On the bookshelves this second week of November

Once a week I make a trip to the local bookstore.

I never go there to buy anything. Sometimes I leave my wallet behind, so I can avoid making an impulse buy. I just browse, browse, and browse the aisles.

Sometimes I talk to the sales staff, and ask if they’re carrying a new book I’ve heard about. Or if they have the so-and-so book of an author or series they’re already carrying. Or to ask why they decided to change their display this month.

It hurts a bit to read about Neil Gaiman’s librarians as I don’t have those. I don’t have any book gurus to recommend me books and encourage my reading. The bookstore sales staff are probably the closest I can get. Public libraries are hard to come by where I live, and even the few ones that exist are in a pretty dismal state.

But I’m happy with what I have. The bookstore to me is what the library must have been to the young Neil: A solace. A happy place. I never schedule my trips there, and yet I always end up going mid-week, either on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Always right when I feel like the corporate world is going to gobble me up then spit me out. It’s my hump day reward.

It must be what retail therapy is like, except I don’t have to spend for anything.

When I was making my rounds last week, I thought it’d be interesting to share the books that caught my eye. If others manage to discover a great book through my book haunts then I’d be so happy to be of service! The books below are my finds, along with what it was about them that sparked my interest:

41mz8jdrq2l-_sx331_bo1204203200_TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson

Available at FullyBooked.

Fully Booked had their TED-related books on prominent display last week. Now I love TED for their ideas, but what I never considered was that there was a public speaking aspect to it as well.

That’s what makes TED Talks so powerful. The ideas are strong AND communicated effectively. Without great speakers, I don’t think TED would have become as big as they are now. They’d just have ideas, struggling to spread themselves. There’s an art, no, skill to that spreading.

So why not share that skill? Why not have them teach us how its done? Why not have the head of TED write a book on public speaking?

I’m not planning to get this book any time soon. It’s not practical. My day job consists of emails and phone calls, so I rarely have to speak in public. But I’m a big fan of TED talks, so this is a book I’m keeping on my radar. Some of my recent favorites include The best stats you have ever seenThe beauty of data visualization, and Doodlers, unite!

51eq3kgtmcl-_sx327_bo1204203200_The Storyteller’s Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch On and Others Don’t by Carmine Gallo

Available at FullyBooked (update: also available in National Bookstore).

This was on display just beside the previous book. The cover had the words story and ideas on it; I was drawn like a magnet.

In The Storyteller’s Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch on and Others Don’t, keynote speaker, bestselling author, and communication expert Carmine Gallo reveals the keys to telling powerful stories that inspire, motivate, educate, build brands, launch movements, and change lives.

I like the premise as it’s about communicating in general, not just about public speaking. And because EVERYONE has to communicate I know this is something I can apply in my day-to-day, not to mention in this blog. The Amazon blurb mentions that the book also explains some of the science behind the advice; a must for any data-driven reader like myself.

This one is definitely going in my TBR list.

518bz2k7aol-_sy498_bo1204203200_The Art of War Visualized: The Sun Tzu Classic in Charts and Graphs by Jessica Hagy

Available at FullyBooked.

Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” was one of my favorite required reads in high school. I thought it was ruthless yet practical. It also had a really cool title. This description also applies to business and management, the reasons behind why this book is still required reading, but now for people of my (much older) age.

I also really REALLY love charts. Data visualization is one of the big reasons why I started looking into data science, and why I’m a big fan of Excel.

So to have an intersection of two of my favorite things? It’s like this book was written for me. And yet, the mostly negative reviews on Amazon are making me reconsider the purchase. I will probably go back to the bookstore and browse a few more pages before making a decision.

519tsngm2bll-_sx326_bo1204203200_Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

Available at FullyBooked.

I’ve been seeing this book around since last year, but I think FullyBooked is promoting this one again because it’s related to the just-released Rejected Princesses book.

Now, I’m a sucker for books of this theme. The real, possibly morbid side of fairy tales and fantasy. Bonus if they have women depicted as they are, not as a side story or love interest of some male protagonist. It’s why I always look forward to Neil Gaiman x Chris Riddell collaborations.

And that’s also why I haven’t bought this book even though it’s been out for a while. I already have a lot of similar books, some written by THE Neil Gaiman.  And then there’s GRRM’s Dangerous Women which is also on my TBR list. I’m wary of getting another one.

51ydj3vmwyl-_sy498_bo1204203200_The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently by Sunni Brown

Available at FullyBooked.

Have you watched Sunni Brown’s TED Talk? I highly recommend it.

“The Doodle Revolution” would be the accompanying book to that video. It talks about the power of visual communication in more detail; the science and tips that the TED talk didn’t have time for.

It’s not something I’m going to pay money for only because I already have something similar. It’s too similar in content to Mike Rohde’s The Sketchnote Handbook. If you don’t have either one though, I would recommend getting Sunni’s as it’s the broader and more conceptual book.

I hope you enjoyed this little book tour of mine. If any of the above books make it to your library, let me know what you think of it!



5 thoughts on “On the bookshelves this second week of November”

  1. I think I learned how to speed-read in the aisles of National Bookstore (and then, later, Powerbooks), grazing through books while my parents were taking care of other errands. I’m spoiled for choice, now, living in Toronto with one of the busiest public library systems in the world. (Which I highly recommend, if you’re considering a place to live; they even stock lots of e-books and DVDs.) I often browse the new releases list and request any titles that appeal to me. It’s easy to take risks on books when they’re free.

    For recommendations, I sometimes trawl through Amazon’s site. Start with a book you like, and see what other people who like that book have gotten (or what they’ve gotten instead). Goodreads can be handy, too. Sometimes good books don’t make their way to the Philippines for a while. The Kindle app is handy if the books come in Kindle version, and you can use it (or the website) to sample books too. (All stuff you probably already know quite well!) Illustration and data viz books sometimes don’t translate well to e-book format, though. I liked Visualize This (http://book.flowingdata.com/) as a practical data viz book. Do you have that one?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. :O Toronto’s (or Canada’s I guess, in general) public libraries must be awesome, because all my friends who moved there–even the former non-readers–now count it as their favorite place. I must try living there, even for just a few months!

      I actually almost never buy books from National* or FullyBooked anymore, I just like being in the books’ physical presence 🙂 I bet I’d spend tons of hours if I was in a library then.

      Aside from the stores, most of the books I check out are actually blog recommendations. Most in Kindle version, and if I really must get a physical copy, then I order via bookdepository.

      On Visualize This: No, I don’t have that one. The closest I have would be Knaflic’s ‘Storytelling with Data’, which I got because I feel it’s more easily translatable to my less-technical more business-heavy day job. Will check that one out!

      *Things must have changed since you did this last, because National and Powerbooks now have the same supplier. It’s now National/Powerbooks vs FullyBooked for me.


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