Scribbles, &c.

Choosing Books

The stuff I read falls into the following categories:

Theology, Philosophy, Religion, and History

By far the largest bucket. Books tend to lead from one to the next, sometimes because I see a reference in a footnote or hear someone on a podcast mention something in passing related to something I’m reading. An author or work might come up over and over and if I’m not familiar with the person or the book, there’s a good chance it’ll get added to my queue. This is the stuff usually covered here in the blog. First Things is a frequent go-to for titles, though usually in the context of the articles rather than the book reviews. These are the Serious Books.

Books squarely in the realm of Business writing. My least favorite genre, and usually something I only visit once every few years. Tom Peters, Clayton Christensen, and Geoffrey Moore are who you’re likely to find here. I’m not much for the corporate book du jour (e.g. Who Moved My Cheese and the like). It has to have real currency in the industry or be something that everyone at HQ is passing around, knowledge of which I hope will help me read the corporate tea leaves.

Things tangential to work but formative

Usually, but not always, technical material. Could be something like Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows or Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil. I get a couple of pubs from ACM; they’d fall into this category too (Communications and Transactions on Internet Technology). Getting to Yes by Fisher and Ury are another example.

Everything else

Big-idea scifi or historical fiction (think Jeff VanderMeer, Frank Herbert, and Patick O’Brian), nature writing (Henry Beston, Wendell Berry, and Anne Dillard). The Atlantic. Current stuff circulating in the nerd/Catholic blogosphere.

Online stuff and Podcasts

All over the map, but I reliably visit the following at least once a day/listen semi-regularly: Arts and Letters Daily, Longreads, Hacker News, Get Religion, 99% Invisible, odds and ends from the ARRL.