“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have laboured hard for.” – Socrates
Although I was unable to get a Monthly Bookshelf published last month, I’ve been doing my absolute best to plow through as much content as possible. In an effort to introduce you to some new reading potential, I’ve decided to combine all of my reads from the past two months into one exhaustive post. Below are brief descriptions & opinions on what I read and what I am currently reading – the hope is that you’ll see something worth picking up. I’ll be releasing a few detailed book-posts on some of my favourites in the weeks to come.
Here’s what I’m reading in June:
12 Rules to Life – Jordan Peterson
12 Rules to Life: An Antidote to Chaos by YouTube’s father Jordan Peterson is all about the principles, practices, and values required to live a successful life. The idea for the book originated many years ago when Jordan used the popular question site Quora to answer that question – view the list here. He took that list, distilled it to the 12 most important points, and filled the pages of his new book with more valuable content than a reader could ever ask for.
Approximately 5 chapters in, I find myself learning & growing with each flip of the page. Jordan is quick to talk about the miseries of life and pushes the idea that competence will be a requirement for any sort of sustainable success. Whether it be cleaning your room, standing up straight with your shoulder backs, or treating yourself as though you’re someone you’re responsible for helping, 12 rules will be a guiding light to anyone willing to see their flaws & grow with them.
I’ll be posting a more detailed review of the book when I’m finished up.
Here is what I read in April & May:
Blink – Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell, one of the most curious thinkers of our time, didn’t disappoint with his book Blink. Questioning the ways in which people think, make decisions, and come to conclusions, Gladwell completely flips the notion of “thinking long and hard about it” on its head. Proposing the idea that our “blink” decisions, these being the pre-analyzed decisions that our brains spit out prior to us doing any conscious calculations, are in fact far more reliable than we may think. He goes in depth about the value of a second and how extensive the background brain processes truly are, even concluding that major decisions (i.e. buying a house, getting married, etc.) should be based on your “blink” decision-making process, allowing you to leave the hard analysis for your order at Subway. In an effort to dismantle analysis paralysis, Gladwell equips readers with the decision-making tools necessary for effectiveness and efficiency.
Although certainly open for interpretation, Blink is a great piece that will make you seriously question the ways in which you evaluate & decide. The book is packed with real-world stories, examples, and applications that will allow you to analyze your current processes and compare. Take a look for yourself.
The World Beyond Your Head – Mathew Crawford
The World Beyond Your Head is a great read about the current age of distraction & the individual struggle to differentiate. I liked it a lot, so much so that I wrote a completely separate review of the book. I touch on the fundamental ideas, valuable lessons, and even throw in a few of my favourite quotes, you can check it out here – Matthew Crawford Book Review.
The End of Average – Todd Rose
Todd Rose can tell you more about what it means to be less-than-average than the average guy, and fittingly, his book The End of Average does an above average job of explaining the flawed evaluation system that currently supports our society. Beginning with the earliest of school-systems, humans were taught to compare themselves based on the abilities and accomplishments of others. Rose talks about the fundamentals of education & success, explaining that our school & work systems aren’t failing, rather, they are operating exactly as they were designed to. Pulling stories from military pilots, modern day work environments, and personal experience, Rose highlights the antiquity of “average” evaluations and proposes some easy-to-implement solutions.
The End of Average will give you a new perspective on both individual and social successes in a flash. Give it a read if you’d like to learn about the current success-evaluation systems in place, how they are failing in more areas than one, and how you can work to lessen their prevalence.
I can assure you that none of these books will bite. Take them for a spin on a nice summer day and see where you end up.