Friday, December 26, 2008

My Year of Magical Reading:

Back at the beginning of the year, I devoted some time to the website 43 Things and created my list of 43 things. I've found several things I've done in the past, and since starting the list I've accomplished 5 of my "things" - and assuming I make it 6 more days without a cigarette, I'll have accomplished 6!

Anyway, one of my things, which I completed yesterday, was to "Read 50 Books in 2008." Early in the year, I began to get worried about my prospects, so I began counting audiobooks as well, but I actually ended up making it without audiobooks - I have read 50 actual books this year (not counting books read to my 3-year old).

My point in posting about this is not to brag, although I must admit I'm fairly proud of this accomplishment. Granted, some of the books were very short, but others were very long and complex, so I figure it basically evens out. The point of it all was to expose myself to ideas, and I did that in spades.

I'll post my general "year in review" blog in a few days, but these books - the fact that I took the time out of a busy year to expose myself to diverse topics, to just reflect on my life and the world I live in - has colored everything else. It has made a year that was rich with love also rich with wisdom.

One of the books, Making Your Dreams Come True, is of special interest ... not because it was necessarily the best book, but because it makes you really think about the purpose or your life. My "mission statement" after finishing that book was pretty clear to me:

To teach and to learn

The goal to read 50 books, which I'd come up with months before I read that book, was a reflection of the purpose of my life, and I hadn't even realized it at the time. I worked for Project SEED and strove to be a writer, eventually getting a job as the Physics Guide, based on this purpose ... and all the time, I was completely unaware of it on a conscious level. I went to a liberal arts college to learn physics and philosophy (and some math), and before that to the Indiana Academy ... even back then, I was being guided by a principle that I'd never articulated.

Below is a list of my 50 books and the 22 audiobooks that I've read this year! (The list is basically in the order I read/listened to them. * indicates an audiobook.) Feel free to e-mail me if you would like to know whether any particular book is worth reading.
  1. The Faiths of the Founding Fathers David L. Holmes
  2. Sky Horizon by David Brin
  3. Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang by Paul J. Steinhardt & Neil Turok
  4. Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku
  5. Why Science? by James Trefil
  6. Multiple Streams of Income* by Robert G. Allen
  7. The Physics of Superheroes by James Kakalios
  8. Love + Sex with Robots by David Levy
  9. Education of an Accidental CEO* by David Novak
  10. The Writing Diet by Julia Cameron
  11. Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg
  12. Lion in the White House: A Life of Theodore Roosevelt* by Aida Donald
  13. A Short History of Nearly Everything* by Bill Bryson
  14. A Mind at a Time* by Dr. Mel Levine
  15. The Myth of Laziness* by Dr. Mel Levine
  16. 15 Secrets Every Network Marketer Must Know by Dr. Joe Rubino & John Terhune
  17. George W. Bush and the Bush Family Dynasty* by Bill Minutaglio
  18. Our Endangered Values* by President Jimmy Carter
  19. Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner
  20. The Appeal* by John Grisham
  21. The Gospel According to Science Fiction by Gabriel McKee
  22. The One Minute Father by Spencer Johnson, M.D.
  23. The 5 Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me by Richard Paul Evans
  24. The One Minute Millionaire by Robert G. Allen & Mark Victor Hansen
  25. FairTax: The Truth by Neal Boortz, Congressman John Linder, & Rob Woodall
  26. Changing Minds: The Art and Science of Changing Your Own and Other People's Minds by Howard Gardner
  27. Nothing Down for the 2000's* by Robert G. Allen
  28. Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez
  29. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  30. Creating Wealth* by Robert G. Allen
  31. First, Break All the Rules* by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman
  32. The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Phil Zombardo
  33. Think and Grow Rich (21st Century Edition)* by Napoleon Hill
  34. The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
  35. Rich Dad, Poor Dad* by Robert Kiyosaki
  36. Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative by Sir Ken Robinson
  37. Making Your Dreams Come True by Marcia Weider
  38. The Tower by Ricahrd Paul Evans
  39. The Spyglass by Richard Paul Evans
  40. The Call of the Wild* by Jack London
  41. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
  42. Acres of Diamonds by Russel D. Conwell
  43. The Christmas Candle by Richard Paul Evans
  44. Swordbird by Nancy Yi Fan
  45. Creativity, Wisdom, & Trusteeship: Exploring the Role of Education edited by Anna Craft, Howard Gardner, & Guy Claxton
  46. The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It by Johnathan Zittrain
  47. Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World by Craig Keilburger & Marc Keilburger
  48. Walden* by Henry David Thoreau
  49. The Yiddish Policeman's Union* by Michael Chabon
  50. Spider Star by Mike Brotherton
  51. Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive by Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin, & Robert B. Cialdini
  52. A Sense of the Mysterious: Science and the Human Spirit by Alan Lightman
  53. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman* by Richard P. Feynman
  54. What Do You Care What Other People Think?* by Richard P. Feynman (this is the basis of the Matthew Broderick film Infinity, which I also watched this year)
  55. The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of Science, and What Comes Next by Lee Smolin
  56. Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions by Lisa Randall
  57. Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Fabric of Reality by Brian Greene
  58. The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design by Leonard Susskind
  59. Quantum Physics & Theology: An Unexpected Kinship by John Polkinghorne
  60. Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos by Michio Kaku
  61. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln* by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  62. Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Physical Law by Peter Woit
  63. Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior* by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman
  64. The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans
  65. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School* by John Medina
  66. Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes by Alex Vilenkin
  67. A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  68. The Power of Mentoring by the McGraw-Hill Companies
  69. Hiding in the Mirror: The Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions, from Plato to String Theory and Beyond by Lawrence Krauss
  70. Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott
  71. Sphereland by Dionys Burger
  72. The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics by Leonard Susskind