Coming to think of it, I've read quite a lot since the last thread. I first read David E. Hoffman's The Dead Hand, which I found interesting but not enough to make a lot of notes.

I then burned through Essentialism in less than 24 hours. While not much in it was entirely new to me, it's crystallized a lot of ideas in my mind about what really matters in life, which is to discern the vital few from the trivial many and to be deliberate in what you do.

Then I tackled something that's been on my list since 2014:

I read When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, which I mentioned a Pubski a while ago, Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit, and more recently Almost Everything: On Hope by Anne Lamott. While I don't regret reading them, I'm not sure if I can recommend them as they're of the kind of books that have a few shining gems hidden amongst pages and pages of meh or okay. I can't say about others whether it'll resonate or simply rub you the wrong way. Anne Lamott's was probably the least of those three - I'd summarize it as someone with a much more pessimistic worldview than I have trying to embrace a much too optimistic worldview, neither resonating well with me.

On kb's suggestion I read Our Robots, Ourselves, Cadillac Desert and George Gilder's Life after Google. The first two were interesting, although a bit on the long side. Especially Cadillac Desert was 27+ hours of "here's why this whole water ordeal in the Pacific SW is fucked up" and even though it is, it's a bit grating. I have been thinking of writing (but not really getting around) a review of GIlder. He makes a very interesting case that the current version of the internet and tech industry is fundamentally broken in terms of privacy, security and economy, and succesfully links our modern obsession with AI to it. And then he spouts some bullcrap about Blockstream. There are not many books I know that start out so strong and nosedive so deep.

At the end of the summer I read a trifecta of procutivity books, namely Adam Grant's Originals, Cal Newport's So Good They Can't Ignore You, and Scott Adams's How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. I'd put them in that order from great to not so great. Adam Grant's book is a great read on what makes authenticity and original ideas actually flourish, despite its hypocritical foreword by Sheryl fuckin' Sandberg and that it peters out near the end. I would suggest Cal's book (especially in combination with his later book Deep Work) to anyone in college worrying about what to do and pondering if they should follow their 'passion'. (Spoilers: no.) Scott Adam's book is funny but he basically suggests The Secret as his solution for a better life.

Read Ha-Joon Chang's 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism, which I loved for its clarity and informative value. Finally, for fun I read Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods, Machiavelli's The Prince (my new D&D character is a Machiavellian manipulator, so it seemed fitting to do the research), and while on holiday I burned through two Dutch nonfics.

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Currently I'm reading Matthew Walker's Why We Sleep. I'm about halfway through but it's making me much more aware of how important and valuable sleep is to our general well-being and longevity. Glad that I'm reading it now, hoping to put his tips into practice.


mk:

I'm reading Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, and can't get into it at all.

I've been trying to finish editing my own book on flights lately, and am just about there. I've kind of decided not to pick anything up until I am done with it, so I don't mess with my current headspace.


posted by veen: 244 days ago