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Reading

Here is a list of the books I’ve read. Starting in 2022, the list is complete. Prior to that, I’ve added books from memory, so details may be missing.

2023

Racing to the Finish
By Dale Earnhardt Jr. with Ryan McGee

Former NASCAR driver turned commentator Dale Earnhard Jr. tells the story of the end of his driving career with a focus on his experience with concussions. He explains the crashes that caused the concussions, the symptoms he experienced, and his recovery with Dr. Micky Collins and the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. The level of detail is incredible, including daily notes he took on what he did and what symptoms he felt. This was a fascinating read and I think would appeal to a much broader audience than just NASCAR fans.

2022

Bringing Nature Home
By Douglas W. Tallamy

It’s difficult to understate how large of an effect this book had on me. It completely changed the way I look at nature, suburban development, and gardening. I’ll post a full review of this one at some point.

Clutter: An Untidy History
By Jennifer Howard

Clutter is a history of cluttered houses spawned by the author’s experience cleaning out her mother’s house. It goes through the beginnings of a societal attachment to stuff, present-day obsession with decluttering and organization, and the environmental impacts of constant consumption. It was pretty good, but I found it somewhat repetitive and not as engaging as I had hoped.

Corsair
By Clive Cussler with Jack Du Brul

This book combines Cussler’s usual nautical theme with modern geopolitics and counterterrorism. It’s interesting how he mixes fictional leaders with fictionalizations of real-life leaders. Descriptions of some of the fictional events in Libya prompted me to read more about real events. I enjoy all of Cussler’s books, but this one seemed better than most.

Designing Your Life
By Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Two Stanford design professors present a book version of a popular elective class about applying design principles to planning your life and executing that plan. The idea boils down to improving your life by monitoring what things are positive in your life, thinking broadly about possibilities to get you those things, prototyping those plans in a low-stakes manner, and continual progress. The authors present exercises in each chapter to help you execute this process. It was a really interesting read and I think the mindset is helpful even though I doubt I’ll do any of the exercises.

Golden Buddha
By Clive Cussler and Craig Dirgo

The first of the Oregon Files series has every bit of ridiculous action I’d come to expect from reading some of the later installments. I found some of the mystery difficult to follow, but it was overall a good read.

Pass Your Amateur Radio General Class Test
By Craig Buck

All the questions for the license exams for FCC amateur radio licenses are public, which makes studying for the tests fairly simple. You can try to learn the information thoroughly or just memorize the answers. Craig’s study guide books take an interesting approach. He says to avoid reading the questions and answers together because there are three wrong answers for every right one. Instead, he goes through descriptions of the concepts using wording similar to the questions and bolds sentences that are an answer to a question. This was a great start since it helped familiarize me with the wording of the correct answers as I was learning.

Raise the Titanic!
By Clive Cussler

The only known source of an ultra-rare mineral needed for an ambitious military project is found to have gone down with the Titanic, prompting a search for the wreckage and a massive effort to raise the ship from the sea floor. This book was pretty interesting, although I kept having to remind myself that it was published before the wreck was discovered so many of the details are guesses that didn’t line up with the eventual discovery. The ending didn’t live up to what I expected from the rest of the book.

The Man Who Died Twice
By Richard Osman

The sequel to The Thursday Murder Club has the same group of characters in another interesting mystery. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first one, but it was still good.

The Mediterranean Caper
By Clive Cussler

When I started this one, it seemed a lot different than most of Clive Cussler’s work that I’d read before. I realized this came from a few things: it was the first of his books I’d read that didn’t have a co-author and it was the first book he published. I don’t remember the famous Dirk Pitt being as much of a self-absorbed chauvinist as he appears in this one, but maybe the character was refined over time or his behavior was more acceptable in 1973.

The Thursday Murder Club
By Richard Osman

This book is a fun murder mystery set in a retirement community in England. Told through the perspective of a group of the community residents, Osman perfectly captures the way I’d expect English retirees to talk and act.

Thinking in Bets
By Annie Duke

A professional poker player explains common traps people fall into when making decisions and how thinking of uncertainty and decision making as a betting process can help people make better decisions. I love poker, so this was a great setting for me, but the poker analogies are general enough to be approachable if poker isn’t your thing.

This is How They Tell Me the World Ends
By Nicole Perlroth

Full review as a standalone post