Friday, April 26, 2013

Weekend Reading: The Even More Short eBooks Edition

I almost hate to post my weekly set of links, for fear of cutting the conversation short on yesterday's post. Please feel free to keep commenting on it! I'm finding everyone's thoughts about BS work and how that relates to work hours really interesting.

However, I've been wanting to do another short eBooks post for awhile, so I'm going to plow ahead.

The first short eBook is totally on topic with yesterday's post: it is Laura Vanderkam's latest eBook, What the Most Successful People Do at Work. This is the third in a set of eBooks she wrote about the habits of successful people. She said in her post about it that it is her favorite of the three. I think it might be my favorite, too. I was fascinated by the anecdotes and found several of them quite inspiring. I particularly liked the discussion about the children's book illustrator, and I liked the way she organized the book into distinct "practices." I consider myself to be pretty efficient at work, but I still found a few new things to consider. It is definitely worth the time to read.

I'll probably write more about this book in the coming weeks- I've got a bunch of productivity-related posts in mind, in an informal sort of lead up to the release of my own book about productivity (now slated to come out in May). I postponed reading Laura's book until I had finished the introduction I was writing for my book, because I didn't want to unconsciously copy any ideas. But in fact, I think our books are complementary, taking two different angles on the topic. Laura focuses more on the overall arc of a career, while I focus more on the details of tightening up productivity at the job you currently have. There are some points of overlap, of course, because we read a lot of the same research and we "talk" to each other a lot on our blogs.

Anyway, I recommend her book, particularly if you're motivated to have an interesting career as part of a full and happy life. It will give you ideas to think about.

On to my next eBook recommendation, which isn't about work at all- it is a fantasy-mystery story, which I found during one of my periodic stumbles through Amazon's Kindle Singles.  Day Breaks, by Matthew Reuther is a fun, short detective story set in a fantasy world peopled with goblins and other magical creatures. I am a bit of a sucker for the hybrid fantasy or sci-fi detective stories, but I still require them to be well-executed within both genres.This story met those requirements, and had some nice details, too.  I just noticed there are now more stories in the series... I plan to check them out. It looks like the four short stories are also  available in a single volume, called The Partners.

Do you remember the book about a goat I kept telling you to go read? Well, I decided to check out other stories by the same author, and read a story called "Grease is the Word" by George Berger. It was a fun read- not as good as the book about the goat, but still a lot of fun. Strangely, it no longer seems to be available. The author has several other works available, though- here is his Amazon author page, which links to them. Based on what I've read from him so far, you'll probably get something quirky and entertaining if you pick one to try.

Finally, the academics and scientists in my audience will probably enjoy Improving Slay Times in the Common Dragon, by Catherine Shaffer. It is a humorous story about a graduate student trying to finish up some research on dragons.

And that's all I have for you in this edition of "Cloud recommends short eBooks." If you missed the first two editions, click here and here. And as always, if you have short eBook recommendations for me, leave them in the comments!


  1. Have you read any Kindle Serials yet? I don't think I would like having to wait for the next installment, but I read The Immortal Circus last Saturday (it was my Prime Borrow) and each "episode" would be like a short story, but since the "season" was done, I could just read them all in one go. It was lots of fun and one of my best borrows in a while.

    The goat story is great. Bossypants by Tina Fey was on sale last week and it was pretty short and laugh out loud awesome. There's also a collection I got a little while ago called "Some of the Best from 2012" that had a couple of absolutely fantastic stories inside.

    1. Constellation Games, which I raved about last week, started out as a serial, I think. I haven't tried one as an actual serial, though. I was tempted by Human Division (Scalzi's serial), but hadn't caught up on all the prior books in that universe yet, so didn't do it.

      I read Bossypants awhile back, and I agree- it is great and very funny.

      Thanks for the other recommendations! I'll check them out.

  2. Thanks for the shout out! I can't wait to read your productivity book and learn what I can do to be more efficient.


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