2023 Books

For 2023 I’ve reduced my target to twelve books, since it’s mid-April and I’ve only finished one so far… I’ve been a bit stuck on reading The Hobbit in German where it reveals it’s true colours as “definitely not really a children’s book”. It’s a much more difficult read than the first Harry Potter book for example - the language used is quite sophisticated.

Credit: The new cover image is a crop of this interesting photograph by Glen Noble.

March 2023
A Short History of the Netherlands by Prof. dr. P.J. Rietbergen

So on account of being stuck on Der Hobbit, my first book for the year ended up being a history book I picked up in the Netherlands in December.

It provided a short 180 page summary of the entiry history of the Netherlands (with many pictures and photographs). It felt a bit rushed in the areas I was more interested in (examples include the VOC and the colonization of South Africa, which only got one lousy paragraph). In the other areas it often felt like an endless procession of names that fought with each other long ago to change very little, but such is ninety percent of history, I suppose.

Still, it was an interesting overview and I’ll be on the lookout for books that delve into the parts of Dutch history that I do find more interesting.

Most interesting useless fact: there used to be a goddess named Nehalennia - I’m sure none of you have ever heard of her either!

April 2023
Turn the Ship Around! by L. David Marquet

This book was recommended to me as a way to learn to solve my team’s dependency on me to get stuff done. The key concept is ask your team members to propose solutions for the problems they bring you instead of providing the solutions to them. Instead of saying “OK, you must do this, then that, then the other thing.”, rather ask “What do you intend to do about it?” and then when they come with a plan you can ask some questions to guide them towards a better plan or if they thought of everything simply tell them to go ahead.

Note: I listened to the audio book for this one.

June 2023
Der Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

It only took me about 6 months, but I’ve finally finished reading The Hobbit in German! It is not an easy book - for a book that is considered children’s literature, it uses some very sophisticated language…

Loved it when I was a teenager and love it still!


Matt Van Der Westhuizen

Back-end service developer at Ubisoft Blue Byte by day - wannabe game designer & developer by night.