- What a year. My family moved from Cupertino to San Jose, where we purchased a new home (don't even get me started on housing prices). I started in a new role at ServiceNow in Customer Success and Deb took on a new position at Cisco. My son started 2nd grade in a new school, which has helped him immensily, though I worry that this is now his 3rd school in his young life (I was in 9 schools by the 9th grade). We're staying put for the forseeable future. As I reflect on 2018, I spent a lot less time reading, something I truly missed.
In reviewing the books I read this year (9 titles, down 60% from the 22 titles in 2017), they were broken down in the following broad genres:
- Entertainment - 44% (up from 41%)
- Non-fiction - 34% (up from 27%)
- Computing - 0% (down from 4%)
- Biographies - 11% (down from 18%)
- Self-improvement - 11% (up from 9%)
When I started 2018, I was still reading several books I had started at the end of 2017 (What I've Read). The one I actually finished in 2018 was:
American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road (Audible) -- In 2011, a twenty-six-year-old libertarian programmer named Ross Ulbricht launched the ultimate free market: the Silk Road, a clandestine Web site hosted on the Dark Web where anyone could trade anything—drugs, hacking software, forged passports, counterfeit cash, poisons—free of the government’s watchful eye. They left out, "all in Bitcoin". I was an early miner of Bitcoin (I didn't get rich, long story) and so this book had immediate appeal, oddly my 74 year-old father is who turned me onto it.
The following were all books I started and finished in 2018:
Altered Carbon (Kindle and Audible) -- In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or “sleeve”) making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.
Dead Shift (Kindle) - In this page-turning sci-fi adventure, the NSA’s most brilliant hacker is abducted and the world stands on the brink of cyberwar. The Ripper and his ghost team commandos are called to action, battling a host of enemies ranging from a genius tech-billionaire and the Chinese government to an emerging superintelligence capable of bringing the world to its knees. With every threat in play, Jack must confront his alien passenger and regain some semblance of self-control. As the origins of the Rho Agenda come to light, Jack struggles to embrace his destiny. But how can even one such as he prevail against an existential threat to humanity?
Deep Shadow - Doc Ford Book 17 (Kindle) -- In a remote Florida lake, a cave collapses, trapping Doc Ford and two of his friends. Ford manages to escape and surfaces to find help-but two ex-cons are waiting for him. They're intent on diving to the bottom of the deep lake and finding the remains of a legendary plane, supposedly loaded with gold. Ford's expertise is just what they need. And if he doesn't help, Ford and his friends are dead in the water.
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon (Audible) -- The definitive story of Amazon.com, one of the most successful companies in the world, and of its driven, brilliant founder, Jeff Bezos. Amazon.com started off delivering books through the mail. But its visionary founder, Jeff Bezos, wasn't content with being a bookseller. He wanted Amazon to become the everything store, offering limitless selection and seductive convenience at disruptively low prices. To do so, he developed a corporate culture of relentless ambition and secrecy that's never been cracked. Until now.
Fuzzy Nation -- ZaraCorp holds the right to extract unlimited resources from the verdant planet Zarathustra—as long as the planet is certifiably free of native sentients. So when an outback prospector discovers a species of small, appealing bipeds who might well turn out to be intelligent, language-using beings, it's a race to stop the corporation from "eliminating the problem," which is to say, eliminating the Fuzzies—wide-eyed and ridiculously cute small, and furry—who are as much people as we are.
Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom (Audible) -- Based on extensive research and one-on-one interviews with more than 50 of the most legendary financial experts in the world - from Carl Icahn and Warren Buffett, to Ray Dalio and Steve Forbes - Tony Robbins has created a simple seven-step blueprint that anyone can use for financial freedom.
The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google (Audible) -- For all that's been written about the Four over the last two decades, no one has captured their power and staggering success as insightfully as Scott Galloway. Instead of buying the myths these companies broadcast, Galloway asks fundamental questions. How did the Four infiltrate our lives so completely that they're almost impossible to avoid (or boycott)? Why does the stock market forgive them for sins that would destroy other firms? And as they race to become the world's first trillion-dollar company, can anyone challenge them?
The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story (Audible) -- In the weird glow of the dying millennium, Michael Lewis sets out on a safari through Silicon Valley to find the world's most important technology entrepreneur, the man who embodies the spirit of the coming age. He finds him in Jim Clark, who is about to create his third, separate, billion-dollar company: first Silicon Graphics, then Netscape - which launched the Information Age - and now Healtheon, a startup that may turn the $1 trillion healthcare industry on its head.
This year I read a lot fewer books in general. I believe this is because I had such a trying year, I didn't take my evening walks after we moved into the new house, I stopped taking my afternoon walks at work, because I was too busy, and in general I just didn't read as much. I missed it and my body missed the exercise (I gained 15 lbs. in 2018 as a result).
I also found I read a lot fewer books on Kindle. I attribute this fact to trying to finish Pandora's Star (which I still haven't finished). I also stopped reading as much at night, or in my spare time. I'm going to fix this in 2019 and read more Kindle books.
As a result of the above at the end of 2018 I was again in the middle of several books:
Pandora's Star (The Commonwealth Saga Book 1) (Kindle) -- This book was also on my 2016 end-of-year list, yes I've been reading it for over a year. It's good, but it just doesn't hold my interest so I'm using it as filler in-between other books. I can't imagine I won't finish it in 2018! It kind of feels like The Fellowship of the Ring. You had to get about 1/2 way through it before the story took off. I'm more than 1/2 way through it now, it didn't get better...
Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government--Saving Privacy in the Digital Age (Kindle) -- Crypto tells the inside story of how a group of "crypto rebels"—nerds and visionaries turned freedom fighters—teamed up with corporate interests to beat Big Brother and ensure our privacy on the Internet.
iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (Big Nerd Ranch Guides) (Kindle) -- Updated for Xcode 8, Swift 3, and iOS 10, iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide leads you through the essential concepts, tools, and techniques for developing iOS applications. After completing this book, you will have the know-how and the confidence you need to tackle iOS projects of your own. The Big Nerd Ranch team does incredibly good programming course books. I'm again trying to come up to speed on iOS programming. I haven't done this type of programming in a number of years (though I did have an app in the App Store a long time ago).
Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War (Kindle) -- In June 1983, President Reagan watched the movie War Games, in which a teenager unwittingly hacks the Pentagon, and asked his top general if the scenario was plausible. The general said it was. This set in motion the first presidential directive on computer security. They had me at "War Games".
Black Hat Python: Python Programming for Hackers and Pentesters (Kindle) -- When it comes to creating powerful and effective hacking tools, Python is the language of choice for most security analysts. But just how does the magic happen? In Black Hat Python, the latest from Justin Seitz (author of the best-selling Gray Hat Python), you’ll explore the darker side of Python’s capabilities—writing network sniffers, manipulating packets, infecting virtual machines, creating stealthy trojans, and more. Part of my Pentesting education.