December 28, 2018

Books I read in 2018

Each year I write a list of books I read during the year. This is the 2018 list:
  1. Nothing Like It In the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869. Tells the story of how the railway between the US west- and east coast was built. 
  2. The Internet of Money. Is a transcription of talks by Andreas Antonopoulos. These talks are about Bitcoin and are also available on YouTube, so if you don't want to buy the book you can watch them for free.
  3. Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money. Is telling the history of Bitcoin from the earlier attempts to make a digital currency up to year 2014. If you feel that you missed the Bitcoin hype you should read this to catch up with what has happened.
  4. Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World. As the title says, the blockchain is the technology behind bitcoin, but the blockchain also has other applications than a currency, and this book is trying to give you a vision of a world with the blockchain.
  5. The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation. Tells the story of how Disney made their first movies.
  6. Swarmwise: The tactical manual to changing the world. Is a free book which tells you how to create a distributed organization that works towards a common goal. 
  7. The Last Full Measure: A Novel of the Civil War. You can divide the US civil war into three parts, and this book is about the third part and is about what happened after the famous Gettysburg battle. 
  8. Spitfire Pilot: A Personal Account of the Battle of Britain. Is a short book consisting of notes written by a pilot who was killed so he could never write a real book. 
  9. With Wings Like Eagles: A History of the Battle of Britain
  10. Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture. Is a biography on John Carmack and John Romero, who created the popular games Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake. I tend to read this book once a year. 
  11. Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945
  12. Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45
  13. Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams. If you want to read one book this year you should read this one because it explains why you have to "waste" 30 percent of your life sleeping.
  14. Inside the Third Reich. Is written by the architect Albert Speer who at age 28 found himself responsible for redesigning Berlin and during the Second World War responsible for the industrial production. The book answers the question how Germany, despite being bombed by allied aircraft, could continue building tanks.
  15. Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II. Most books written on the Second World War ends when the war ends. But what happened after the war ended? Where did people live when everything had been bombed into pieces? 
  16. Bomber Command. Tells the story of the British bombers in Europe during the Second World War. 
  17. Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made. Each chapter is a story of how a video game was made, including those games that failed. 
  18. Fire Strike 7/9. Is written by a guy who worked as a JTAC in Afghanistan, which is the soldier who's coordinating aircraft, telling them where to drop bombs to support the troops. 
  19. Krigare (Warriors). Is a Swedish book about soldiers in Afghanistan. Is available for free here.
  20. Raid on the Sun: Inside Israel's Secret Campaign that Denied Saddam the Bomb. Tells the history of when Israel bombed a nuclear power plant in Iraq.  
  21. The Army Air Forces in World War 2. Immediately after the end of World War 2, the US Army Air Force decided to write a summary of what had happened. The result consists of seven volumes and each volume is like 800 pages and you will learn everything about how to develop new planes to logistics. I didn't read all of it, but chapters I was interested in. 
  22. Spitfire at War. Consists of several small stories about people related to the famous World War 2 plane. 
  23. Royal Air Force Logistics During the Second World War: Transformation, Sustainment and Flexibility. Is actually not a book but a 400 pages research report so it is available for free.
  24. Fighter Command 1939-45. Tells the story of the British fighters, such as the Spitfire, in Europe during the Second World War. Includes many photos from the time, so it's a fast read. 
  25. Aviation Classics: de Havilland Mosquito. Maybe not as well-known as the Spitfire, the "Mossie" was actually one of the best aircraft of World War 2 because it was made of wood and could thus fly faster than those made of metal. 
  26. The Bomber Command Handbook 1939-1945. Is similar to the book Bomber Command above, but is also describing aspects like airfield construction. 
  27. The Dam Busters. During World War 2, they came up with a new type of bomb which could destroy German dams. This new bomb also needed skilled bomber crews so they created a special unit. This book will tell you about the dam raid and what the unit was doing after the raid. 
  28. Avro Lancaster: Britain's Greatest Wartime Bomber. The Lancaster was the most successful British bomber during the Second World War. 
  29. Vertex 1-3. Vertex is a free book series where each book consists of articles written by professionals in the graphics industry. You will learn about textures, modeling, etc. 
  30. The Quake III Arena Bot. Books on AI describe many algorithms but not what actual games are using and how to combine the algorithms. This book (is actually a 100+ pages research report) does exactly that, so if you want to read about applied AI, then read this free book.
  31. Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War. Tells the story of John Boyd who was first a pilot and then an engineer. He was responsible for transforming the design of aircraft and how to fight a war.  
  32. Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat. One of the aircraft Boyd (the book above) helped to design was the F-16, also known as the Viper because it looks like the snake. This book is written by a pilot who flew the F-16 on both Iraq wars.  
  33. Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed. Is written by Ben Rich who worked on aircraft like the F-117 stealth attack aircraft and the U-2 spy plane. 
So, a little Bitcoin (thank god I didn't buy any bitcoins after reading the books in the beginning of the year :)), some books on AI and computer graphics, and many books on aircraft? Why? Well, you might see why next year... And don't forget to read the book about sleep because it's really good!

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