Huge completion haul this month. Some based upon carryover from last but momentum is momentum. Still, there’s a non-negligible number of significant tomes if anyone’s counting. This bump’s the year’s count to 28.
- Grendel Omnibus, Volume 2, Matt Wagner, et. al.
- The Manager’s Path, Camille Fournier
- The Barcelona Complex, Simon Kuper
- The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni
- The Last Emperox, John Scalzi
- Thinking In Bets, Annie Duke
- Pep Guardiola The Evolution, Martí Perarnau
Thoughts below the fold.
Grendel Omnibus, Volume 2 continues the Grendel story after the end of Hunter Rose, into the Christine Spar saga, and beyond. Matt Wagner has an amazing ability to revisit previously minor characters and moments in the overall Grendel canon and craft deep compelling stories around them. I’m not a huge fan of the Brian Li Sung arc and explicitly making The Grendel (TM) an independent entity, but still great work.
I thought I only needed one segment of The Manager’s Path, related to senior leadership, but indeed the totality of the actual path from individual contributer to executive leader is insightful.
Had high hopes for Simon Kuper’s The Barcelona Complex given the timing of its release, literally within weeks of Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona. Not bad overall, especially for the insights into Johan Cruyff, FC Barcelona’s social structure, and the philosophical entaglements between the two. The book sort of flagged though when trying to dive into why great players are great players. Given how much sports media coverage and advanced analytics we have these days, it’s difficult to say anything smart here. And then it petered out at the point in early 2021 when Barca got spanked by PSG in the Champions League but didn’t carry on into the mid 2021 Messi departure saga. Bet there’s an extra chapter for the paperback.
The Five Dysfunctions… is an enjoyable and popular business fable, but man is the foreshadowing laid on thick. The key points of team buildng are definitely appreciated though. At the end of the day one can read the book but can they execute on the principles?
The Last Emperox was a satisfying ending to a fun trilogy. A lightning bolt hit me a third of a way through and I realized the whole tale was somewhat analogous to the climate change crisis. Duh.
Thinking in Bets is a nice exploration of decision making processes with practical advice on improving them. Definitely not a poker book, although the element of constant, intense, personalized feedback shouldn’t be lost. Similar to sports, it’s something that doesn’t surface continuously in business contexts, other than trading.
Pep Guardioala The Evolution drifted into hagiography but then fundamentally redeemed itself by deeply diving into how Bayern Munich operated under Pep’s three years of guidance. The things that stood out for me where the intensity of the preparation and the subsequent honest assessment of performances. That’s the hard graft that often gets lost when admiring Pep’s process. One thing I was interested in was player recruitment and how Pep engaged with it. Toni Kroos who made minor appearances in Pep Confidential had disappeared to Real Madrid by this point. I’d be interested to see how that went between Pep and the board since Kroos seems like his type of player.