It’s time for the Fall 2014 Edition of my reading list.
For each of the books below, I have assigned a rating and written a three sentence review, which summarizes my thoughts about why I did or did not enjoy the book. At the end of each review, I have included a link to the book on Amazon so that you can read additional reviews and learn more about the book.
Here’s what I’m reading…
Book Rating Scale
5 – Top-notch writing, thorough research, and highly valuable or interesting content.
4 – Often great writing or excellent content, but not necessarily both.
3 – It may have a chapter or two that are excellent, but the book is average overall.
2 – Perhaps you will find an idea or two, but there is little value inside.
1 – Do not read.
The Emperor of All Maladies – by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Emperor of All Maladies covers the history of cancer and does so through a remarkable combination of fascinating storytelling and historical research. Mukherjee, who is an oncologist, clearly explains the complexities of cancer treatment and fills the book with surprising and useful insights (like this). I highly recommend it for anyone interested in science, history, or the story of how we treat cancer.
The War of Art – by Steven Pressfield
The War of Art is a book for anyone who struggles from The Resistance, which is the force that prevents us from creating what we want to create. As Pressfield says, “The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.” This book is filled with proven ideas and reminders for beating Resistance and doing your life’s work.
Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! – by Richard P. Feynman
Richard Feynman was an insanely curious and brilliant physicist. In addition to working on the atomic bomb at Los Alamos and winning a Nobel Prize for his work on quantum electrodynamics, Feynman had a passion for cracking safes, playing bongos, drawing nude models, chasing women, and pulling pranks — all of which are covered in this book. He also shares advice for future scientists: Don’t confuse knowledge with understanding, develop a broad set of skills and tools to use on problems, and don’t take the expert’s word for it, figure things out for yourself.
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work – by Mason Currey
In Daily Rituals, Mason Currey documents the daily habits and rituals of more than 150 of the world’s most famous artists, authors, musicians, and scientists. Many of the individual stories are great, but here’s one takeaway I had from the book: everyone’s rituals are unique to their lifestyle, but all great artists share one thing in common—they have a time and space to do their work with consistency and without interruption. Also, a shocking number of these top performers relied on drugs, caffeine, alcohol, and the good ole daily walk to spark their creativity.
The New New Thing – by Michael Lewis
The New New Thing is the story of Jim Clark, a brilliant computer scientist who founded three billion dollar companies in Silicon Valley from 1982 to 1999. The author, Michael Lewis, is one of the greatest non-fiction storytellers of our time (I love his ability to weave cliffhangers into true stories). If you’re interested in hearing about completely delusional Silicon Valley investors, gutsy serial entrepreneurs, and the people who have their lives transformed or wrecked because of them, you’ll love this book.
More Book Recommendations
Looking for more good books to read? Browse the full reading list, which lists the best books in each category.