Tag Archives: Books

Benefits of reading

There are those who worry that our worst technological invention will be the creation of a runaway, artificially intelligent supercomputer. While it’s a valid concern, my greatest fear is that we may have already created the scourge of our generation – the internet. Watching The Social Dilemma certainly didn’t ease my fear.

On the other hand, the internet could also be considered the greatest invention of our time. It’s the collective hive. I use it to learn how to fix things around the house, to make all sorts of baked goods, and to program, which is essential to my career. I also discover intriguing content on it. For example, one of my favorite bloggers posted the link to a speech that I would have never found, heard about, or otherwise read.

You can read the full text of the speech by clicking here. It’s a long read, but well worth it. The speech, delivered to the plebe class at The United States Military Academy at West Point by William Deresiewicz in October 2009, is about the relationship between solitude and leadership.

So how is this related to a post about the benefits of reading?

It turns out it has a lot to do with it. It made me think about why I read, what the benefits of reading are, and why I encourage others to read.

Continue reading

Book review: On the Shortness of Life

Book cover for On the Shortness of Life by Seneca (Penguin Great Ideas)

Over the last couple of years, I’ve developed an interest in Stoicism. I’m not sure how it started, although I’d bet it had a lot to do with Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman’s book The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living, which I read in 2018. What triggered me to dig further was the relevance of the passages in the book. They were written by philosophers over 2,000 years ago and are just as applicable today as they were then. It’s a testament to the constant of human nature. The times, the problems, and the technologies change, but the way we are wired is constant.

To develop a better understanding of Stoicism, I decided it was time to read the writings of the more notable Stoic philosophers from ancient Rome and Greece. I’ve read plenty of quotes from Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Seneca, Socrates, Zeno, Cato, and others, but I wanted to read the books and letters where the quotes originated since it’s not uncommon for quotes to be taken out of context.

For my first in depth reading, I choose On The Shortness of Life, which is a collection of three letter written by Seneca.

Continue reading

Book review: Pandora’s Star

Book cover for Pandora's Star by Peter Hamilton

Projecting technology ten years into the future is a challenging task. Just look back over the last 10 years. The advances in phones, tablets, electric vehicles, home networking, machine learning, and medicine have been amazing. As a wise person once told me, we over estimate how technology will advance over the next year, but we under estimate the advances 10 years in the future.

So imagine projecting technology advances hundreds of years into the future. Impossible, you say? Well, Peter Hamilton takes a shot at in Pandora’s Star, the first book of the Commonwealth Saga.

Continue reading

Book review: Building a Story Brand

Book cover for Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

I’d been vaguely aware that the ability to tell a good story was important to building your business. People like to be entertained. People can relate to stories.

What I didn’t understand was how to tell a good story. In the past, when I’ve tried to tell a story about my business, it fell flat. It was a meandering tale that I had a hard time condensing into a narrative that would capture someone’s attention. Basically, my stories lacked structure.

It turns out there is a formula that good books and movies use to tell a story. I had no clear concept of this formula until a close friend suggested I read Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller. In his book, Miller walks you through the formula that writers use to capture and keep their audience’s attention. As he does so, he shows you how you can apply it to create a strong brand message and grow your business.

So how do you tell a good story, why does the ability to tell a good story matter, and how does it help you grow your business?

Continue reading

Book review: The Big Leap

Book cover for The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

Life is full of ups and downs. It seems like a fundamental law of life. When things are going well, something bad happens. And when things aren’t, they can’t get any worse. They can only get better, right?

What if there was a way to break this law? Would it be possible for one to experience an abundance of good things in life? Is it possible that we are at the root cause of the valleys in life because we don’t know how to handle or are afraid of achieving ever higher levels of success?

In The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks explores how we define the limits of our success. He examines the actions and tricks our minds play to keep us in our comfort zone, or ‘Our Zone of Excellence’ as he likes to call it. Above all, he proposes that we are capable of enjoying ever increasing levels of success and love in our life. He shows how we can make the big leap into our ‘Zone of Genius.’

Continue reading

Book review: Recursion

Book cover for Recursion by Blake Crouch

If you’ve spent anytime on my blog, you know that I am a fan of Blake Crouch. Wayward Pines, Dark Matter, Summer Frost, Abandon. I’ve liked them all. He is one of my favorite science fiction writers of this generation.

His latest work, Recursion, has been on my reading list since it came out last year. I was determined to get it to this year, but it was a ways down the list. When my oldest daughter told me she finished reading it, I decided it was time to move it up in the queue. And when my middle daughter said she wanted to read it too, well, that sealed it. I moved Recursion to the top of the heap.

Continue reading

Book review: Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick

Book cover for Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick

Two of my primary reading genres are classic science fiction and short stories. Therefore, I should not have been surprised when my nemesis, the Amazon recommendation engine, suggested I read Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick. And of course, being the compliant subject of our artificially intelligent overlords, I complied and added it to my reading list.

Continue reading

Book review: Principles

Book cover for Principles by Ray Dalio

It’s up to you to decide what you want to get out of life and what you want to give.

As I read books from my morning reads, which are business and personal development books, I’ve started the habit of capturing notes from them. When I finished Principles by Ray Dalio, there was a lot to capture and digest. But if there was one key takeaway, it was the lead-in to this post. I’m a firm believer that life is full of choices, and it is the choices we make that shapes the life we live. But I would be short-changing Dalio’s efforts if there was only one key takeaway. There are many, many pearls of wisdom contained throughout the book.

Continue reading

Book review: Winter World

Book cover for Winter World by A.G. Riddle

When I construct my reading list for the year, I keep an eye out for new books by my favorite authors, or ones from their catalog that I might not have read yet. Current favorites include Blake Crouch, Eliot Peper, A.G. Riddle, Hugh Howey, William Hertling, Robin Sloan, and Andy Weir.

So last year, when I saw that A.G. Riddle came out with a new trilogy named The Long Winter, I knew it would be both on and near the top of my reading list for this year. I recently finished the first book in the series, Winter World.

Continue reading

Book review: Young Blood

Book cover for Young Blood by Andrew Barrer

If you frequent my blog, you know how much I like a good short story. I’ve been making it a point to mix-in short stories between my longer fictional reads.

I recently enjoyed Amazon’s Forward Collection of six short science fiction stories, so I was eager to read one of the latest additions to Amazon’s Original Stories, Young Blood by Andrew Barrer.

Continue reading