One Line Book Reviews Q2 & Q3/2016

Looking at the themes of the books I’ve read over the past few months, it is obvious that I am drawn to quasi self-help business books (who isn’t, when you consider the size of that category!) Everyone has a philosophy for life and work, and if I get a hint of “maybe this may serve up something interesting” from an interview I read or heard (book PR does work wonder for sales and readership), I will borrow it from the library.

I never buy these titles because their usefulness is very brief and my interest lasts within the lending period at the library. It usually takes me a few hours to either complete reading the book, or fifteen minutes to realize the book is a dud with a few good one liners. Three weeks is enough to take a few notes and flip around the chapters at my leisure.

And yes, it took me this long to get my hands on a copy of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

The Infinity of Lists: An Illustrated Essay by Umberto Eco
The best way to read this tome – which should be a rainy day reference book – is to choose random chapters and immerse yourself in the pictures first.

The Road Home: Buddhism for the 21st Century by Ethan Nitchtern
A classic gem, written so very well in a way that is completely approachable and insightful.

Forty-one False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers by Janet Malcolm
This is what great non-fiction writing reads like.

The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life by Michel Puett and Christine Gross-Loh
Informative, though a bit on the dry side, which maybe explains why it took me ages to read.

Ten Billion by Stephen Emmott
Though the premise is interesting, it didn’t grasp me like the fonts did; apparently, also error-strewn.

The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr
A good book for writers who want to explore the basics of the genre from someone who has been there, done that.

The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
There’s a sweet naivete about the author that makes you really want to warm to her; charming, but I like my mistresses mean and ruthless.

Choose Yourself: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream by James Althucher
A New York Times profile made me read this, and it reads like what it is – a collection of blog posts.

Beirut, Beirut by Sonallah Ibrahim
Only if you’re interested in Lebanon – the best way to make sense of the Lebanese Civil War and all that’s complicated in that country.

Deep Work: Rules or Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
I really appreciated this book and count myself as fortunate to be able to apply the method, but such freedom to choose is not made available to everyone.

D.O.M.: Rediscovering Brazilian Ingredients by Alex Atala
None of the recipes were written to be made, and it, therefore, forces you to use your imagination; Atala also makes me swoon.

Work Clean: The Life Changing Power of Mise-en-place to Organize Your Life, Work and Mind by Don Charnas
Exceeded my expectations in delivering something new to a very tired topic of productivity and working smarter; absolutely worth the read.


A communications strategist and award-winning PR consultant who just happens to also be a photographer and published author. A Penang-born Kiwi living in Singapore. Always looking for the next big thing.

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