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Book Update: July 2008

BooksSo many great books, so little time! I used to say there is no substitute yet for enjoying a hard-cover book. I take it back. Reading on the Kindle is the best. The number of books on Kindle has doubled in the past month to 146,576. I now make it my exclusive source for book reading. Every once in a while I post a list of books I have been reading. They all have reviews at Amazon that are much better than I could write, so I just update my database with summary comments and a rating of how I liked them.
I found the the last handful of books quite extraordinary. Randy Pausch, the professor at Carnegie Mellon University who inspired countless students in the classroom and others worldwide with his work in virtual reality and entertainment systems died on Friday of complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 47. I had first heard about Randy in a Wall Street Journal review of his book, The Last Lecture. It was his way of leaving a legacy for his young children so they would know who their father was and what he was about. The lessons of the book hold a lot of value for all of us. I highly recommend this touching book.
The Last Patriot by Brad Thor is quite a thriller. If you like terrorist plots linked with history — Thomas Jefferson and Islam in this case — you will love this one. It is hardly a light book. In fact the gripping intrigue won’t let you put it down until you finish it.
On the business front, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky gives many insights about social networking. I had heard Clay speak at Supernova in San Francisco last month. We have been kindred spirits over the past fifteen years.

Man of the People: The Life of John McCain is not one of the books McCain wrote but rather is a biography by Paul Alexander written four years before the current campaign got underway. I found it fascinating. Whatever you may think of his political views, he is quite an extraordinary human being.
A Prisoner of Birth by Jefferey Archer is an imaginative Archer classic. I have enjoyed all of his books but found this probably the best ever. A young man at a bar with his girlfriend and her brother is framed for murdering the brother and goes to prison. The life he lives there and the people he becomes close to are a great story on their own but nothing compared to what happens when he escapes in an identity swap. The new life he then lives focuses on revenge at a very creative level. Great book.
The summer is still young another novel underway — The Shack by William P. Young. Comments to follow in the next book update.

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