I’m always searching for good books. Send me your recommendations (contact). Bonus points for older books and non-bestsellers.
If you want to get better at getting better, The Little Book of Talent is a good start. This was a very fun read. I felt so excited to implement a good portion of the tips from the book of talent. It’s jam packed full of wisdom and I see myself referencing this book repeatedly.
We need to have more personal responsibility, and this book aims to teach you how to go about finding inward (personal happiness and health) and outward (fulfilling work and wealth) success. He details his Daily Habits, which include four areas he promotes we should consistently invest towards: Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual. The book provides a good foundation for going forth and lighting the spark internally to create something of your own.
Robert Maurer attempts to teach the mindset of success through the art of the kaizen way. A large portion of the population is resistant to big changes and after a while when it seems like big changes are needed to improve the conditions of their lives, big actions can lead towards big failures. Maurer, says the better approach is to take very small steps towards our goals. With this approach we lessen out resistance towards change and can bring on long-longer lasting and significant results over time.
The methods the book provides to act small and still get significant results in your life are: Ask small Questions, Think Small Thoughts, Take Small Actions, Solve Small Problems.
When you attain mental peak performance, you will learn how to get the clearest possible picture of your desired outcomes, how to trust self 2 to perform at its best and learn from both successes and failures, and how to see “non-judgmentally” – that is, to see what is happening rather than merely noticing how well or how poorly it is happening. The Inner game of Tennis uses tennis as a medium to discuss these skills.
The most indispensable tool for human beings in modern times is the ability to remain calm in the midst of rapid and unsettling changes; this is an important book to help you get there.
A great example of customer-focused business building. Derek’s selflessness was very Zen-Like and his ability to focus and execute is admirable.
His passion for music, led him to work to build the craft across multiple verticals from singing, songwriting, and even production. When he needed a way to get his music to customers, he built a system out of necessity and that necessity transformed into a community and that community into a business.
When the opportunity arose with iTunes, despite the unfavorable work that would be needed to get music out, he did what he had to do to help his customers share their music with the world.
As with any growing business, there are growing pains. Derek shared the wisdom from these learning pains simply and concisely in less than 100 pages. A wonderful book on business and life.
Newport tears down the Passion trend, of Passion Hypothesis that the key to occupational happiness is first to figure out what you’re passionate about and then find a job that matches that passion.” Wrong, Newport says, instead he suggests in order to construct work you love, you must first build career capital by mastering rare and valuable skills, and then catch I this capital for the type of traits that define compelling traits. The passion mindset focuses on what the world can offer you, but instead we should take the craftsman mindset approach and build skills that allow us to focus on what we can contribute and offer the world.
The first part of the book focuses on five natural law to better manage your time and the second half focuses on laws to help you gain increased control of your life. The first half contains a lot of practical advice you can put to use immediately, whereas the second half talks about the psychological and mindset shifts, specifically understanding your belief window to bring about behavioral change. This book is a timeless classic and those serious about time management and productivity will be sure to get value out of this book.
Success is about doing the right thing, not about doing everything right. To get there, find your purpose by figuring out what drives you. Don’t focus on being busy, focus on being productive. Go all in on what matters to you, and say no, to defend your priority, everything else can wait.
The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking and learning states that extraordinary people are just ordinary people that think differently and this book hopes to change the way you think. There are four central themes represented by actual elements, which make up the elements of effective thinking:
1) Earth: Strive for Rock-Solid Understanding
2) Fire: Fail and learn from missteps
3) Air: Constantly create and ask meaningful questions
4) Water: Consciously consider the flow of ideas
The 5th element brings them all together, and that is The Quintessential Element – Engage Change, Transform Yourself. It is the path of a lifelong learner.
Grab a seat, this captivating thriller, a debut novel Allen Eskens, will sure take you on a ride. I was glued to this story! I should note that I’m giving this bonus points from a 4 up to a 5 because of the excellent narration by Zach Villa on audible which added soo much personality and color to the story, as well as this being one of the few thrillers I’ve read so the patterns and metaphors used were new to me.
The story follows, Joe Talbert a young college student who was working his way through school, taking care of himself and soon had a lot more on his plate as the story develops. He was given a term paper assignment to write about an elderly person, and choose to write about Carl Iverson, a dying Vietnam veteran and a convicted murderer.
Forgetting about the past and the pain that comes with it is easy, but remembering and understanding is very hard. Coates talks about ‘The Dreamers’, who have forgotten the origins of this country’s wealth and seek to preserve themselves in this countries privileges, backed by systems that have robbed and imprisoned a generation of peoples.
Throughout the rest of the book, I felt his pain and anger. I saw a man who had given up faith in beliefs of a higher faith, in a broken educational, judicial and cultural system and who saw the American Dream as a destructive illusion.
I wondered to myself, what would my father write to me? I had no father to ask this advice. Raised by a single mother, who was breaking under the pressure of the world, I could not ask these questions as she always pointed me towards asking God; there was no response. If I had read this when I was Coates, son’s age, would I have accepted his message and done the choices I have made?
“If you pretend to have no fears of public speaking, you deny yourself the natural energy your body is giving you. Anxiety creates a kind of energy you can use, just as excitement does.”
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.
Beautiful illustrations unnecessarily constrained by oversimplified vocabulary. I enjoyed What If? much more than Thing Explainer because What If didn’t lower the bar but brought you up to it. Thing Explainer explains various inventions, biological and astronomical occurrences in simple words, limited to a vocabulary of 1,000 words. I did gain some deeper insights into everyday machinery around me, however, I felt the knowledge was too personal.
The language used to explain these concepts were too analogy focused and didn’t use the exact terms for these things which are commonly agreed upon so you won’t find much use using the analogies from this book in actual conversation. If you have a limited vocabulary and feel anxious when exposed to big words, you might enjoy the simplified approach in this book. This would be a good book for very young children, English language learners or individuals who would find more value from the illustrations than the words.
By focusing on “process, not product,” you’ll learn to live in each moment, where you’ll find calmness and equanimity. Creating the practicing mind comes down to these simple rules: keep yourself process-oriented, stay in the present, make the process the goal and use the overall goal as a rudder to steer your efforts, be deliberate, have an intention about what you want to accomplish, and remain aware of that intention.
Some of the most powerful traits you can get from being more process-oriented are becoming a more patient and disciplined individual. You’ll be able to pick a goal and apply steady effort to reach it while finding love in the journey of getting there.
Made to stick was a very enjoyable read about creating ideas that are meaningful and memorable. I see myself reading this book multiple times. Made to Stick contains many excellent examples of winning ideas and through the author’s research a pattern had emerged of 6 principles that make a sticky idea: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional and Story.
The core message of the Virgin Way is Getting the Job Done and Having Fun Getting There. A vital part of that is trusting and investing in people; giving them the freedom to contribute and learn from mistakes. Richard was open enough to admit to some mistakes he made in business, such as the mistakes to move to digital for Virgin Records, in the era of iTunes; repeating the mistakes of Kodak during the digital photo era. Richard’s wild and free spirit injects a spark of energy into the story and he promoted the importance of taking risks. You’re guaranteed to miss every shot you don’t take. If you’re instinct is positive, then just go for it. Trust the process, trust your instincts and trust your team.
I enjoyed the section where Richard talked about public speaking and communication skills.
I had no idea Richard did not enjoy public speaking, his perception to me was that of an outspoken CEO and great speaker. He prefers Q&A style talks.
He also admits the Virgin Way isn’t for everyone. It takes a huge cultural shift and a leader who would allow all their people to lead.
You can still gain some value from the book into the case studies it has provided on how some of the fastest growing startups today came to be from some clever growth hacking techniques.
The War of Art is a war against resistance. Resistance comes from within, it’s you sabotaging yourself from getting the work done. It’s you holding your creativity hostage from the world. There are a number of activities that bring about resistance, but most fall under rejecting immediate gratification.
Steven Pressfield is writing his declaration of war against the things that prevent him from creating art; it’s a personal book.
He goes on to make a number of other declarations, some spark inspiration, some bring about looks of confusion and aversion to the book. Pressfield writes about destiny, saying you were born to do one thing, find it. Your gifts are inspired by some higher force.
There were parts of the book I enjoyed like Identifying resistance and the difference between an Amateur and a Professional, a professional shows up consistently and gets the job done. They create an environment around their craft and self-validate their own work.
Towards the middle and the end of the book begins to unravel for me as he gets into divinity and contradicts himself on craftsmanship vs passion.
The early origins of agile were talked about as well as the importance of regression testing and unit testing. TMMM was one of the early champions for having good documentation and the DRY principle, Do not Repeat Yourself. Two of the most popular concepts from the book are the myth of of adding more developers to a project, which can in fact cause a project to be even more late and No Silver Bullets, which is the delusion of a quick shortcut to productivity.
Compared to other Sacks books, this one is more focused as it follows 7 people and their stories as opposed to dozens of case studies. This approach humanizes them more and focuses on how they live and view the world, instead of how their disability takes them from the world. How would the world be without these people and their gifts? What can we learn from them today?
Oliver Sacks was like an Anthropologist on Mars as these people’s world seemed so different than ours, but to these people, our worlds seemed so different to theirs.
A vibrant collection of ideas and images in a condensed format representing some of Marshall McLuhan’s core ideas from Understanding Media. Writing in the context of the changing media landscape due to new technologies, this was an interesting view of what a contrarian would think would shake up the media industry.
I found it this statement interesting as it is playing out even today:
“Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication.”
At times the images were distracting and made me feel lost in the book; in a bad way. It lacked depth and I will probably read Understanding Media so I can have a fuller picture of Marshall McLuhan’s ideas.
Influence describes the six categories of techniques that have the potential to influence us without our conscious awareness. These are called the ‘Weapons of influence’, which are: Reciprocation, Commitment and Consistency, Social Proof, Authority, Liking, and Scarcity. The book’s chapters are organized around these areas and provides many examples and anecdotes with some research sprinkled in.
I’m not sure if my undergraduate marketing classes taught me everything I needed to know about influence, but I felt like I didn’t gain much new knowledge from this and more so new perspectives and some extra validation. I found parts of the book repetitive, dry and felt the examples were not strong enough. Even so, having these principles carried the book and are useful if you want to improve your understanding around marketing and sales.
Although the book had a very academic tone, it was very well organized and easy to follow, aided with many pictures of facial expressions of various emotions. Ekman guides you into learning how to identify the subtle emotional cues that show up on our face, where we want them to or not.
The goal of the book is to help you build awareness in detecting when emotions arise. You learn to recognize and understand the emotions felt and may display, as well as recognizing the emotions in other, helping you to understand better and communicate with other people.
With great power comes great responsibility and ability to fool yourself; be careful not to jump to conclusions at the cause of emotions you think you may have observed.
One of the most impactful book’s I’ve read. Stoicism is the guiding philosophy of life, I never knew I was in search of. This ancient philosophy which originated out of Greece, and evangelized by the Roman’s has stood the test of time with many principles and relevant pieces of life advice.
Irvine summarizes the core Stoic lessons and techniques for attaining tranquility and living the good life in modern times. Some big lessons I learn were how to minimize anxiety and worries, how to detach myself from past failures, and focus on the things within the realm of my control, as well as how to reduce negative emotions like anger, anxiety, fear, grief, and envy.
I found the book to be a good introduction to Stoicism before diving into some of the source material from Seneca, Marcus Aurelius and other Stoic Philosophers. I’ve read this book multiple times and it still has a strong impact on me and I come about with something new on each read.
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