Pre-Drone Deliveries

4 Dec

I saw my first “Best Of” list for 2013 today. It was from this past Sunday’s New York Times Sunday Book Review, the 100 Notable Books of 2013. It goes without saying that there are plenty of books and authors worth checking out on this list. A few I’ve read: Andre Dubus III’s, Dirty Love and Jamie Quatro’s, I Want to Show You More (I saw these two together on a panel at this year’s Boston Book Festival), and Megan Marshall’s wonderful biography, Margaret Fuller: A New American Life. Several also appear on my “to read” list: Five Days at Memorial, by Sheri Fink and The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt, to name a couple.

Over the past year, I’ve mentioned a number of books that I like and find useful for my work. Since it’s that time of year (and because the blog post that I started to write for this week was depressing me), I thought I’d list a few favorites that I read in 2013, that currently reside on my Kindle, and that I’ve not noted previously. They weren’t all published in 2013, but they landed on my virtual bookshelf within the past twelve months, thankfully before the start-up of drone delivery.

innovation generationInnovation Generation: How to Produce Creative & Useful Ideas,

by Roberta Ness

Roberta Ness, MD, MPH, is the Dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health. This book is based upon the course, “Innovative Thinking”, that she teaches at the School. It gives practical examples and a host of exercises that the reader can do to develop his/her own habits for thinking more creatively, whether you’re a scientist or not. (Published: 2012)

The Science of Serendipity

The Science of Serendipity: How to Unlock the Promise of Innovation,

by Matt Kingdon

I often think how one of the things we’ve lost in moving scholarship to the desktop article level is the random act of finding relationships between unrelated things, aka serendipity. When an article was physically bound next to others, your chances of seeing something besides the one thing you were looking for were greatly enhanced. Strolling the stacks led you to also notice the other journals and/or books nearby, each filled with ideas that could unlock a whole new train of thought. Kingdon’s book is written for the business world, but I found it highly insightful for learning about how ideas and products are often born out of seemingly random connections. The key to success, he argues, is learning how to see these connections and then move them to the level where things happen. (Published: 2012)

100 Things

100 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know about People

by Susan Weinshenk

If you read my blog with any regularity, you know that I write a lot about how to design and deliver presentations. This book adds to that topic, but also brings in some science about how people listen and take in information. We know that the best presenters are those who can give their audience what it wants. This book gives some tips (100 of them) on how to become better at doing just that. (Published: 2012)

reinventing discovery

Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science

by Michael Nielsen

Librarians talk a lot about our possible role(s) in eScience as it relates to data. For me, though, the more interesting place to work is in the other side of eScience, i.e. networks. Nielsen’s book is a fascinating read into how science happens today via vast networks of people and talent and interests, all connected by the internet (and subsequent techie tools that harness its power). Read this book along with David Weinberger’s, Too Big to Know, and you’ll likely never think about knowledge and discovery in quite the same way again. (I also recommend wearing headgear while reading them. The ideas can make your head explode.)  (Published: 2011)

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

by Colonel Chris Hadfield

Canada’s best known and likely best loved astronaut offers up a memoir filled with lots of lessons for all of us stuck on Earth. This book just came out in late October. I downloaded it and read it over a weekend on my couch. It’s a virtual page turner. If you love space (I sure do!) or just a great story about someone doggedly reaching his goals (imagine wanting to be an astronaut when your country doesn’t even have such things), give this one a go. You’ll enjoy it. Follow @Cmdr_Hadfield on Twitter, too. Great stuff!

Now it’s your turn. Share some of your favorites from the past year. One can never have a “to read” list that’s too long.

5 Responses to “Pre-Drone Deliveries”

  1. Christine Fleuriel December 5, 2013 at 9:46 am #

    Now I’m psyched to read a couple, but no library in Maine has them! Time to break down and buy a Kindle? Oy!

    • salgore December 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

      I resisted any kind of eReader for a long time, Chris, but have to confess now how much I really do love my Kindle, particularly for books related to work. It’s a really handy way to keep them together AND save trees. PLUS, I’m glad that you can borrow on these devices now. That was my biggest block against them.

  2. Mark December 6, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    The NPR Best Books of 2013 ( includes The World’s Strongest Librarian. I used to prefer print books for recreational (novel) reading but I must admit I now more often use my iPad and Kindle Fire. I like being able to read without other lighting, and how books can be downloaded (borrowed) for free via the public library system (in my case via or for $9.99/month via Oyster (“the Netflix for books”) in addition to the usual Amazon downloads (Amazon Prime has advantages in this regard).

    • salgore December 6, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

      Thanks, Mark! I started to look at the NPR list yesterday. Many other great picks there. And I’m with you… the borrowing via public libraries, Prime membership, and Oyster all make eBooks much more appealing to this librarian.

  3. Susan Buelow January 7, 2014 at 8:33 am #

    I just love the tactile feel of real paper books! This will never change but I do understand that reading now has many formats. I usually read two or three books at a time–just completed ZEALOT; now working on THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY and G. Washington’s spy ring during the American Revolution. Certainly an eclectic mix!

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