Books you should read

Don’t become one of those people who say, “Oh I don’t have time to read books” or “What’s the point of reading fiction anyway?  It’s all just fantasy.”  Books are important because they teach you things you normally have to learn through personal experience.  They make you smarter.  Improve your ability to write.  And they make you sound interesting to girls.  “Oh you’ve read Tuesday’s With Morrie?  Then you’ll probably love The Alchemist.”

To get you started…

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

780 pages on how to be a man, written exceptionally well by Edmond Morris.  If I could recommend only one book, it would be this one.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

I didn’t always agree with everything Malcolm did, but I could always understand where he was coming from.  I also really respected his drive to better himself and his ability to reject old beliefs when they were challenged. More importantly, his resolve is something I definitely look up to.

The Meditations

Good stoic philosophy.  Here’s a really solid primer on what that is.

Surely you’re joking Mr. Feynman

Proved that being “professional” and “human” or “accountant” and “awesome” aren’t mutually exclusive.

Kafka on the shore/Norwegian Wood (Haruki Murakami is my favourite writer)

Murakami reads quick because he doesn’t interject his own thoughts or use excessive punctuation to break up sentences – like semi colons, dashes or full colons.  I think it’s an important part of his style because most of his books are pretty surreal/don’t make sense/piss off a lot of people because they read like a modern day Alice in Wonderland.  And if you have to slow down to keep up with asides, or interjections it gives you too much time to question the plot.  Which will cause you to miss the point of his books.  Just a head’s up.  Some of his books don’t really have “endings.”  They just sort of end because there isn’t anything left for the main characters to do.  So when you get into a Murakami book, think of it as a glimpse into some other world.  It’s just interesting to try on a new reality for a bit.

The Paleo Solution

A pretty decent primer on what it means to eat as our paleolithic ancestors once did.  The short version – no refined carbohydrates or dairy, as much meat and veggies as you want.  I might write a post about this in the future to really hit home the benefits – i.e. I close to doubled my productivity at work, got crazy strong and tripled the amount of books I normally read.

The Brothers Karamazov/Crime and Punishment

I’ve learned the hard way that empathy is probably one of the most important skills you can have.  Dostoevsky’s ability to write about relationships is humbling if you try and compare it with how well you think you understand people.  These two books were a wake-up call.

Moby Dick

Just to get a sense of some good writing.  “Call me Ishmael.” is probably one of my favorite sentences to start a book.  And you’ll also get good shit like, “I am madness madened.”  Head’s up though, the whale comes in on page 600 of 620.

The War of Art

For anyone struggling with a creative project. 

The 48 Laws of Power

I had mixed feelings when I first read this.  Over time I’ve come to realize that basically everything in this book is true.

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Responses

  1. Dude. Great post. I will definitely be checking out Haruki Murakami.

    I agree with you on the importance of empathy. It was a skill I lacked as an undergrad, but have since then learned, after spending 2 years unemployed. Have blogged about your experience with learning empathy?

    BTW, I keep forgetting how much your blog has influenced me. Your blurb about David Foster Wallace and the link to his commencement speech opened my eyes. I am familiar with several of these books, but can’t remember if my interest originated from here or somewhere else. Either way, it’s quite awesome to know that you exist.

    • Wow…thanks!


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