After I unpacked my new home office in Chicago, I was struck by the oddball contents of my bookshelf. You might get a kick out of the list of books I’ve kept around over the years despite moving from state to state. I’m merciless about discarding books as soon as I’m done reading them, so anything that’s survived has to be pretty good:
Top shelf, from left to right:
- The Data Access Handbook – working on a review of this. It’s a good resource for DBAs who want to learn more about what’s happening on the application side.
- SQL Server 2005 Performance Tuning – excellent book.
- SQL Server 2008 Query Performance Tuning Distilled – I’ve glowed about this book before, and I meant every word of it. Best SQL Server performance book I’ve ever seen.
- SQL Server 2008 Administration in Action – signed copy of Rod’s excellent book.
- Inside SQL Server 2005 T-SQL Querying – Jeremiah Peschka sent me this after he finished it, and I haven’t gotten around to polishing it off yet.
- Oracle on VMware – Bert Scalzo’s tips are good for any database server, SQL Server included.
- On the Edge: My Story – Top Gear host Richard Hammond (and his wife) wrote about his life before and after he crashed a jet car going nearly 300mph.
- Problogger – the first book to open up my eyes that there’s actually paid bloggers out there.
- Fearless Critic: Houston Restaurant Guide – I love food and I love restaurant guides, but I specifically love this one because it’s organized so well. One page per restaurant, simple grades, great reviews. I don’t live in Houston anymore, but I keep this book around as an example of easy-to-follow reviews.
- SQL Server 2008 Management and Administration – excellent book.
- Collected Poems of W. H. Auden – I saw one of his poems in a museum once, and it was so emotionally gripping that I raced out to track down a book of his work. Beautiful poems about love and loss. Mostly loss though.
- The Wine Trials – did you know that mere mortals like us (unlike wine critics) actually prefer cheaper wines? The author organized blind taste tests with normal people as subjects and writes about the winners.
- The Fred Factor – this isn’t rocket science, but being passionate about your work will yield better results.
- Me by Jimmy Big Boy Valente as told to Garrison Keillor – fictional autobiography of a wrestler turned governor. Awesome writing.
- How to Become CEO – if I had to point to two books that defined how I got to where I am, one of them would be this book.
- Looking In: The Art of Sas Christian – the most gorgeous paintings I’ve ever seen. Sas’s site is slightly NSFW for some values of W.
Bottom shelf, from left to right:
- 101 Salary Secrets – because of my frequent blog posts about the HR side of database administration, I get a lot of questions on the salary topic. This book crams a lot of info into a tiny package.
- The Stand – epic work by Stephen King that really captured my apocalyptic imagination. I’ve read almost everything King wrote, but I keep going back to reread The Stand.
- A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – my sister gave me this a few years ago and said it reminded her of me. I still haven’t finished it, but I love it.
- So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star – by the drummer of Semisonic, a flash-in-the-pan band I really liked. Great book, too – reminds you that fame is fleeting.
- The Art of War – by Sun Tzu, translated by Samuel Griffith. I use lessons from this book at least once a week, and this would be the other of the two Brent-making-books.
- Elements of Style – trying to improve my word skillz.
- Getting Things Done – awesome productivity book.
- Pygmy – by the author of Fight Club. Couldn’t resist the cover and the author’s resume, and stashed this away for my next cruise.
- The Whuffie Factor – everything you need to know about the way the world will work five years from now. The job market is already changing, and this book isn’t just for businesses. It’s for IT people too.
- Unorthodox Strategies from the Art of War – the problem with picking up The Art of War is that it can be cryptic and tough to imagine as relevant to our daily corporate lives. Sawyer helped me get into The Art of War for the first time.
- Financial Peace – I declared bankruptcy back in 1996, and I had one hell of a tough time figuring out how to manage my finances. Dave Ramsey’s book gave me the answers, and I’ve been really happy ever since. The advice ain’t easy to implement, but the really good things in life take hard work.
- I Am America (And So Can You) – I really believed my first book would be something like Stephen Colbert’s, a big package of hilariously strung-together falsehoods. Maybe it’ll be my second. Books like this call to me because there’s none of that fact-checking crap.
- Talent Is Never Enough – it’s pop psychology motivational crap, but it’s right. (Note: it has come to my attention that this book is not in the bookshelf photo. That’s because it’s currently in my bathroom – I rotate books through there regularly. Probably too much information, but somebody’s going to notice. Just so you’ve got proof that I own it, I’ve taken a picture of myself with the book before.)
- Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything – you can’t believe everything you read, especially in this book. It’s filled with dot-com companies that were destined to be The Next Big Thing, and now half of them have gone belly-up. Good read though.
- The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer – you can judge this book by the cover. I’d never done any running before picking up this book, and it got me to my first 18-mile run. It teaches you everything you need to know to train for a marathon – and I mean everything.
- The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide – most geeks probably read this in high school, then discarded it. I reread parts of it periodically to remind myself of the kind of writing I strive for.
- Tax Savvy for Small Business – I started an LLC last year and I keep kicking myself for not doing it sooner. Unbelievable tax paybacks.
Now, having seen my oddball bookshelf, are there any books you’d recommend to me or the readers?