Libros 44-50 :: The final chapter of the Libro 52* Challenge.

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So… I failed.

I did not read one book per week in 2013.


Close, but no cigarillo.


Alas, here’s a brief rundown of the last few books I read – a couple Must-Reads among them….


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Libro 44 :: The Power of Habit 2012 by Charles Duhigg

The reason most of your new 2014 resolutions will forgotten (statistically speaking…sorry) by April 1 is due to habits.


We all have them.


Habits are a shortcut.

Habits are automatic.

Habits are an auto-pilot.


We just follow the script.


Our lives are largely made up of unconscious habits, but rarely do we strategically design them to our benefit. This book will help make your habits more conscious.



For example, we focus more on goals than habits.

We shouldn’t.


Instead of focusing on goals, “Ok… I will lose 30 pounds by April.” you’d be better served by focusing on habits. “Every Monday, Wednesday & Sunday I will drive to the gym at 7 am without fail.


That habit – driving to the gym 3x a week – may enable the 30-pound loss goal.


Once you’re at the gym, you’ll know what to do.

You’ll do something.

The hard part is getting to gym consistently.


Duhigg’s tips on habit awareness and development will help you achieve your goals via habits. The author also shares the greatest workplace safety story I’ve ever read. It involves Paul O’Neill (no – not the baseball one…) and ALCOA. That chapter alone is worth the book’s pricetag.



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Libro 45 :: Wait 2012 by Frank Partnoy 

Wait: The Art and Science of Delay was very good. Partnoy dissects the difference between intelligent/optimal delay and the sinister step-sister, Procrastination. His chapter on personal discount rates is fascinating too.


While you’ve heard some variation of the 3M Post-It Notes story, Partnoy re-tells it with a depth and clarity deserving of its own case study.


After you’ve read The Power of Habit, read this and you’ll be done thinking about thinking for a while…..



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Libro 46 :: Smarter Than You Think by Clive Thompson

Twitter is for morons who can’t express thoughts longer than 140 characters. The only thing worse than micro-blogging is….”


“Blogging is for journalist-wanna-be’s who are convinced the world will be worse off if we never hear their uniquely original views on Duck Dynasty.” 


Facebook is for attention-seeking stay-at-home moms (and grandmas) with a need to stay relevant. And for businesses. (Like me, please!)”


Instagram is for narcissists who can barely express their thoughts with a photo and 20 characters.” 


With the arrival of every new social media platform comes a familiar cycle:

  1. Awareness
  2. Curiosity
  3. Disdain
  4. Mild Annoyance
  5. Acceptance
  6. Sign-Up
  7. Usage
  8. Aging
  9. Forget Password
  10. Awareness of new social media…


With each cycle the familiar outcry: Our society is getting dumber! Look at how far we’ve fallen!


Thompson makes a compelling contrarian case for how this new tech is making us smarter.

Thompson says it’s not a binary equation – it’s not either the technology or us.

It’s both.


Humans + Technology = Better than humans alone.

Humans + Machines = Better decisions


Sure, Big Blue beat Kasparov at chess and Watson won Jeopardy!, but Siri is still like your 2-year old nephew: It’s cute for a bit, but you don’t want to interact with it for very long.


This book will help you look at the world ca. 2014 in a new way.

You should read it.




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Libro 47 :: Brothers Emanuel by Zeke Emanuel


Three boys from Chicago.

One becomes a world-renown doctor.

One becomes a Hollywood super-agent.

And one becomes the Mayor of Chicago while living in Washington, D.C.


Nature or nurture?

A bit of both.


In this interesting, but largely benign book on the Emanuel boys – Zeke, Rahm and Ari – written by Zeke, you see the upshot of letting your kids swear, fight, and talk politics, race and religion at the dinner table.

Don’t underestimate the intelligence of young kids.

They pick up everything.




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Libro 48 :: WikiLeaks by David Leigh and Luke Harding 


Biggest government leak(s) in history.


The man behind it all is a tall Aussie hacker/vagabond with long blond-hair, a penchant for flamboyance and the occasional rape charge.


If it sounds like a movie, it has become one.

Julian Assange is a character.

Here’s an interesting link to peruse – a verbatim meeting between Assange and former Google CEO, Eric Schmidt.



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Libro 49 :: Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure by Tim Harford. 

This book is excellent, but well within the crowded space of thinking about decision-making (Wait, The Power of Habit, Thinking, Fast and Slow….).


The dust jacket claims Harford “could well be Britain’s Malcolm Gladwell.”

That’s about right.

(For better or worse.)

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Libro 50 :: How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer

I read this book – which was C+ material – and then remembered why I knew the author’s name.


He’s the guy who made up Bob Dylan quotes for his latest book, Imagine. When he got caught, he doubled down and lied.


And got caught again.


So The New Yorker fired him.

So did Wired Magazine.


Then people started digging… Apparently there were inaccuracies, plagiarism and/or unsavory literary stunts pulled in this book too. It was pulled from the shelves.


But not all the shelves… Obviously.



Bottom Line: Accidentally reading a book you didn’t want to read is a sign the Libro 52 Challenge has run its course.



Thanks for reading.

I appreciate it.




Bradley Hartmann is El Presidente at Red Angle ( What’s his 2014 New Year’s Resolution?



LIBRO 52 Challenge

1. Kennedy/Nixon by Chris Matthews

2. Poke the Box by Seth Godin

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

NA. Buy-In by John Kotter and Lorne Whitehead

4. Education of an Accidental CEO by David Novak

5. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

6. Blood, Brains and Beer by David Ogilvy

7. Lyndon Johnson :: Master of the Senate by Robert Caro

8. 1776 by David McCullough

9. To Sell Is Human by Dan Pink

NA. Profiles In Courage by JFK*

10. Write It When I’m Gone by Tom DeFrank

11. FDR by Jean Edward Smith

12. The Cluetrain Manifesto by Locke, Searls, Weinberger + Levine

13. One Click by Richard Brandt

14. Persuasive Presentations by Nancy Duarte

NA. James K. Polk by Walter Borneman

15. The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw

16. The Illustrious Dead by Stephan Talty

17. The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

18. Adventures of Johnny Bunko by Dan Pink

19. Thunderstruck by Erik Larson

20. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

21. Ctrl Alt Delete by Mitch Joel

22. Down & Dirty Pictures by Peter Biskind

23. Makers by Chris Anderson

24. Tales from Q School by John Feinstein

25. The Business of Belief by Tom Asacker

26. 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman

27. Drive by Dan Pink

28. Enough by John Bogle

29. Contagious by Jonah Berger

30. Lexicon by Max Barry

31. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

32. A Very Short Tour of the Mind by Michael Corballis

33. The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton

34. Choose Yourself by James Altucher

35. The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig

36. Inside The Box by Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg

37. The Power of Less by Leo Babauta

38. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

39. Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier

40. The Authentic Swing by Steven Pressfield

41. Trust Me, I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday

42. Black Irish by Stephan Talty

43. The Firm by Duff McDonald

44. The Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg

45. Wait by Frank Partnoy

46. Smarter Than You Think by Clive Thompson

47. Brothers Emanuel by Zeke Emanuel

48. Wikileaks by David Leigh & Luke Harding

49. Adapt by Tim Harford

50. How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer

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1 reply


  1. Top 5 Books of 2013 :: My Next Book…. « the red angle

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