Well, these weekly reviews are off to a great start. The first one I wrote went up three days late. The second one wasn’t published. This is the third one, which includes some snippets from the second. A rhyming title, a slew of good books, and some podcasts that were wonderful.
What I’ve been reading.
10% Happier by Dan Harris. This book popped up on my radar a few times, in a few places, but I never sought it out when it was first published. It was available on the Ohio Digital Library collection last week and I borrowed it. I’m happy to say it’s been enjoyable. Harris shares a journey from seeking external highs to finding them. I liked the egocentric way he presented himself, this felt authentic, and the skeptical views he had about meditations, buddhism, and mindfulness. It was a good story about something I found interesting. For an overview, check out this interview with him.
Antifragile by Nassim Taleb. I tried listening to this book last summer when training for a 10 mile run, but didn’t have the prerequisite knowledge to fully understand it in audio form. I’ve found that because audiobooks allow my mind to wander, and lack the visual reminders (how a word is spelled for example), that my comprehension is much lower than reading a book. With Antifragile though, I have enough of a background on the ideas included in this book to understand it while I read. It’s very good, maybe one of the best books I’ve read this year.
Scrum by Jeff Sutherland. This was suggested to me by The Secrets of Happy Families author Bruce Feiler. The book is about creating small, cross-functional, autonomous teams to get things done. Sutherland argues that less is more and regular reviews and reorientations is how you really get things done. It’s an ‘antifragile’ mindset and one that seems even more persuasive after reading the Taleb’s book.
I finished Dataclysm last week. There’s no mind blowing philosophy like in Antifragile, but it’s full of little factoids that are interesting in themselves. I learned about Zipf’s law, which states that the rank of a work multiplied by its occurrence will be nearly equal to some constant. This is true for the Bible, and Ulysses by James Joyce among many others. The second nugget was that MIT students were able to use Facebook’s data to create a working “gaydar.” The algorithm looked at how many straight and gay friends a person had, and could almost certainly determine if that person was straight or gay. This book pulled back the curtain on data collection, showing the good and bad.
What I’ve been listening to.
James Altucher interviewed founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales. Wales was interesting throughout but the part I really got excited about was Operation Paperclip.
I – finally – listened to the Stephen Colbert interview on the Working podcast. Wow, it’s good. It was neat to hear about Colbert runs his show and the systems they have in place. Colbert shared how hard it is to switch from role to role. He goes from promoter, to writer, to character, and back to writer and each these takes a hard left turn mentally for him to do his best work.
Cool Tools interview with Seth Godin, who suggested a kale salad recipe along with magic tricks and said that all the information to become an entrepreneur is out there, people just need to do the work.
You’ll like any of the interviews if you like any of the interviewees.
What I’ve been working on.
This feels like it was a slower week because I was in the weeds of editing. My better mornings project is about half-way edited, so for those that were kind enough to read it, it will be headed your way this week.
I also wrote a guest post for Stoic Week that will be going up later this month. It was about how Stoicism has changed my thinking in a lot of ways. It’s odd that at 32 years this philosophy clicked for me, but the greatest opportunity to learn is was over a decade ago when I was in college.
If you want to read a draft of my better mornings project – or have any book suggestions – or comments let me know below, on Twitter @MikeDariano, or send me a text (559) 464-5393.