What are you reading? July/August 2020 Edition

Another month forgotten. My apologies! What have you been reading? Hopefully the (continued) lock down in some parts of the world (US, at least) have meant you have time for reading, and the warmer weather means you can do so outside.

I usually split what I’m reading into business, technical and fun books, but you are welcome to post however you’d like!

Here is the last post as reference: June 2020

I have been reading This is Marketing by Seth Godin. It has some really good insights into building a brand. It reads like a case studies and anecdotes strung together but weaves some common themes throughout.

If anyone needs some pleasure reading, I just finished The Tyrant Baru Cormorant, the third book in Seth Dickinson’s Masquerade series. All three books in the series are :ok_hand::ok_hand::ok_hand: (though I’ll admit book two gets a little tangled to follow at times)

Highly recommend, especially for fantasy fans.

I’m on a bit of a Seth Godin trip myself. I listened to This is Marketing and just finished his newest book The Practice both of which I found very interesting and inspiring.

I think they are useful for engineering minded people who realise they have to do some sort of marketing to get people to actually use anything they make. I went and listened to some of the older books as well:

  • Linchpin I found less relevant to myself even though, like The Practice it’s about creative work. Might be an interesting book though for people considering quitting their full-time job and striking out on their own.
  • All Marketers are Liars is one I found really good. A succinct book about how storytelling is central to promoting something.

Seth reads out his own books in the audio book versions and also has a weekly podcast. It’s quite similar in style to his books so it’s an easy way to see if you you’d find his thoughts useful or interesting: https://play.acast.com/s/akimbo


I am reading Hiring for Attitude. So far it’s good. I don’t know enough about the topic of hiring people to judge it. I’ve hired great people, but it feels like luck. I’m trying to learn more of a methodology and less of a gut feeling.

I recently finished Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents - It shows how racism in the US is actually a caste system. It’s very good but hard to read because it’s so harrowing how bad the caste system treats people. The first 10% and last 10% have a leftwing political bias, but the middle 80% does not have this bias.

My last engineering-related book was Skunkworks. It was neat to read about these cutting-edge secret government research projects in the 70s, but what stands out the most is how the problems they had with budget, personalities, silos, schedule, etc are just like every mundane engineering project I’ve been involved with.

I read Linchpin almost ten years ago and I remember enjoying it.

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I am reading “To the Digital Age”, about the rise of the MOS technology