To shape the future, one must study history. How we got here. Otherwise, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.
The Wizard and the Prophet by Charles C. Mann is one such history lesson worth studying. The book chronicles the lives of two men whom you have likely never heard of that played a very influential part in shaping the trajectory of modern society around the world.
There are books on my reading list that have languished there for years. I’ve been trying to do a better job prioritizing these older books over the latest, shiny new object. However, there are times when a book looks to good to bury on my list. I don’t do it as often as I used to, but I add those books and put them at or near the top of the list. Usually, the book is either highly recommended by friends, by an author I like, or getting really good reviews.
Such was the case with Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. I kept seeing the book near the top of the charts on Goodreads, and it was continually appearing in my Amazon recommendations. Plus, it was a little outside the types of books I normally read, and I figured it would be worth stretching my boundaries a bit.
Between the books on my usual reading list, I like to include short stories. I find it a good way to experience new authors to see if I may be interested in exploring their longer form works. Short stories can also be an interesting format. Writers have a limited amount of space to explore an idea, expand a plot, and develop characters. I like seeing how an author creatively utilizes the short story form.
For my latest short story reading, I choose The Wandering Earth. Rather than a single story, it is a collection ten short stories by science fiction author Cixin Liu.
If an extra-terrestrial being were to arrive on our planet, what would they think of humans? What would be their reaction to what we eat, what we drink, what we wear, the music we listen to, the concept of love, and how we interact with our pets? Would they embrace the way we live, or would they be repulsed by it.
It’s an interesting thought experiment, and one that author Matt Haig explores in his book The Humans: A Novel.
Hugh Howey is one of my favorite authors. I’ve been a fan ever since I read Wool and the rest of the Silo Series. His works fit nicely into my favorite reading genre, science fiction, but that’s not what I like most about his books. I really enjoy the writing. More than anything, Hugh Howey is a storyteller. He has a knack for immersing you into whatever environment he’s created, connecting you with the characters and making you feel like you’re a part of the story.
It had been a few years since I read one of Howey’s books. If the notes on my blog are accurate, it would have been near the end of 2019 when I read Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue. I wasn’t avoiding him over this time, he just hadn’t released any new material. When Across the Sand appeared in one of my Amazon newsletter recommendations last year, I was beyond excited. I immediately added it to my reading list and made sure that it would be near the top of my list for 2023.
As part of my regular reading rotation, I make it a point to include books about diet and nutrition. It may be an old adage, but it is so true – we are what we eat. Our diet has a huge impact on our health, In fact, I would contend that it has the biggest impact.
Fortunately, a lot of research is being performed on how we can improve our physical and emotional well-being through diet and nutrition. I’ve also been fortunate that my sister, who is in the health care industry, has also taken an interest in the subject. As part of my wellness reading, she suggested the book Why We Get Sick by Benjamin Bikman, PhD.
My primary fictional reading genre is science fiction. Every so often, I like to step outside my comfort zone and read something a little different, especially when a book comes highly recommended.
It’s how I happened upon The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab. Both Amanda and Courtney read and spoke highly of it, so I figured it would be a welcome diversion from my usual reading routine.
A few years back (9 to be exact), I read The Circle by Dave Eggers. In that book, Eggers painted a future where a dominant technology company encourages users to embrace total transparency. People aren’t forced to give up their privacy, they willingly do so for greater good. When I read the book, it reminded so much of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World where people willingly submit to government surveillance.
Last year, when I saw that Eggers wrote a follow-up to The Circle, I knew I would have to read it. I was curious to see where Eggers would take things in The Every.
Everything I’ve been taught about time management, everything I’ve read, everything I’ve learned is about how to organize our time to get more things done. It’s been beat into me that time management is about focus, discipline, planning, and prioritizing.
Is it possible that what I’ve been taught, that what I’ve learned is wrong? Have I’ve been managing my time incorrectly all these years?
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman challenged my relationship with time and how I manage it. Instead of laying out yet another system that shows how to squeeze more tasks and activities into the limited time we have, Burkeman turns the concept of time management inside out. He start with the premise that we have a limited amount of time, approximately 4000 weeks if we’re lucky enough to live to 80 years of age, and works backward from there to develop techniques that get the most out of those 4000 weeks. Keep in mind that I didn’t say how to get the most things done in that limited time. I simply said getting the most out of that time, which is an important distinction that I’ll come back to in a bit.
In addition to reading a daily spiritual devotional, one of my other morning routines involves a daily reader that is more “secular” in nature. By secular, it means the reader contains inspirational notes around personal development, character, business, mindfulness, and/or leadership. Besides the inspirational notes, I’ll often use the reader as a jumping of point for my daily journaling exercise. Examples of daily readers I’ve used in the past are The Daily Stoic and The Mindfulness Journal.
Last year, my daily reader was written by renowned business leadership and management consultant John C. Maxwell and appropriately named The Maxwell Daily Reader: 365 Days of Insight to Develop the Leader Within You and Influence Those Around You.