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Category: Brian Reads

Bitter Brew by William Knoedelseder

Of the 3 big, domestic beer brands, I’ll drink Miller first, then Coors, and, if for some reason no alternative exists, then Bud. Still, I’m always game for an interesting non-fiction story, so I gave William Knoedelseder’s Bitter Brew a chance. I was rewarded with a surprisingly tasty story.* I had no idea the family behind the rise of Anheuser-Busch  was so dramatic and troubled. While providing a detailed history of the Anheuser-Busch company, Knoedelseder incorporates insider perspectives and the reality-show-worthy details of the Busch family. Knoedelseder focuses on the main family patriarchs and CEOs, creating a story primarily centered… Read Bitter Brew by William Knoedelseder

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Before Happiness by Shawn Achor

For a historian, I have some real chronology issues. I watched Better Call Saul before Breaking Bad. I watched season 2 of The Crown before season 1. I’ve only ever seen season 2 of Stranger Things. Basically, I’m a monster. So it didn’t phase me to read Shawn Achor’s Before Happiness, which was published after The Happiness Advantage, first. It shouldn’t phase you to do the same, either. Though he references back to The Happiness Advantage a couple of times, Before Happiness is less a sequel than a book in the same niche, positive psychology. Achor focuses on “positive geniuses”… Read Before Happiness by Shawn Achor

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Basketball (and Other Things) by Shea Serrano

The more you enjoy basketball, the more you will enjoy this book. The book picks up in 1980 (Larry Bird and Magic Johnson’s first year in the NBA) as the beginning of the modern NBA and runs through the 2016 finals. Each chapter is in a Question and Answer format where Serrano explores interesting topics like who are the best fictional basketball players – I cracked up when he was breaking down Air Bud. This format allows you to pick it up and put it down at will as the chapters are mostly unrelated. I have a decent grasp of… Read Basketball (and Other Things) by Shea Serrano

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Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper

Contextualize was one of my go to words as an academic. I loved adding “context” to historical events and I loved reading authors who did the same. Outside of academia, there’s little use for the word. Sure people still add context, but no one ever said “Wow, Bob Costas contextualized that luge competition really well.” Eloquent Rage is a book that provides context for the experiences of a gifted black girl growing up poor in the South. A mix of memoir and social analysis, Brittney Cooper blends her personal stories, like when her grandmother told her she needed to have… Read Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper

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Read all the books!

It was one of those New Years Resolutions that I probably wasn’t going to keep (like all the others made at the beginning of this year). Still, by the end of June, I finished my 50th book of the year. I recently completed my 51st book and one book over six weeks shows how slowly I go through books when I’m not listening to audiobooks (the 51st was only the 2nd physical book of the year). To consume so many books, I just switched to audiobooks and sped them up (shout-out to the Omaha Public Library’s Overdrive subscription!). I enjoyed… Read Read all the books!

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Lifehack: How to Read More Books

So on New Year’s Day I randomly decided that I would try some resolutions. Normally, I don’t make resolutions or, if I do, I give up before the end of January (like everyone else). And this year, I made an outrageously bold one: Read 52 books. I’m sure reading one book per week isn’t that big of a resolution for many people, but I read fairly slowly. And my consumption of books is feast or famine. I managed to read a bunch of books last summer, but haven’t really read much since then. So I took a swing and so… Read Lifehack: How to Read More Books

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Children’s Books for Nerdy Parents

A couple of months ago, my brother Peter shared a list of his favorite baby books. Though I don’t have any kids yet, my wife Marie and I enjoy buying books for our niece and nephew (and you guessed correctly, we will be the weird aunt and uncle that always get them a book each holiday) and we wanted to share some of our favorites. For a board books, Sandra Boynton has been our go-to author, but I’ve found there are many good options out there. We just sent our nephew Moustache Up!, a quirky little book that goes over… Read Children’s Books for Nerdy Parents

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What Three Months of Reading Business Books Taught Me

Over the last few months I read a bunch of books, mostly business-related. Here’s the business-y ones: Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days Fish: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results Makers: The New Industrial Revolution So what did I learn? Three… Read What Three Months of Reading Business Books Taught Me

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Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

J.J. Abrams. Sir Richard Branson. Arianna Huffinton. Sheryl Sandberg. Peter Thiel. The blurbs on the back cover of Originals are impressive. The list of awards the book has won is impressive. Adam Grant’s research is impressive. But for a book on originality and creativity, Originals is shockingly formulaic and derivative. If you’re dying to get an overview of management psychology, read this book. Otherwise, the irony of the author constantly quoting other people’s work on how to be an original thinker will drive you crazy. The formulaic, academic structure compounds this bland writing style to create a book on originality… Read Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

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Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind

When you work regularly, inspiration strikes regularly. (35) There’s a pervasive myth of the genius creative person. Breakthrough inventions, great pieces of writings, and works of art seem to come out of thin air. Created by an inventor, writer, or artist that stumbled upon the right inspiration at the right time. Anyone who has done creative work for a long period of time, knows this isn’t the case. Manage Your Day-to-Day gathers a number of successful writers, thinkers, entrepreneurs, and others who make creative work into their career, to share the wisdom of becoming more productive, encouraging creativity, and making… Read Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind

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