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Paul's 2011 Book Recommendations

I make an Audible book recommendation on the Windows Weekly podcast when possible--disclaimer: Audible is an advertiser, not that that impacts my love of the service--and thought it would be interesting to compile my Audible and Kindle eBook recommendations from 2011. So here they are, the books I read and recommended this past year.

Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes
"Taubes argued that our diet’s overemphasis on certain kinds of carbohydrates—not fats and not simply excess calories—has led directly to the obesity epidemic we face today." I love this book because it does for weight loss what I like to do in my own field: Push aside the conventional wisdom, which is often wrong, and explain what's really happening. This is a must-read for anyone that's struggled with weight loss, and my guide for this next year.

Decision Points by George W. Bush
Wasn’t a fan of the guy as president, but you can't overstate the historical significance.

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. Companion pieces, if you will, to the weight loss stuff by Gary Taubes. A similar kind of deconstruction of the myths we all believe, in this case about food. Important.

Night Soldiers by Alan Furst
Classic historical spy thriller that takes place in the days leading up to World War II.
Thanks to Jeff for the recommendation.

Another suggestion from Jeff. A great new fantasy novel, with part 2 coming soon.

Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
Classic sci-fi from the masters, regarding a violent first contact with aliens. Set in the 1980's, with the politics of that day.

"Ten years have passed since the shocking attacks on the World Trade Center, and after seven years of conflict, the last U.S. combat troops left Iraq - only to move into Afghanistan, where the 10-year-old fight continues. The war on terror rages with no clear end in sight."
Also: Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright and The Bin Ladens by Steve Coll

The Black Echo by Michael Connelly
First of the Harry Bosch crime fictions novels.

The latest book by historian David McCullough tells the "story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work." McCullough: "Not all pioneers went west."

Solaris: The Definitive Edition by Stanislaw Lem  with Bill Johnston (translator) - Narrated by Alessandro Juliani
Excellent Polish sci-fi novel finally translated properly to English. There was a major Hollywood movie of this with George Clooney, but also a less-well known Russian version, which is on Netflix.
BTW, Alessandro Juliani was " Lieutenant Gaeta on BSG. Excellent reading of the book.

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson, narrated by Mike Chamberlain
Forget the zombie apocalypse. Once we have robots everywhere, the robot uprising is going to be the real problem!

I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59 by (and narrated by) by Douglas Edwards. "Google employee number 59 offers the first inside view of Google, giving listeners a chance to fully experience the bizarre mix of camaraderie and competition at this phenomenal company."

Star Wars (Dramatized) by George Lucas, narrated by Mark Hamill, Anthony DanielsFrom the 1981 NPR broadcast. There are also versions for Empire and Jedi.

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain, narrated by Anthony Bourdain. Classic retrospective from a chef/traveler I really respect even though he's turned into a bit of an act on TV.

Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Dominion by Eric Van Lustbader, narrated by Jeremy Davidson. Latest entry in the Jason Bourne series , which has been continued in decent fashion by Van Lustbader.

Carte Blanche: The New James Bond Novel by Jeffery Deaver, narrated by Toby Stephens. The new James Bond novel, in which the venerable spy is updated for the modern era  and operates outside the law.

The Return to the Little Kingdom: Steve Jobs, The Creation of Apple and How it Changed the World by Michael Moritz, narrated by Kevin Pariseau - You can trace the lineage of every single Apple/Jobs bio back to this classic, which has been re-released in recent years and is absolutely fantastic.

The Second Coming of Steve Jobs by Alan Deutschman, narrated by Charles Stransky - Arguably the best book (so far) about Steve Jobs' "third act" returning to Apple (It covers acts 1 and 2 as well). Certainly better than "iCon" which turns into a lovefest at the end.

In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir by Dick Cheney, with Liz Cheney; narrated by Edward Herrmann. Insider account of the Bush White House from the former vice president, plus of course his entire political history. Fascinating because of the history he witnessed and of course affected.

The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War by Andrew Roberts, narrated by Christian Rodska. Just when you thought everything had been written about WWII, this book comes along with all new information culled from never before seen documents. Truly fascinating.

Overhaul: An Insider's Account of the Obama Administration's Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry by Steven Rattner, narrated by Joe Barrett. "This first real look inside Team Obama mixes political warfare and big-business shakeups in equal proportions, and comes from a uniquely informed source. Steve Rattner is not just the man brought in by the president to save the auto industry, he is a former New York Times financial reporter who also earned a place among the top tier of Wall Street's most informed investment bankers and corporate experts."

One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of by Richard L. Brandt (eBook version) 

Making a World of Difference by Kai-Fu Lee (eBook version)

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, narrated by Dylan Baker. A great official biography of a very complicated person you'd never want to know personally. 

11/22/63 by Stephen King, narrated by Craig Wasson, is a nice twist on time travel and alternative history, and unlike many of King's recent books doesn't rely on some mystical twist (well, aside from the time portal of course). A surprisingly strong book that really captures the vibe of the 60s, similar to shows like "Mad Men".

The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1944-1945 by Ian Kershaw and narrated by Sean Pratt. Yes, it's "yet another book on World War II," and one of many excellent WWII titles from this year alone. But this one is particularly fascinating, seeking to discover exactly why and how Germany lasted for so long in 1944-5 when it was abundantly clear the war was already lost. There is almost no parallel to this in history. Excellent, excellent book.
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