I was able to get through a number of books during my vacation.
Blog On: The Essential Guide To Building Dynamic Weblogs by Todd Stauffer. I have been debating a move to a Server-based Weblog such as Movable Type or pMachine. Stauffer’s book provides a good overview of the major Weblog platforms. I found his book helpful in understanding the pros and cons of Movable Type and pMachine. Stauffer really likes pMachine. His discussion on blogging would be good for those people taking the plunge for the first time. Alas, I have been blogging too long and I did not find much new learning on the basics of blogging.
The Musician’s Guide To ProTools by John Keane. I was surprised by how much I learned from Keane’s book. I have been a heavy ProTools user for years and I had obviously locked into a style of working with the software. Perhaps this happens to you as well. You figure out how to make the software do something and you do not really think about whether there are more effective techniques to accomplish the same objective.
Recording and Production Techniques by Paul White. This was the first of three books by White that I read. He covers production techniques from session planning, microphone and tracking techniques, effects and mixing approaches to media. Not much new for me but a good refresher on how to approach recording. If you have not been in a studio before this book would give you a good sense of what is involved in producing a commercial recording.
Creative Recording by Paul White. I found the book too basic for me although there is a great discussion on acoustics which would be very helpful to hobbyists. He focuses on four areas: microphones, acoustics, soundproofing and monitoring.
Live Sound For The Performing Musician by Paul White. This book will be very useful for me in my work with live sound volunteers at my church. I had prepared an 8-hour course to cover an introduction to live sound last year. White has some great material that I can use to update this course when I deliver it again this year.
101 Guitar Tips by Adam St. James. I had purchased a similar book last year called 101 Bass Guitar Tips. This book is a great reference for the club player. I really enjoyed reading it and I am looking forward to getting back home and trying out some new ideas on my guitar rig.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity by David Allen. My life is busy and I really focus on using my time effectively. Allen has some great ideas in his book. He also offers a Microsoft Outlook plug-in that implements his approach to make more effective use of email. I routinely parse through several hundred emails a day. Allen’s book and this plug-in look very promising!
Today Matters by John Maxwell. This was a Christmas gift from my wife. I have read it once and I am reading it again to make sure I take his key points to heart. My learning so far is not so much from a context and planning perspective but from an attitudinal perspective. I need to change my perspective on what matters today.
State Of Fear by Michael Crichton. A pleasantly surprising read. I normally classify this type of book as read and forget. However, Crichton uses the story as a platform to challenge conventional thinking on global warming. He also includes an essay at the end of the book to reinforce the point that we can be easily misled and accept as truth the conventional wisdom presented by the media.
Black Wind: A Dirk Pitt Novel by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler. Is this pulp fiction at its finest? Is this the equivalent of reading the National Enquirer? Hey, give me a break, I’m reading on the beach 😉