Conspiracy

Conspiracy Book Cover Conspiracy
Ryan Holiday
Biography & Autobiography
Penguin
February 27, 2018
336

I am a Ryan Holiday fan-boy. I just want to be clear. I love how he writes. This book is a bit of a departure for him. It was enjoyable.

In 2007, Gawker Media, outed PayPal founder and billionaire investor Peter Thiel as gay. Thiel's didn't consider himself a public figure, and believed the information was private.

This lead to a decade-long, "meticulously plotted conspiracy" that would end nearly a decade later with a $140 million dollar judgment against Gawker, its bankruptcy and with Nick Denton, Gawker's CEO and founder, out of a job.

Why had Thiel done this? How had no one discovered it? What would this mean--for the First Amendment? For privacy? For culture?

It's a study in power, strategy, and one of the most wildly ambitious--and successful--secret plots in recent memory. I agree with the outcome. I am not 100% sure it was right.

The Unsettling of America

The Unsettling of America Book Cover The Unsettling of America
Wendell Berry
Social Science
Counterpoint
September 1, 2015
240

First published in 1977, it still holds up. A collection of essays from Wendell Berry about the transition to "agribusiness" and its impact on us. The scary part is that in 2018, his arguments are even MORE alarming. We have lost a sense of community. We are destroying nature by chasing profits. Where and when did we go wrong? I feel like this is a must read. It is one of the best books I have ever read.

Tiny Beautiful Things

Tiny Beautiful Things Book Cover Tiny Beautiful Things
Cheryl Strayed
Self-Help
Random House Digital, Inc.
2012
353

This collection might just contain all the things we need to know. It is profound in so many ways. This is one of those books that you should read over and over until the many (many!) truths that Cheryl Strayed shares with us become embedded in our souls. If that sounds corny to you - you need this book more than anyone.

The Little Book of Hygge

The Little Book of Hygge Book Cover The Little Book of Hygge
Meik Wiking
Self-Help
Penguin UK
September 1, 2016
287

The Danish word hygge is one of those beautiful words that doesn't directly translate into English, but it more or less means comfort, warmth or togetherness. Hygge is the feeling you get when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, in warm knitted socks, in front of the fire, when it is dark, cold and stormy outside. It that feeling when you are sharing good, comfort food with your closest friends, by candle light and exchanging easy conversation. It is those cold, crisp blue sky mornings when the light through your window is just right. Denmark is the happiest nation in the world and Meik puts this largely down to them living the hygge way. They focus on the small things that really matter, spend more quality time with friends and family and enjoy the good things in life. "The Little Book of Hygge" will give you practical steps and tips to become more hygge

Perennial Seller

Perennial Seller Book Cover Perennial Seller
Ryan Holiday
Business & Economics
Penguin
July 18, 2017
256

I am a big fan of Ryan Holiday. I love his work on Stoicism. This book gets into some areas that interest me. The concept of "networking" - how to do it, how not to do it. "Marketing." Building an email list. Controlling your content. Establishing a side-hustle. Etc, etc.

Holiday reveals that the key to success for many perennial sellers is that their creators don’t distinguish between the making and the marketing. The product’s purpose and audience are in the creator’s mind from day one. By thinking holistically about the relationship between their audience and their work, creators of all kinds improve the chances that their offerings will stand the test of time.

Tribe

Tribe Book Cover Tribe
Sebastian Junger
Social Science
Twelve
May 24, 2016
192

Combining history, psychology, and anthropology, TRIBE explores what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, and the eternal human quest for meaning. It explains the irony that-for many veterans as well as civilians-war feels better than peace, adversity can turn out to be a blessing, and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. TRIBE explains why we are stronger when we come together, and how that can be achieved even in today's divided world.

Mastery

Mastery Book Cover Mastery
Robert Greene
Business & Economics
Penguin
October 29, 2013
352

This came recommended by multiple people that I follow. Honestly, it was a "meh" for me. Lots of mini-biographies of "masters" like DaVinci, Darwin, Mozart, Proust, Goethe, Wright Brothers, Einstein, Coltrane, Martha Graham, etc. Lessons dissected from their successes, and categorized. Not a big impact for me. I will read his "48 Laws of Power" at some point but I think Ryan Holiday has perfected this style.

 

When Things Fall Apart

When Things Fall Apart Book Cover When Things Fall Apart
Pema Chodron
Body, Mind & Spirit
Shambhala Publications
June 7, 2016
176

This is an excellent guide book. The teachings are a little (a lot) counter-intuitive. She teaches to “embrace the suck” (my term). Get into the pain, poke at it, ask it questions. Ask the monster in your closet to join you for tea. All in an effort to be a little kinder to YOURSELF. Figure out what is causing you pain, get comfortable with it and then work on reversing your negative habits.

See My Kindle Notes

The Stranger in the Woods

The Stranger in the Woods Book Cover The Stranger in the Woods
Michael Finkel
Biography & Autobiography
Knopf
2017
224

This was a really interesting read. It is the true story of a man who lived alone in a tent in the Maine woods, never talking to another person and surviving by stealing supplies from nearby cabins for twenty-seven years.

To quote the publisher it is a "riveting story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded."

Why do we lead the lives we do? Why do we have to do what everyone else is doing? Why do we have to keep up with the Joneses?

The Middle Ages: A Very Short Introduction

The Middle Ages Book Cover The Middle Ages
Miri Rubin
History
Oxford University Press, USA
2014
139

I love the “A Very Short Introduction” series of books. I have developed the habit of reading an appropriate one in the lead up to every class I take towards my degree in History. They provide a very high level overview and usually provide a couple of topics I can explore for a paper.

See my Kindle Notes