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- D🤑 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 in 2019 📚

Community by Peter Block D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 WilderD🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 Doesn’t Kill Us by Scott Carney D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑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 📚

Conscious Breathing by Anders Olsson D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 D🤑 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 📚

The Psychology Of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness by Morgan Housel D🤑 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 D🤑 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