A year in books – my 2017 reading list

I have started on my 2018 reading adventure with Walter Isaacson’s new biography of Leonardo da Vinci (who, as readers of this blog will know, is a bit of a role model for me). I hope to do better this year at sharing my thoughts as I go. Because last year I barely did that at all, I thought I would go ahead and just share my list from 2017. It is a shorter list than some years, longer than others, surprisingly light on fiction this year. This does not, of course, include any of my “short form” readings online and elsewhere.

Would love to hear your thoughts on any of these books, and any recommendations from your own 2017 list that you think I should add to my 2018 list.


George Lucas: A Life by Brian Jay Jones

The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures by Library of Congress

Reformations: The Early Modern World, 1450-1650 by Carlos M.N. Eire

Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writings by Neal Stephenson

The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr

Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field by Nancy Forbes

Alone on the Wall by Alex Honnold, with David Roberts

Reinventing the Sacred: A new view of science, reason, and religion by Stuart Kauffman

The Employee Experience Advantage: How to Win the War for Talent by Giving Employees the Workspace They Want, the Tools They Need, and a Culture They Can Celebrate by Jacob Morgan

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland

Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Live in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies by Geoffrey West

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People : Power Lessons in Personal Change by Steven R. Covey

Small Arcs of Larger Circles: Framing through other patterns by Nora Bateson

Hymns for the Fallen: Combat Movie Music and Sound after Vietnam by Todd R. Decker

Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours by Salim Ismail


Anathem by Neal Stephenson

Returning to Zero (Mick O’Malley #2) by Alan B. Johnston

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carre

The Spy Who Came In From the Cold by John le Carre

The Tomorrow Code by Brian Falkner

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O by Neal Stephenson, Nicole Galland

(Note: the links to books on this page point to Amazon so that you can buy them if you’d like; if you do purchase a book by following one of these links, I will get a small percentage of the transaction. This will not increase your cost for the book, but will let me take Julie out for a nice meal once in a while.)

4 thoughts on “A year in books – my 2017 reading list

  1. Funny thing. I used to be a rather voracious reader. In 2007, when I began a Master’s program in Knowledge Management at CSUN, I discovered I could no longer sit still long enough to read an entire chapter, let alone a book. It was a bit frightening, but I consoled myself with the knowledge I still read an awful lot, it was just in the form of essays, news reports, and papers. I’m still working on changing this, but my social media habits are making it difficult. Also, I really want to do more writing before I shed this mortal coil.

    These look like some good books, only one of which I’ve read . . . The Seven Habits. Hymns for the Fallen sounds intriguing, especially given my tortured relationship with the military and warfare. I’ve also read a fair amount of Jacob’s shorter stuff on The Future of Work, a subject that intrigues me, but is getting (IMO) a little too overwrought for my tastes. There’s also the age factor, which seems to mean I’m in possession of far fewer fucks to give about almost anything . . . except my family.

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  2. I, too, have found my consumption of long form reading materials (aka books) to have declined over the past few years, and like you I attribute it somewhat to my other reading habits. And social media. And TV and movies. I love my TV and movies.

    Though I don’t make actual new year’s resolutions, I do give some thought to what I’d like to accomplish, and one of those things is to write more. And maybe get into some long form writing. To that end I’ve finally collected some of the various ideas for books I’ve jotted down in my notebooks over the years in one place, specifically a page here on the site called, appropriately enough, Book Ideas 🙂 https://gbrettmiller.com/book-ideas/ . Actually kind of curious to see what happens with those.

    I need to write up a review and some thoughts about Hymns for the Fallen, it was one of my favorite books I read last year. Although it does address the military and warfare indirectly, it is really a look at how sound design in film (and TV) changed after Vietnam. It is an academic discussion of the topic, written by a professor of music here in St. Louis at Washington University. It is priced as such, too, a bit more expensive than your typical paperback. Let me know if you’d like to read it, I’m more than happy to drop it in the mail for you.

    I first heard about the book when the author was interview on St. Louis Public Radio, you may also want to check that out. http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/wash-u-professor-analyzes-music-war-films-and-after-vietnam-war


  3. As I now drive to working my reading has dropped significantly. To help I have started listening to books on my journey to and from and work. I am currently listening to Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed which is fab. I have been told his other book – Bounce – is also worth a read. My favourite book of 2017 was however GRIT by Angela Duckworth. Really exposed the established view of what constitutes talent.


  4. Thanks for the recommendations, Lorna, I’ll check them out. I don’t spend a lot of time commuting (mostly work from home), so not a lot of “unproductive” time to use to listen to books. And, to be honest, I’ve never really been able to “read” audio books. They’ll say something, it will trigger a thought, I lose track and have to rewind. Some people have told me they are better able to focus when listening to books and have a hard time reading for long periods of time; I am the opposite. I even have a hard time with podcasts, especially the longer ones. I really need to give them a try again.


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