Reading Recommendations From People You Trust

Voracious readers, don’t you love seeing a list of Must Reads from someone you trust, who has interests similar to yours? Whenever I see such a list I get all excited, login to and buy most of them. I’m a big amazon fan and find the ratings and reviews very useful, but there is no substitute for that recommendation from someone you admire.

Note that people you respect and admire is not necessarily the same as the list of your friends, or is even a logical community or group on facebook or linkedin. It often isn’t someone you know personally.

Recommendations often come from blog posts, but they are scatter-shot. One of my favorite bloggers is Brad Feld a VC at the Foundry Group. He posted a list of his favorite books about a month ago, and I gobbled them up. He (fortunately) has a Books link on his website.

So this is the OneStop Secret Sauce blog, mostly about Building Web Community (@Sun). How do reading recommendations fit in?

Isn’t this a natural for some sort of community? It’s not a community as per facebook or linkedin, but there should be some way to consolidate reading recommendations. Therefore, we’ve established a community on SunSpace called “READ”, and we’ve seeded it with the reading lists from a bunch of notables.

For this community we hope to leverage the organization, in particular roles and job titles. The assumption is that many people will care about the books a Principal Engineer is reading, at least the technical ones. I’m interested in the business books that the execs are reading. To take this a step farther, I also care about the news sources (blogs, etc.) that the people I respect consume.

It’s important to include meta information about the books, particularly date and a short description. Categorization (and soon tags) will help a lot.

The tables below are on the Mike Briggs page of the READ community, categorized into Daily News, Business Related, and Fiction or Just Good Reads,  Sorry, the community is only available on the Sun internal network. Maybe Brad will do one for his large external audience. :)

Daily News

Name Description
TechCrunch Ode to Mike Arrington. The emphasis is “obsessively profiling and reviewing new Internet products and companies”
Business Insider started as the Silicon Alley Insider. Run by Henry Blodget, the former equity research analyst, now barred from the securities industry. This one is my favorite and the one I read first.
TechMeme includes current popular stories (particularly blog postings) on technology. Story selection is accomplished via computer algorithm extended with direct human editorial input.
GigaOm launched by Om Malik in 2006. Known for providing in-depth analysis of developing news stories

Business Related

Title Author Published Description
Googled: The End of the World as We Know It Ken Auletta Oct 2009 The best google book I’ve read by far. Thoughtful and content full
A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers Lawrence McDonald July 2009 Learn a lot about Wall Street from a real trader. Very well written.
The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook. A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal Ben Mizrich July 2009 Very simplistic. A fast read. Not Mezrich’s best effort.
Behind the Cloud: Untold Story of Marc Benioff Oct 2009 Awesome. Contains a catalog of how to leverage community and collaboration.

Fiction or Just Good Reads

Title Author Published Descriiption
South of Broad Pat Conroy August 2009 Every bit as good as Conroy favorites such as Prince of Tides, Lords of Discipline, and The Great Santini
The Guinea Pig Diaries A.J Jacobs Sep 2009 Jacob’s book Living Biblically is also a fun read.