Sunday, June 19, 2005

Tag, you're it, said Howard at The Smedley Log

Howard at The Smedley Log tagged me with this book meme. It's good to be a little introspective once in a while. Here are my answers.

1) How many books to I own?
I own more than 1,000 books. One summer I went on a tear and bought over 250 books. I have big blocks of books on certain topics: business management, science, travel writing, fiction, world travel, language study (I'm pretty decent in French, Dutch, and German. I also can read quite a bit in Spanish and Italian...the sum effect of studying Latin for all those years in Catholic school.), journalism, and poetry.

2) Last book I bought?
The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. People who are complaining about their jobs being outsourced had better wake up. This book, the follow up to The Lexus and the Olive Tree, says the world is already really small. And complaining won't work. Those who say internationalism is impossible are being passed by those already doing it.

3) Last book that I read?
I just finished A Brief History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. I actually read it twice because there were so many statistics in there and I wanted to commit many of those to memory. Bryson is one of my favorite authors, and his book A Walk in the Woods was one of the funniest books I ever read. People don't tend to laugh out loud when others are not around because laughing is a social response - LOL notwithstanding in IM chats - but that book had me rolling on the floor.

4) Five books that have meant a lot to me?
Thriving on Chaos by Tom Peters. This book broke the mold on how to write a management book. Peters was at his zenith at the time this was written, and his ideas were truly revolutionary (and practical). I used a lot of the ideas in this book in my work life.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. This book was Covey's PhD thesis that synthesized his research about American leaders. And it made sense. Covey brought back storytelling as a way to teach and train American workers.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. "Be in the scene" is a phrase that stays with me still. This book is one I read every few years, and I'm still surprised by my reaction to it and astonished and chilled by the ending. Zen is a true story and a good one about life trajectories.

The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve made me gasp the first time I read it. Shreve is a talented writer and this one, in my opinion, is her best.

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. I probably read this book more times than any other one in my life. (I was just mentioning that it's funny how I'll watch my favorite movies dozens of times - The Big Chill, for instance - but tend to read books only once.) I got hooked on science fiction back in the 1960s, when the genre held real promise. (I've since not read much sci-fi...too much time with HiFi, stir fry, and WiFi.)

5) Tag five people who haven’t played.
I'll have to think this one through. Sheryl reads the most of anyone I know, so she'll be on the list. Bill has some varied interests and I think will play along. I'm going to tag Sarah and Mark because they will have some interesting perspectives. And I'll ask The Tuna. I'll post their answers here if they play along.

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