mccormick


bookshelf 

"The impact on your life will be largely from the people you meet and books you read" -Rick Warren from Thinking. Loving. Doing.

I consider myself a humble man, there is not a lot I like to boast about, however I do take pride in the books I have read. Reading can be such a transformational act. Though it may only take a week to read a particular book, its words will stay with me forever. My mind can wrestle with certain ideas and concepts for eternity.

Though I remain loyal to a certain style of books, I do appreciate different genres, authors, and ideas that challenge my thinking.

Please click on the links below for my humble reviews.
Arranged by 
reviewed year, title, author, or category

Previous Years: 2017  //  2016  //  2015  //  2014  //  2013

currently reading:

2018 reviews
(for earlier reviews please click on the title, author, or category link above)


2018: 4
review date:
2/14/2018
God of Tomorrow by Caleb Kaltenbach

“Since tomorrow belongs to God, we can graciously offer hope to people today”

Growing up, the place where I found the most despair was church. Everyone there thought the world was going to hell, a march led by movies, music, and drugs. The only hoped offered was heaven. Somehow thinking about tomorrow was the only way to get through today.

It was depressing. It made being a Christian depressing. The “good news” was hard to sell.

God of Tomorrow is about reclaiming that God is the God of Hope. He is not a God of political issues, religious debates, and divided arguments. It our goal as Christians to beacons of hope to our neighbors. This is the way to show the love of God, not just knocking on random doors asking people to come to church. We should live in a way that has people knocking our doors asking for stuff.

Caleb Kaltenbach writes clearly and bluntly. This is a great follow up to his last book.

Here's one of my favorite quotes from the book: "Combativeness without compassion is always going to be counterproductive”

2018: 3

review date:
2/7/2018
Smart Baseball by Keith Law

I remember years ago hearing about “Moneyball,” that somehow computers could put together a more perfect team. It seemed like hogwash and I dismissed it immediately. How can numbers predict who would hit the game winning homer? How can a spreadsheet determine the intangibles of a team leader?

Fast forward a few years and now I am a believer. Now I ask more advanced questions. Who still believes in the concept of a clutch hitter? Who cares how many wins a pitcher has? Why did the Yankees spend so much on Derek Jeter?

Smart Baseball is the best introduction I have ever read for baseball and data. First, Keith Law simply reveals the inconsistencies and outright flaws in popular stats: batting average, earned run average, clutch hitting, etc. Then, he introduces new stats that show a better (yet incomplete) picture of the game.

Anyone who doubts the authenticity of sabermetrics should read this book. If they are still not convinced, then there is clearly something wrong in the logical reasoning abilities.

Now, saying all that, there are definitely limitations to everything. There are human variables that will throw off everything. Numbers cannot do everything, but we can obviously do better with smart baseball.

This is a must read.

2018: 2

review date:
1/20/2017
Letterman by Jason Zinoman

Johnny Carson was a force that knew no bounds. He was a celebrity among celebrities. Carson’s Tonight Show was the pinnacle of entertainment. Unfortunately for me, I grew up in the post-Carson era. During my younger days, I admired Jay Leno. His rumor was topical and straightforward. I even remember watching the infamous Hugh Grant interview which today is considered the turning point in the late night wars.

I remember being a kid and not really understanding the appeal of David Letterman. His show was silly but the silliness was so rampant it was borderline obnoxious. It took a few years to finally understand the joke. The Late Show felt like a show within a show. It was like a giant inside joke.

As time wore on, it was interesting to see David Letterman become the de facto ambassador for funny. I was glued to his show after 9/11, after his heart surgery, and after the birth of his son. Letterman has the incredible ability to be serious and silly at the same time. He never makes light of a serious situation but he never takes himself too seriously.

In this book, you get to see the evolution of David Letterman as an entertainer. You don’t really get to see the personal side of Letterman (I am not even sure there is a personal side of Letterman). You will read about his college days, his weatherman days, his morning talk show and of course the two late night shows that made him a household name.

This book was very interesting and a definite recommend. Many of the stories and anecdotes came straight from source. This book is real and authentic.

At the conclusion I came to a realization: between the two, Leno is probably the better friend, but Letterman is the better entertainer.

2018: 1

review date:
1/15/2017
Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

I think we all have those moments; when you are focused and everything is coming together seamlessly. When you are working, it is referred to as “in the zone”; when you are playing, often people say, “time flies when you are having fun.”

Now I know that this is “flow.”

In a world filled with distractions, it can be difficult to find flow. There are a lot of items fighting for your attention, always trying to interrupt you. Blaming these outside forces is the easy thing to do, however we not only allow these interruptions, we actually crave them. Why? Probably because we are not enjoying the task in front of us. The task could be a spreadsheet, a dreadful email, or even just boredom itself.

This book came to me after I saw it cited multiple times in other books I was reading. Csikszentmihalyi is the leading expert in optimal experience and his expertise shows.

I found this book very interesting yet not riveting. By the second half, I was looking forward to finishing it and moving on. His writing is not as compelling as others but still his knowledge is phenomenal. Finding that spark inside you can make the difference. No challenge will be too tough. No setback will be too big.

Reading this review, this probably sounds like a lame self-help book, but it is not. It is an expert talking about the real evidence that shows what makes us flow.

Here are some of my favorite nuggets from the book:

“People who learn to control inner experience will be able to determine the quality of their lives, which is as close as any of us can come to being happy.”

“Of all the virtues we can learn no trait is more useful, more essential for survival, and more likely to improve the quality of life than the ability to transform adversity into an enjoyable challenge.”