Books of 2019

Books of 2019 at Oinam

In the year 2019, I re-read over 5+ books and read another 50+ new books in both digital (Kindle) and physical books. I’ve enough books lined up, either purchased or bookmarked on Amazon to last me quite a lot of reading.

I have also made a simple guideline that my daughter can read as many books as she wants. The only caveat being that if she cannot or does not want to finish a book, they have to wait for the week to pass before they can buy another book. She is used to both physical and digital (Kindle) books.

Dan Roam’s Books

Dan Roam Books

I wanted to learn to draw/sketch out my ideas better. The best source for me was the books by Dan Roam. I enjoyed reading Show and Tell, Draw to Win, and Unfolding the Napkin. I’m yet to read Back of the Napkin, and Blah Blah Blah.

I adapted the idea of doing presentations and storytelling to my teams, via sketches and not slides. I have a long way to go to master this beautiful art of storytelling with visuals, sketches, and speeches.

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

Genghis Khan

The most surprising book and one of my personal favorite turn out to be “Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World” by Jack Weatherford.

From our history books, Genghis Khan was definitely not a good person. He conquered, murdered, and lay waste to vast lands and inhabitants. However, his advocacy for human rights, freedom of religion, free trade, propagation and preservation of knowledge, turns out to be pretty impressive for that time.

Well, Genghis Khan was a visionary leader whose conquests joined backward Europe with the flourishing cultures of Asia to trigger a global awakening, an unprecedented explosion of technologies, trade, and ideas.

The book will give you enough details to make it applicable to the current world scenarios and events. I’m sure you will like the book.

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The Books of 2018

Books by Oinam (2018)

I have a fascination with the novel by Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things. It is that one novel which I remember while starting to read serious fiction. Of course, I went through the usual teen-romance, teen-detectives, et al before I outgrew them soon enough in my early days. This year, I decided to re-read her book and it took me a really long time to finish it.

For quite a while, I’ve been practicing minimalism. Sometime last year, I decided to experiment with the idea of “essentialism” instead of just plain minimalism — stick to the essentials but pick the best possibilities in it. I like to consider minimalism as one of many ways to essentialism. I re-read Joshua Becker’s book – Simplify. If you’re into minimalism and want to explore more, you should also watch, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things.

My target for 2018 was to read about 50 books but ended up short at about 40. Some were re-reads and it was a good decision. Going forward, instead of trying to read more, I’ll experiment with re-reading good ones and going deep into them — less but more quality time with each book.

I also continued with the habit of including physical versions of the books that I read. That is one way to make my daughters learn and practice “reading books”. Reading on a Kindle makes them feel like I’m just looking at another screen.

I have lined quite a list of interesting books for this year.

A lot of my readings were focused on the Startups and Business world, punctuated with quite a few on entrepreneurship and life’s philosophies.

66% of small businesses fail, and it’s not for the reasons you think.

The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster is about the emotional journey of entrepreneurship. It warns of the forthcoming fears, doubts and self-defeating conditioning of past/upbringing, inoculate from the naysayers, dream stealers, and pains of rejection and failure and guide them through the skills of independence, self-motivation, and self-accountability. The idea is to safely past the landmines that blow-up of 66% of all new businesses.

Venture Capitalists, Tim Draper, tries to guide and outline ways for Entrepreneurs and Aspiring Entrepreneurs to succeed in the world of Startups and Businesses with his book How to be The Startup Hero. It takes you through a variety of activities, questions, stories, and challenges working both the right and left side of your brain and all the parts in between. The activities are challenging and sometimes even embarrassing. The questions are probing and provoking. The stories are used as examples to guide you toward the notion of Startup Heroism.

A new discovery I made was the philosophy of Stoicism, the idea of focusing on accepting things out of one’s control and maintaining mastery over one’s emotions.

The Daily Stoic presents in a page-per-day format – a daily resource of Stoic inspiration combines new translations of Seneca, Epictetus, Zeno with calls to reflection and action. The book is arranged topically following the three movements of Perception, Action, and Will, this guide features twelve principles for overcoming obstacles and achieving greater satisfaction.

“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”

Other books in a similar line of thoughts were that of THINK STRAIGHT, which reveals the recipe for taking control of your mind so you can improve your life, career, relationships, business.

Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now by Dr. Gordon Livingston is another book that will make you think hard and give a different perspective on life. Out of his lifetime of experience, Livingston has extracted thirty bedrock truths: We are what we do. Any relationship is under the control of the person who cares the least. The perfect is the enemy of the good. Only bad things happen quickly. Forgiveness is a form of letting go, but they are not the same thing. The statute of limitations has expired on most of our childhood traumas. Livingston illuminates these and others in perfectly calibrated essays, many of which emphasize our closest relationships and the things that we do to impede or enhance them. These writings underscore that “we are what we do,” and that while there may be no escaping who we are, we have the capacity to face loss, misfortune, and regret, and to move beyond them.

One of the best books that I’ll definitely re-read is Ego Is the Enemy. The book draws on a vast array of stories and examples, from literature to philosophy to history. We meet fascinating figures like Howard Hughes, Katharine Graham, Bill Belichick, and Eleanor Roosevelt, all of whom reached the highest levels of power and success by conquering their own egos. Many of us insist the main impediment to a full, successful life is the outside world. In fact, the most common enemy lies within — our ego. Early in our careers, it impedes learning and the cultivation of talent. With success, it can blind us to our faults and sow future problems. In failure, it magnifies each blow and makes recovery more difficult. At every stage, ego holds us back.

If you read The Martian, you might like Artemis by the same Author. Andy Weir tells us the story of Jazz Bashara’s life on Artemis, a fictional city on the moon. Life is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So, smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts.

While I was still in the celestial mode, I re-read The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking. Hawking is seeking to uncover the grail of science — the elusive Theory of Everything that lies at the heart of the cosmos. In his accessible and often playful style, he guides us on his search to uncover the secrets of the universe — from supergravity to supersymmetry, from quantum theory to M-theory, from holography to duality. He takes us to the wild frontiers of science, where superstring theory and p-branes may hold the final clue to the puzzle. And he lets us behind the scenes of one of his most exciting intellectual adventures as he seeks “to combine Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and Richard Feynman’s idea of multiple histories into one complete unified theory that will describe everything that happens in the universe.”

I decided to stay a while longer in space and time. So, I went ahead and read Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.

As a father of two daughters, I got the fancy of this title, which turns out to be an amazing crime-mystery British thriller — Their Lost Daughters.

I added Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House to my reading list to have some twist in my thoughts. Never before in history has a presidency so divided the American people. Brilliantly reported and astoundingly fresh, Fire and Fury shows us how and why Donald Trump has become the king of discord and disunion.

Here are other notable books in no particular order and preferences;

I continue to read, re-read, and carry around a copy of the book – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Hello Ruby – Programming Book for Children

Hello Ruby is a children’s book that teaches programming fundamentals through stories and kid-friendly activities.

An interesting initiative by Linda Liukas, who teaches programming and makes the world of technology more approachable through a non-profit called Rails Girls.

She is on a journey to combine software with storytelling. She is writing and illustrating a book for young children about the magical world of technology – Hello Ruby.

She is raising $10,000 on Kickstarter for Hello Ruby (already over-subscribed).

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Free Apple Developer Guides for X’mas

Apple iBooks

For all those Mac or iOS developers hard at work coding ceaselessly, lest Santa thinks you’ve been naughty here’s some good news! Santa’s coming early, bringing with him Apple’s latest offering of a bunch of iOS and Mac development books in the iBookstore for Free!

The six developer guides may not appeal to non-coders, but for those hard-core, full blown coders, choose between titles like iOS Human Interface Guidelines, Object Oriented Programming With Objective-C, or Cocoa Fundamentals Guide. Wait a minute, you don’t have to choose, they are all gratis. The other three titles are The Objective-C Programming Language, iOS Technology Overview, and its thrilling sequel iOS Application Programming Guide.

You’ll need to fire up iBooks on your iPad or iPhone to get these books since Santa only climbs down these chimneys to drop off your presents. Apple says that these free books work best with the recently-released iBooks 1.2.

Getting started with Flex 3

Getting started with Flex 3Jack D. Herrington is an engineer, author and presenter whose mission is to expose his fellow engineers to new technologies. That covers a broad spectrum, from demonstrating programs that write other programs in the book Code Generation in Action. Providing techniques for building customer centered web sites in PHP Hacks. All the way writing a how-to on audio blogging called Podcasting Hacks. All of which make great holiday gifts and are available online here, and at your local bookstore. Jack also writes articles for O’Reilly, DevX and IBM Developerworks.

Emily Kim, President, Trilemtry, Inc., has co-authored and contributed to a number of books including a college-level workbook about the Internet and various ColdFusion books. Besides being a writer, Emily is also a programmer, designer and a Abobe Master Instructor.

Adobe sent me 10 books — Getting started with Flex 3 and I’m giving away all of them to 10 developers who are willing to comment or contact with their name and mailing address.

Getting started with Flex 3

Discover how easy RIA development can be with this one-of-a-kind handbook from the Adobe Developer Library. Several clear, step-by-step mini-tutorials teach you about web services, event handling, designing user interfaces with reusable components, and more. After finishing this guide, you’ll be able to build Flash applications ranging from widgets to full-featured RIAs using the Flex SDK and Flex Builder 3.0.

The book have a quick introduction to the Flex Builer 3 IDE, how to install it and start working with it. Besides the many other small and nifty examples on widgets, plugins, dashboards, desktop apps, there is also a nice Flickr Viewer example which is worth looking if you want to try out some Flickr API and AS3 codes. The book also touches on some of the generic containers — Application, Canvas, Form, Panel, etc.

I would not really rate this as a must-have book but is a good primer for those starting out with Flex 3 or those jumping to Flex 3 from prior version of Flex.

So, comment here or contact me for your free copy. Don’t forget to mention your full name and mailing address. You can ‘optionally’ donate a small amount for the shipping charge via paypal or fund transfer to my bank account but again, that is optional as I’m ready to bear the shipping charges for you anywhere in India.

Open Source RIA books site – toString

Mike Chambers of Adobe have announced a new site that he’ve been working on called tostring.org, which in addition to containing the entire Adobe AIR for JavaScript Developers Pocketguide online, also provides an infrastructure for the community to contribute to the books, both through hosting translated versions of the books, as well as allowing comments on individual chapters.

If you’re into Adobe AIR, RIAs or the Flash Platform, the site tries to make it easier to reference / search the book content online. If you find an issue, or something isn’t clear, Mike encourages its visitors/users to leave a comment on the chapter to clarify or get clarification.

All content on the site is released under Creative Commons licenses, which in essence means that this is the community’s site, and the books are the community’s books.

Visit tostring.org.