(in a book store on Lincoln Road in Miami earlier this month)
My 20s sucked.
In the mornings I would take a suit out of my one garbage bag and put it on and walk to work.
I smelled. My roommate smelled. And I was bad at my job.
And then I started reading. I read as much as I could. I read every day. I read for enjoyment. I read to improve. My life changed. Sometimes it got worse.
But I live in an amazing life. I’m not afraid to admit it. It’s not bragging if it’s true.
When you read a book, you’re a vampire. You suck the entire life out of the author. If it’s a good book, if it’s meaningful.
Every month I read books that change my life.
I don’t believe a life has a purpose. Tomorrow I will know more than today.
So how can I guess today what sort of purpose I will have tomorrow?
This I know:
Life can be both easy and a struggle. How the struggle can be fought with grace. How others learned to develop that grace.
How the struggle can transform your life into one of ease.
This is learned from books. I learn from my own experiences. But my experiences are just one person. Books help me learn from thousands of people.
Before I give my list, here is my advice on reading books:
MEMORY. I remember about 1–2% of every book I read. That’s all I’ve ever needed to change my life.
QUESTIONS. When I finish a book, I usually have more questions than answers.
Does the book resonate with me? What can I change in my life? What questions did the book not answer that maybe I can?
ACTIONS. If I read a good book, I try to take action. I try to take risk. If I believe in the ideas in the book (and all of the books I am about to recommend, I believe in) then I want to take action quickly to start executing those ideas.
Here’s the books I’ve read this past month. In other words, they might be the best books I’ve ever read:
SKIN IN THE GAME – by Nassim Taleb.
The idea that your actions should contain risk. Then you will have more integrity, and more impact.
THINKING IN BETS – Annie Duke, one of the best poker players of all time.
The idea: we have to make thousands of decisions a day. No decision is black or white.
Make decisions the way a poker player does. What is the value of each of the many possible outcomes and what are their rough probabilities.
Make the decision with the highest expected long-term, even if it has low probability.
If you continually do that, you will have a successful life.
FACTFULNESS – by Hans Rosling
Bill Gates calls this his favorite book.
The idea: the world is better than we all thought it was. And it’s getting better every year.
Hans Rosling explains why this is the case and proves it’s the case.
Why is this important?
Turn away from the fear that everyone constantly wants to spread that things are always getting worse.
Join the forces of good in making the world a better place. The technology, the opportunity, the innovation, and the money are there. Understanding the truths of the world gives you the tools to succeed as opposed to succumbing to the terror that mainstream news wants to spread.
(a chart from the book)
12 RULES FOR LIFE – Jordan Peterson
I don’t know what to say here. I’m on my third read of it in the past month and I’ve even had Jordan on my podcast to ask him about the book.
It’s hard to say what it boils down to. But basically: live a life of integrity. Be the sort of person that is authentic and life will succumb to your wishes rather than constantly trying to please the wishes of others.
(which of these 12 rules do you think applies most to you?)
JUST THE FUNNY PARTS – Nell Scovell
The idea: I love television and Nell Scovell has written for the past 30 years on some of my favorite TV shows.
Recently, I’ve been an advisor to the now airing TV show “Billions” in it’s 3rd Season on Showtime. It was an eye-opening experience for me and like a masterclass on screenwriting.
Nell provides that same level of masterclass inspiration describing how she created TV shows, stories, jokes, and wrote for such a wide range of personalities and stories. I loved it.
Interesting to note: Nell also co-wrote “Lean In” with Sheryl Sandberg.
OWN THE DAY, OWN YOUR LIFE – Aubrey Marcus
From the benefits of cold showers, to the benefits of sex, to increasing productivity at work, to having the best sleep – this book breaks the day down and uses scientific studies to how to optimize each hour of the day.
And I will say, so far so good on the cold showers. Although painful.
Oh, and I’m mentioned on page 135 of the book. Thanks Aubrey!
(In the book, page 135:)
COMING ALIVE – Barry Michels
Barry gives four tools for igniting creativity and fighting your inner demons.
I loved Barry’s first book, “The Tools” and have actively used those tools to make my life better.
In this book, I’ve already played around with all of four techniques but, in particular, the “MOTHER” one has been useful to me.
I can mention more, I’m a book addict:
“Worry” by Ed Hallowell
“Future of Humanity” by Michio Kaku (which you can read for the topic but even more interesting is to peer into the mind of a constantly questioning genius),
“F*ck Whales” by Maddox (funny, but also great case studies on how to be skeptical and have fun with it),
I’m sitting by the pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel, writing this post in a cabana.
I don’t really like sun or pools but I like people-watching. Sometimes I write a sentence and then I look at all the people and listen to their conversations.
And after this post I think I’m going to read.
I’m going to finish reading, “Worry”.
(trying not to worry too much)Share This Post