Books Read in June 2009

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte

The philosophy behind Tufte's attempts to explain how to best display information graphically was what captured my imagination the most and I hope to see more of it in his later books, which I haven't read yet. This one was clear and well laid out and I learned a few new things, but it didn't really grab me for its own sake. Maybe that's because there has been so much built on his work since the original 1982 publication.

Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod

I'd read this when it was only a blog post. "Only" is something of an understatement, though, considering how thorough and commented on it was at the time. You can still see part of the original How to Be Creative but most of it is now only available within the book. It was fun to revisit his ideas and I hadn't seen many of the cartoons before. I'll definitely be dipping into this one again and again when I need a little inspiration.

Sam Walton: Made in America by Sam Walton and John Huey

I really hadn't paid much attention to Wal-mart. Sure, I shopped there, knew about their power over suppliers and excellent cost structure and the controversies with employees and local businesses, but this was entirely different.

This was the story of how a guy was determined to start a business. How he saw an opportunity and then passionately went about making the most of it, for his gain and for others. I enjoyed how the story was told in Sam's words but liberally sprinkled with quotes from others about the same situations or topics. It really made me look at the phenomenon that is Wal-mart differently, from a more personal and engaging point of view.

California Demon by Julie Kenner

A fun and entertaining bit of brain candy that I took to the beach with me. Good enough that I picked up the next in this "Buffy" grows up and raises kids in the suburbs (with demons) series to put in my to-read stack.

On the night stand:

Innovation and Entrepreneurship, In the Making, The Force