What I’m Reading

As of 31 Mar 2013

Right Now

Someone Like You by Roald Dahl

A collection of short stories from the same guy who wrote those books we loved as kids such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Some of these are pretty dark and still, so well written!

Everything Else

I keep track of them on my Goodreads page. It’s usually more up to date than this page.

Some books I’d commented on earlier

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Why I read it: The first (and unanimous) selection of the book club that my Hopkins friends and I do over Google Hangout.

My review: Illuminating of his life and positively inspiring as far as his genius for designing products is concerned. I haven’t felt a book teach me so much since I read “Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist.”

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr

Why: Because my friend Victoria sent it for Christmas. And it’s a legitimately interesting subject, since we’re all internet users.

My review: The author’s starting thesis is that internet usage has lowered our brain’s ability for sustained concentration on one piece of reading or mental stimulus. Which, to me, raised the question, Why would you make this observation and STILL write a 200 page book to tell us? Nonetheless I recommend this book for anyone who can still read books (if you listened to this guy you’d think everyone’s brain has turned into a mush optimized for twitter post and facebook status consumption) because it’s an excellent history of media forms, brain plasticity research, and Google.

The Gospel According to Coco Chanel by Karen Karbo

Why: After Steve Jobs and his obsession with the appearance of Apple’s gadgets, another icon who defined how things should look.

My review: If you can get past the author’s fangirl tone, this is a well researched biography with some interesting insights on the fashion business and living a full life. There were more parallels to Steve Jobs than I anticipated. For example, on using others’ ideas:

She was shameless when it came to taking credit for innovations that belonged to someone else, but if anyone objected, they were never able to make their objections stick.

On perfecting a product’s feel and appearance:

Chanel chose every fabric herself. She was suspicious of any color that didn’t occur in nature. She eyeballed buttons to make sure they didn’t look like “poison chocolates.” Then, the tugging, folding, patting, pinning, and snipping would begin. She would perfect the piece until she hated the sight of it, then it was on to the next.

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