Reading List for November 2016

This month’s reading started off kind of slow, but somehow I hit 20 titles for the list anyway. I’m not sure how, except to say that I’ve been grinding hard on everything. More books, more workouts, lower body weights, more writing. I still need to improve a bunch on those last two before I’ll be satisfied, but for now I’ll take what I can.

Anyway, here’s the list:

Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable by Tim S. Grover: Never in my life have I felt more understood. If you think the tone of this book is smug, then this book just isn’t for you. Grover is actually very measured in his portrayal of the mindset of his Cleaners, even admitting that it sets you along a very lonely road. If I read this book at age 20 (it didn’t exist then), I think I would have felt a lot better about myself during the past decade.

It by Stephen King (audio): This is the book most worthy of doorstop status since I read King’s The Stand last year. At times It is really fucking good, and at other times – many other times – I wish he’d just get to the fucking point already. Fucking clown is creepy as fuck though. This might be the first book that ever legitimately gave me nightmares. I think this is King’s funniest work, he slips in a lot of great one-liners and jokes with perfect timing.

Sleekify by Michael Olajide, Jr.: A boxing-based body weight fat loss program. I was interested in the workouts, but there is also diet advice – which I wasn’t crazy about. I’m pretty sure if I stuck to 1500 calories for a week, I’d probably kill and eat the next person I met, which is not the best way to make friends or lose weight.

Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again by Donald J. Trump (audio): No shit, this is really good.

Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind by Jocelyn K. Glei (audio): Kind of a collection of productivity tips and “life hacks”. There’s some good info here, worth checking out for sure. It seems that all of us independent creatives are drowning in free time and obsessively checking social media instead of doing the work.

The Tetris Effect: The Game that Hypnotized the World by Dan Ackerman (audio): Not as interesting as I had hoped. Once upon a time I was a Tetris Grandmaster, though, so when I saw this I had to read it.

The Smoky God, Or, a Voyage to the Inner World by Willis George Emerson (audio): Old hollow-earth story, kind of pulpy.

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (audio): The writing is great, but the story didn’t do much for me.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson (audio): This book will cause you to take a step back and consider how you see the world.
A couple of choice quotes:
“The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.”
“To truly appreciate something, you must confine yourself to it.”

The 5 Mistakes Every Investor Makes and How to Avoid Them by Peter Mallouk (audio): For 90% of people, this short book is everything you need to know about investing (and more).

The Tao of Bill Murray: Real-Life Stories of Joy, Enlightenment, and Party Crashing by Gavin Edwards (audio): Two-thirds stories of encounters with Bill Murray and a partial biography, one-third list of movies Murray has done, with brief reviews and anecdotes of what working with Murray was like for each. This was a fun read, just don’t expect anything life changing.

Luke Skywalker Can’t Read: And Other Geeky Truths by Ryan Britt (audio): This isn’t bad, but I didn’t enjoy it.

How We’ll Live on Mars by Stephen L. Petranek (audio): Short and direct, which is its saving grace. The audio isn’t great, though, so skip that.

Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It: Wisdom of the Great Philosophers on How to Live by Daniel Klein (audio): More amusing than profound. Full of great quotes, though! And what a title – itself a quote from a philosopher.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: A New Verse Translation by Simon Armitage (audio): Good poem, good translation, very good narration. Recommended.

HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Emotional Intelligence by Harvard Business Review (audio): This was interesting, but I think it’s too general to be useful – at least for me. It is short enough that you can figure out for yourself if it’s useful for you, without wasting much time.

The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revised by Arnold Schwarzenegger: This is the bible, as it says. I was awestruck by the thoroughness of this tome. It covers everything. Although I have no intention of getting into serious bodybuilding, and certainly not competitive events, I thought this guide would help me plan my fitness goals and decide on a course of action to achieve them. I’m happy to say it did. Now I can set about getting to work, and dipping back into this guide as necessary to improve my results.

The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings of Authenticity, Connections and Courage by Brené Brown (audio): This was interesting, but I’m not sure what I’ll take away from it.

The City of the Singing Flame by Clark Ashton Smith: Great imagination, but lackluster writing.

The Ring of Thoth by Arthur Conan Doyle (audio): This was mentioned somewhere as a spark for LotR. I’m not saying it wasn’t, but the connection is not obvious – at least to me. The story that comes to mind for me is The DaVinci Code, because both take place in the Louvre after hours. Audio is on Librivox, so spend 45 minutes and see what you get out of it.