Christmas is coming, Ama-zon is getting fat

I had a splurge this morning. I am now well into Julia Lovell’s The Opium War, which I have to say is more digestible than the Rushdie, and there is a queue waiting to be read.

Although I still have Children of Dust (Ali Eteraz) and Our Lady of Alice Bhatti (Mohammed Hanif) waiting on the Kindle I went onto Amazon at lunchtime and splurged on 4 new additions to the digital library:

The New Decade by George Friedman is a work setting out how the US Presidents should  approach their next decade of power. I am not a great political animal but I find the interplay between the developed and developing world so fascinating and important that I think this is worth tackling.

Then I plumped for Steve Jobs. I don’t know much about the man and he seems worth exploring as one of the foremost entrepreneurs of recent years.

I was then delighted to discover that more of Kamila Shamsie‘s works have been made available for the Kindle. So I downloaded Broken Verses.

Finally I spotted an eponymous biography of Catherine the Great, by Robert Massie. I have looked before for a biography of this historic figure, without joy. Massis’s work is therefore most welcome and timely. It has strong reviews all round.

I have been writing my own (very short) retrospective, simple advice for those starting out on corporate life. It builds on a training presentation I gave to colleagues before I left my final job.  In it I say:

I was asked recently to recommend three books that an aspiring reader should search out. My suggestion was to find a mix rather than focus on one particular area. I see no special virtue in reading only text books or books intended to rev up your intellectual horsepower. It is a bit like saying that only classical music is worth listening to. I love Baroque music but I will equally happily listen to blues, rock and a multitude of other genres. I have listened to Brendel play live and I have listened to Clapton live. So with reading. Be open-minded and explore areas new to you. Do not eschew lighter matter. For example, I enjoy reading Ngaio Marsh, P G Wodehouse and Kamila Shamsie, authors from different eras and cultures. If you have a hobby, read around it. Do read the FT (or the WSJ) and The Economist. Explore the blogosphere. There are some high quality bloggers out there. Most however probably don’t merit your readership. Be very selective. You need to see life from different perspectives, not all of which you may like or agree with. But if you see the world through only one lens you will be culturally poorer, less effective as a global resource and blinkered in your outlook on life. 

© Andrew Hardacre 2011

This is the philosophy that drives my reading. What drives yours?

And to finish here are just 4 of my favourite reads.

Worth reading more than once.

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5 thoughts on “Christmas is coming, Ama-zon is getting fat

  1. Andrew. your reading list explains your proficient writing skills. You seemed uncertain about Steve Jobs. I just read it and absolutely loved it. He was in a way an evil genius. Of course I loved it even more because Apple is my life (macbook, iphone, itouch and soon to be added ipad2).

  2. Kaushal, thanks for commenting. I switched to Apple 2 years ago and have a MacBook, iPhone 4s and iPad2. I also have a iPod on which I store bird recordings. So I too am an Apple fan. My reservation was because I rarely find biographies of contemporary figures can be objective enough to provide true perspective. That usually comes with the passage of time. I am sure I shall enjoy it but expect views of Jobs may change over time be it for the better or worse, I don’t know.

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