Why share my reading?
There are nearly a million new books published each year, but most of us don’t go sifting through them to take our chances on a few that look interesting. Likewise, walking through the aisles of large bookstores will give you a snapshot of the most popular books – but not necessarily the best.
I share my reading because much of what I read are titles that were recommended to me by someone else. Thus, I’m obligated to pass my reading on in hopes that you will find joy and new ideas from these titles.
Note: I have put an asterisk next to the books which I learned about through a recommendation – 30% of the books I read last quarter were recommended to me!
Range by David Epstein – I found this book pretty boring, however, I listened to the entire book to satisfy my confirmation bias. You see, I have been a generalist my entire life, flitting from flower to flower, never specializing. I thought I made a mistake in not drilling down until Epstein came along with this gem and told me my approach was the better way.
Superthinking: The Big Book of Mental Models by Gabriel Weinberg – A great primer on Mental Models, but I feel that the range of information presented is overwhelming and hard to implement. I would recommend the next option instead.
The Great Mental Models by Shane Parrish – I am a fan of Farnam Street blog, which is why I ordered this with an Audible Credit (it is now available on Kindle. I like the content a lot, but I am becoming jaded with the Mental Model fad. Here is my opinion: Mental Models are earned, not bought. You can learn about all of the popular Mental Models, but you really have to apply them in order to gain any value – and there are so many, it is easy to forget the ones you’ve learned in the middle of the situation in which they should be applied. Learn a little, reflect a lot – and it will still take time. I would pick one mental model and apply it to everything I come across, all day until that model is ingrained in my thinking. Then, I would go to the next.
The Dip by Seth Godin – Anything by Seth Godin is gold, in my book. I enjoy his narration so I actually prefer to listen to his books. This book is about how to differentiate between a “dip” and a “cul-de-sac.” To the point and useful.
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch* – This moving memoir is written from a dying man to his young children. It was incredibly profound at times and contained many nuggets of wisdom. Highly recommended for everything.
Starlight & Time by Dr. Russell Humphreys Ph. D. – Can we have both a young Earth and Old Universe? Expand your horizons with this book as Dr. Humphreys explains how the Genesis account of Creation can be scientifically validated through Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. This could be a great read for anyone who gets whiplashed by the constantly changing views of modern scientific theory.
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont* – Irreverant and eclectic, this reads part memoir, part instruction manual. Anne Lamont shares her writing process (and a plethora of her oddball thoughts). Worthwhile for anyone who is struggling with the creative writing process. Also comforting if you think you’re weird.
Seasons of Faith by Jane Jacobs – An unreleased book in my mom’s Seasons trilogy, and is currently going through a story restructure. It was solid the first time, but I think it will be a home run after she is done. Check out her first two books here & here.
Ultralearning by Scott Young – By far the most profitable book I’ve read this year. Young combines years of actual, “ultralearning” experience to compile this roadmap for those of us who want to better their learning abilities. I put many of these principles into practice right away with great results, and I will be revisiting this book for years to come.
The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin* – It seems logical to follow Ultralearning with another learning book to build a latticework of knowledge around the subject. This book has been on my list for years. It is biographical in nature and some of the reviews discredited it for being impractical – reviews which I heeded. I am glad I ignored them. I have never read a biography with more practical information than this one – you just have to know how to look, I guess!
Keep Going by Austin Kleon (2nd Read) – I read this a few months back on Kindle and when I found a physical copy at my local library, I decided to read it again. Kleon’s books are really meant to be enjoyed in physical format, and this was a pleasurable second read. It also prompted me to pick up his Steal Like An Artist Journal, which I have been enjoying as a way to stoke my creative flame. Read any of Kleon’s books if you are a creative type, or aspire to be!
Disney War by James B. Stewart* – Oh brother. There are three people who should read this book: 1. Anyone who loves anything Disney, 2. Anyone who enjoys corporate business and books like Barbarians at the Gate,* and 3. Anyone who grew up watching beloved animated classics like Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and even Finding Nemo. This book read like a thriller through and through and I couldn’t put it down. At almost 600 pages, I still ended up finishing this one in about a week.
Thanks for reading my reading! Please email me anytime with book or article suggestions – I love adding your recommendations to my list!