ktheoryAaron Suggs’s blog

February 18, 2021 — Tags: books

In mid-2020, I got an Audible subscription as a substitute for doomscrolling through social media.

It turns out I enjoy listening to books far more than reading them. Here are some books I enjoyed in the last 6 months (follow my my Goodreads profile for more):

Nonfiction

  • The Machine That Changed the World by James P Womack. One sentence book review: Rigorous insights into Japanese lean manufacturing and keiretsu; emphasizing the success is not due to a national or cultural identity, but a set of practices thoughtfully applied.
  • Accelerate: The Science of DevOps and Lean Software by Nicole Forsgren: software teams should focus on deploy frequency, lead time, TTR, and change fail rate.
  • An Elegant Puzzle by Will Larson: bring expansive and systematizing mindset to every technical and management challenge; then work the process (not the exceptions).
  • The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt: identify and eliminate bottlenecks to improve throughput. Bottlenecks can be subtle or unintuitive.
  • Don’t Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff: Controlling subtle and implicit metaphors has huge leverage to frame political debates. Personal values can often be grouped into a “dominant father” or “nuturant mother” mindset. (With Sapiens, I’m realizing this parallels chimpanzee and bonobo social heirarchies as well.)
  • Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire by Rebecca Henderson: the current corporate rules and norms undermined the long-term health of society, so leaders should advocate to change the rules for healthier incentives.
  • This Could Be our Future by Yancey Strickler: having an expansive and long-term notion of value (beyond, say, money) clarifies purpose.
  • Lives of the Stoics: The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aurelius by Ryan Holiday. Stoics are surprisingly varied and relatable. I particularly appreciated the portayal of Seneca as a flawed moderating influence on a corrupt leader.

Fiction