Two books last week I started and quickly gave up on that I figured I’d document for the sake of completeness. I gave it a few days because I thought I might go back and give them another chance, but then my new Amazon order came in, so it’s pretty much a lost cause.
One was Wacky Chicks, subtitled “Life Lessons from Fearlessly Inappropriate and Fabulously Eccentric Women”, by Simon Doonan. I picked it up at the library because it looked amusing. I brought it on BART one day last week, because I was almost done with What should I do with my life?, and needed something that would sustain a couple hours of reading time . It was awful. The writing was terrible, and the stories of “wacky chicks” were not interesting. I finished my Economist instead on my way to work.
Then I needed some reading material for the BART ride home, so I picked up Fundamentals of Venture Capital, by Joseph Bartlett, from the office bookshelf, in case I ever decide to get around to starting my own company. This book wasn’t very well written either. The prose is very dense and technical, and, as a lawyer, Bartlett gets into the down and dirty details of how to write contracts and the like. And, while I think all of this is important if I were starting a company right now, I wasn’t interested enough to wade through it. So I skimmed through bits of personal interest, but didn’t even try to read it cover to cover. I’m recording it mostly so that if I ever do decide I need venture capital, this looks like it would be a good, concise summary of what one needs to know.
And just so that this entry isn’t completely about books that suck, this week I started reading The Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs. I’ve wanted to read it for a while, but never got around to it. Lilia had a copy, though, being a city planner and all, so I borrowed it from her before she left. It’s excellent. It’s mostly a paean to New York City, and how wonderful it is, but I think she identifies a lot of key features that make cities work. Furthermore, the features she identifies don’t just make cities work; I’ve been mentally checking to see if her recommendations make sense in the context of virtual communities, and they do for the most part, with some translation. Lots of good ideas. I should have read it a long time ago. Oh, and this one I’ll probably finish.