Books Read in September 2011

Pivot Table Data Crunching for Microsoft Office Excel 2007 by Bill Jelen and Michael Alexander

I bought this one to review for the job as well and found a number of aha moments about why a few things didn't work with my first intuition driven attempts to build pivot tables. The book gave clear explanations and options and I will be keeping it for reference for the future.

Think Better: An Innovators Guide to Productive Thinking by Tim Hurson

I'd been wanting to read this for awhile and I picked up a copy at the Borders going out of business sale. It was another instructive model, more practically oriented than some other books I'd read, and very intriguing.

A Lust for Lead by Robert Davis

What the heck was this guy thinking when he named his book? It sounds like a romance novel.

But it was a supernatural Western structured around the trope of a gunfighting contest of the type seen in the movie The Quick and the Dead but with the added element of the almost living nature of guns and how their development had created a new level of demons. Of course, that wouldn't have been enough to keep me reading without a interestingly conflicted main character.

There was still something a little off about the book, a feeling of some sort that betrayed it as not vouched for by a professional editor, but I read to the end and enjoyed it.

Pictures of the Mind by Miriam Boleyn-Fitzgerald

The book is about what new imaging techniques have told us over the last few years. It was interesting, although not particularly recommendable.

Interesting enough, but not stellar. I probably should have used my time to read one of the more mainstream ones on the topic.

WebMage by Kelly McCullough

This was just cool - a cross between an aspect of Greek mythology - that the three Fates had children and grandchilren and so forth. And that interconnected computers were being used for magic - including laptops that were really trolls. It was a really good story too. I'm looking forward to finding the sequels.

The Creative License by Danny Gregory

A reread for me. I enjoyed his take on creativity and drawing and journaling and especially all the illustrations. I'll be leting someone else enjoy it soon though.

First things First by Stephen R. Covey, Roger Merrill, and Rebecca Merrill

It was okay and I imagine is very useful to some people. However, I didn't really feel like it added much to Seven Habits.

Habit: The 95% of Behavior Marketers Ignore by Neale Martin

Very intriguing idea. While it could probably have been discussed sufficiently in a Harvard Business Review article, I did read the entire book. The premise is that making your product habitual is better than making it great - because after a certain point people follow their usual pattern instead of consciously rethinking each choice. An unexpected corollary is that surveying satisfied buyers can actually be counter-productive because it makes them re-examine their choices.

More Balls than Most by Lara Morgan

Wow, she accomplished a lot. The book is about her building a business selling hotel toiletries from nothing to millions before she sold. She talks about the risks, the mindshifts she had to make as the company grew, the principles that worked for her, and even a little about how she did all this while having three kids, although that last is not the focus. 

The book might have benefited by a bit more editing, but I definitely recommend it if you're interested in entrepreneurial stories, especially ones set outside the tech industry.