Rob’s recommended readings

This is a roundup of the books I read over the summer of 2019. Enjoy and let me know what you think and please feel free to recommend books you think I should read and let me know what you think of the books on my list.

So without further ado lets get into it:

For my birthday this year I asked mostly for book vouchers and one of the books that came out of that voucher was I, Robot. I have all read about how prolific a writer Issac Asimov was, a quick look at his Wikipedia and can pull out a pretty astounding number of works ,’ Asimov wrote or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards’. As a voracious reader it seemed almost wrong to not have read anything by him. Not only was he a prolific writer he was also  professor of biochemistry at Boston University. Asimov lived from 1920 he died in New York City in 1992.

I, Robot is the title of a 1950 novel , it consist of a collection of short stories all bound together by the pretense that they are being told for an interview with the elderly, successful robopsychologist Susan Calvin in the year 2052. Each story is about a different robot and each story contains the themes of morality, humanity and technology. The story stems from the early stages of robotic development in the year 1998 to a full-robot related government in 2052.

Asimov’s I, Robot is known in the Sci-fi community for the Laws of Robotics:

1 – A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2 – A robot must obey the orders given to it by it’s human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3 – A robot must protect its existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

These Laws then play an important foundation throughout each story being told by Susan Calvin and each is a tale of some aberrant behaviour that a robot was experiencing.

Rating: 4/5. Great read, highly recommend.

I bought Albert Camus’s ‘The Outsider’ from a charity book sale for Temple street Children’s Hospital, hence the crease in the photo above. I wasn’t sure that I was going to like Camus style of writing nor did I think his take on “existentialism”, something of a label that Camus rejected, resonate with me. Boy was I wrong, I loved reading this book which also helped me with my writing own style.

Spoilers ahead:

The Outsider is a 1942 novel that see the events of Meursault who learns of the death of his mother. Meursault travels to the nursing home that she had passed in, At her funeral, he expresses none of the expected emotions of grief. When asked if he wishes to view the body he declines. What is stranger still is Meursault starts a sexual relationship the day after his mother passes. Events lead Meursault to finding himself behind bars for committing murder, never commenting the events to the reader about how he felt other than the fact that he was too hot. After his subsequent trail Meursault finds a final happiness in his indifference towards the world and the lack of meaning he sees in everyone and everything.

Rating: 4/5.Another great read, I would recommend, I feel not everyone is going to like this style of writing or type of book. You won’t know until you give it ago.

I borrowed this book from the library, I actually read a few books this summer after checking them out of the library. I enjoyed this one so much that I put this on this ever slow growing list of summer reads.

Live work work work die by Cory Pein, explores Silicon Valleys tech culture from the inside. One of the reasons that I found this book so un-put-downable (is that a word?) is that this books scathing book examines one of the most unequal society in the developed world. The practices there seem to reflect agendas that are being pushed globally around the world. The book is a well written examination of the costs to achieving the impossible.

Rating: 3/5 Well put together, an enjoyable read.

This book was recommend to me in my first year politics class. I skimmed the book at the time because in a bid to make us read the book he put it in an exam. I was in a charity shop and came across The Spirit level and had to buy it and give it a proper read. I was not disappointed, this book is probably one of the most important book on the effects of inequality.

Excerpt from Goodreads:

A groundbreaking work on the root cause of our ills, which is changing the way politicians think. Why do we mistrust people more in the UK than in Japan? Why do Americans have higher rates of teenage pregnancy than the French? What makes the Swedish thinner than the Greeks? The answer: inequality. This groundbreaking book, based on years of research, provides hard evidence to show how almost everything—-from life expectancy to depression levels, violence to illiteracy-—is affected not by how wealthy a society is, but how equal it is. Urgent, provocative and genuinely uplifting, The Spirit Level has been heralded as providing a new way of thinking about ourselves and our communities, and could change the way you see the world.

Rating:5/5 Well researched and easy to read.

I bought Fight Club for my birthday from gift vouchers, Fight Club was a recommended reading from a guy from college in 2014. Fight Clubs follows a depressed man suffering from insomnia meets a strange soap salesman named Tyler Durden and soon finds himself living in his squalid house after his perfect apartment is destroyed.

It follows the experiences of an unnamed protagonist struggling with insomnia. Inspired by his doctor’s exasperated remark that insomnia is not suffering, the protagonist finds relief by impersonating a seriously ill person in several support groups .

Rating:4/5 If you thought the movie was great read the book.

The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World is a book by David Kirkpatrick

Originally published in 2010. The Facebook Effect is the inside story of Facebook’s inception from a dorm-room to at the time 500 million users. Almost quaint compared to Facebook’s reach today.

What I find most interested from the perspective from reading it in 2019 is writer David Kirkpatrick talked about all of the trouble that Facebook could possibly get into. Kirkpatrick talks about Zukerberg’s penchant to break the rules. I remember reading an article about Facebook’s habit of stepping way over the line and then rolling back a little bit. This book puts that into perspective.

Kirkpatrick is a great writer and the subject is engaging.


Get to the Point!: Sharpen Your Message and Make Your Words Matter by Joel Schwartzberg.

This is a book that I am going to read again, great insights, well research and to the point. Literally, it’s only 128 pages packed full of great tips and information for staying on message.


GOD COMPLEX by Paul Jenkins (Inhumans, Wolverine: Origin) with art by Hendry Prasety.

A cop in Delphi, Seneca is tasked with figuring out why three acolytes of the Church of the Trinity have been killed. Delphi’s ruled the Greek gods who are known as the rulers who secretly have enslaved mankind.

It was an interesting concept, with a weak execution.


Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber.

Graeber explores one of society’s most vexing and deeply felt concerns: Bullshit jobs.

Corporations, and societies permission to undergo a shift in values, placing creative and caring work at the center of our culture. This book is for everyone who wants to turn their vocation back into an avocation.


3 books to improve your essay writing

It can take time to research, understand the material, plan what you want to write and have the creativity and confidence to produce the work.  These are some of the books I have found helpful and I am hoping some of these great books for essay writing will help you out!

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Couple of the reviews on Goodreads where negative, some people found it wordy “A long wordy book, with some repetition”, I found this book to be useful for developing the overall structure of a thesis.

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Loved this book it is nicely put together, very simple and informative. Nigel Warburton is a British philosopher best known as a populariser of philosophy. Warburton is Senior Lecturer at the Open University.

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I have always found Palgrave books to be great for working on my study skills. This step-by-step guide will help you analyse concepts, consider different arguments about a subject, and argue your ideas well.  This book takes the reader through each stage of the essay writing process, from the interpretation of the question, to the research, planning and revision.

Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator By Ryan Holiday

Extract from Goodreads: You’ve seen it all before. A malicious online rumor costs a company millions. A political sideshow derails the national news cycle and destroys a candidate. Some product or celebrity zooms from total obscurity to viral sensation. What you don’t know is that someone is responsible for all this. Usually, someone like me.

Everybody writes: Your Go-To Guide to Writing Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

If you only read one book from this list this is the book you should read. Ann Handley is right to point out in Everybody writes that everything that we do online is a form of content creation; the words we use tell our readers who we are.  Handley encourages budding writers and the disheartened writer by saying that the skill of writing can be learned. The difference between good and bad writing is hard work—and trying extremely hard to improve.

Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR By Ian Dodson

A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing and Advertising a new generation of mega brands like Facebook, Dropbox, Airbnb, and Twitter haven’t spent a dime on traditional marketing. No press releases, no TV commercials, no billboards. Instead, they rely on a new strategy—growth hacking—to reach many more people despite modest marketing budgets.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

This is a great book to understand the psychology behind the persuasion .Influence, the classic book on persuasion, explains the psychology of why people say “yes”—and how to apply these understandings. Cialdini teaches the six universal principles, how to use them to become a skilled persuader.

Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

What makes things popular? Why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others? Why are some stories and rumors more infectious? And what makes online content go viral? Contagious combines groundbreaking research with powerful stories. Learn how a luxury steakhouse found popularity through the lowly cheese-steak, why anti-drug commercials might have actually increased drug use, and why more than 200 million consumers shared a video about one of the seemingly most boring products there is: a blender.

Categories: Rob reads

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