Mike Ashley

2015 End of Year Booklist

December 27, 2015

Here is a recap of the reading I did in 2015.

The big read this year was Infinite Jest. Most of the online reviews are correct: you have to get a few hundred pages into it before it starts to make sense. There are long passages of writing that just make no sense, and then there are long passages that are just some of the best prose I’ve ever read. I can say now I’m one of the few who have both started and finished the book.

Seveneves and The Martian are interesting to contrast with Red Mars. Red Mars is epic, mostly politics with some science thrown in. Seveneves and the Martian are almost entirely focused on the science but at different scales. Both were a pleasure to read and come at a time when I want to believe as a civilization we are starting to hunt for the next big problems to tackle. Similar books on dealing with energy consumption would be welcome.

I left several stinkers off the nonfiction list, but I guess I had to wade through them to find a couple of gems: Innovation and Entrepreneurship and The Open Organization. Drucker’s book is a good contrast to The Lean Startup. Innovation and Entrepreneurship puts these topics in the context of business overall much better than The Lean Startup and probably has just as many practical take-aways. I would read both together. The Open Organization was a good read on company culture and should have the biggest influence on how I try to affect engagement at work. I read it early in the year but need to read it again.

Here are my lists, force-ranked.