A few people have reached out to me for summer reading recommendations. So I’m going to share a few strong picks, and I will start posting an annual summer reading list. There’s a catch, these won’t be easy light beach reads. The books I will recommend, challenge a common belief or major thought in some way. The books that seek to focus on principles and truths (backed by science) help you grow, as they seek to break apart false knowledge, broken tradition/culture and misguided education.

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
Socrates

The themes for my recommendations this year are Focus, Action, Connecting and better Understanding the Mind and Body.

 

The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease

by Daniel Lieberman

Society has evolved as created a world devoid of the dynamics and stresses our bodies have evolved to endure.

“Like it or not, we are slightly fat, furless, bipedal primates who crave sugar, salt, fat, and starch, but we are still adapted to eating a diverse diet of fibrous fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, tubers, and lean meat. We enjoy rest and relaxation, but our bodies are still those of endurance athletes evolved to walk many miles a day and often run, as well as dig, climb and carry.”

Daniel E. Lieberman

The story of the human body by Lieberman, explores the transition of our lifestyle, diets and body from an evolutionary perspective. We have undergone a “cultural evolution” that has outpaced our “biological evolution”, resulting multiple “Mismatch diseases”, suffering from ailments and other conditions that were rare amount our ancestors.
Mismatch diseases occur due to:

  • Overabundance and mismanagement of energy (Eating too much).
    • Obesity
    • Diabetes
  • Under use (Not exercising enough).
    • Osteoporosis
    • Lower back pain

Lieberman suggests solutions we can learn something from the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Many of these ideas are the core of the Paleo movement. He also states that culture created the environment for the decline in our health; we live longer but live with much more illnesses. So interventions for mismatch diseases he recommends, are public health policies that assist us in making better choices.

Never Eat Alone

by Keith Ferrazzi & Tahl Raz

Never Eat Alone is about the power of relationships. Ferrazzi’s philosophy on life is that you can’t succeed without the help of others. Ferrazzi’s main tool is generosity to connect with the world around him, which includes helping friends connect with other friends. The title of the book comes from the image of sharing meals with others as one way to involve other people in what you’re doing. Never Eat Alone, draws a lot of Ferrazzi’s experiences growing his business and a lot of the advice is career oriented. He also believes in having processes to maintain and develop your relationships. One such process is a Relationship Action Plan where you:

  • Set goals for every three months and year, three years out
  • Identify the people, places, and things required to meet those goals
  • Reach out to the people who can help you achieve your goals.

If you’ve read Dale Carnegie’s, How to Win Friends and Influence People, you’ll be sure to enjoy this as well.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

by Susan Cain

In the United States and many other western cultures, society is built to favor the extrovert. When it comes to the education system or even making career gains, extroverted personalities seem to be put on a pedestal. Quiet describes how introverts are undervalued, but behind the scenes, many of the world’s greatest innovations and ideas have come from introverted personalities.

A simple way to think of the differences between extroverts and introverts is by the kinds of activities that require more mental & emotional energy and the activities that recharge them. Extroverts can gain energy from being around other people, whereas, after a while, that can be a very draining activity for an introvert. An introvert can be by themselves and recharge, whereas being alone can be a draining activity for an extrovert. Introverts are more motivated by internal factors, such as fear and often think first and prefer listening as oppose to speaking. Extroverts are more motivated by external factors, such as rewards and often act first and prefer to do the talking.

Quiet does talk a lot about the work and career implications of being or working with an introvert, so you can learn to mesh better with a team or correct misperceptions about people you work with who tend to like their quiet time.

Quiet is backed by a lot of research and written in an approachable manner with excellent narration. It’s awesome for both extroverts and introverts.

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

We can fall into natural biases that result in bad decisions. The Heath brothers refer to these biases as the “Four villains of Decision Making”, they are:

Framing your choice in too narrow terms, Seeking out information that supports your biases, Being influenced by short-term emotions, and Being overconfident about the future.

Decisive can help you improve your rational thinking and decision making by using four principles that can help you overcome the brains’ natural biases to make better, more informed decisions. These four principles are: Widen your options, Reality-Test your assumptions, Attain Distance before deciding, and Prepare to be wrong. If you’ve read the Heath brother’s Made to stick, which focused on ideas, Decisive’s focus is to help you make better decisions.

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

by Gary Keller, Jay Papasan

The core of The ONE Thing is that there is an opportunity for you to focus on the one thing that can have the most impact and potential for success in your life. To help to get into the mindset presented by the book, the authors include substantial evidence and insights to break down some common myths or the six lies that block our success:

  • Everything Matters Equally
  • Multitasking is Good, Success Requires a Disciplined Life
  • Willpower is Always on Will-Call
  • A Balanced Life is Required
  • Big is Bad

The second part of the book focuses on some truths to Productivity: The focusing question, which is “What is the One thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary”, and the success habit and the path to greatness. The One Thing includes plenty of practical application to help you simplify and execute and get closer to reaching your goals.

Hope you find a recommendation that you like. Have some recomendations or other suggestions for me? Let me know down below in the comments.