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2006 - a (readable) year in review

posted in Media, personal stuff on December 27th, 2006

Based on a series I started back in 2004 and didn’t continue in 2005, I’d like to post some thoughts on media in 2006.

Let’s start out with readable media - printed books, eBooks, magazines, anything non-digital really. I managed to continue my stream of eBooks this year, even though I didn’t succeed in reading as much as I did in 2005. Nearly two years after I bought my first eBooks, I still believe that this is the future, at least for me and a few more people who are openminded enough to accept a new form of content delivery.

I read about 30 books this year (which is 40% less than last year) and the three that made my charts are, in no specific order:

Steven Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner - Freakonomics:
Freakonomics talks about the hidden side just about everyone has and gives plenty of examples to elaborate on the special view of the world the authors craft. While at first you might think that it’s just rambling, the authors are actually on to something…

James Surowiecki - The Wisdom of Crowds:
Surowiecki uses “The Wisdom of Crowds” to explain how great masses of people can be and actually are smarter than a small flock of higly intelligent, business driven people. With easy to understand examples, the author explains the various types of wisdom found in a crowd and then analyzes the elements that are “required” for a crowd to be considered smart. The book also contains a good explanation why sometimes “crowd wisdom” fails and how we can prevent it from failing. Funnily enough, Surowiecki recommends people to keep their ties loose and expose oneself to as many different sources of information as possible - his statements link up nicely with a recent blog post

Brad Thor - Takedown:
Thor once again delivers a kick-ass (excuse my excitement) thriller. I-clean-up-and-get-things-done-agent Scott Harvath once again is tapped to solve the problems that arise when a group of terrorists decide to cut off Manhattan from the outside world in any way possible. It’s a great read and other than a handful of references to previous adventures, you won’t miss anything if you haven’t read the other books. Certainly worth buying if you’re looking for a good action movie for your mind (yes, Thor is capable of writing THAT vividly).

Other than great reads, I also picked up my new favorite magazine, BRIGHT - a mix of technology, lifestyle, gadgets and high quality journalism. No it’s not FHM, it’s better and less sexist. Worth checking out if you live in the Netherlands or Belgium and speak Dutch and feel like staying on top of the information flow.

Read part 2 of this series here and part 3 right here.