Leap Day 2024 Reading List

Leaving Penn Station after spending the day in DC on Tuesday

Leap Day 2024 Reading List
Leaving Penn Station after spending the day in DC on Tuesday

Early December when I wrote my last book blog seems like a lifetime ago. We’ve had the first real winter in the region in years after a Christmas in Deep Creek that was way too warm.

I went to the UK for the first time in decades and only the 2nd time outside of London, ever. I ate some great Indian food in Bath and Toronto. We met my daughter’s biological sister and her adoptive family through 23andMe. I watched a lot of football, for a change, with my youngest son. The Ravens won and ultimately lost. A Superbowl was exciting, with or without Taylor Swift.

My son quit a job he liked and has gone back to doing corporate pest control so he could make overtime and pay some debts. I left many colleagues I liked and respected, but a job and a company that no longer aligned with my vision or values. I got multiple rejections for Director and VP roles I had been interviewing for, but am not disappointed and in no way discouraged about the future. In fact, it is just the opposite.

We officially and finally left the church we attended for over a decade (and where I was on the vestry for five years) and have been attending a new church in the city close to JHU. We attended a Saturday Torah study at a small synogogue. All those visits to cathederals in Europe left a mark on my soul and we have been spending more time in the city. My wife finally got her Kia Soul back, that was stolen in the Fall. She finally caught COVID. We watched The Teacher’s Lounge at the Charles a flew blocks north of the Penn Station pictured above.

I signed up for COBRA for the first time since I left Cisco in 2006. I paused contributing to my kid’s college funds. I cashed out some T Rowe ESPP and I did my taxes early. After two weeks of not doing paid work, I am 1x9 (that is 90%) detoxed and feeling getting better each day. I can’t wait to hit two nines and then three.

I’ll get there. A day at a time.

Fiction, Poetry, and Theology

  • The Praetorians by Jean Larteguy, Stanley McChrystal, Xan Fielding (2016)
  • Collected Poems, 1909–1962 by T. S. Eliot (2014)
  • The Guide for the Perplexed by Moses Maimonides


  • American Guerrilla: The Forgotten Heroics of Russell W. Volckmann — the Man Who Escaped from Bataan, Raised a Filipino Army against the Japanese, and Became the True “Father” of Army Special Forces by Mike Guardia (2015)
  • The French Intifada: The Long War Between France and Its Arabs by Andrew Hussey (2014)
  • A Short History of War by Jeremy Black (2021)

Technology and Business

  • Conversational AI by Andrew Freed (2021)
  • Voicebot and Chatbot Design by Rachel Batish (2018)
  • Product Operations: How successful companies build better products at scale by Melissa Perri and Denise Tilles (2023)
  • Deming’s Journey to Profound Knowledge: How Deming Helped Win a War, Altered the Face of Industry, and Holds the Key to Our Future by John Willis (2023)
  • Unleash Your Complexity Genius: Growing Your Inner Capacity to Lead by Jennifer Garvey Berger, Carolyn Coughlin (2022)
  • System Design Interview — An insider’s guide by Alex Xu (2020)
  • The CyberSecurity Leadership Handbook for the CISO and the CEO: How to Fix Decade-Old Issues and Protect Your Organization from Cyber Threats by Jean-Christophe Gaillard