2017 Reading List

One of my favorite quotes from Dave Grohl:  “I don’t believe in guilty pleasures.  If you fucking like something, like it.”  This is what I like.

On the Shortness of Life: Seneca on Busyness and the Art of Living Wide Rather Than Living Long by Seneca:  A 2000 year old writing that stands the test of time.  Coming in at a concise 47 pages, I’m not sure what took me so long to read it.  It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.”  

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss:  This is not a book that is meant to be read from cover to cover, but when I started reading on Christmas I couldn’t put it down.  I love big choose your own adventure style books.  A few of my favorite take aways:  1. Ben Franklin:  “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.”  2. Maria Popova:  “The culture of news is a culture without nuance.”  3.  Amanda Palmer:  “‘Honor those who seek the truth, beware of those who’ve found it’ [adapted from Voltaire].  A reminder that the path never ends and that absolutely nobody has this shit figured out.”

I love to learn about books, please leave any recommendations in the comments.

News, What Is It Good For?

Absolutely Nothing.  I can’t get the idea out of my head that if we all just stepped back and invested a little less time  in the “feed/news”…our lives might be a little better.  If something really matters to you, how about taking the time to actually dig deeper and quit becoming click baited.   Here are some thoughts from people who are much smarter than me.

Some positive affects of “quitting” the news from Raptitude:  “Watching disasters unfold, even while we do nothing, at least feels a little more compassionate than switching off. The truth is that the vast majority of us will provide absolutely no help to the victims of almost all of the atrocities that happen in this world, televised or not. And that’s hard to accept. But if we can at least show concern, even to ourselves, we don’t quite have accept that. We can remain uninvolved without feeling uninvolved.”

Rolling Stone article by Neil Strauss and his thoughts on Why We’re Living in the Age of Fear:  “For mass media, insurance companies, Big Pharma, advocacy groups, lawyers, politicians and so many more, your fear is worth billions. And fortunately for them, your fear is also very easy to manipulate. We’re wired to respond to it above everything else. If we miss an opportunity for abundance, life goes on; if we miss an important fear cue, it doesn’t.”

Ryan Holiday’s case for getting caught up in the news cycle:  There is plenty to do in this world, and plenty to be vigilant about. But let’s stop pretending that the ticker-tape of the news feed is anything other than what it is: addiction and manipulation masquerading as a social good.” 

James Altucher on how the news never changes:   “Instead of reading the news (even the gossip news), read a non-fiction book where you can learn something.”

Seth Godin has some thoughts,  The candy diet:  “The economics seem to be that the only way to make a living is to reach a lot of people and the only way to reach a lot of people is to race to the bottom, seek out quick clicks, make it easy to swallow, reinforce existing beliefs, keep it short, make it sort of fun, or prurient, or urgent, and most of all, dumb it down.

And that’s the true danger of anti-intellectualism. While it’s foolish to choose to be stupid, it’s cultural suicide to decide that insights, theories and truth don’t actually matter. If we don’t care to learn more, we won’t spend time or resources on knowledge.”