Ingeniously, the Japanese use the word Tsundoku” to describe those times when you buy books, but let them pile up in your home without ever touching them again.

*In that spirit, I love reading and listening to (audio-)books and inspired by fellow blogger @cliophate I’m sharing all the books I have finished with a micro-review and optional recommendation.

Most books listed here get a recommendations, as I usually don’t finish books I don’t like and thus refrain from reviewing them.*


Der ProzessDer Prozess

Franz Kafka - The Gambler

Genre: Psychology & Philosophy
Recommendation: Yes
Listened to the German audio-book, beautifully narrated by Erich Räuker. It’s my second Kafka after having read The Transformation’ a few years back. Before reading The Trial’ I didn’t know what it was about and hadn’t even read a book blurb about it. I also didn’t know that the book was actually unfinished before reading up on the book after finishing it. Usually I don’t care much for interpretations of artists work as I try to let the art stand for itself in my perception. However, The Trial’ was such a confusing, in other words Kafkaesque book, that my intellect demanded some further explanations. The book is not difficult in its use of language, or far from being boring. But while being easy to understand on a micro level, from page to page, the macro message hasn’t yet become clear to me. What does this dubious trial stand for, what is the protagonists guilt if any, and what’s driving his accusers, judges and solicitors? The ending’ of the book is abrupt and doesn’t offer any clear answers, instead left me behind with more questions. An interesting book, which I haven’t made up my mind about yet.

The GamblerThe Gambler

Fjodr Dostojewski - Der Prozess

Genre: Novel
Recommendation: Yes
Very recently finished Crime & Punishment’ by Dostoevsky which I loved so much that I wanted to read more from him. The Gambler is much shorter novel, and a book that is not as monumental as Crime & Punishment’. While the latter asked questions of life & death, the former is about the short-lived ascent and consequent fall of the gambler. I am also not addicted to gambling myself, and thus cannot identify with the protagonist Alexei Ivanovich as much as I was able to identify with his opposite Rodion Raskolnikov, who questioned the existential dread of life itself. The Gambler’ has a very sad and moving ending to it that makes it more than worth to read it. Plus, the fast paced story and the quirky Characters in this book definitely makes this an entertaining read and easy rendez-vous with the great Dostoevsky.

Du musst nicht von allen gemocht werdenDu musst nicht von allen gemocht werden

Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga - Du musst nicht von allen gemocht werden

Genre: Psychology & Philosophy
Recommendation: Yes
I heard this as a German audio-book, which was a quick and entertaining experience. The narration was very good and I am generally a sucker for philosophical topics. Though written in Japan, the book actually talks about the ideas of the Austrian philosopher Alfred Adler. Unbeknown to me before, Adler is the founder of the school of individual psychology. His philosophies apparently have garnered more popularity in recent years as a reverent defense of individualism, but the book makes clear that Adler’s idea of personality development is heavily grounded in social elements. In essence the book asks the individual to feel free pursuing his dreams and desires, in order to be at peace and in balance with the environment and fellow human beings.

The big book of endurance training and racingThe big book of endurance training and racing

Dr. Phil Maffetone - The big book of endurance training and racing

Genre: Non-Fiction Sports
Recommendation: Yes
This is the biggest book I read on the topic of sports so far. The content is vast, ranging from advise on heart-rate training, nutritional intake, to music therapy and how to clip your toe nails to avoid fungi and pain in running shoes. Initially I picked up this book because Floris Gierman recommended it in his excellent 30 page summary which you can get for free on his page. While Maffetone truly wrote a big book on endurance training and racing with this one, it’s clear that he takes a holistic approach to make athletes healthier and fitter with a combination of training, rest and nutrition. Maffetone comes across more as a lifestyle coach, which I absolutely appreciate as it makes the book more interesting and versatile than a simple bio-chemistry class on running. The book strengthened my conviction to continue my low heart-rate training and made me more aware of my nutritional choices. It also encourages me to keep measuring my health, as that’s the best way to get to know your bodies’ reaction to different stimuli and improve on those in the future. I recommend this book to anyone who is serious about improving his health and fitness levels through some easy to follow and practical tips.


What I talk about when I talk about runningWhat I talk about when I talk about running

Haruki Murakami - What I talk about when I talk about running

Genre: Non-Fiction Memoir
Recommendation: Yes
I am Murakami fan, having devoured 6 of his 14 novels already. Murakami’s short stories and essay which I sometime got to read in the New Yorker magazine have also left me impressed. Thus, it was just a matter of time that I would read his memoirs on his personal experience about running on a daily basis as well competing in marathons and triathlons. I have recently picked up running myself again and have accumulated hundreds of kilometers and the past 3 months and lost several pounds along the way. I had the goal of running a marathon since at least 2010, but never succeeded than to compete in more than a half marathon. Murakami’s reflections on why he is running day after day, motivated me even further to make 2020 the year I finally achieve my goal and keep a steady pace at running on a regular basis. Not for fitness alone, but for the positive energy that comes with it. Murakami, as expected, comes across as an extraordinary character with strong convictions and even stronger determination. To me, this book has been a fun look behind the scenes and an inspiring story one of my most beloed authos. Murakami started over his life as a novelist and runner when he was 33 years old, which, coincidentally, is how old I am now. Though I am not aspiring to become a world renowned author anytime soon, it goes to show that it’s never to late to take a path for the better. All that’s needed is consistency, training and will.

Crime & PunishmentCrime & Punishment

Fjodr Dostojewski - Crime & Punishment

Genre: Fiction - History & Criticism
Recommendation: Yes
A classic that I had long ago downloaded on my Kindle. I tried the Brothers Karamazov a few years earlier, but never got warm with the book and couldn’t get past 15% of the book. What held me back was that I read the Brothers Karamazov in English, which got me utterly confused, and frankly annoyed, with all the different names for one and the same persons. Thus, I read Crime & Punishment in German to make it easier for myself, and voilà, I read the whole book in roughly a week or so. Now, I can agree that it deserves to be a classic and can recommend everyone to read this free classic before purchasing any other expensive novels. The shock in this book comes right in the first few chapters and Dostojewski then sets out on a psychological tour of the mind to make us overcome this shock. The big theme discussed by example of our anti-hero are in the wider sense capitalism, liberalism, conservatism, poverty and the human condition. I love Dostojewski’s storytelling, in that he writes a very dark and depressing book in a way that has actually motivated me to continue to read. The book, while written 150 years ago, is highly up-to-date and doesn’t feel old at all. Thanks to the beautiful and unassuming way Dostojewski talks about the dark side of the our minds, I feel enabled to copy his style of storytelling and utilize it for myself, though in a much smaller scale of course.

God’s DebrisGod’s Debris

Scott Adams - Gods Debris: A Thought Experiment

Genre: Fiction - Psychology & Religion
Recommendation: Yes
I stumbled over this book on twitter where someone recommended it as the book about God from the creator of the Dilbert’ comics”. I like the Dilbert comics very much as they always offer a great sarcastic view on contemporary business culture. In this book however Adams doesn’t try to mock anything, and poses some existential questions about god and how we human beings fit into the whole puzzle called universe. It’s a blissfully short read and Scott shares the ebook for free before it became a paperback, so you can download it easily anywhere on the internet. I will definitely read this book again and plan to gift it for Christmas to some of my loved ones.

Homo DeusHomo Deus

Yuval Noah Harari - Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

Genre: Non-Fiction Science & History
Recommendation: Yes
Another page-turner by Mr. Harari. With Sapiens” he has already reached popular acclaim, and will read for years and generations to come. In Homo Deus we are taken on an excursion into the future. And while Homo Deus is not as fact driven as Sapiens was, the ideas, visions, opportunities and threats Harari describes in great detail are fascinating. The first chapter on live expectancy and methods to extend human lives got me hooked early on. There are some dark scenarios looming on the horizon of time, but also fascinating developments humans will most likely go through if history is any indicator. Reading this book with my sons future in mind, makes it so much more thrilling to read. For anyone interest to have a peek at generational challenges that lie ahead of us as the human species should have a read of Homo Deus.

Why we sleepWhy we sleep

Matthew Walker - Why we sleep

Genre: Non-Fiction Medical
Recommendation: Yes
Astounding beyond my expectations. I took little care of my sleep in my teens and twenties, and have only started to take sleep more seriously about 4 years ago. The author has rationalized and intensified my wish for at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Not matter from which perspective you look at it, economically sleep is a competitive advantage by increasing your intelligence, medically sleep reduces your risk of severe sicknesses such as e.g. cancer, health-wise sleep makes you happier and fit, socially sleep makes you more likable, and so on and so on. I find this book to be very important for everyone to read and highly suggest those who regularly sleep less than 8 hours a night to study Why we sleep” intently. Only long and deep sleep can built the foundation for our bodies to live long and healthy. If you’re in any way concerned about your diet, level of exercise, work performance, creativity and life expectancy you should be concerned about your sleep first.

The subtle art of not giving a fuckThe subtle art of not giving a fuck

Mark Manson - The subtle art of not giving a fuck

Genre: Non-Fiction Self Help
Recommendation: Yes
Care less about the things that occupy your mind on day to day basis, and care more about the things that really matter to you. The message of the book is really simple, and thus the book is a quick read. It’s an entertaining contemporary piece of literature that drives home the point of why everyone should just do whatever the fuck he so wishes to do. Of course, there are laws, morals, norms that get in the way of some of the things one might like to do, but nobody should stop doing the things he really cares about just because he worries it will reflect bad on himself.

The Silk RoadsThe Silk Roads

Peter Frankopan - The Silk Roads

Genre: Non-Fiction History
Recommendation: Yes
The trade routes through the middle east, where east meets west, have at least hundred, if not thousand of years of history. This book tries to give us a perspective of eastern and western civilizations from the perspective of the middle east. A literary herculean task that while well executed was confusing from in parts as someone not well studied on the shahs, khans and imperial empires that ruled parts of the world a thousand years ago. This confusion was dreading at worst, but exciting at best and strengthened my opinion that the current political world is more complex than meets the eye. Of course the Middle East played a huge role in our civilization, just how big that impact has been is attainably clear in this book. I liked the book most when it talked about the last 100 - 200 years as the impact of the 19th & 20th century is most noticeable in our lives today. The importance of the silk roads becomes clear with the Chinese Belt & Road Initiative, giving new importance and capital to an age old concept. I’m looking forward to read The New Silk Roads” by Frankopan soon, as they give a more forward-looking view of the importance of the Middle East.

The Jesus IncidentThe Jesus Incident

Frank Herbert, Bill Ransom - The Jesus Incident

Genre: Science-Fiction
Recommendation: Yes
A science-fiction drama that reflects on the human struggle to survive, and the oxymoron of survival guaranteed only through deadly sacrifices waged in wars. I don’t remember how this book was recommended to me, but saw it on my kindle collecting dust’ for quite a while before I finally committed my time to it. The book is a quick paced read that makes appetite for more as it keeps the plot unpredictable when switching the characters perspective mid-chapter. There are two more books in the series which I didn’t now existed prior to reading the first book. While The Jesus Incident’ ends on a full-stop and left me satisfied, I think I’ll be enjoying to read more of the authors idea about the human civilian process.

Killing CommendatoreKilling Commendatore

Haruki Murakami - Killing Commendatore

Genre: Fiction
Recommendation: Yes
As a Murakami fan, I wouldn’t give this book anything but a recommendation but also in regards to his most recent works I enjoyed this coming of age story relatively well. The book is way better than the previous Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki”, the plot of which I have already completely forgotten. Having just finished it I also think its better than his epochal 1Q84, which felt like a tough read sometimes. Killing Commendatore was a fun book until Chapter 52 of 65, when the story goes underground’ and becomes very abstract and metaphorical. As an intermittent trip into some sort of parallel world this part would have been better, if it wasn’t for the rather abrupt and unmoving ending that unfolds right after this excursion. As ever though Murakami has elegantly developed his characters that for one part feel so very real, and on the other hand are too perfectly Japanese that I started envying their character’s constitution. Killing Commendatore beautifully describes a world of focus, determination, wonder, excitement and skill that drew me in and made me continue to explore this painting-like environment. It was a sensory pleasure that I felt at home in and wouldn’t wanna miss having read. It was exactly what I read and appreciate Murakami’s art so much for. It seems a women at any age, 13, 14, you name it, feels that she is facing a delicate time in her live” - this was one of the funnier comments made by the books unnamed main character.


Ray Dalio - Principles

Genre: Non-Fiction Management
Recommendation: Yes
I’ve heard about Bridgewater Capital years ago in the news. Reported was that Founder Ray Dalio was surveilling his staff without respect for data privacy and had job applicants reveal their most private data through in a myriad of tests. This book gives you a completely different picture of Dalio, his company, and then so much more. Dalio does a great job of passing on his knowledge in this book making me feel appreciative of the life advice from one of the richest men in the USA. Principles led me to do my own personality test and has invoked in me a slew of goals I am to achieve in 2019. There are lots of great thoughts worth quoting in principles and I seriously wonder why Mr. Dalio is not one of the potential candidates for next presidential elections in the USA. I listened to the audio version of this book and it was very impressively read by Mr. Dalio himself the majority of the time. I’m not sure whether it was the content or the fact the last third of the book was read by someone else, but it got less interesting and more repetitive in this part of the book. I’m looking forward to check out the tools Dalio is providing online and will sure come back to the wisdom of this book in the future. One of my favorite quotes from the book, that I will try to follow in bringing up my son, is: Giving people the opportunity to struggle rather than giving them what they struggle for, will make them stronger.”

The AlchemistThe Alchemist

Paulo Coelho - The Alchemist

Genre: Fiction Spirituality
Recommendation: Yes
A beautiful little tale of perseverance, love and faith. The text blurb introducing the book doesn’t do the book justice with all its messages and hidden meanings and hints at something greater in live those things that are right in front of our eyes. The Alchemist is very profound and sophisticated, and at the same time simple and and easy to read. I think its strengths lies in the narration and the many ways a reader is able to interpret the book according to his own statute. The audiobook is so pleasantly narrated by Jeremy Irons, that I finished this romantic little piece of literature in just two sittings within 24 hours of each other. I recommend you slow down the speed to appreciate the narrative, in case you usually listen to audio sped-up.

Smart Money Smart KidsSmart Money Smart Kids

Dave Ramsey, Rachel Cruze - Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money

Genre: Non-Fiction Personal Finance
Recommendation: Yes
I noticed the book while casually browsing and found the title captivating enough to put it next in my reading list. The book didn’t disappoint at all, with practical advise confidently presented by the father and daughter Ramsey. Though I was adverse when the authors first spoke about their faith and how it manifests itself in their financial convictions, I enjoyed their convinced and passioned way in bringing their life experience across to other people. The advise is nothing earth-shattering new but served me as a good reminder to rectify my habits with Eli needing my guidance and parenting.

The Bitcoin StandardThe Bitcoin Standard

Saifedean Ammous - The Bitcoin Standard

Genre: Non-Fiction Economics |
Recommendation: Yes
It’s great to have started 2019 with such a powerful book. The book is packed with knowledge about monetary finance and gives a new perspective on the last 200 years of central banking and capitalism, leading up to the intrinsic values that make Bitcoin an competitor for global reserve currency. I especially loved the chapter on low and high time frames as it inspires me to stay fervent in focusing on the long-term. I’ll try to find more literature on this topic in 2019 and hope that Saifedean himself will elaborate on the idea in regards to Bitcoin with a follow-up book. I do not agree entirely with the book, e.g. the connotation that the past 100 years of human & economic progress has always been accompanied by chaotic boom & bust cycles, or that all progress we see today is fundamentally based on the time when gold was the global reserve standard. I do understand the argument though and accept it has some merit, i just wouldn’t paint such a bleak picture of our past, and instead highlight how Bitcoin is able to improve on our future even more. A must read for everyone interested in Bitcoin, money, fintech, economics and cryptocurrencies.


Ball LightningBall Lightning

Liu Cixin - Ball Lightning

Genre: Science Fiction
Recommendation: No
While reading Cixin’s Three Body Problem I accidentally read Ball Lightning because I thought it was part of the trilogy. I did enjoy the book and finished it fairly quickly. In general though, I’m not a huge science fiction fan and the books narrative about a person’s passion to find this exotic form of lightning was not as grand and inspiring as the Three Body Problem.

Three-Body ProblemThree-Body Problem

Liu Cixin - The Three-Body Problem Triology

Genre: Science Fiction
Recommendation: Yes
Being a recommendation by my wife and Barack Obama I liked this book a lot. The science is mind boggling, even though I have no competency whatsoever to verify any of it. I got a little lost in Book II when a weird kids fairytale took center stage in the narrative. Never-minding this, the theories in the book are captivating. The thought of multiple thousand of civilizations living in the dark forest of space is grand and one i love to ponder on. Most positive thought I gained from the book is, love is the answer.


David Graeber - Debt: The First 5.000 Years

Genre: Non-fiction Economics
Recommendation: Yes
Debt is one of those books that linger on subconsciously longer than you anticipate. Of course, 5.000 years of debt is way too much to read, learn and remember in daily live, but the underlying philosophies of how humans have defined debt over centuries gains headwater and you’ll look at money, economics and debt differently after finishing this book.


Yuval Harari - Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Genre: Non-fiction History
Recommendation: Yes
An absolute blockbuster of a book. Recommended by the great @naval on twitter, I finished this book in no time. Sapiens transpires a breadth of knowledge and is hugely entertaining. You have to know the past, to understand the present, and this book takes a huge effort in explaining our past. Loved almost every chapter in it and never got bored, as it was just so mind-opening to get a broader understand of who and why we are. A definite recommendation. If you read one book this year make it Sapiens.

Plus, the audiobook is beautifully read by Mr. Derek Perkins.

Dein kompetentes KindDein kompetentes Kind

Jesper Jens - Dein kompetentes Kind

Genre: Non-fiction Parenting
Recommendation: No
A German book on parenting I read some time after my son born. I read the book in anticipation of some good advise, but found it’s semi-scientific ideas mostly far-fetched. I appreciate that the author tried to give case examples, however I didn’t think they were straightforward and more importantly didn’t agree with half of the proposed resolutions. The author and this book is apparently one of the more popular and regularly recommended books in German parenting literature. I don’t really see why. Having read up on the authors biography, I was even less staunched. I think the author take his parenting approach too serious, and I my believe a less planned” approach is okay as long as the child feels loved along the way.


Here I amHere I am

Jonathan Foe - Here I Am

Genre: Fiction Drama
Recommendation: Yes
A New York Times Bestseller this book about responsibilities as husband, father, citizen, Jew caught my attention in a time when I just became father and felt the responsibilities and connected stress of marriage and fatherhood creeping up. I couldn’t entirely identify with the Jewish American protagonist, but understood his nostalgia for times past and the conflicts he was fighting in daily life. It’s an entertaining book and easy read that gave me a comfy feeling at times, because shared pain is half the pain.

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