Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 August 2019

My favourite reads: Cody Combs

Here are five favourites that are diverse in topics and interest

Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. Courtesy Penguin Random House
Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. Courtesy Penguin Random House

As a social media journalist for The National, it’s my job to try and keep an interest in a wide variety of topics, so in hindsight it’s no surprise that my list of favourite reads is relatively diverse. Some of the books will never be knocked off my list, while others are currently in the top rotation and may not withstand the test of time.

Steve Jobs and the Next Big Thing by Randall E Stross (1993)

I’ve always had an affinity for the history of the tech industry, so this book fit like a glove. By now almost everyone knows about former Apple CEO Steve Jobs and how he turned around the company he co-founded after being ousted in 1985. However, this book takes a close look at Jobs’ endeavour after his dismissal from Apple when he founded NeXT Computer. Don’t let the 1993 publishing date fool you. It’s a nice forgotten treasure.

A Fire In Their Hearts: Yiddish Socialists in New York by Tony Michels (2005)

I picked this up before a long bus ride to New York. It’s a rare look inside a very underreported movement in US history. A Fire In Their Hearts explains how the Jewish working class and German Socialists created one of the most progressive political movements in the US during the early 1900s. It also explains how a lot of the ideas from the movement remain relevant in US policy.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou (2018)

I closely followed the developments of Theranos ever since the company’s former CEO graced the cover of countless magazines. Theranos hoped to revolutionize the blood testing industry, and its key product seemed too good to be true. Well, it was -- and this book follows how the company fooled investors across the US until one reporter followed up on a tip that helped send the start-up careening toward reality.

Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes (2018)

The shock of the 2018 US Presidential election was still reverberating when I read this book. Although the title is a bit sensationalized, the content is not. The authors had unprecedented access to Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign. It goes into great detail about the constant consternations the campaign faced and how it tried to deal with a candidate who was anything but conventional, Donald Trump. It’s a must-read to see how Clinton’s once seemingly inevitable candidacy was de-railed.

The Cay by Theodore Taylor (1969)

I was assigned to read this book in elementary school. It’s about a boy who gets stranded on an island after losing his eyesight and later confronts his own learned bigotry when his life depends on another man who his stranded with him. It’s a timeless tale that teaches a lesson to readers of all ages. If I were stranded on an island, I’d take this book.

Cody Combs is a social media journalist for The National


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Updated: December 15, 2018 12:51 PM