In Progress

Carried over from 2021

  • Lives Of The Stoics: The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aurelius by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

    Overall, this was pretty surface level and less engaging than I had hoped.

  • The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.

    Really powerful book from a pioneer in the field of trauma treatment. Significantly expanded the way I think about trauma, specifically by broadening the scope of trauma’s definition beyond the horrors of war, natural disaster, and major accidents to include smaller scale but significant events and prolonged exposures to adverse conditions. After reading this book, I now see more of the effects of trauma around and within me and it has helped me be a more empathetic and compassionate person.

Completed in 2022

For the first time, I am adding new sections to my reading list. I want to read more fiction, especially classics and literary fiction, and poetry, and I want to better convey my mix. Maybe I’ll add a pie chart.

Non-fiction

  • Shape: The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and Everything Else by Jordan Ellenberg

    I picked this up because I thought Ellenberg was great on an episode of YANSS, and held off reading it until this year as the first book club reading with a friend. Overall, some really interesting things about how geometry applies in a lot of situations, but in the end, this felt like a book that Ellenberg wanted to write about the COVID-19 pandemic and maybe a little politics and he filled it out with a bunch of other moderately interesting stuff. That said, I am fascinated by things like geometry and how they can apply to so many different problems, so in that sense, it reminded me of Operations Research, one of my favorite classes from my CITE degree, which was essentially a whole bunch of applied linear algebra, which happens to impact things as wide ranging as profit maximization, network capacity, staff scheduling, and project management.

  • Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith

    Cephalopods are interesting and super smart. This book explores the implications of the fact that evolution seems to have developed pretty sophisticated intelligence at least twice, independently. In the end, the discussion is largely anthropocentric, and I would have liked it if there was more exploration of the idea that the features of our human intelligence might be solving problems that the cephalopods don’t care about and that their particular form of intelligence might reveal more about what different kinds of things other kinds of intelligences might care about.

  • The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

    I shouldn’t have liked this book. The title is cheesy. The cover design is atrocious. It was cowritten by Donald Trump’s “coauthor” on The Art of the Deal. And early on in talking about physical energy, the authors get pretty far out over their skis talking about diet and exercise things in a very one-size-fits-all fashion that would make the heads of the hosts of Maintenance Phase spin. And the premise of the book seems really obvious, especially because I recently read a blog post that said basically the same thing. And in the end, the book was a copyediting nightmare. (I should not have read it at the same time I was reading Dreyer’s English, so that’s on me.)

    But, it was recommended to me by someone I trust in the context of a conversation about how I find myself drained at the end of a day and unable to really engage in things that are important to me. Then, I found a used copy at Powell’s for less than $10 so I snagged it. In the end it made me start thinking about connecting more deeply with my core values and paying more careful attention to my energy throughout the day. I’m still working on implementing the ideas, but it’s been pretty great mindset shift.

  • Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer

    A delightfully pedantic and surprisingly witty book about the nuances of all manner of copyediting, style, usage, and other nits that are extremely important to pick.

  • Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman

    This is a book with over two hundred pages of philosophy of why we are followed by five reflection questions to adjust the reader’s relationship to time and ten useful tips for dealing with the reality that there will always be too much to do and taking an proactive approach to a more sustainable approach to productivity such as “fixed volume” todo lists, strategically choosing what to neglect or fail at—generally or for a season, and embracing boring technology.

  • Start with Why by Simon Sinek

    Overall, the idea that knowing the higher reason you’re doing something should drive the activities and particular implementation is a solid one. Sinek’s terminology gets muddled along the way (Sometimes HOW and WHAT are defined nearly identically), the book is laughably repetitive (It could have probably been a hundred pages or fewer instead of 225, and the copyediting is really pretty sloppy. You can catch the drift of this whole book by watching his TED Talk or listening to the Blink.

  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamotte

Fiction

Poetry