Currently Reading: Reality Check and Into Thin Air

I’m currently reading two books…

The first is Guy Kawasaki‘s latest, Reality Check, 2008, published by Penguin Group. I follow @guykawasaki on Twitter and bounce over to his site from time to time. To be honest, I didn’t plan on buying the book but I was browsing in Barnes and Noble and two sentences on the back cover hooked me.

“An evangelist who cannot give a great demo is an oxymoron. A person simply cannot be an evangelist if she cannot demo the product.”

I’m not big on business books, especially books by marketers, and I may never finish it (Sorry Guy) but the above and some recommendations on business plans and pitching were enough to make it worth checking out. If it’s worth your time, I’ll post again.

The other is Jon Krakauer‘s personal account of the 1996 Everest tragedy, Into Thin Air, 1997, published by The Anchor Books (division of Random House) by arrangement with Villard Books. I’m in to any climbing book, and this is one of the must-reads (if you’re in to Everest and alpine climbing). I’d read Ed Viestur‘s No Shortcuts to the Top and had been looking forward to catching Krakauer’s take on the incident.

Krakauer includes some Everest history (2nd chapter, I just finished the 3rd). I think it’s pretty amazing when they discovered Everest and how they measured it. It was only about 150 years ago that they even discovered it, and the measurement method was all by hand calculations (yeah, I’m too young to remember slide rulers, so anything by hand calculation is impressive).

“To the surveyors who shot it, all but the summit numb of Peak XV was obscured by various high escarpments in the foreground, several of which gave the illusion of being much greater in stature. But according to Sikhdar’s meticulous trigonometric reckoning (which took into account such factors as curvature of the earth, atmospheric refraction, and plumb-line deflection) Peak XV stood 29,002 feet above sea level, the planet’s loftiest point.”

The lasers, satellites, and the technology of today determined that Everest was actually 29,028 feet. He was only 26 feet off.