2012 Book Summary



2012 was a fantastic year for reading! With all my travels I had a ton of time to read and set a new record! I read 146 books this year and you can read all the mini reviews here.

If you only read 3 books this year I recommend the following:
*All of these are incredibly well written and fascinating reads. Thanks to the Daily Show for helping me to find them!

1. The Quants – A must read for anyone who likes the modern financial system and doesn’t want to see it wrecked (esp after some of the crazy days we have had since 2008)… An investigative look into high speed stock/bond/etc trading, trading AI, and a lot more. This book and others on the same subject are a big reason I don’t trust the stock market any longer.

2. The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Cornelius is one of the most amazing people I’ve stumbled upon and a true American story of rags to riches. Just an amazing guy! Read the NY Times review here. At his death he possessed 1/9th of all American currency in circulation. Think about that, and he was also just a bad ass, even death couldn’t take him despite many horse racing accidents.

3. The Match King: Ivar Kreuger, The Financial Genius Behind a Century of Wall Street Scandals. An amazing amazing guy who is responsible for so many of our modern financial rules after his huge collapse :). Read the NY Times review here.

Honorable Mention (Downgraded because it is INTENSE):
What It Is Like To Go To War. One of the most powerful books I’ve ever read, I literally had to sit and just think for a few hours at a time after I finished sections. And call a friend just to talk. Should be required reading for every single person in high school and discussed.

2 Best Business Books
1. Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck–Why Some Thrive Despite Them All – I love Jim Collins and all his work, this is yet again a great read on what makes a company great.

2. Race Against The Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy. Why this book? Because I think over the next 20 years Robots are going to change the global work environment. And I’m not sure how this will affect the concept of “work” and income for so many people. Scary/Exciting stuff.

3 Best True Books
Mountains Beyond Mountains. The story of a doctor trying to make a difference, beautiful story, made me cry at a few points. Changing the world is hard.

Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough. A brilliant book that me and my brother read and had a fantastic time discussing. A lot of women should read this book.

Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World. A dense but great read if you want to understand the upcoming power dynamics in the world. Esp if you get tired of people claiming the sky is falling because the USA isn’t #1 in every category.

Best Travel Books
Weak year, have nothing I would recommend strongly :(.

Best Thrillers / Military
1. The last week of 2012 I found the best author I’ve found since Clancy. His name is Vince Flynn and I finished all his books within about a week. 12 amazing books about Mitch Rapp, an off the books CIA assassin. Fantastic, well written, awesome. Buy them all!

Best Sci Fi / Fantasy
A weak year for this category :(, the only stand out was the Repairman Jack series. Props to Laura/Karl for finding this one for me. A great read.

Best Bibliographies
Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson. Just a well done biography about an amazing man who was also an uncompromising dick hole. Love it!

All In: The Education Of General David Petraeus. A fantastic book about an amazing man, flawed like all of us, but still amazing. A great read.

Best History
1. The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention. One of the best books I’ve read and a close one for best book of the year. Highly recommended if you want to learn about innovation, the patent system, and more. Check out this great Lincoln Quote that really sums the book up.

2. The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History. Just an amazing book about the epidemic and also the medical community at the time. Almost made the best books of the year category. Highly recommended if you want a better understanding of the medical community and the risk of these type of pandemics.

3. And the Money Kept Rolling In (and Out) Wall Street, the IMF, and the Bankrupting of Argentina. I love Argentina, fantastic people, amazing wine, beautiful beautiful country. And they got F’ed in the A on this one, by their bad decisions, plus the international community. A good read if you want to learn how not to govern + how not to help a country. Still causing them so many problems and it frustrates me. I hope they get better leadership in the next decade, their people deserve it.

4. The Last Days of the Incas. Great read to understand this aspect of history. The most amazing part is how a mere 60 to 200 heavily armed calvary destroyed such a vast empire, makes you realize how military technology can really do some crazy things. Very well written.

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Running Summary For 2012


2012 was a decent year for running. With all my travels I didn’t run as much as I wanted and my long runs went into a decline. I took January off to nurse an unrelated injury (sciatica from a bad work chair incident in late 2011 – me being stupid), plus I was in Cusco Peru at 12,000 feet altitude and missing my dear friend oxygen.

For 2012 I ran 780 miles in 122 hours, my second best recorded year. My longest run was 23 miles on Easter Island, and my best month was March in Buenos Aires where I ran 123 miles (awesome trail running park near my apartment). I’ve slowly been building my runs back up over the year in Australia…

For 2013 I want to beat my 2011 record year (1,198 Miles). I’d like to get my monthly miles above 100 miles each month and do at least one 20+ mile long run monthly. My time in Australia is up May 30th and I would like to do some running tourism in Greece, Romania, and other countries. One of my 2013 goals is to be active a minimum of an hour a day so that will help get me out of the house and off my butt.

This is bwb’s personal blog so he can share his thoughts with the world, however scary or silly they might be. Plus family and friends can track what I am up too, and where I am in the world.

I am pretty simple. I love Mangos. I love the ocean, although mostly at sunset as I’m a ginger. I love to travel, eat exotic food, read, and use my imagination. I love creating and developing ideas into businesses, understanding how all businesses work, and building cool stuff. I am a globalist and see the entire world as my responsibility and playground. And, I am married to an amazing woman who makes life even more fun :)! And, we are now the proud parents of Calico Jack :).