A friend recently made the statement to me “you can learn a lot about a person by what they read”. Not quite believing in that premise, I decided today to round up the books I have read or are currently am reading over the past year. Surprisingly, I have more (at least) partially read books than I can count. Ok, I lied, I know of at least 55 books in the past year alone. That’s averaging like one book a week and mind you, many of these books are 400 pages or more (of course I haven’t finished the majority of them either).
After dividing them up into groups, I’ve found several general “themes” emerge. A big shocker to anyone who knows me I’m sure (hint sarcasm), but the biggest theme this past year was photography. I found 16 books at home alone that I have read in the past year. Interestingly, of all the “themes” this category had the highest percentage of books I actually finished reading cover to cover (roughly 60%). Not sure exactly why photography books I am more likely to finish, but could be the writing style or the fact it’s a fairly new subject for me to be reading. Of the books, about half are Photoshop books (with a lean towards photography and not graphics design) with most of the remaining falling into lighting or composition.
The next largest group (14 books, none of which fully read) is programming and technology related books. These books range from three books on OSX programming, couple ajax books, a handful of compiler theory/design books, to general stuff like Asterisk (a linux PBX software package). Something I found rather odd was the fact I don’t own a single Flex/Actionscript book, despite the fact over the past 6 months that’s been my day job (and something I had minimal experience with previously). I guess that can be attributed to how easy the language is to pickup because I feel I can hold my own against many with what I have learned in such a short amount of time (definitely not an “expert” yet though by any means).
The next group of books (14 books) in line is related to religion, social responsibility, and other thought provoking topics. The religious books cover a wide range of religions, from Christianity to Sufism to Taoism to Hindu. Several books that are also loosely related are around meditation. Other books in this group include a book on dreaming, Bill Clinton’s book “Giving”, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”, “World Changing: A user’s guide for the 21st century”, “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” (a book I have been reading off and on for several years), and the classic “A Brief History of Time” which I reread in it’s 10th anniversary edition. This group also has the second highest fully read percentage hovering around 20% and the unique distinction of having every book had at least a few pages read.
The last group of books (11 books) are just what was left, a mix of random stuff. These include productivity books like “Getting things done”, to fictional books like the classic “The Time Quartet” (a collection of books from my childhood I wanted to reread), to general fact books like “What are the seven wonders of the world?” (a gift from my mother for Christmas last year). I also have a set of three books by Orson Scott Card, the “Ender’s” series, which a good friend suggested I buy that I haven’t had time to open yet.
So that said, based on the above books (and solely the above books) what do you think that says about “who I am”? I’d be interested in hearing your comments (either publicly on the blog or sent personally to me).