Alan’s favorite books / authors
The test is what books come off the top of my mind.
I love Science Fiction. I love audio books (http://www.audible.com/). I now have a Kindle but haven’t tried it yet.
Top 5 Sci Fi is easy.
1. Dune, by Frank Herbert - read the entire series but really only the first book is worth it
3. Foundation, by Isaac Asimov - Asimov’s Robot series is what made me study Electrical Engineering, hoping to design the next robot. I didn’t learn until Junior year in college that CS / AI was probably closer to what I wanted to do, but by then, I was too far into my EE program to change.
4. Snow Crash (Bantam Spectra Book) by Neal Stephenson - Loved this book, so read all his other ones. The Diamond Age was a good read, but the plot got really weird. Cryptonomicon was a toil to get thru - loved the WWII story, not the modern day one.
5. Chung Kuo: The Middle Kingdom by David Wingrove - So excited to read a Sci Fi book centered around China. Like all above, the first book was best. Plodded thru the rest of the series. The ending was a disappointment. Some of the violence was too much for me.
Other Sci Fi I’ve really enjoyed:
This is my 2nd favorite genre, with Ludlum as all time favorite.The Bourne Identity: A Novel by Robert Ludlum - after his 5th book, you realize all his books follow a pattern, but damn, it’s a good one
I read a lot of fantasy as a kid but not as interested any more.
J.R.R. Tolkien Boxed Set (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings) by J. R. R. Tolkien - the king of Fantasy, but to tell you the truth, I thought the series was ok; maybe I should reread as an adult
Harry Potter Paperback Boxed Set (Books 1-3) by J. K. Rowling - read this as an adult; loved the first 3
Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.
Caesar’s Commentaries: On The Gallic War and On The Civil War by Julius Caesar - pretty crazy that this is his own story
Banker To The Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty by Muhammad Yunus - recommended by my friend Dave McClure; finally a type of philanthropy that I found meaningful for meThe Story of Civilization [Volumes 1 to 11] (Hardcover Set 1963-1975) by Will & Ariel Durant - I listened to these audiotapes (literally cassette tapes) for a year while I commuted to San Ramon with Andersen Consulting. What a way to learn history. Some of it has been debunked by now but still an amazing tour de force by 1 person.
Business / Self Help
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell - The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference is good too but Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking isn’t as useful, good for cocktail parties; now reading What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb - intriguing but got a bit tired at the end
Where East Eats West by Sam Goodman - a good, street-smart book for doing business in China
Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss - fascinating book about previous lives, reincarnation; if nothing else, it helps you ask, “What is the 1 reason I’m (back) on Earth? What’s the 1 lesson my soul came back to the physical world to learn?” If you drop the metaphysical aspects of the question, the reflection is still very deep.