CommonSense Blog

Q1 Reading List: Featuring Two Authors Speaking at our PreCommerce Summit

By Bob Pearson | Mar 09, 2017

From speaker videos to event photos our recap page of W2O at SXSW has it all!

I read more fiction this quarter, which I do now and then before plunging back into pure non-fiction.

Two of the authors that I read recently are speaking at our PreCommerce Summit in Austin on Friday, March 10th.

Haroon K. Ullah has written several books, one of which is The Bargain from the Bazaar.  As you read this “fictionalized historical account”, you can see why Haroon, who works in the US State Department, is an expert in southeast Asia and Pakistan, in particular.  I found his book to be riveting and informative as you follow the path of a family in Lahore, Pakistan.  Perhaps more importantly, I found my mind opening up to what it is like to work and live in a country that has so much promise and so many issues.  My empathy has only increased for great people who live in tough places, which reinforced my personal commitment to do more to help our brothers and sisters worldwide.

Rohit Bhargava recently wrote a book called Non-Obvious, which helped me think about how we innovate in the business world.  As I read the book, I kept thinking “that is what we do” and with time, I realized that Rohit has written a book that accurately describes how the majority of us either can or could innovate more in our professional lives.  Like models themselves, simplicity is what cuts through the clutter and Rohit’s book accomplishes this goal.

I then dug in and read A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.  This book, which was a Man Booker Prize Finalist in 2016, follows four friends through their life, which begins in New York City.  It is a powerful and moving piece of literature.  I feel you never miss when you read a Man Booker finalist book.

Then, I moved on to something lighter and read A Life in Parts, a memoir by Bryan Cranston.  What I liked about this book, besides the story, is how it is written.  Bryan literally writes the book in “parts”, not chapters, taking us through the episodes in his life that have defined it.  A really cool style.

Then back to another Man Booker Prize 2016 shortlisted book titled His Bloody Project, by Graeme Macrae Burnet.  The story takes place in Scotland and revolves around the memoir of a Roderick Macrae who is accused of murder in his hometown village.  It’s a great read and again, a can’t miss via Man Booker.

Finally, since I always liked Ludlum novels growing up, I decided to read I am Pilgrim, a thriller by Terry Hayes, an author based in Switzerland.  It is a page turner and the story, in many respects, relates to what we think could happen via modern day terrorism.

Next quarter I will be back on a non-fiction tear, ranging from 1-2 books from Henry Kissinger to a book from Vaclav Smil on Energy and another from Gary Sernovitz on Fracking.  Please continue to send your ideas for books to read.  The list above includes three books that were recommended to me, in fact.

Enjoy, Bob