What I read last week
Shoe Dog (Phil Knight)
I came into this book knowing it had received somewhat polarizing reviews due to Knight’s interesting personality. Overall, this is a great read on the sheer amount of luck and grit it took to build Nike from nothing, with Knight providing a first-hand account of the many times where the company came close to failing. Although the book concludes post-IPO with Knight an immensely wealthy man, there’s a clear cautionary tale regarding his neglect of his family. In spite of the pieces of ego littered throughout the story, it’s worth the read if you’d like to learn about a more traditional (non-tech) business founded before the advent of venture capital.
The Stranger (Albert Camus)
This was one of the weirdest reads I’ve had in a while, and for that alone it was well worth the time. The writing, which takes the form of abrupt sentences to convey the main character’s thoughts, is steeped in metaphor and existentialism. The surrealism of the situation made the reading experience seem almost like some kind of fever dream, which reaches a crescendo in the final chapter where the author lays bare his thoughts on life and meaning. Overall a short read that will make you think.
What I’m reading this week
The Soul of a New Machine (Tracy Kidder)
In this book, Kidder describes a close race to release a new computer back in the 1970s, the era of the minicomputer. I’ve been increasingly interested in this period of digital technology, and I’ve heard that this book covers it well.
East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
I read a few Steinbeck novels back in high school and found them to be quite enjoyable. Steinbeck himself claimed this book to be his magnum opus, and it’s been on my list for a while.