Books

Here you’ll find a list of books I’ve read along with my notes from them. The notes remain free. Since I’ve spent hours reading each book and typing up the notes, if you enjoy them or find value, buying the book with an Amazon link gives me some Drew Dollars- D๐Ÿค‘ Unless otherwise noted, all of these books first came into my bubble via recommendation, often by more than one person. There are so many good books out there, and life is short. One way I filter my information diet is by letting others go first. Hat tip to Derek Sivers for the inspiration for this page. My notes have evolved over time as I’ve evolved as a person.

Rather than review each book, I share “what I got from it” because that feels more honest. Some people love books I hate, and I don’t like books others love. For example, I stopped reading Harry Potter midway through The Order Of The Phoenix and never looked back.

In college, I would just dump quotes into a large document called MY FAVORITE QUOTES. It grew to over 46,000 words before I started a different organization system. If you want random nuggets of interesting quotes or sayings, feel free to comb through it.

Books I read before tracking dates ๐Ÿ“š

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Dan Pink D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: As we are now inundated with information, products, gadgets, and widgets, good design is more important than ever. When everything has become commoditized, design wins. NOTES

Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Telling stories in a powerful, emotional way helps others retell the same story. Social currency is just as real as any other currency, and if you can make something that people enjoy telling others about, it can sell itself. NOTES

Deep Work by Cal Newport D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Practicing focusing your attention is a skill. Just like going to the gym, you will atrophy without working out. Prioritization plus focused attention is a super power. Sometimes we have to give up good things to do great things. Schedule time away from screens, and be deliberate about your leisure time. Bonus: This set of notes also has notes from his TEDx talk. NOTES

Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans D๐Ÿค‘ – What I took from it: Regular review and reflection are important, and it also exists across multiple dimensions. Work is important to me, and I want to do fulfilling work. Punching a clock kills my spirit. Non-work habits, relationships, and routines help me function at a high-level NOTES– these notes were written when I first read the book, and since it is a workbook, represent my thinking during that snapshot period. Thinking changes over time, so be mindful!

Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: A narcissistic city has no walls, and is always under attack. Fear and pride are crippling. Get in touch with them. Manage them. NOTES

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and The Quest For A Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: The man is an absolute machine. He does not do casual. Betting big on yourself is always a win. The project might not work out, but you can always try again later and can sit with solace knowing you gave it your best effort. To not try leaves you wondering and can create self-loathing. Life is short. Go for it. NOTES

Enchanted Objects by David Rose D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Words are often bad design! Colors and symbols can convey much more information more simply and quickly. For example, stop lights don’t say “stop,” they are simply a red circle. Words are just compilations of squiggly lines that we connect meaning to. They are inherently meaningless and interpreting them requires a fair amount of computing power. Quantified Self needs passive data collection to truly work. NOTES

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Screw fearlessness, be courageous instead. If you’re waiting to be unafraid of something to begin, you may wait forever. Often things become much less scary once we try them. Our competence also goes up with time, giving us confidence via competence which can diminish fear. NOTES

How To Be Happy What I took from it: Happiness can be achieved through a number of simple self-care activities. Often happiness decreases when one or more of these is out of whack. This is a TEDx talk, not a book, sorry to disappoint but it was in my archives and is a gem. NOTES

How To Stop Worrying And Start Living by Dale Carnegie D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Just like it’s a good idea to choose in advance how you’re going to argue, it’s best to choose in advance how to deal with worry, rather than pretend worrying won’t happen and struggling when it inevitably arises. NOTES

I Donโ€™t Want To Talk About it by Terrence Real D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Covert depression is a real and nifty idea. Self-connection, knowing how you feel, is critically important. NOTES

In the Plex by Stephen Levy D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: This one was a slow read. Ideas are fragile, be gentle with them. Google is designed so people would work there for free. Now, I don’t think that’s the case. NOTES

Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: This book is dense with insight and deserves a re-read. We are all being manipulated more often than we imagine. Be mindful, and careful about how you focus your attention. You can use these tips for both good and evil. NOTES

Loving What Is by Byron Katie D๐Ÿค‘ – What I took from it: Inquiry is magic. Ask questions anytime you or someone else feels stuck. Don’t go for what you’d aspirationally feel, get in touch with how you actually feel, whatever that may be. Otherwise, you’re fooling yourself. NOTES

Lying by Sam Harris D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: You can make the case against lying without morals. Remembering one version of reality is hard enough! Remembering multiple versions takes more computing power. Avoid it. NOTES

Making Hope Happen by Shane Lopez D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Hope is a driving force. Without it, we lose our will to live. I remember survival training from my boy scout days learning that in a survival situation, what gets people out of it above all factors is what they call “will to live”. NOTES

Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: There’s something interesting about the fact that one of the most famous books ever written was originally intended to be published anonymously. Life is what you make of it. Even when life seems to be only about suffering, there is meaning to be gleaned from that. NOTES

Mindset by Carol Dweck D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Don’t tell your kids that they are smart. They will view smartness as a trait rather than something to be cultivated. Try things! We learn a lot by trying and our abilities aren’t fixed for just about everything. NOTES

Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Memory can be trained, and there are some pretty insane feats of memory. We remember images much better than words, so the basic technique involves associating things with images. Even memory champs often forget their car keys, so the insights seem not as useful as I’d hope, more like a parlor trick and not pragmatic. NOTES

Positivity by Barbara Frederickson D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: It is possible to be happy, and can be trained. It’s not something some people “just have” and others don’t. Combines well with Carol Dweck’s Mindset NOTES

The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg D๐Ÿค‘ – What I took from it: Habits can be both conscious and unconscious. Keystone habits are big and powerful, and can also be like dominoes triggering other ones. Training yourself on the skill of habit formation is one of the best meta-skills. NOTES

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: We humans do a lot of things that don’t make sense. But, the cool thing is that these things often occur in patterns, so we can become aware of these behaviors in both ourselves and others. Like Cialdini’s Influence, this can also be used for good and evil. I also think Dan missed the boat with one of his experiments around the idea of “free”. I emailed him about it and never heard back. He compared free to other priced items which I think was a critical error, as I think many people make decisions on the basis of free, or nothing, and don’t compare free or not the same way they would to 9 versus 10. NOTES

Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Tara is a Jedi master. I later confirmed this at her in-person workshops. Acceptance does not mean passivity! It means owning what is, rather than pretending something is something else. NOTES

Remote by Jason Fried D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: It will be really slowly, and then all of a sudden. This book was written pre-COVID and feels oddly prescient in retrospect. NOTES

Rework by Jason Fried D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: You can get a lot done by working on the right things. Working efficiently on unimportant things is akin to jogging in place. You may sweat, but you’ll go nowhere. NOTES

Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon D๐Ÿค‘- What I took from it: Make stuff! Embrace your weirdness, and keep making stuff. You can learn a lot at first by trying to imitate the greats, but at some point must go your own way, otherwise, you’ll remain an imitator. NOTES

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho D๐Ÿค‘- What I took from it: Learn by doing. Go for it. Try things. The act of trying teaches much more than the act of thinking about trying ever will. NOTES

The Creation Frequency by Mike Murphy D๐Ÿค‘- What I took from it: I read this because I met the author and he’s an interesting dude. How I grok the idea of Law of Attraction, which is basically what the book is about, is that focused attention is an incredibly powerful thing. Focused attention is the offspring of intention. So, get clear about your intention and then run with your focused attention. NOTES

The Defining Decade by Meg Jay D๐Ÿค‘- What I took from it: The twenties are a funky time. In college, many people transition from kids to adults. In our twenties, things are “up to us” and they set the stage for what is to come for the rest of our lives. Remember this, and be deliberate about your choices and behavior. NOTES

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz D๐Ÿค‘- What I took from it: Following just these four rules alone can make for a pretty great life. Following them is simple but not necessarily easy. I hate the phrase “don’t take things personally,” as I don’t know what to do instead. This book also introduced me to the phrase “domestication of humans” which I love. Be mindful of your programming, as it guides you. NOTES

The Game by Neil Strauss D๐Ÿค‘- What I took from it: Women want sex just as much as men do. They also want to be treated well. Tips and tricks from this book often work, and they are also often manipulative. NOTES

The New Geography Of Jobs by Enrico Moretti D๐Ÿค‘- What I took from it: Brain hubs are a real thing. Cities are cool because they are arguably the best place in the world for diversity of thought. You can find many different types of people in small, clustered areas, that simply don’t congregate in rural areas. NOTES

The Goal by Eli Goldratt D๐Ÿค‘- What I took from it: The theory of constraints is amazing, not just for business life, but for personal life as well. The output of any system is limited by the slowest link in the chain. These points are called bottlenecks. Focus on the bottlenecks and eliminate them, rinse, and repeat. NOTES

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor D๐Ÿค‘- What I took from it: Not a lot, as my notes are sparse! But, like the snickers commercial that says “you’re not you when you’re hungry,” you’re not you when you’re not happy. Being happy is a productivity hack. NOTES

The How Of Happiness by Sonia Lyubomirsky D๐Ÿค‘- What I took from it: Happiness can be learned and trained. Just like the idea that love is a verb and must be practiced, the same goes for happiness. NOTES

The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo D๐Ÿค‘- What I took from it: I tidied up everything and it felt great! So many things were given away, and there’s real magic when everything around you is something you truly cherish and appreciate. I thought I was somewhat of a minimalist before reading this book and it sent me deeper down the rabbit hole. Subtraction is addition! Having a few nice things makes me much happier than having many things. Having many things causes worry. NOTES

The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson D๐Ÿค‘- What I took from it: Be direct, yet kind. People truly are your most important resource. Getting this wrong makes everything else go wrong, yet so many companies screw this up. NOTES

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson D๐Ÿค‘- What. I took from it: It’s not about not caring, it’s about caring without attachment to outcomes. Embrace uncertainty, because uncertainty is the only thing we are certain about. NOTES

The Tiger: A True Story Of Vengeance And Survival by John Vaillant D๐Ÿค‘What I took from it: Being alone is the ultimate test. If you can survive that, everything else is bonus. Tigers are smart as hell. Do not underestimate them. Truth is stranger than fiction for sure. NOTES

The Truth by Neil Strauss D๐Ÿค‘-What I took from it: Clean out your closet! Otherwise, it will cause problems in all of your relationships, especially the one with yourself. Neil’s earlier books focused on tactics and strategies for people operating out of an unconscious wound. This one is about acting consciously. NOTES

The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer D๐Ÿค‘- What I took from it: How we talk to ourselves is more important than how we talk to anyone else. It guides everything we do, like the metaphor of the boy riding the elephant, with the elephant being our subconscious mind and the boy being our conscious mind. NOTES

The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield D๐Ÿค‘- What I took from it: Resistance is the term for any negative self-talk that holds us back. The fear of success can be the greatest fear because it means we are in. the world of the unknown. Old friends will go, new ones will appear. Shut up and put in the damn reps! Your creative work is a contribution to the world, and the world is better for it. With that said, not doing your creative work deprives the world. NOTES

The Way Of The Superior Man by David Deida D๐Ÿค‘- What I took from it: Men and women are different creatures, and treating them the same is foolish. A great partner wants to be a part of your life, not your whole life. Same-sex couples often understand the needed polarity in relationships because norms must be addressed. Ex- if two women are dating, there is no “man cuts the grass, woman does the dishes” unconscious agreement. These come to the forefront and get addressed. NOTES

Vagabonding by Rolf Potts D๐Ÿค‘- What I took from it: If you view the world as hostile, it will be. Improve your life in relation to your own life, not in relation to the lives of your neighbors. They aren’t you! Vagabonding is not about hitting a certain number and traveling, but more bout getting comfortable taking the leap. That is best done by leaping. NOTES

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero D๐Ÿค‘- What I took from it: This book is an amalgamation of many self-help books, and that was cool. Believe in yourself. Surround yourself with people who believe in you, otherwise, they will bring you down. There doesn’t have to be a single one size fits all strategy, you can hit self-care from many different angles. NOTES

Books I read in 2019 ๐Ÿ“š

Community by Peter Block D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Design of physical spaces is critical and often overlooked. Circle tables are magical. Once we stop recognizing someone’s unique contribution to the community at large, it becomes much easier to see them as subhuman. NOTES

More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Plenty of people throw the baby out with the bathwater. The relationship bill of rights mentioned in the book is an awesome relationship guide, regardless of sexual orientation. Getting clear about what you want in a relationship, what you’re willing and not willing to do, and communicating all of that effectively with your partner(s) clears up damn near everything. NOTES

Civilized to Death: The Price of Progress by Christopher Ryan D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: The NPP, or Narrative Of Perpetual Progress, is a great tool for disregarding all the people who came before us and writing them off as idiots. That’s a bad idea. Ask yourself frequently, what does “better” even mean? NOTES

Money is Love: Reconnecting to the Sacred Origins of Money by Barbara WilderD๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Viewing money as evil is the single best way to guarantee that it wrecks your life. Viewing it as love feels like hippie-dippie crap, but reinforces the intention to befriend, collaborate, and understand money. NOTES

The Non-Tinfoil Guide to EMFs by Nicolas Pineault D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: This book caused me to purchase and use a number of EMF mitigating and harmonizing devices mentioned on my gear page. It led down a rabbit hole including other books, podcasts, and topics like earthing, biogeometry, and biology. It’s tough to get a person to believe something when their paycheck depends on them beleiving something else. Don’t use a microwave, ever. Electrical pollution is just as pernicious as other types, yet we often write it off because we can’t see it. NOTES

No More Mr. Nice Guy: a proven plan for getting what you want in love, sex, and life by Dr. Robert Glover D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Nice is often code for being a passive aggressive softie- saying you want something you don’t, as a means of pleasing your partner. while pleasing your partner might seem like a good idea at first, in the long run, neglecting your own needs builds resentment and wrecks a relationship. Be bold, and ask for what you want. If you don’t, you’ll have a hard time getting it. NOTES

Why Am I Afraid To Tell You Who I Am by John Powell D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Shame is a real thing, but it is not every thing. It can be beaten, with some practice. NOTES

Conscious Loving: The Journey to Co-Commitment- a way to be fully together without giving up yourself by Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: You can have your cake and eat it too. To be a great partner, focus on being a good person. What that means feels confusing, but the book lays out six specific relationship commitments that are damn near foolproof. For example, committing to your own complete development as an individual was counterintuitive for me. In hindsight, it keeps life fresh and interesting. Eroticism thrives on mystery, and continuous growth paves the way for a long relationship that constantly evolves. NOTES

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: This dude has a whacky voice on audio. Self-connection is a great way to understand the world. If you’re not self-connected, you’re basically walking around blind to your own experience, which makes it real tough to relate to anyone else. NOTES

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Even the best and brightest among us make forgetful mistakes. If you have a list, error rates go way down. They ensure you get things right every time, instead of just most of the time. For things like flying airplanes, things need to be right every time. NOTES

Mind to Matter by Dawson Church D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: How you label determines how you feel. You can decide in advance how to feel. With practice, it will be that way. Words like emotion, mood, temperament, and personality all represent roughly the same thing, just on different time horizons. NOTES

Pre-Suasion by Bob Cialdini D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: What happens before the meeting may be more important than the content of the meeting itself. Set the stage. NOTES

On Writing by Stephen King D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Whether you write short form, long form, fiction or journalism, the quality of the art makes a difference. Great writing can save a crappy story, but crappy writing can tank a great story. Put in the reps. NOTES

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Follow your intuition. Don’t just follow it, but hone it so you can tell when you’re stuck in your head and not in your heart. This takes practice, but is worth practicing. NOTES

Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Good things take time. Your chances of making a lasting masterpiece go up significantly if you make many things. Focus on mastery and the long game. NOTES

What Doesnโ€™t Kill Us by Scott Carney D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Get cold, often, deliberately. I bought a cold tub partially thanks to this book. The body can do amazing things, and often the limiting factor is the mind. It’s possible to be old and jacked. NOTES

Lost Connections by Johann Hari D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Addiction is the opposite of connection. If you don’t want to be addicted, connect. Connect with your feelings, wants, desires, and the feelings, wants, and desires of others as well. This especially includes feelings that may be unpleasant, as much addiction stems from pain avoidance. NOTES

Free Will by Sam Harris D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Nurture and nature co-exist. It’s easy to say “I would have…” when you aren’t in someone else’s shoes. It’s possible to understand behavior without condoning it. We very well may be in a simulation, walking through life like characters from The Sims video game series. NOTES

Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Eroticism thrives on mystery. Fidelity, or lack thereof, isn’t everything. To destroy a long relationship because of a single act or transgression feels silly. Own your desires, and navigate them. Repressing them leads to messes. The pot will eventually boil over. NOTES

Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: You don’t need to have religion to be a good person. Many religions actively cause plenty of harm– more people are killed in the name of God than anything else. Religion still has some benefits. We are in the early stages of discovering alternatives to it. NOTES

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Focus. Prioritize. Getting really good at something that doesn’t matter won’t help you. It’s better to do the most important thing first, maybe even done poorly, than to do a ton of unimportant things and neglect the essentials. Don’t major in the minor. Figure out what is important for you and pursue it relentlessly. Schedule regular review to ensure you’re still doing what you want, but in between review periods, go balls to the wall. NOTES

The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Don’t sell yourself short. It’s often better to shoot high and miss than it is to shoot low and hit. Failure is easy to live with if you know you went for it. Success is hard to live with if you succeed at something that isn’t truly meaningful for you. NOTES

The Compassionate Instinct D๐Ÿค‘ NOTES Considering that my own notes didn’t mention the author’s name and signal that I didn’t finish reading, I wouldn’t recommend this one. It’s ok to quit books! There have been more than 130 million books written, and that number will only increase. Assuming you read 50 a year (one per week with two weeks off) and have 50 years left to live, that leaves you with 2,500 assuming you don’t reread anything. That’s roughly 0.001% so choose wisely.

Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: What would this look like if it were easy? If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Ask for help! You’d be surprised how willing people are to give it. NOTES

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Never ask yes/no questions in a negotiation. Ask how questions instead. This gets the other side into possibility and creativity, instead of shutting down. Simply repeat the last three words of the sentence you heard, with a vocal uptick like a question, and conversations can go on for hours. Make other people feel heard first if you want to feel heard. NOTES

How to Love by Thich Nhat Hanh D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Telling your partner when you’re hurting isn’t actually weak. It is a display of strength. Love doesn’t have to be complicated. It becomes unnecessarily complicated quickly when we hide ourselves or our partners hide from us. When that happens, we no longer speak the same language. NOTES

Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Don’t judge yourself as silly. Judging ideas as silly is a great way to kill them. Great ideas often start out as seemingly silly ones, and must be nurtured. NOTES

Stumbling On Happiness by Daniel Gilbert D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Guessing how we or others will feel in the future is a bad idea. Seek autonomy, and you will find happiness. Seeking happiness may eventually lead to autonomy, but not necessarily. NOTES

WE: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love by Robert Johnson D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Love isn’t a verb or a feeling. It is both. Be mindful of the difference. Love the feeling is an emotional experience. Love the verb is a set of behaviors. Committing to loving someone is different from committing to being in love with someone, which is impossible to predict. NOTES

How To Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: The events in the 60s really screwed a lot of research and innovation. Things look hopeful to get back to a more peaceful relationship with psychedelics, but we aren’t out of the woods yet. What once lived on the fringe is slowly creeping into the mainstream. NOTES

Atomic Habits by James Clear D๐Ÿค‘What I took from it: Stack your habits, so one habit becomes a trigger for another. This book does a great job summing up the work of just about everyone else who has written about habits. Action is different from motion– jogging in place versus running to your destination. Mind the difference. Identity follows behavior. To be a writer, write. To be a runner, run. NOTES

Books I read in 2020 ๐Ÿ“š

Conscious Breathing by Anders Olsson D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Breathing is like running. It’s something that everyone does, yet rarely anyone specifically trains for. Training this changes almost all other areas of life, because it is such a giant, fundamental thing. The average person breathes 25,000 times per day. Breath work is a meta skill. Because most people assume they are breathing correctly, they disregard the epic benefits of it. NOTES

Fire In The Belly by Sam Keen D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Many people have become soft. Doing things that they are supposed to do, which is another way of saying, what they subserviently think they should be doing. This often is quite different from what they want to do. Comparison is the death of happiness. NOTES

Your Music And People by Derek Sivers D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Be weird. When the author says to email him, send him the damn email! Only is better than best. Uniqueness in business and creativity is its own moat. Follow up, stay in touch, and be persistent. Often it’s not the early bird that gets the worm. It’s the bird that shows up every day till you get tired and hand him one. NOTES

Creating A Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities by Diana Leaf D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Planning a community is no joke. Failing to plan leads to the death of many communities. Decide in advance how you will handle things like conflict and finance before life presents a situation where you’re forced to handle them without a guide. Community to me means different things than it used to. NOTES

Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope by Mark Manson D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: It’s not science versus religion. Science is its own religion, one that self evolves. Being hopeful in some sense is being complacent- wishing things were different while doing nothing to change them. Removing hope doesn’t mean being hopeless, it means being aware that the particular outcome you want may not occur. Keep this in mind, while still going after it, because that’s what life is about. NOTES

Don’t Shoot The Dog: The Art of Teaching and Training by Karen Pryor D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Much of the dog training also works great for people. Punishment works terribly, yet we largely remain committed to it at scale. This is perhaps the single dumbest thing we do as a species– staying attached to something that doesn’t work. Positive reinforcement goes a long way, and also comes in many flavors with plenty of nuance. Practice it not just on others, but with yourself too. NOTES

The Trick To Money Is Having Some by Stuart Wilde D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Charge more. Delight people. So many companies have terrible service that simply by not sucking, you can look great in comparison. If you have cheap rates, people may assume what you’re selling is cheap junk. NOTES

Internal Family Systems Therapy, 2nd edition by Richard Schwatrz and Martha Sweezy D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: No one is crazy. Our job isn’t to stifle the voices in our heads, the parts within us. Our job is to listen to and integrate what they are all saying. What we resist, persists. Practicing this sort of internal pow-wow makes everyone feel heard. Everyone here refers to all the parts inside of us. Rarely do we feel good if all the parts are not heard and acknowledged, even if we don’t do exactly what one of them wants. All parts have a noble intent, even if the behaviors they manifest as seem terrible. For example, chronic smoking may come from an intent to provide relief, break, freedom from stress. NOTES

Awareness by Anthony De Mello D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Be stoic. If someone loves you or hates you, you are the same you. Don’t put limits or conditions on what it takes for you to be happy. They make equanimity more difficult. NOTES

Robin by Dave Itzkoff D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: It’s ok to be weird, funny, different, and energetic, all at the same time. People don’t have to understand you to love you. Be yourself, let your light shine. If you feel like hell, making other peole laugh is a great way to feel better. NOTES

The Fourth Phase Of Water by Gerald Pollack D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: What else do we think we know a ton about but are generally clueless? Water isn’t nearly as simple nor mundane as previously understood. We are mostly made of water, yet don’t fully grasp water, which means we don’t grasp outrselves. NOTES

21 Lessons For The 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Biotech and infotech will merge. When, who knows. But, it’s happening. This shift may make all prior shifts insignificant in comparison, as it’ll dictate the future of the species. PS- it is already happening! The scale and pace are what will shift next. NOTES

Health and Light by John Ott D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: After reading this, I stopped wearing sunglasses. Invested in sun shirts and sun hats. I began sun snacking, and really making a point to bathe in the morning and evening light. I changed all the lightbulbs in my living environment, and the settings on all of my screens. I already had blue blocking glasses before this. If he was this concerned about light in the 70s, imagine how bad things are now! Light impacts life. NOTES

tao te ching, translated by Stephen Mitchell D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: This book deserves a reread. Forcing things doesn’t work. The tao is flow. Get into flow more often. Notice when you are out of it. Correct. NOTES

The Body Electric: Electromagnetism And The Foundation Of Life by Robert O. Becker, MD and Gary Selden D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: When penicillin came about, much of biology became chemistry, and we haven’t looked back since. Electricity has massive impacts on life forms, yet we pretend it doesn’t. Combine this with many financial incentives to look the other way, and you have ignorance at scale, which is where we currently are. Decades ago we had plenty of data about how living near telephone poles causes cancer, yet, this doesn’t deter us. NOTES

Your Perfect Right: Assertiveness and Equality in Your Life and Relationships by Robert Alberti and Michael Emmons D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Being assertive isn’t about being rude. It’s not passive nor aggressive. It involves advocating for your needs politely, persistently, and in a tactful way. Doing this may still ruffle feathers, but it ruffles fewer feathers than other options. NOTES

The Holy Science by Yukteswar Giri D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: If this book is right, many other things are rendered as jokes. TIme may be cyclical, and many ancient traditions thought so. How things are measured makes a difference, like measuring a human head to toe versus measuring by the length of a digestive tract. NOTES

I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Don’t just focus on saving. Focus on what you want to spend, and carve out your budget for that. Many things you were buying probably aren’t things you deeply care about, and can be avoided. Banks have horrible service. Be vigilant, always. Great bank service is relative to other banks, which are generally terrible and incompetent. They don’t have your interests in mind and you must fight for what you want. NOTES

The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD D๐Ÿค‘ What. I took from it: Feelings, pain, and trauma are stored in the body Just as the body stores them, it can release them too. Often safety is needed before these experiences can be let go, as reconjuring them up can be incredibly wounding and terrifying. Many modalities exist to help with this, and many of them are both simple and free. NOTES

Running On Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect by Jonice Webb D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Physical abuse and physical neglect are somewhat obvious. As is emotional abuse. But, emotional neglect, despite being common, is much trickier. It’s about what didn’t happen. Like not getting complimented, or being told you did a good job or being rewarded for your effort. This can create immense self-criticism and feelings of unworthiness. Noticing them is a good first step. NOTES

How To Be A Capitalist Without Any Capital by Nathan Latka D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: The definition of capital from the book is wrong, as capital comes in many types and flavors. A better title would be How To Be A Capitalist Without Any Cash. That’s the crux of the book– using tips, tricks, and hacks to get cash. NOTES I picked up this book because I used to hang out with Nathan in college and saw it at the airport.

Books I read in 2021 ๐Ÿ“š

The Psychology Of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness by Morgan Housel D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: It’s easy to tell people to stay cool when your house is in order. Much harder to play cool when your house is on fire. Let compounding do its job. Cultivate the skill of being happy with little, otherwise, nothing will ever be enough. NOTES

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: You don’t have to believe in self-help for it to work. Simply saying “I love myself” walking down the stairs, in the mirror, shower, or journaling to yourself can and will eventually reprogram your brain. NOTES

Don’t Think: Just Eat Another Peyote by KuauhtliWhat I took from it: The title sums it up. If you’re not familiar, the book is literally a bunch of blank pages and I discovered it thanks to Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia TV show (link goes to Kuauhtli’s episode). This book also serves as inspiration for the gift economy. The suggested donation for the book is $20, which reminds me to ask for what I want while recognizing the needs and abilities of others. Some people can’t afford it, others give what is suggested, and others give much more, flattered by the ask. No notes for this one for obvious reasons.

Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell D๐Ÿค‘ What I took from it: Many things are cults. Language is the top driver in cult formation. I think the author didn’t do a good job explaining what a cult was not, and there definitely seemed to be political bias throughout the text which distracted from the message. NOTES

You Can Get Better: Heal Yourself Through PaidaLajin by Hongchi Xiao What I took from it: Around the time I read this, I was dabbling in other studies of energy medicine like acupuncture, The Electric Universe, and it reminded me of the body electric. The book felt very intuitive when speaking about all disease being the result of energetic imbalance but I hadn’t tried PL at the time of reading (when writing this my slapper hadn’t come in yet). NOTES I haven’t seen this book for sale from major publishers but I found it via the_black_air_bender on Instagram.

Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Handbook of Silicon Valleyโ€™s Bill Campbell by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle D๐Ÿค‘ – What I took from it: Treat the whole person. Compartmentalization is a myth. People can perform if they are flustered, but it definitely impacts performance. Show and tell people that you care. NOTES

Layered Money: From Gold and Dollars to Bitcoin and Central Bank Digital Currencies by Nik Bhatia D๐Ÿค‘ -What I took from it: Be mindful of counterparty risk. Our monetary system is incredibly fragile and like Nassim Taleb says, is full of private gain with public risk. The Fed doesn’t have my best interest in mind. Financial conquest is just as real if not worse than military conquest, and they are often related. NOTES

Killer Clothes: How Seemingly Innocent Clothing Choices Endanger Your Health…And How To Protect Yourself by Anna Maria Clement and Brian R. Clement D๐Ÿค‘What I took from it: A good mental model is to think that health increases as toxin exposure decreases. We wear clothes all the time and getting rid of toxins on clothes, sheets, and furniture is a game-changer. The scrotum absorbs 20x more easily than other skin. Protect your nuts! This book prompted me to shift my entire wardrobe. NOTES

Execution: The Discipline Of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan D๐Ÿค‘What I took from it: Knowing what to do doesn’t matter if you can’t figure out the how. It’s fine to be aggressive and make plans, but you also need to develop your team, rather than blame them for not adapting when you dump new procedures on them. The people at the top set the tone. Whether your numbers and work situations are looking great or looking bleak, be honest about the situation and act accordingly. Pretending things are fine when they aren’t leads to surefire disaster. Lastly, follow up! NOTES