Books Recap for March 2019

I finished 4 books this month (about 1,200 pages!), and it was a pretty diverse set. I’m now on the 10th book of the year, which makes me just about half way to my goal (of 21 books) at the end of Q1. Very exciting! Let’s get to the recap.

Book 1 : The Last Republicans

The Last Republicans by Mark K. Updegrove

Like I mentioned last month, I’ve always admired the Bush Family, and The Last Republicans really drives that feeling home for me. I kept thinking about how HW and W are the types of presidents we need right now – selfless, willing to admit fault, and acting in the best interest of the country, no matter what people think of them. Here’s a thing I jotted down from Good Reads:

Just read through the 9/11 chapters. The emotions of that time came rushing back. I remember thinking GWB was the leader we needed him to be. I didn’t know he called Putin to warn him against taking advantage of 9/11.

It made me remember that W. was president through 3 devastating events in our country: 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the Housing Crash – the worst crash since the Great Depression. I loved the book and its insights into 1 of 2 presidential dynasties.

Book 2: Investing 101

Investing 101

As I march deeper into my 30s, I want to be more deliberate about my investments and actions I take for future financial security. I have a few funds set up, but I don’t know much about investing in general, and thought Investing 101 would be a good primer. It was.

I went in thinking that perhaps I could use some of my funds in the short-term, as a sort of extra stream of income. From Good Reads:

The book gave me some considerable things to think about regarding current investments and what I could do better. I have more work to do and conversations to have now, but it will pay off (hopefully literally) in the long and short run.

However, it also prompted me to have a conversation with my mutual fund manager, who convinced me to think more long term. I’d need a little more money before my money starts making enough to draw from. I’d recommend this for most people, especially though who are just entering the workforce. It’s never too early to start planning for your retirement.

Book 3: Armada

Armada by Earnest Cline

I absolutely loved Ready Player One, so I was excited for Ernest Cline’s follow up, Armada. It’s also my first work of fiction for the year. I don’t read enough fiction, and I want to be more deliberate about reading more.

Armada is set in present day (2017-2018) and follows a senior in HS named Zack Lightman who think he hallucinates seeing an alien ship from his favorite video game. But he doesn’t hallucinate it. Turns out, what he saw is real, and now he needs to put his video game skills to work saving the world.

I really enjoyed it – it had all the hallmarks of a fun adventure, and while it was a little predictable at times, that didn’t bother me. I flew through it. It also made me really want to play video games.

Book 4: Big Podcast

Big Podcast by David Hooper

The last book of this month was pretty much a weekender – I read it in 3 days. Admittedly, I only got it to do some research for my own podcasting materials, but I also don’t know everything, so I thought Big Podcast could help me with that. I am decidedly luke warm on it.

There is some good advice in the book, especially towards the end when it comes to interviews and marketing. But his strong opinions are off putting. Here are a couple of thoughts I put in Good Reads:

Lots of basic info (or IMO bad advice) mixed in with small nuggets of good advice so far.”

That was followed by:

He very nearly lost me by trashing interview shows so much. I get it. You don’t like them. Jeez.

I don’t doubt his success, and I don’t doubt that a lot of people choose interview shows because they seem easy (but they aren’t, as he explains later). And I know the podcast marketplace is saturated with them. But in my opinion, he trashes that way too much in the first 3rd of the book, before dedicated an entire section to them towards the end. Overall, here’s how I felt towards the end:

It’s gotten a lot better. He still tells a lot of stories and states things I disagree with. But for a first time podcaster with no opinion, it’s good to help them make the decisions instead of just throwing options at them.

I took a lot of notes and highlighted a lot, which I’ll probably summarize separately. I don’t have a better podcasting book to recommend at the moment (but stay tuned ?).

Wrapping Up

This was a pretty successful reading month for me, and I plan to continue the momentum into April. As it gets nicer, I will definitely be outside more with a cigar and a book. This morning I started Think Simple, and I’m finalizing my roster for Q2. I think I’ll finally tackle Hamilton this quarter.

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