Top 10 Books Read in 2016

I read way more than 10 books this year. But these are the ones I kept thinking about & referring to throughout 2016. Normally my years have "themes" in terms of personal scholarship. 2016 for me was very much about business 101, the particulars of the entertainment / movie industry, and advanced crowd psychology.

1) Nick Broomfield: Documenting Icons - Jason Wood

You have to be prepared to ask difficult questions, otherwise you might as well give up making films.
You have to believe in it enough that you can justify your actions and just get on with it.

2) The Art of the Deal - Tony Schwartz & Donald Trump

My attitude is that you can't get hurt asking.

3) The Life of P. T. Barnum - P. T. Barnum

After a few hours, he good-naturedly said to me, "Mr. Barnum, what are the requisite qualifications of a good showman?"

I smilingly replied, that " the first qualification necessary was a thorough knowledge of human nature, which of course included the faculty of judiciously applying soft soap.

"And what is that you call 'sof sup?'" eagerly inquired the anxious Professor Pinte. 

I told him it was the faculty to please and flatter the public so judiciously as not to have them suspect your intention. 

4) A Youth in Babylon - David F. Friedman

If you've got what they wanna see, they'll never back up from the price. If you haven't got what they want, you can let 'em in free and they won't come.

5) Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince - Marc Eliot

Disney did, in fact, have one of his artists, not Iwerks, create a corporate logo based on his signature, a prettier version of Walt's actual handwriting. He took great pride in it, and when called upon to actually affix his signature, he always made a big production out of inscribing what was, actually, a well-practiced copy of the copy.

6) On the Art of Writing Copy - Herschell Gordon Lewis

Copywriters are communicators, not grammarians. What matters isn't your knowledge of which tense is which; it's your knowledge of how to transform the lead of drab fact into the gold of lustrous attraction.

7) Tell All - Chuck Palahniuk

In truth, the degree of anyone's success depends on how often they can say the word yes and hear the word no. Those many times you're thwarted yet persevere.

8) Bold! Daring! Shocking! True! A History of Exploitation Films (1919 - 1959) - Eric Schaefer

Classical exploitation films were a paradox. Though championing hard work and delayed gratification, they were implicated in a system of immediate gratification as part of the commercial cinema. The pictures may have railed against the dangers of pursuing pleasure, but they supplied it in the form of titillating spectacle. Even the pedagogic elements and the most unpleasurable scenes could fulfill individual desires: for information, for validation, for the exquisite nausea provided by "gross" imagery.

9) Owning William Shakespeare - James Marino

But it was London's unique resources, its enormous and lucrative market for plays, its supply of professional writers, its proximity to Court and access to the book trades, combined with London's unique business pressures, its voracious audiences and close competition, that drove the literary evolution of the drama.

...the playhouses relied on customers returning for more than one weekly show.

Pleasing such customers required material that could satisfy the same viewers repeatedly, in enough supply that they not be served the same meal too often.

The extant corpus of English professional drama was written for those playhouse audiences. The artistic richness of the surviving plays stems from that audience's extraordinary demands and from the competitive pressure that the London companies exerted upon one another.

Neither company could afford to fall behind the other in artistic sophistication; both worked to outdo the other, and their audiences grew so accustomed to increasingly better-crafted plays. 

10) Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds - Charles Mackay

DISSATISFACTION with his lot seems to be the characteristic of man in all ages and climates. So far, however, from being an evil, as at first might be supposed,, it has been the great civiliser of our race; and has tended, more than anything else, to raise us above the condition of the brutes. But the same discontent which has been the source of all improvement, has been the parent of no small progeny of follies and absurdities.

How is This a Real Movie?

Top 10 Films of 2016