Being a website on reading, here is the obligatory Top 10 list of books (and some other resources) that have been most influential is broadening my perspectives and softening the life learning curve for myself. This list is highly fluid, and will be updated as necessary as my reading progresses. You can follow me on Goodreads to see what I’m currently getting into, as well as for a more complete list of everything that I have read to date. And as always, feel free to let me know what you think, or what’s missing and should be looked into for addition (firstname.lastname@example.org).
My Top 10 (6 for now) Books
Quiet (Susan Cain) – This was one of the first life-altering books I ever read, and is to date by far my favorite book. In a world where louder is always better, Susan reminds you that that is not always the case, and supports it not just in philosophical musings, but in numerous studies and research. It is a book on the psychology of introversion, its place and power in a world that increasingly favors gregarious personalities, and how you can come to terms with this quiet disposition you were seemingly born with, and in turn use it as a source of strength. Introvert, extrovert, it doesn’t matter: read this book.
The Obstacle Is the Way (Ryan Holiday) – What is so great about this book is that it effectively summarizes the entire Stoic viewpoint into a single, concise work. Ryan takes the works of numerous historical figures, from Marcus Aurelius to Teddy Roosevelt, and boils them down to the common threads, and how they looked at the world; raw, logical, resolute. This train of thought tends to come naturally for myself due to my background in engineering, but one need not be analytically inclined to receive value. To conquer the world you must first conquer yourself, and this book summarizes how some of the greatest figures in world history have approached that issue. A great starting point for anyone interested in this line of thinking, and Ryan gives plenty of references to other sources to build off from here (See Meditations or Letters from a Stoic).
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (Greg McKeowen) – I believe in today’s day and age, every single person needs to read this book. Today’s society puts extreme value on multitasking, and being able to focus on five different tasks at the same time. But is this really focusing? Instead, this book tells you to step back and really evaluate everything that is going on in your life. It’s the ultimate text on setting your goals, determining what is most important to you, and following through to achieve that purpose. It’s a manual on how to look at life. And an easy read to boot, highly recommend.
The 50th Law (Robert Greene) – As of now, I haven’t yet read Robert’s The 48 Laws of Power, but I imagine this book being its little brother. No, you don’t need to like rap music or 50 Cent himself to appreciate this book. His story only accounts for a fraction of each chapter, before Robert delves into the lessons that can be extracted. And this is what you’re here for anyways, right? The book is on how to live fearless, which boils down to living life on your own terms. Not through entrepreneurship or being an Alpha personality, but by being an independent thinker, knowing what you want, and not being afraid of what others say when you go get it.
Washington: A Life (Ron Chernow) – One of the most daunting book I have taken on to date, this quickly became one of my favorites. The detail in this book is mind-blowing (records some of Washington’s silverware orders from London), but it paints a crystal clear portrait of who Washington was and what made him one of the greatest leaders of all time. The analysis is not given, it is up to you to draw out what you will. But you can track George’s rise, starting as a rural surveyor, and put yourself in his shoes, learning how you can implement some of his stoic ideologies into your life (which is needed almost immediately – the book comes in at almost 1000 pages). With a little bit of patience and perseverance, you can learn from one of the greatest self-made men in America’s history. It is well worth your time.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey) – Coming Soon
Ryan Holiday (Ryan Holiday) – http://www.ryanholiday.net
Art of Manliness (Bret McKay) – http://www.artofmanliness.com
Four Hour Workweek (Tim Ferriss) – http://fourhourworkweek.com/blog
Farnam Street (Shane Parrish) – https://www.farnamstreetblog.com
Resources on Climate Change
This is not a site dedicated to the topics of sustainability and climate change. However, these are topics that I am passionate about and am committing my life’s work to, and so below are some of the resources I have found enlightening and supportive of the science. Again, climate is not the mission of this site, these are merely listed for your own investigation.
An Inconvenient Truth (2006) – The piece that started it all. Say what you want about Mr. Gore, but with this documentary he single-handedly put global warming and climate change on the media map. Yes, its dated by now, but the core concepts explained here still hold to today. If you’re interested in getting an introduction to the topic, and want at least a little entertainment value, this is your starting point. It doesn’t get any easier to digest than this.
Earth’s Changing Climate – This particular resource is a bit different, but great nonetheless. It’s given as a type of online class, consisting of 12 different “Lectures” (each less than 30 minutes), and presented by Dr. Richard Wolfson. I recommend listening to the audio version via Audible (graphs aren’t really needed, you can get the gist and Google them later), but to each his own. Again, this course is intended to break down the actual science, and for the most part Dr. Wolfson follows this objective, particularly in the first 9 or so lectures. Another good starting point for delving into the science of climate change for those who want something with less political charge to it.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report (v.5) – The next step is to dig into the meat. The latest and greatest IPCC report, the Fifth Assessment Report, represents some excellent, although slightly outdated data and findings on climate change, having been finished publishing in late 2014. You can really get what you want out of this report. If your interested in the science, its here. Interested in the political fallout? You’re covered. Just coming for a quick summary? Its here too. Science, straight from the scientists.
Then of course, you have the governmental organizations: NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), etc. Again, these resources are meant to be as apolitical as possible. Do your own research, draw your own conclusions. Not the conclusions of your neighbor or a talk show host. There is no such thing as fact in the world, just a hypothesis that hasn’t been proven wrong yet. Think for yourself.