100 word reviews

Why 100 word reviews?

I wanted to better absorb, retain and summarise the important information from the books I read. I also want improve my ability to record this in a concise and succinct fashion. So 100 word reviews seemed like a good idea.

Books

What a wonderful world? – Marcus Chown

Month: June, 2019

One word: Belittling

The other 99: But not in a negative way. A lot of the topics covered just involved thinking that puts in perspective how insignificant many things are. Some feelings of “what’s the point” arose in me sometimes when reading. Marcus introduces himself as a man who can explain complex topics to a layman well; and he does a relatively good job. However he misses the mark quite a few times, eg. poor analogies and switching between technical jargon without equating the synonymatic words prior. Overall, the book give a good introduction into all the different facets that make up our wonderful world.

The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

Month: July, 2019

One word: Fascinating

The other 99: Only after a third of the book did the story get me involved. Interesting look into the life of Afghanis during the Afghan-Soviet War and succeeding conflicts. It lead me to research some more into the happenings of Afganistan where previously all information had come from mainstream media for me. Some parts of the story seem rushed to me and Khaled could have spent some more pages exploring the story some more. The story is said to be fiction however a part of me thinks the story is based on true events which I believe leads to its compellence.

Sprawlball – Kirk Goldsberry

Month: July, 2019

One word: Underwhelming.

The other 99: Perhaps this book was too hyped up for me but as new basketball fan and analytics buff I was not a huge fan. Between the typos, inconsistencies and the superfluous, repetitive content there was only a few gems I found in this book. Additionally, a base background knowledge in the NBA is required before reading as plenty of jargon and player’s names are thrown around. A couple of the diagrams and the final chapter are a welcome change from the majority of the book. Overall, Goldsberry has extracted interesting insights from the NBA data but his storytelling is lacking.

Tools of Titans & Tribe of Mentors – Tim Ferriss

Note: I am combining this two books as their layout, questions and content are very similar and even overlap at times.

Month: July, 2019

One word: Advice.

The other 99: There is plenty of great advice in both these books however it is not going to be relevant for you. This is even echoed by a few interviewees in the book saying you should examine all the advice and determine that which will work for you. Tim even mentions that most of the pages might be useless to you but even if you find some small segment that helps you out immensely he feels it is worth it. Personally I found around 20% quite helpful and at least enjoyed reading most of the other interviews for a different perspective.

Man’s Search For Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl

Month: September, 2019

One word: Meaningful.

The other 99: Part one is the astonishing story of Frankl’s time spent in Nazi concentration camps. He shares the experiences that he and other inmates went through while being imprisoned. Part two covers his introduction to logotherapy and how the “will to meaning” is why survivors of the camps where able to do so. Frankl expresses that having meaning allows one to persevere no matter the hardships. It is definitely an encouraging view that having meaning can trump any suffering experienced during life. It is only a short book, however some of the concepts required multiple readings due to their complexity.

1984 – George Orwell

Month: October, 2019

One word: Disheartening.

The other 99: Despite being written over 70 years ago, many of Orwell’s allegories still ring true. The edition I read contained an afterword from Erich Fromm, which framed Orwell’s concepts as applying to Western governments, not just communist as one might initially think. I feel it is an important read these days, considering the amount of information governments and private corporations can collect and analyse for each person in the world. I believe it serves as a reminder of the potential future if the concept of “Big Brother” is allowed to flourish unchecked without any considerations for the effects on humanity.

Why we sleep? – Matthew Walker

Month: September, 2019

One word: Scary.

The other 99: Walker really hammers home the point throughout the whole book how important sleep is as well as the scary consequences if you don’t get enough. Every time I opened the book to read it, I would learn some frightening new facts about how the brain and body are affected by lack of sleep. This is a great book to shock you into realising the importance of sleep. However, I wish, he placed more emphasis on solutions and implementation of them. But he does give a number of examples that are beneficial for people to try out on their own.

Chicken Soup for the Soul – Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen

Month: October, 2019

One word: Uplifting.

The other 99: While the book contains some of the “new agey” concepts pioneered but the authors; there is a number of “normal”stories to give your mindset an uplifting boost. I feel this is a great book for those times when you are feeling a little down, even if for a day. It can give you some perspective on life and maybe get you out of a slump. I find the simplest stories in the book are the best and have the simplest morals or actions you can take from them. They are great to keep around for when you need them.

The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Month: October, 2019

One word: Enriching.

The other 99: To me I feel The Little Prince is about remembering our imagination we had as children. As adults, our jobs, obsession with money and status, and other factors mean we don’t appreciate the important things. Whether this is taking in the flowers, our relationships and beautiful sunsets. I think the story is reminding us to release our inner child, reclaim that imagination and relearn to be inquisitive! I think other people may extract a different message from this story but either way it brings a positive message. It is only a short book but it brings a enriching story.

Moneyball – Michael Lewis

Month: October, 2019

One Word: Unorthodox.

The other 99: I found Lewis’ writing style a little haphazard and all over the place, which made the story a bit harder to follow even though I’ve seen the movie. I feel the movie was actually done in a more cohesive way than the books and even though it dropped some content, I don’t think it was missed. In any case it is a great story for baseball and statistics fans alike. I feel the book could’ve be rearranged and written better for a more enjoyable experience but I’m glad Lewis published this story either way as I found it interesting.

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Month: October, 2019

One word:

The other 99: In the beginning I found the prose and structure a little difficult to read. However, as I read more, I got better at reading Huxley’s convoluted sentences. I enjoyed the story and felt he ended the book well. While it portrays a negative utopia similar 1984, their predictions differ majorly. I think neither representation of the future is completely accurate, but Orwell has done a better job. However, Huxley’s depiction of eugenics is intriguing , and definitely raises some questions for the future of the human race. Going down that path, will we lose what it means to be human?

His Dark Materials Trilogy – Phillip Pullman

Month: November, 2019

One word:

The other 99: everything happens ver conviniently

no closure for a lot of character that were main

really falls apart in third book

Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell

Month: November, 2019

One word: Fascinating.

The other 99: Gladwell has a way of writing that draws you in and is extremely easy to read and understand. The two parts of this book investigate the circumstances that allow people to become a huge success or simply get to where they are today. He dives into the unique situations that allow these people to succeed instead of their peers. Simply being born in the right month leads to a benefit in most sports, and being born in the right year can lead to a huge advantage in business. Gladwell does a fantastic job at unveiling these secrets to readers.

A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess

Month: November, 2019

One word: Malenky-bit-horrifying.

The other 99: A graphic coming of age story through a dystopian lens. While the audio book form and NADSAT slang used throughout the book made for a slow start, by the end I was quite invested. The language and description is graphic. The transformation of Alex is quite the story to follow especially as he suffers many betrayals and hardships even though he is a horrid person. The full story (21 chapters) shows some remorse and redemption from Alex as he becomes an adult. Burgess creates a horrifying dystopia and follows our malchick attempting to find his place in the world.

Perks of being a Wallflower – Stephen Chobsky

One word:

The other 99:

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

One word:

The other 99: