Books Read in the First Half of 2020

As a reference, my grading scale is (without any one or two star books this time):

Two Stars: Not recommended, except for those very interested in the subject.

Three Stars: Recommended, may cover too niche a topic to get a stronger recommendation for a broad audience, is only high-level coverage of its theme, or just moderately interesting fiction.

Four Stars: Recommended, well-written, and covers material I think most people would find useful or interesting.

Five Stars: Strongly recommended to everyone.

Additionally, I pick one book every six months as the “best book I’ve read” during that time period.

Themes from these six months:

  • Technologist Gene Kim: The cofounder and CTO of TripAdvisor now dedicates much of his time to writing books about how to best run technology organizations. Applicable to large companies and startups alike.
  • Uber and How We Work: As part of my research for working at Bluecrew, I delved into the temporary staffing industry, modern “gig economy” companies such as Uber, and some general history of labor.
  • N+1 Magazine: I’ve reviewed books written by the staff of literary magazine n+1 in the past, and this year I’ve added three more to that list.
  • Bill Simmons Colleagues: Simmons is best known as a founder of two successful online media brands (Grantland and The Ringer). After I learned he’s good friends with Chuck Klosterman, I’ve dived into books by more of his colleagues.
  • Adult Entertainment: The confluence of Dave Chappelle Netflix special, a new book by one of my favorite authors, working for Tinder’s parent company, and Hugh Hefner’s semi-recent death all converged into me reading a lot of material around sex. Readers are forewarned.
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