy quote form. It’s a very quick read, but inspiring and motivational. Highly recommended.

Outliers: The Story of Success

This was really good fun. Malcolm Gladwell writes really great easy-to-read intriguing books. This one was about successful people that fall outside of the norm and why that might be – such as successful Canadian hockey players mostly having birthdays that fall in Jan and Feb because it meant they were the biggest boys in their year at school. There’s some good stuff about Bill Gates and Steve Jobs too. He also talks about the 10,000 hours required to become an expert theory which I blogged about a while back.

Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction

This is the first of the big books I’ve been reading. It’s friggin’ awesome. A colleague recommended the original to me and then I discovered that there was a new edition that covers OOP stuff (which the original did not). It’s jam packed with great advice. Much of it I actually know already, and that is reassuring! But it’s a good kick up the arse to put it into action. It caused me to go back to my game and refactor lots of the code and make it easier to read etc. I’m still only 1/3rd into it because it’s huge. Anyway, 100% recommended!!

The Intelligent Investor

I wanted to find out more about the stock market and bonds and this book looked like it fitted the bill. Warren Buffet said it was “the best book on investing ever written”, and seeing as he is a billionaire though investing, I trust his judgement. This book was actually written ages ago in the 1950s or something by Benjamin Graham and then revised many times. The last revision was in 1973 I think, and then the author passed away. However, the revision I bought has a very insightful commentary by a Jason Zweig (a financial journalist) written in 2003 that brings it almost up-to-date (obviously since then we’ve had a global recession).

The original author’s writing is mostly dry and technical and I often have to re-read it to make sure I understand it, but the commentary is really well written and funny (I look forward to the commentary chapters). The advice in here seems very solid, it’s all about NOT taking risks and being literally an “intelligent investor” and not a “speculator”, which is in reality what a lot of people who call themselves investors really are!

Anyway, it’s long, and hard work in places, but sound, and it comes highly recommend on Amazon and by me.

6 Responses to “Been reading some big ass books”

  1. Kyle Says:

    Excellent! Thank you for these other book recommendations. They complement the Steve Pavlina recommendation that you made to me after your “Just been fired” panel at PAX’09.

  2. Grey Alien Games Says:

    You are welcome Kyle. I remember seeing you first in the line for the other panel about game design, that was a good one. Be sure to check out some of my other book recommendations in this category:

  3. James Carmichael Says:

    I spotted Outliers at the airport and read it while on holiday, as I had already read and enjoyed Blink. It’s great! I then bought The Tipping Point too which I also enjoyed. “Code complete” sounds interesting, I will have to check that out. Thank you for the recommendations!

  4. Grey Alien Games Says:

    Hi James, glad you enjoyed the books. Gladwell’s books are a quick easy read and are fascinating. Code Complete is brilliant, but it’s huge, like 800+ pages and they are not pages you can zoom through because often you want to think about them a bit. I guess you could only read selected chapters that you are interested in but I felt like reading the lot.

  5. Mel Says:

    Nice post. It was really funny coming across it as I just discovered Steve Pavlina’s blog the other day and got quite distracted by all of the useful and insightful information he provided on it. Like you, I have a pile of books which I am slowing working my way through, so will see about adding this to my collection too. At the moment I am reading ’10 Secrets of Abundant Happiness’ by Adam Jackson. If you have not already read it you might like it as it has characters based on real-life people.

  6. Grey Alien Games Says:

    Thanks for the recommendation Mel.