Books read in November 2012

Basic Economics cover

Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell. It’s been awhile since I’ve gone through a basic econ text.  Re-read to pick up other details. Good stuff, but it will be a thick read for non-economists.



Sua Sponte: The Forging of a Modern American Ranger  by Dick Couch. Re-read to pick up other details. I recommended it to my son.



Books read in October 2012

Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle by Dan Senor, Saul Singer. This is an interesting look at how the culture of Israel includes the economic drive and entrepreneurship of the country. Much of the book focuses on the impact of the country’s military and it’s creation of a network that help foster economic growth. The book raises and interesting question for the United States of whether mandatory national service would give more young people the discipline to help them in their careers after college.

Cahokia: Ancient America’s Great City on the Mississippi  by Timothy R. Pauketat. The impact of Cahokia on American Indian culture around 1000 is the subject of the book. It was a book I picked up on a whim, but it’s made me interested in going to Cahokia mounds the next time I’m in St. Louis. The author shows how Cahokia was a cultural  American history, doesn’t spend much time around the pre-Columbus area and this book helped me appreciate that long history before then.


Books read in September 2012

Dave Berry Cover "I'll Mature When I'm Dead"


I’ll Mature When I’m Dead: Dave Barry’s Amazing Tales of Adulthood by Dave Barry. Dave Barry can make me laugh out loud, which I think is a great skill. He has the pacing and word choice as if he were telling you rather than writing it for you.

The Bag Lady Papers: The Priceless Experience of Losing It All by Alexandra Penney. A book chosen on a whim. I wasn’t sure what to expect from it. It had it’s moments. The person lost a lot in the Bernie Madoff scandal and this was how she adjusted to life after that. It does help remind us that even if  what we fear the most happens, we can overcome it. It can help one realize what is more important than money.

Books read in August 2012







Sua Sponte: The Forging of a Modern American Ranger  by Dick Couch. Still reading about the elite Army units. This book is new and focuses on the selection and training. It helps an outsider like myself understand more about how the U.S. Army is more complex than might initially appear.

Chosen Soldier: The Making of a Special Forces Warrior by Dick Couch. Very similar to Sua Sponte. I preferred Sua Sponte because it is more recent. This book about the Special Forces helps one understand the difference between two elite Army units. They may choose soldiers from the same pool, but their goals are quite different. I think many people do not understand the role special forces have and this book, along with The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Fought for a New Afghanistan (P.S.) give a clearer picture.

Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller — I learned so much about the olive oil industry from this book. It was a delight to read and led me down to a new olive oil store just to better understand and to sample what is considered good quality olive oil.

Books read in July 2012

cover of In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson, the period before Word War II is a period of fascination for me. It’s the hindsight realization that they could not see the impact of their answers, but we can. It’s the story of William E. Dodd, who was appointed ambassador to Germany at the beginning of the administration of Franklin Roosevelt, and the struggles Dodd’s family had while watching the every-growing grip on Hitler’s Nazi party on Germany. I liked this book by Larson better than The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, which I read in November 2011.

My August list, will look because I’m more than half way through two Dick Couch books Chosen Soldier: The Making of a Special Forces Warrior and Sua Sponte: The Forging of a Modern American Ranger.

Books read in June 2012

cover of The Only Thing Worth Dyng For

The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Fought for a New Afghanistan (P.S.) — Second book in two months I’ve read where soldiers recap their experience. This book had good insights into the Green Berets and the earlier days of the war in Afghanistan. It is a non-flattering report the commanding officers over seeing precision bombing in Kandahar in December 2001, which led to friendly-fire killing of 3 U.S. soldiers and 5 Afghan soldiers.

A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash — Enjoyed the movie and now the book.


Books read in May 2012

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt. If it wins a Pulitzer Prize, it goes on my reading list. The hunt for ancient manuscripts and the state of publishing before the printing press were my favorite sections.


Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistanby Sean Parnell, John Bruning. Books like this are becoming of more interest to me in recent months. This was written about America’s operations in Afghanistan in 2006. The view from then and the expectations of what will be happening with the U.S.’s role in the country through 2014 leaves unanswered the question of if it mattered.

Books read in April 2012

by Cheryl Strayed — The story of someone hiking the Pacific Crest trail was the lure. She started this hike knowing nothing about long-distance hiking that I was surprised she stayed on the trail for more than one night. It’s a good book to read in the early spring — a great time to go hiking.

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith — A mystery set in the time at the time of the end of Stalin in the Soviet Union. The oppression and fear of that time is the strong theme I took from the story.

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson — Finally. Long book that I enjoyed, but kept wondering if it couldn’t be at least 200 pages shorter.


Thinking, Fast and Slow  by Daniel Kahneman — It is an interesting book that challenges how questions are presented and data is interpreted. It is a dense book, best taken in small pieces.


Books read in February 2012


Year in Provence by Peter Mayle — Almost like traveling without the costs. Also it seems the frustrations of having work done on a house is worldwide.

About Alice by Calvin Trillian — It’s been awhile since I’ve ready Trillian. He’s a pleasure to read.


The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks — A good book, but it had several very slow sections in it. A book to read and consider re-reading later.