Books... They Have Been Read!

Books... They Have Been Read!

I’m a collector

I have to admit something… I am a book collector. There you go, it’s true. I buy books and put them on the shelf and this becomes a shelf of shame that I walk past and the books taunt me as I walk past trying not to look too long.

Being an early adopter I just discovered audiobooks (insert old man yells at clouds) OK, so yes, very late and I feel like I’ve looked down on audiobooks in the past, I’m sorry, I was young and stupid. In all honesty I’ve had to do some long drives of late and audio books have been excellent for this. I still love owning copies of books and the feeling and smell which is better than an audiobook for me but I am no longer a hater.

Audio books and driving

The one annoying thing I’ve found is listening to an audiobook whilst driving is not ideal. There are so many times that I want to make a note based on what I’ve just heard as it’s sparked a memory or way in which this applies to something else related.

Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design was a perfect example of this, I listened to the audiobook first on a long drive and tried to pause it and ask Siri to take a note but that was awful! What I decided to do and then have made a bit of a practise is to also buy the physical book, maybe secondhand or new, and skim back through after and make notes. I’ve actually found that doing this is re-read things I might have missed or have those thoughts flash back in different ways, it’s not perfect as there’s plenty of thoughts that float away and are lost.

Enough! What books have you read lately?

picture of some books included in the reading list I’m rambling, here is the list of the books I’ve read of late and some quick thoughts:

Title 📗Author ✍️Year Published ⏳Thoughts 💭Favourite Quote 💬
Security Chaos EngineeringKelly Shortridge with Aaron Rinehart2023“Excellent, excellent, excellent! I’m actually reading and re-reading this book right now, and it is excellent! Great thoughts, examples and insight into building resilience into security. Approaching things from a more platform oriented, design and product perspective this book reimagines security to get away from an older broken model. This book really is a tome, well worth the time and to go back to again and again.”“Security becomes invisible to people, while security successes become visible”
Mismatch - How Inclusion Shapes DesignKat Holmes2020“Such an approachable book, that talks about the responsibility of inclusion, and how this can and should be a source of innovation and growth. Kat describes how inclusive design is a process and not just an outcome, and the importance of ensuring this is not a retroactive action. Kat suggests part of this process is to build an extended network of “exclusion experts” who contribute to your design process, which I love. I believe anyone could take something from this book, it’s not just for “designers” in the way you might read that traditionally, almost everyone is a designer in some way, creating solutions or working on a project, initiative or program that serves communities.”If you’re in security have a quick think about this quote: “Designing with our own abilities as a baseline can lead to solutions that work well for people with similar abilities, but can end up excluding many more people
Teaching to Transgress - Education as the Practise of FreedomBell Hooks1994“This was a stunning book. I enjoyed all the ways in which Bell Hooks talks about teaching and the phrase education as the practise of freedom has really stuck with me. Though US-centric at times this book amplifies the importance and responsibility that comes with teaching. Although the perspective is from teaching in the higher education system this of course applies to all teaching moments, that could even be a workshop at work or even a presentation. The classroom should never be a boring place. If that is the case, pedagogical practises should look to change and interrupt, perhaps disrupt this. An excellent read, part of 3 essays and next I’ll look to check out Teaching Community.”Learning at it’s most powerful can indeed liberate

To begin, the professor must genuinely value everyone’s presence. There must be an ongoing recognition that everyone influences the classroom dynamic, that everyone contributes. These contributions are resources. Used constructively they enhance the capacity of any class to create an open learning community.

"Create new models for interaction that take us beyond the servant-served encounter, ways of being that promote respect and reconciliation"
Cult of the Dead CowJoseph Menn1994”This was a fun read, recognising people and all the different things that have happened over the years. Getting insight into things that I didn’t see or missed out on. I enjoyed the focus on ethics and moral issues within tech & I of course smiled with every mention and quote from Dug Song, knowing and having experienced how much of an extraordinary leader and person he is. I re-read this line Joseph wrote a few times: “Song believes that professional ethics require him to contribute to the social good”. I was lucky enough to spend some great moments with Dug and cannot understate the impact that he had on me and my journey in security and how that guides me now. There were so many amazing people in Duo, and Cisco, that had a profound impact on the way I think about and understand security, and I still learn from them all the time. Dug really solidified my belief that we all have the power for change and impact, and can make differences for good.Back to the book, well worth a read.”“Security is about how you configure power, and who has access to what. That is political."

"Because (the group) wanted maximum impact it needed maximum press. For that to happen it had to have a touch of evil . . . the same way a punk or metal band craved condemnation,"

"It’s hard to bolt on morality after the fact,
No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of ReinventionErin Meyer & Reed Hastings2020“A really interesting insight in the intentional culture building within Netflix and how this is achieved, direct examples of what this looks like, when it’s worked and when it doesn’t. This didn’t feel like a manual or guide that is meant to be copied, but the attention, embrace of change and intention are really the key standouts for me. Yet again Duo came to mind, this is the place I experienced the best working culture, and there were many places in the book where learning or experiences were mentioned that matched some of what I’ve experienced at Duo with slightly different takes. Sierre Wolfkostin wrote a great Duo blog post on the culture that is worth a read: https://duo.com/blog/duo-s-recipe-for-great-culture . The book describes environments and decisions that mean people work together and are given agency, if and when things are questioned they are investigated to understand how to do things better and adjust. I enjoyed the switch from Erin and Reed in the book, especially the intro from Erin talking about how reading the Netflix culture deck didn’t go so well at first.”Lead with context, not control,” and coaching your employees using such guidelines as, “Don’t seek to please your boss.

"We value freedom and flexibility, but not at the expense of accountability
Now Try Something WeirderMichael Johnson2019“A fun read helping you to think about things from different perspectives and how to keep ideas and creativity flowing. It’s fun, full of inspiration, encouragement and case studies and experience.”If you’re struggling, look at a problem from a different direction"

"Stay open to unusual approaches
Kengo Kuma Complete WorksKengo Kuma2000“What a beautiful book. I’m a big fan of Kengo Kuma and his work, he’s written some great essays and done some great lectures (This one is a favourite of mine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LynYUwYZXqk - From Concrete to Wood: Why Wood Matters). Showing the considerations and the impact of his work. How it affects and impacts the environment that it becomes and surrounds it.”Architecture forms a vital link between people and their surroundings. It acts as a gentle buffer between the fragility of human existence and the vast world outside. How different people choose to build connections in their environment essentially defines those societies and their relationships to conditions around them.
The Song of SignificanceSeth Godin2023“A short read that packs a punch. Some lovely thoughts and points around choosing significance over safety. Discussions around leaderships, bringing people along on a journey rather than just managing. Embracing change to foster environments built for significance. I’ve been lucky enough to work with people and leaders who have exemplified some of these great traits mentioned and created environments where people could thrive and feel/ see the significance of their work and who they are. I want to go back and re-read this again shortly to find action for some of these thoughts and feelings.”“Humans aren’t a resource to be bought, used and discarded - they are the point of the workplace, the life essence of innovation, growth and success"

"“Each of us can show up in our own way, but the choice is the same: to lead, to create work that matters, and to find the magic that happens when we are lucky enough to co-create with people who care.”
The Creative Act: A Way of BeingRick Rubin2023“I really enjoyed this read. The content is short but impactful. I love that the main point in the book really is that creativity belongs to everyone. You can chose to act on creativity or not. I saw someone describe it as a self help book for creatives, and I can kind of see it. Thoughts on getting through ruts, trying new ways of working and perspectives, pursue things and keep going! Some of the ethereal language can be a bit much for my tastes but generally it all landed pretty well. "If you have an idea you’re excited about and you don’t bring it to life, it’s not uncommon for the idea to find its voice through another maker. This isn’t because the other artist stole your idea, but because the idea’s time has come.

Living life as an artist is a practice.
You are either engaging in the practice
or you’re not. It makes no sense to say you’re not good at it. It’s like saying, “I’m not good at being a monk.” You are either living as a monk or you’re not. We tend to think of the artist’s work as the output. The real work of the artist
is a way of being in the world.
DuneFrank Herbert1965“Such a great book and it’s far too hard to write any sort of short review. I love science fiction and haven’t read much in a while, this lead me to absolutely binging on all the lore throughout the Dune universe (there are some great Youtube channels like Quinn’s Ideas: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRXGGVBzHLUdsgN_vFaZmfjc6bXxPqajV and Nerd Cookies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV45y47I77c&list=PLj7gntrq3FeJHrNzjDK-JiKol2HZa86hc . I really enjoy the main theme around the dangers of charismatic all-powerful leaders and all the unique culture and history within it. I’d threatened to read this for an age and I’m glad I finally did!”The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience."

"Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken."

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
The Art of Letter Carving - And The Word Was made StoneTom Perkins2007“Such a beautiful book that shows technique and amazing detail of the act of chisel to stone. Guidelines for design of letterforms and filled with beautiful examples. Since I was a freelance calligrapher at one point I have always loved all forms of letter making, and stone carved letter are just delightful. One thing that makes me laugh is that Leuan Rees, a wonderful Welsh stone carver got lots of attention from a video of his showing up on an unintentional ASMR video on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwNENr8omM0 , worth a watch! The book by Tom Perkins is amazing and at some point I’d love to attend one of his workshops!”Inscriptions in stone have played a vital role in preserving the culture and history of mankind.
In Praise of ShadowsJun’ichirō Tanizaki1933”This was a really interesting book, I enjoyed it, and it gives an interesting insight to Japan at the time, from a specific view of course. This essay talks about the beauty in candlelight, where shadows dance, in all things delicate and nuanced and asks if progress is always better. A short essay from 1933, giving an interesting insight to the time and change in Japan. Being written in 1933 is something to keep in mind, there were parts which I did not enjoy that felt of the time in a way of being and thinking. I’m glad that I read this book rather than listened to the audio book as the ode to natural materials, touch and feeling comes across with the page turn.”We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates… Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.
The First 90 DaysMichael D. Watkins2013“A pretty alright read, I mostly skimmed and took a few pieces with some other things to work on what I felt I’d bring to a next role within the first few months. Some pointers on finding ways to look for impact when joining a new team/ company and ensuring to take time to reflect and plan. Overall I thought this book was better than I thought it would be, a little dull at some points but overall some good content in there.”Learn and align
Emotion By DesignGreg Hoffman2022“I enjoyed the book. I appreciated the perspective of building connection and meaning, bringing people and teams together. The thoughts around security as a product very much struck me when reading this, how do we build connection customer focus. Some great thoughts on creativity and curiosity in teams and enjoyed the process of exposing people and team members directly to different perspectives and forms of inspiration. This is something security can always do more of, take from outside of itself. "History has shown that innovation breakthroughs are rarely created with caution.

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Thçe current books on the to be read list:

  • The Agony of Decision - Mental Readiness and Leadership in a Crisis
    • By Heliio Fred Garcia
  • Grokking Algorithms: An Illustrated Guide for Programmers and Other Curious People
    • By Aditya Bhargava
  • Teaching Community - A Pedagogy of Hope
    • By Bell Hooks
  • The Human Element - Overcoming the Resistance That Awaits New Ideas
    • By Loran Mordgren and David Schonthal
  • Active Countermeasures - The Secret History of Disinformation & Political Warfare
    • Thomas Reid
  • The Design of Everyday Things
    • By Donald A. Norman
  • Eaten by the Internet
    • Edited by Corinne Catch

I’ve still got plenty on the shelf of shame to get through and this year I’m hoping to be a bit more consitent but also go back a re-read some bits that could do with a bit more digesting!

Oh and shoutout to my massively useful dog (Akira) for helping with picttures 😑

cat attacking bookmark

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