Books Read in 2014


The following is the list of books that I completed in 2014. I have had several goals in mind while reading through these books. I have been, since around 2010, working through a list of books from BBC. They stated that only 6 books on their list had been read by most. I’m trying to cover everything on the list. So, many books I read will be from this list. I also participated in a summer reading challenge from our local library, so I read 20 books in the month of August alone, which is much more than usual. Lastly, I’ve read many books because they are part of a series I had previously begun. Also, some books on listed below as recommendations from friends and just because I thought I would enjoy them.

I encourage anyone interested in reading to check out goodreads, a wonderful website that keeps track of the books you have read as well as those books you want to read. It is also a social site so you can discuss the book you are reading with others.

I’ve done posts like this for the last 5 years.  Here are a few of the others:


  • My most read author was William Shakespeare, but my highest average rating went to A.G. Riddle a relatively new authormost_popular_binding

My favorite way to read was via Kindle

  • I preferred Fiction in 2014 to non-fiction.  It consisted of 70% of the books I read
  • Within Fiction I read mostly classics (40%) then, Science Fiction (23%)fiction_non_fiction

Within Non-Fiction, my reads were more diverse

  • The longest audio book I listed to was Les Miserables at 58 hours
  • Total audio book listening time was 224 hours or 9 Days
  • Total pages read (kindle, paperback and hardback combined) was 12,210
  • The longest book I read was a photography book called Earth from Above: 365 Days (792 pages), which is a photography book, if we exclude “picture books”, then the longest book was The Atlantis Gene at 488 pages
  • The shortest book I read was To Build a Fire at 32 pages
  • Most of the books I read were published in 2014
  • The oldest book I read was Prometheus Bound written in 480 BC
  • It took me over a year, 455 days, to complete Les Miserable’s
  • Some books sit around longer than others: I put Heir to the empire on my to-read shelf on January 17, 2008 and didn’t read it until November of 2014, 2,488 days (6.8 years) after I put it on my self
  • I rate science fiction the highest within fiction. Within Non-Fiction I rate business books the highest
  • Total books read in 2014 was 67

Top 6 Books of 2014

Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Green Gables

Blood of Tyrants
Blood of Tyrants


The Atlantis Gene
The Atlantis Gene

The Atlantis World
The Atlantis World

The Martian
The Martian

Continue reading Books Read in 2014

How Google Works Book Review



Listened to How Google Works by Eric Scmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg in the car with my wife. The book was read well by the speaker, not great, but okay. As for the content of the book, it seemed pretty good a lot the same as Bold. Take bigger risk for bigger reward, etc. Lots of emphasis on hiring and how important it is (duh). Some great ideas and good things to keep in mind. But nothing Earth shattering. I liked the possible interview questions to use as we were interviewing at the time I listened to that section. Good timing!

This book was a recommendation from the departments vice president.  She also listened to the book on her commute to and from work.  The book had 9 tracks and it went really fast when we remembered to plug it in and listen to it.  My wife and I both agreed to listen to more business books for our drive now.  This should help me put a dent in my reading list.

Bold by Peter Diamandis

bold_bookI’ve just started reading Bold by Peter Diamandis and I’m already hooked.  It is a fascinating book.  In the first chapter he mentioned the company Quirky, that helps inventors get their products into the market.

3D Printing

And now, in chapter two I’m reading about the company 3D Systems.

They make 3D printers and I want one of those so bad now!  Only a thousand dollars.  Very cool stuff!  Did you know those Invisalign braces are all 3D printed per person?

Made in Space creates 3D printers that are being used in the International Space Station!  Also, discovered Shapeways, think Etsy for 3D printed stuff!  And yes, there are even 3D printed dolls.  Each one custom made.

Local Motors is a whole 3D printed car; the first one ever.  We can currently print ten single family homes a day.

The book is not due out until February 3, 2015, but I was able to get a review copy from Netgalley.  If you are a big book reader I highly reccomend you check them out.

I looked into getting the book because I was present at a Partners 2014, a technology conference,  where Peter Diamandis was one of the keynote speakers.

Key Points

This being a net galley pre-reader, I’m not allowed to quite the book, but here are some interesting tidbits that I’ve read about so far:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) will do everything better than humans by 2029.
  • Robotics is the fastest growing industry and will be the largest be 2020.
    • Robots don’t unionize, no lunch, and can work an assembly line for approx. $4 an hour!
    • Within the next 2 decades 45% of American’s will lose their jobs to Robots and AI
  • Flow: the state of optimal human performance, I love this new word!
  • People who retire at 55 are approx. 90% more likely to die ten years after they retire, than those who wait 10 more years to retire.
  • If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it, this and many other sayings in the book remind me of Lean Six Sigma.
    • He has other great rules like this on his website.
  • Another crowdsourced website called Threadless is great to find some awesome shirts.
  • Tongal crowdsources TV ads and other creative projects.
  • Kaggle – crowdsourced data scientist that compete to solve real world problems.
  • Approx. 150 members is the point at which the community itself begins to carry the conversation
  • Almost anyone with a passion has the power to bring real change into this world.

Make Some Money

  • Fiverr – users submit small tasks that they need done and pay a minimum of $5.
  • 99designs – If you are graphically inclined you can make some money here.
  • Freelancer – Exactly what it sounds like a site to get small, short jobs for various amounts of money.
Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk
Raptor by Rob Shenk from Great Falls, VA, USA

Diamandis’ kind of thinking was behind the creation of super top secret (Skunk Works) projects like the Nighthawke and the Raptor.

He also discussed how companies now release a “minimum viable product”.  Basically, the beta of a device just to get something out there and bet the competition to the market.  Then the make small updates to the product over the years until it is where they had first envisioned the product.  This reminded me of the iDevices from Apple.

Diamandis is involved in 6 companies:

  1. Planetary Resources
  2. Singularity University
  3. X-Prize
  4. Space Adventures
  5. International Space University
  6. Zero G Corporation

I’m a big fan of Elon Musk and his car company Tesla, but I didn’t know that he was also the one responsible for SolarCity.

Further Reading

Books that Diamandis mentions that I want to read now:

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural HistoryThe Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Overall, I enjoyed this book however, I thought it was slow and overly technical at times. If you are into the why and how extinction occurs you will enjoy this book. For me the last chapter was the best chapter. The chapter on Wolly Mammoths was also very entertaining.

View all my reviews

How to Make Money Using Your Fitbit

Ray Bouknight
Ray Bouknight

Once I received my fitbit in the mail, I started looking for sites to hook it up to.  You can sign up to fitbit’s site and its great, but there are other sites as well like RunKeeper and Achievemint.


Achievemint, is pretty cool, all you have to do is sign up with your fitbit and you they will start tracking your steps.  So, what you say, Fitbit already does this.  Yes, but does fitbit pay you $25 for every 50,000 points you get.  You don’t have to do anything but wear your fitbit and make sure your steps are syncing to Achievemint.  You can check the site every once and a while to make sure this is working.

Then Achievemint using GiftRocket will send you a gift card or a check in the mail.  GiftRocket was super simple to use.  Achievemint sends you an email saying you have a gift, then you go to giftrocket’s website and use the code in the email.  Once you can choose to get the money as check or virtual gift card.  I got the check and it arrived inside two business days.  Perfect!

Cleaning up the Activity Room

Bunch of cool drawings from Samantha!

A big orange fish!
A big orange fish!
Presents or bags.
Presents or bags.
Very colorful fish.
Very colorful fish.
A tree or fancy lollipop.
A tree or fancy lollipop.
A popsicle.
A popsicle.
The letter Z schoolwork.
The letter Z schoolwork.
A beautiful snowman.
A beautiful snowman.
A very colorful hat.
A very colorful hat.
This is a school assignment.
This is a school assignment.
I think this is our family.  I'm the cute one!
I think this is our family. I’m the cute one!
The first on the left is Mulan, I can't remember the rest.
The first on the left is Mulan, I can’t remember the rest.
Some awesome purple person!
Some awesome purple person!
Not sure but I still love it!
Not sure but I still love it!
At least thats what it looks like to me.  Samantha is asleep, so I can't ask her.
At least thats what it looks like to me. Samantha is asleep, so I can’t ask her.

Making room for new Samantha art

Every so often I have to make room on my wall to hang up new pictures that Samantha has made for me. Since I don’t want to lose what she has created I take a picture of the ones being removed. Here are the three that came down today: