Books I read in January 2015

Happy Februany (Subway-speak for ‘February’)!

I am starting something new and fun. Every month, I am going to write a brief post highlighting the books I read in the preceding month. It won’t always be book reviews necessarily, just thoughts. I am always, ALWAYS on the prowl for new books. So please let me know your recommendations! Here we go:

All Natural
by Nathanael Johnson
Johnson grew up with uber-granola parents. I’m talking home births, swimming in the nude, natural food, holistic medicine, etc. Now a journalist, Johnson revisits his childhood as a skeptic (somewhat). He dives headfirst (pun) into childbrith, health care, the environment, and agriculture, among others, with the question as to whether the “all natural” approach is better than the conventional one. Overall, I really liked Johnson’s pragmatism. The “all natural” world is one brimming in murky facts and strong opinions. Johnson does a good job of exploring both sides of the issues and concluding somewhere in the middle-of-the-road region. Generally. If you’re looking for a light read, this is not the place. However, if you’re like me, frustrated by the one-sided stories we hear surrounding the “all natural” way, this book is worth your time.

Harry Potter 1 & 2
by JK Rowling
Not much needs to be said about the HPs. These were the first two books I read using the Spritz App reading technology. It’s a lot of fun. I blazed through these books. Also, my wife and I recently bought the Harry Potter movie box set, so I had a little extra motivation to read the books. Well, reread the books.

Undeniable
by Bill Nye
In my opinion, evolution brings an extra beauty to life. Like an extra splash of color. It’s amazing to understand just how connected we all are–all living things. I had a daughter two weeks ago and can truly attest to how beautiful life is. This book is great. I mean, how can you not have fun reading a book written by Bill Nye the science guy? I grew up with this guy, watching clips in elementary and jr. high school, and now here I am as an adult, still by his side. Dr. Nye has a true passion for evolution. It’s easy to see. And it’s contagious.

The Art of War
by Sun Tzu
Disclaimer: I am not a violent person, nor am I fond of war. Nonetheless, The Art of War has played an undeniable role in the shaping of our world today. The book is much more than a guidebook for war–it is a guidebook for conflict, for teamwork, for strategic thinking. I like that Sun Tzu emphasizes thought before action–using violence as a last resort. Not a must read, but it’s quick. It also helped me with my post-holiday Risk analysis. Ya know, the board game. I’m gonna dominate next year.

Think Like a Freak
by Steven Levitt & Steven Dubner
The Freakanomics bros are great storytellers and whacky thinkers. Their method(s) of approaching problems is highly insightful, no matter your field. Compared to the first two books in the series, Freakanomics and Super Freakanomics, Think Like a Freak is much quicker, contains fewer stories, and is not quite as compelling. If you are a Freakanomics fan, I’d recommend reading it. Otherwise, start with the first two. Then you can decide.

Check out my full reading list at goodreads.com/rdw1206

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