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2022 Reading List

Shashi's learning journey through reading.
3/29/2023
I read a lot and in 2022 I expended my reading to short stories and audio books. I was looking for a core set of books that could amplify my thinking on innovation projects. I found them. These
6
titles will go on my :
@Six Thinking Hats
@Go Big or Go Home
@The Almanack of Nawal Ravikant
@Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It
@What If?
@What if? 2
By January 2022, I had amassed a long list of recommended books through recommendations in my friend and professional networks. This year was unique in that I read comparatively little science fiction and focused on nonfiction, particularly in self-improvement and psychology. I was motivated to learn more about neurological causes of pain to help a family member.
Read on to see my insights. Let’s start with the numbers:
I read
46
Books across
12
genres in three formats. ​I flipped
7723
pages and listened to
6462
minutes (
107.7
hours). For the first time, I abandoned
5
books. I used ChatGPT to write about 33% of the review text. Can you can spot it? I also used it to generate page counts and listening times. That task took me hours in 2021, but for this list took less than 30 minutes.
I love the feel of reading a physical book, but increasingly I’m using driving time to listen to longer reads and exercising with a Kindle (e-books) in hand.
2022 Books by Reading Format
2
2022 Books by Genre / Category
2

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Notes

For my geeky readers there are formulas sprinkled all over that make use of the table below. I wrote no less than three truth tables to design the logic of these formulae.
Each book is linked to Amazon (affiliate links- I make a small amount if you make a purchase).
You can read more of my writing on my website, !


Non-Fiction & Memoir

NonFiction
+1
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Quick review: An insanely wild tromp through the entirety of human history. What is lacking in precision and depth is delivered as a breathtaking glimpse at just how far we’ve come with so little time. Instead of writing a summary, I’d encourage you to read others’ critical reviews of this book- after you’ve read it.


Master of None- How a Jack-of-All trades can still reach the top
⭐️⭐️⭐️
Goodreads recommended this book for generalists or Multipods. This is the story of Clifford Hudson, former CEO of Sonic, who used experimentation and broad expertise to rise to the top and solve thorny problems. Though parts were thought-provoking it doesn’t break much new ground I haven’t seen elsewhere. Pick it up for the stories and experience, but don’t expect to learn anything new if you’re well-read in the art of Lean Startup or Corporate Innovation.


Invisible Storm
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
"Invisible Storm" by Jason Kander is a heartfelt and insightful read that delves into the author's personal journey of grappling with mental health challenges while in the public eye. Kander's vulnerability and honesty make this book both relatable and inspiring, though his experience is as far from my own as can be. My takeaways:
+ Acknowledge yout struggles and seek support. Kander's courageous decision to step back from his political career to focus on his mental health sends a powerful message about the importance of prioritizing well-being.
+ We need to destigmatize mental health issues. By sharing his own experiences, Kander contributes to a broader conversation about mental health, demonstrating that these challenges can affect anyone, regardless of their status or achievements.
+ Resilience is needed to overcome adversity, but so is self-compassion. Kander's journey serves as a reminder that healing is a process, and that it's essential to be patient with ourselves as we work towards recovery and growth.
+ Sections of this book are written by Diana Kander, Jason’s partner. I’ve extensively read her work and count her as a friend. Her sections are just as raw and candid as Jason’s and underscored for me how easy it is to miss struggles even among friends.
Overall, "Invisible Storm" is a valuable read for anyone interested in understanding mental health issues from a personal perspective. Hopefully you’ll be inspired and encouraged by Jason’s story.


The Craftsman
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This book was recommended to me by the excellent John Tigh, Executive Coach and friend, after discussing the difference between Consumers, Makers, and Creators.
"The Craftsman" by Richard Sennett is a profound exploration of craftsmanship, which delves into the historical, social, and philosophical aspects of skilled work. The book emphasizes the intrinsic value of craft and how it can contribute to a more fulfilling and meaningful life. Here are three learnings I took away:
Craftsmanship as a universal human impulse: Sennett argues that the desire to do a job well for its own sake is a basic human instinct that transcends time, culture, and occupation. The pursuit of quality and mastery is central to Craftsmanship.
The importance of skill and learning through practice: The book highlights the significance of skill development through hands-on experience, practice, and repetition. Sennett emphasizes that mastering a craft requires dedication, curiosity, and a willingness to learn from mistakes. Craftsman practice continuous improvement.
The connection between craftsmanship and ethics: Sennett asserts that craftsmanship is not just about technical expertise but also involves a deeper ethical commitment to the work itself. The craftsman's dedication to quality and care for the materials, tools, and processes fosters a sense of responsibility and integrity, which in turn contributes to personal and societal well-being. One point stood out for me- craftsman use their tools/resources, they don’t use them up.
In summary, "The Craftsman" connects craftsmanship to the act of creation in an ethical framework. This book left me questioning whether I connected with well-made art or products for anything more than aesthetics. At this moment in time, I’m interviewing 100 craftsman/makers/creators to discover my next adventure. This book has given me one more question to ask- how do you practice your values in creating or in doing your work?
Thought provoking and worth a read for anyone creating new things or managing creatives.


Ready for Launch: An Astronaut’s Lessons for Success on Earth
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I found this book while taking Chris Hadfield’s masterclass in becoming an Astronaut. One of my projects was to protect astronauts using AI and I wanted a deeper sense of the emotional side of Astronaut experience. "Ready for Launch" by Scott Kelly offers that in spades- it’s a remarkable and insightful account of the author's experiences as an astronaut, from the demanding training process to the breathtaking moments spent in space. Kelly's vivid storytelling and first-hand perspective as a record-breaking astronaut provides a unique opportunity to understand the inner workings of the astronaut program, as well as the human side of space exploration.
The book delves into the challenges, dedication, and rewards that come with being an astronaut, giving those of us working in the program a sense of pride and validation in our contributions to this incredible field. Kelly's humility, humor, and passion make his story not only relatable but also deeply inspiring to those of us striving to advance human space exploration.
"Ready for Launch" is a must-read space enthusiasts, and anyone interested in gaining an insider's perspective operating at the peak of human innovation. Kelly’s accounts helped me internalize the importance of pushing boundaries and pursuing dreams, and finding our own vital role in the exploration of the cosmos.


Business & Innovation

Innovation
+1
Six Thinking Hats
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This is a very easy read and provides a good simple approach for exploring ideas and problems through thinking from different perspectives in a structured manner. There are six hats, each of which have different characteristics:
- White Hat: facts, figures, information
- Red Hat: emotions and feelings, hunch and intuition
- Black Hat: devil's advocate, negative judgement
- Yellow Hat: optimism, positivity
- Green Hat: creativity
- Blue Hat: controlling of the hats and thinking, orchestration
I’ve facilitated a lot of events where different kinds of thinking need to be combined to maximize creativity and productivity. The Six Hats framework is a simple shortcut to assign roles or help people adopt the right lens for their participation. This quick read is a must-have for anyone facilitating events or sessions where you need the best ideas on the table.


I Will Teach You to Be Rich: No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Recommended by lots of my friends, this book contains solid financial advice... for my kids.+ The best advice, worth the price was two services around opting out of paper catalogs (catalogchoice.org) and junk mail (optoutprescreen.com)+ Lots of recommended tools in this framework including You Need a Budget, but used in ways probably not intended by the creators.+ Fabulous set of systematic tricks for people just getting started. Punchy delivery and desi jokes too.- I have implemented almost everything else he suggested, over years of learning and making mistakes.- Not much to say about partners who could help older readers, other than "Dave Ramsey"Overall, I'll be buying a copy for each of my kids and helping them setup their automated investment framework. Well worth your time if you're getting started or have kids that will be.


Go Big or Go Home
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Disclosure: I was an early reviewer of this book.
I am a big fan of Diana Kander, both as a person and author. Few people know how to push themselves outside their comfort zones, learn, and then teach others the way she can. Two of her books - “The All-in Startup” and “The Curiosity Muscle” are already on my Innovator’s Bookshelf, having given me quick frameworks and vocabulary for teaching entrepreneurship skills. “Go Big or Go Home,” her latest work, is no different. Unlike her previous works of fiction, GBGH is her own journey, working with a team that builds business proposals. Not just any dry presentations- magical proposals that make the decision makers feel equally inspired and at home. Proposals that stand far apart from the crowd. This book frames up the principles needed to build magical proposals, starting with the eponymous idea - Go Big or Go Home. That is, invest all of yourself in the proposal. Think different to solve problems near/dear to the people making the decisions. There are five steps:
Get their attention in an unexpected way
Research like your pitch depends on it
Try to connect rather than impress
Show them something they can’t unsee
Turn them into a co-creator
My favorite takeaway from this book is the “Talk to Diana” principle for Step 3. Diana was trying to connect with a local entrepreneur and was having a difficult time getting their attention. She had several connections in common, so she went to each one and explained why she needed to talk to that person, asking her connections to recommend they “talk to Diana.” After a week, they’d heard “Talk to Diana” so many times, Diana got that meeting (and a fun story to kick it off).
At the time of this writing I’m finding my next career adventure and this book has redefined how I approach the search. I can’t recommend it highly enough to anyone interested in corporate innovation, storytelling, or taking bigger risks. This one goes on my Innovator’s Bookshelf, along with her other books.


The Almanack of Nawal Ravikant
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Recommended
I’ve written a lot of long reviews in my 2022 Reading List. This one will be short. “The Almanack of Naval Ravikant" by Eric Jorgenson is a compilation of wisdom and insights from Naval Ravikant, a successful entrepreneur, angel investor, and philosopher. The book is divided into two parts, focusing on wealth and happiness, and covers a range of topics, including startups, investing, decision-making, and personal growth.
Part 1: Wealth is Naval’s story intertwined with his philosophy around wealth building. It’s not just business basics, but gaining specific knowledge, building real relationships, and deeply understanding where the world is going. Reading this made me feel understood in a way that I couldn’t put into words (until I discovered Strategic Innovation by Mohan Nair, but that’s for 2023 RL).
Part 2: Happiness ironically made me feel deeply uncomfortable. While the advice is sound and indeed can be found elsewhere, the particular combination made me challenge my own identity and motivations.
Maya Angelou famously said “They may forget what you said, they may forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” This book advised and challenged, made me feel seen and understood and will stay with me for a long time. I’ve added it to my Innovator’s Bookshelf and highly recommend you check it out.


Love + Work: How to Find What You Love, Love What You Do, and Do It for the Rest of Your Life
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Recommended
Recommended to me by Vikki Mueller-Espinosa, executive coach and career consultant, Love+Work speaks to how you bring your whole self to work. The concept is simple- live in the intersection of passion, strengths, and values in your professional setting. This is much harder to implement. One way is to look for “red threads” or activities that you love to do or that puts you into “the zone” or flow state. Weaving these red threads into your day will creates a quilt of your work that’s uniquely you, and uniquely fulfilling.
For years I’ve been struggling with self-promotion. In fact a number of books in this reading list were intended to help me along that journey. Love + Work made me realized that I had no “red threads” for self promotion, that it was inauthentic for me. Flow state was just impossible until I applied a teacher’s mindset to self-promotion. My “red thread” became teaching others how to apply my experience to their own work.
I’m navigating a deeply personal journey as I find my next career and this book has provided me a foundation, a starting point, a vocabulary. I can’t recommend it highly enough.


Business & Innovation - Abandoned

The Bitcoin Standard
⭐️⭐️⭐️
I really wanted to love “The Bitcoin Standard” but it felt like two books in one. On one hand it was an approachable history of monetary systems leading up to cryptocurrency. On the other, it’s a dry textbook about how money works. I was looking primarily to understand why Bitcoin is going to be the next big thing. I got that by reading Chapter 8. If you’re like me, I suggest doing the same!


Sciences

Science Fun
+2
How to Spend a Trillion Dollars
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I read this book to prepare for a job interview. No joke.
"How to Spend a Trillion Dollars" by Rowan Hooper is an exploration of the potential impact of investing a trillion dollars in various global challenges. The book presents different scenarios, examining the consequences and feasibility of directing such an enormous sum of money towards solving some of the world's most pressing issues, such as climate change, poverty, and disease.
One of the scenarios discussed in the book is investing a trillion dollars in climate adaptation and mitigation measures. Hooper envisions a world where this investment could bolster efforts to build resilient infrastructure, protect vulnerable ecosystems, and promote sustainable agricultural practices. This massive financial support would not only help communities adapt to the impacts of climate change but also contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preserving biodiversity for future generations.
Two key learnings from the book are:
The power of targeted investment: Hooper demonstrates that directing resources towards specific, well-defined problems can have a significant and lasting impact on the world, driving meaningful change and progress.
The importance of collaboration: The book highlights the need for global collaboration and cooperation in addressing these complex challenges, as no single nation or organization can solve them alone.
"How to Spend a Trillion Dollars" is an ideal read for policymakers, business leaders, philanthropists, and entrepreneurs interested in understanding how strategic investments can shape the future of our planet. Its imaginative and well-researched scenarios offer valuable insights into the potential of large-scale funding to drive transformative change. Consider pairing this with Bill Gates’ excellent , a very complementary read with additional insights on the math behind the problem scope.


The Gene: An Intimate History
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I picked up "The Gene" originally on sale at Audible and promptly forgot I owned it. A few months later, I was reading "The Next 500 Years" by Christopher E. Mason, a uniquely compelling vision of the future of space travel influenced by genomics. That book is incredibly dense with ideas and technical language, to the point that I needed a primer on genomics to appreciate it. "The Gene" provided that primer around the key terminology, history, and application of genomics in a way that I could not only understand the other book, but that left me with a much stronger conceptual base for DNA, genes, gene therapy, mRNA, and more. I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to build a strong conceptual understanding from which to study advanced topics, or if you just enjoy learning how modern genomics evolved. The author's style is personal and and evocative. I found myself both curious and sympathetic to the family history that inspired the book. He wove his own story into the science discussion as well as the historical discussion quite effectively. Overall a great read that even my family liked listening to in the car. + Excellent conceptual primer on the science and history of genomics + Enabled me to understand another, more advanced book + Jargon rich, but not jargon-heavy; it's there, but you learn to understand it progressively + Author's personal story sets the stage for the "Why" of the book + Accompanying PDF clearly describes the concepts- one of the better companions I've read. - Sometimes the personal stories were really hard to hear - PDF lacks description of the "The First Derivative of Identity" which is a shame


Pale Blue Dot
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Quick summary: In "Pale Blue Dot," Carl Sagan invites us on a cosmic voyage, traversing the vastness of space and time, while reminding us of our humble origins on a tiny, fragile speck in the universe. Through poetic prose and vivid imagery, Sagan eloquently conveys the marvels of our cosmic neighborhood, while delving into the profound implications of our place within it. He implores us to cherish and protect our home, the Earth, as we endeavor to explore the cosmos and search for our cosmic brethren. Those yearning for a deeper connection to the universe and a renewed sense of wonder will find themselves captivated by Sagan's masterful storytelling and awe-inspiring perspective.
This book has been on my “want to read” list for far too long. As I contemplated a career change this year, I picked this up looking for inspiration. There is unless you know what it is. An image of Earth taken from Voyager 1 at a focal length of almost 4 billion miles. The image made me feel so small, but so filled with wonder and curiosity. I had no idea that blue dot was actually a seed; one planted in my heart that grew into a career filled with high technology and deep personal meaning, along with a few projects that will help humanity see that pale blue dot with human eyes.


What If?
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Loved everything about this. Wildly entertaining mix of science taken to extreme, prompted by simple questions. Besides being fun, it outlines _how_ to think about seriously answering seemingly absurd questions. Very useful skill in my line of work.


What if? 2
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A lovely sequel to the original's unique premise - apply light scientific analysis to outlandish premises. Precision isn't the point, the thought process is. Everything I loved about the first book was present here without losing the charm. The thought experiments went in wildy convergent directions, the scenarios inventive, and the jokes witty for those conversant with science or not. Will Wheaton is rapidly becoming one of my favorite narrators- he adds just enough incredulity and lightheartedness to the performance without being cheesy.


Science - Abandoned but not Forgotten

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow's World
⭐️⭐️
On paper, this book looks like an awesome read. "The Wizard and the Prophet" explores the contrasting visions of two influential scientists - Norman Borlaug, the father of the Green Revolution, and William Vogt, a conservationist. Borlaug believed in using technology to increase agricultural productivity, while Vogt emphasized the importance of environmental conservation and population control. The book is dense and covers a lot of scientific, historical and political ground, which might make it challenging for some readers to finish. Personally, the writing style and the meandering story ultimately made me put it down.


The Next 500 Years
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Next 500 Years" by Christopher E. Matheson explores the possible future of humanity as it becomes space-faring over the next five centuries. The book covers a wide range of topics, including technology, social structures, and political systems. I dove into this book and found that I didn’t have enough scientific vocabulary to fully understand it. I actually started several hard sciences books on this list as a primer. Ultimately, I skimmed this book and promised to revisit it over time. It’s filled with heady ideas including practical space colonies and genetically modified astronauts. This book dense and its highly speculative nature may not be for everyone, but if you love space, you must try it!



Self-Improvement

Self Improvement
Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
"Can't Hurt Me" by David Goggins is a memoir that chronicles the author’s journey from an abusive childhood to becoming a Navy SEAL and ultramarathon runner. This is tough reading- Goggins had a turbulent upbringing and lived at the edge of endurance. The book itself verges on self-torture porn. That said, the book offers valuable lessons on the power of mindset, determination, and perseverance:
Embrace discomfort and challenge yourself: push through physical and mental barriers to go beyond their limits.
Cultivate a growth mindset: Instead of being limited by self-doubt and limiting beliefs, practice constant self-improvement and progress.
Take extreme ownership: taking responsibility for one's actions and outcomes, rather than blaming external factors or circumstances.
Use visualization and positive self-talk: overcome fear and doubt by visual and verbal affirmation.
Focus on the process, not the outcome: rather than obsessing over the end result, focus on completing the process incrementally.
Be willing to adapt and pivot: be flexible and willing to change course when necessary - lots of examples here.
Note: there are two versions- I read the full which contains brutal language and vivid. raw descriptions of his experiences. Seek out the clean version if that’s not for you.


The Wisdom of the Enneagram
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
As a user of EI/EQ, MTBI, DISC, and Predictive Intelligence, I found the Enneagram a fascinating and complex system for understanding my personality and motivations. I think what struck me is the recognition that anyone can exhibit any of these profiles depending on their state of mind and life conditions. Like most of the other tests, Enneagram tests are prevalent online and there's one included in the book. Both wildly varied- in fact, I received two "diametrically opposed" results. The book couldn't resolve it for me, but the Enneagram Institute cleanly explained that the opposite sides were inner-focused vs. outer-focused. Nine basic profiles proliferate into 27 types with scales of development. Reading this book will give enough information to start, but others resources are needed to put the concept into practice. I've also found that this particular book is heavy on the spiritual, while others favor scientific/self-help language, which I prefer


Brag Better: Master the Art of Fearless Self-Promotion
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I picked this up looking guidance in developing my thought leadership skills, organizing existing assets, and planning complementary activities.
That said, this book is written for early career professionals who might be starting out with self-promoting, but don’t know where to begin. If you’re at that state, there are some wonderful tools and nuggets about self-assessment and promoting through one’s professional network.


Finding Your Artistic Voice
⭐️⭐️⭐️
I picked this up thinking I might learn more about refining my creative voice. Instead, I learned a lot about what artistic voice is and where it comes from. Worth reading if you’re early in your exploration, but not so much for those making sense of their existing journey. ChatGPT summary: “Finding your artistic voice involves experimenting with different mediums and techniques, exploring your personal interests and experiences, and being willing to take risks and make mistakes. Embrace your unique perspective and to use their art to express their authentic selves.”


This Book is Gay
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A guide to all things LGBTQ+. The book covers topics such as the history of LGBTQ+ rights, coming out, gender identity and expression, sex and relationships, and activism. Dawson uses a humorous and informative tone to provide advice and support for LGBTQ+ readers, as well as their allies, to navigate the complexities of sexuality and gender identity. I picked this up on my journey to internalize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion practices.


Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I picked this book thinking it was the other book on my list written about/by someone named Ravikant. Happy mistake. "Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It" by Kamal Ravikant is a heartfelt and inspirational guide to self-love and personal transformation. The book follows the author's journey of overcoming depression and achieving emotional well-being through the simple yet powerful practice of self-love. Yes, this might sound a little strange, but there are some great lessons.
+ The author emphasizes that loving oneself is essential for healing, personal growth, and achieving a fulfilling life. He believes that self-love is the foundation for happiness and success.
+ The author provides easy-to-follow practices, such as repeating the mantra "I love myself" and using visualization techniques to help readers cultivate self-love and overcome negative thought patterns.
+ Focus on consistency: Kamal stresses the need for consistency and commitment in practicing self-love, as it is a lifelong journey that requires constant effort and dedication. This he shows, rather than just telling.
This is an ideal read for those who are struggling with self-worth, anxiety, or simply looking to improve their emotional well-being. I loved the stories, but practicing my own self-love mantra has been transformative regaining my own creative voice.


The Greatest Salesman in the World
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Recommended by Diana Kander.
The Greatest Salesman in the World" by Og Mandino is a classic and inspirational book that tells the story of Hafid, a poor camel boy who becomes the world's greatest salesman through the guidance of a wealthy merchant. The book unfolds as a series of ten scrolls, each containing timeless wisdom and principles for achieving success in sales and life. Mandino's parable is not only a compelling narrative but also a powerful self-help guide, teaching readers the importance of persistence, self-improvement, and the unwavering pursuit of one's goals. Filled with universal lessons and timeless wisdom, ending with a lovely twist I saw coming a mile away. Definitely give this one a try.


This is How We Do It : A Pep Talk
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I’ll admit I picked up this book because it was free on Amazon Kindle Unlimited. Kevin Hart’s comedy isn’t exactly my thing and I was curious what I might learn from his life. Truthfully, I had heard much of his advice before, and even stated more eloquently elsewhere. However, his stories resonated with me and two quotes have stayed with me:
"In a world that constantly tries to change you, staying true to yourself is the most powerful act of rebellion." As a multi-pod, I’ve been told all of my life that I need to choose one path or focus on just one thing. What’s true for me is living on multiple paths and living in the intersections where I can produce interesting results.
"Success isn't just about what you achieve for yourself; it's also about what you do for others." The author talks about the satisfaction of helping others follow in your path, mentoring and opening doors. This quote had a different effect for me- choosing paths to maximize self-benefit is planting seeds of future regret. I wish more people internalize this earlier in life.
I was surprised that these two gems affected me as they did. Maybe you’ll discover something precious in here too?


Self-Improvement - Abandoned


Science Fiction

Science Fiction
Star Trek: The Original Series: Khan #3: To Reign in Hell
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
One of the great mysteries in Star Trek lore is the fate of Khan. While we saw his journey’s end in Star Trek II, the events leading to his madness were never recorded in canon. This book imagines what happened to Khan from the moment he landed on CETI Alpha V to the moments he left.
No spoilers here. I read this book to inhabit Khan’s world; to understand his leadership style and how 20th century “supermen” would adapt to living on an inhospitable planet with future tech. The book delivers on both points. Despite facing tough fauna (and later a deadly environment, they ultimately were their own worst enemies. Plus points for the clever ways the book expands on the movie (i.e where did so many people live- surely not in one cargo container?). I took out points for the lightweight story arcs of main characters and some super-stilted language.
This is the third part of the Eugenics wars series documenting the life of Khan. I read this one first and plan to read the other two, which take place on Earth.


The Apollo Murders
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Alternate History? Check
Written by an actual Astronaut? Check
Sci-fi intrigue? Check
Audible recommended this book to me and I was absolutely ready to read it, having just completed Chris Hadley’s Masterclass on Space Exploration.


Exhalation
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Recommended
Like many, my first experience with Ted Chiang's work was "The Story of Your Life" which was the basis of the movie "Arrival." Thought provoking, deeply emotional, and complex ethics feature into his work. "Exhalation" is no different. A collection of nine thought-provoking short stories by Chiang, you'll explore the intersection of technology, humanity, morality, and the nature of existence. I'm highlighting three of my favorites, but each is excellent. Please read this book, especially if you love science fiction.
"The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate": Set in ancient Baghdad, this time-travel narrative follows a merchant who encounters an alchemist with a time-traveling gate. The story explores the consequences of our choices and the nature of fate and whether we really have a choice in changing the future.
"The Lifecycle of Software Objects": The narrative delves into the world of artificial intelligence, exploring the relationships between humans and sentient digital beings as they develop over time. I never felt so connected to the idea of a digital life form as I did to the Digients in this story. Would we be able to treat them with kindness needed to raise a well-adjusted being, even if they were made of code, rather than flesh?

"The Great Silence": A meditation on the Fermi Paradox and the search for extraterrestrial life, highlighting humanity's failure to recognize the value of life on Earth. What if we have already met intelligent alien life here on earth, but we just can’t understand them? As Jain and lifelong vegetarian, this story gave me pause to think of the alien life we may already live with, and, for lack of communication, already harming.


The Orville: Sympathy for the Devil
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
If you love The Orville, you will want to give this a read. Normal episodic television has given us solid storytelling, but the written format elevates the storytelling. Set after episode 308, Sympathy for the Devil is a heartbreaking story of unintended consequences - in this case, of entertainment technology. Unchecked, technology corrupted this man, leading to three kinds of loss. I won't spoil any further, but the reactions from the crew and the moral questions raised stuck with me long after I put this down. + Amazing to experience The Orville in print + A unique storytelling twist and moral question - The first five chapters drag a little


God's Debris: A Thought Experiement
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
"God's Debris: A Thought Experiment" by Scott Adams is a stimulating and thought-provoking read that delves into the realms of philosophy, religion, and science, presented through a fictional dialogue between an old man and a delivery person. The book invites readers to explore fundamental questions about the nature of reality, free will, and the existence of God, challenging conventional wisdom and prompting critical thinking. I sought this out after reading “The Almanac of Naval Ravikant” to understand some of the philosophy presented there. What I found was a thought experiment around life's big questions and the nature of God, which required me to hold some ideas in my head that were quite antithetical to me. I found it hard to read at first, but the sci-fi setting helped me stretch my own thinking in ways I’d never considered. As I read more startup leadership books, I keep running into these ideas and this book seems to be the source. Well worth your time if you like to challenge your own world view; hard reading if you can’t abide that.


Signal Moon
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Quick review: Short time-travel story via radio communications. I picked this as a free listen on Audible and was so engrossed I doubled the length of a workout just so I could finish it in one sitting. If you love alternate history and time travel, give this one a chance!


Apocalypse Untreated
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A fresh look at post-apocalypse adventures that explores what happens to people experiencing mental illness that requires continuous medication.
+ I enjoyed the creativity in approaching this subject and in the characters’ problem solving.
+ Voice acting was good given the number of characters.
- Lost a star because some characters were just awful people and others felt like caricatures rather than complex people.
Ultimately the series left me wanting more and curious how it might improve with a few seasons development.


Refresh
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A clever take on current events surround police brutality and two-way recording of events. I won’t spoil it, but will say the more things change, the more they stay the same, just a little less equally distributed. Also worth noting is that this piece polarizes listeners on a very particular bias, which is the mark of a good piece of writing. Well worth a listen, in my opinion.


The Myth of the Self-made Man
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This short story was recommended to me several times before I decided to give it a listen. Though it started slow, it unfolded into a moving story of rediscovery of one’s roots after having them technologically excised. Set in a world of stark differences in equality, it tells the story of a boy seeking a better life who is mechanized against his will and forced to serve as a domestic appliance. Over many years, people awaken to the horror this process inflicts on its victims. More horrible is how normalized the it becomes. The story is narrated by the boy as half-remembered memories and the struggle to remember and feel anything is palpable. A book that can transport me so vividly into the emotions, and not just the world, is well worth reading, imho.



Health, Psychology, Relationships

Psychology
+2
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love
⭐️⭐️⭐️
A friend recommended this book to understand how people form attachments to one another. I learned new vocabulary around attachment styles (secure, anxiously attached, avoidant) and the importance of having a secure base. I was most interested in undertstanding the avoidant style, but the book could be summarized as “avoid them at all cost.” Other reviewers talk about bias favoring anxiously attached people and I have to agree. Much of the book talks about their needs and sometimes excuses bad behavior as well-intended. I wish as much care was given to the other types- THAT book would have been excellent. Give this a try if you want the vocabulary of attachment styles and to understand each one, but be ready for depth only in the anxiety style. This was disappointing enough for me to downrate by two stars.


The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A vocabulary and framework for the different ways people give and receive love. Types:
Gift giving - buying or making something that the other person really wants
Words of affirmation - not just praise, but the words that the other person needs to hear, when they need to hear them.
Acts of Service - doing something specifically for the recipient, small effort or large.
Quality time - not just activities, but presence and sole focus on the receiver
Physical Touch - not just intimate touch, but frequent touch to emphasize emotion
I could do without the Bible stories; other reviewers noted that this book is also excessively heteronormative, but I didn’t think that detracted enough from the lessons. If nothing else, I think there might be many more languages - one of mine would be “turning introspection into action.” Well worth a read for anyone.


Glucose Revolution
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Recommended
One of the most important books on my 2022 RL. Anyone who ages will eventually run into the effects of insulin resistance or diabetes. “Glucose Revolution” is one person’s quantified study on the effects of different kinds of food on blood sugar. Jesse Inchauspe, AKA the , started wearing a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) several years ago. Normally meant for people trying to control diabetes, CGMs provide high-frequency data about blood sugar, without the need for drawing blood. She used her CGM to graph her body’s blood sugar content after meals. The results were compelling- some foods release immense spikes of sugar which the body must consume by producing insulin. Other foods prevent or reduce those spikes. Well-timed activities change the consumption of sugar. Bottom line. Read this book, especially if you’re 30 or older.
Four major tips that have absolutely changed my life:
+ Wear a CGM: Recording my sugar data has given me insights needed to control my sugar and insulin resistance.
+ Eat foods in this order: Fibers → Proteins / Fats → Starches/Sugars. Elimination of sugar isn’t the goal; controlling it’s negative effects are. Reordering consumption of food allows the body to build up enough insulin to handle sugar spikes.
+ Post-prandial walk. The 70 minutes following a meal is a window in which exercise has the most effect in reducing sugar spikes. A simple 17 minute walk will reduce the effect of carb/sugar intake dramatically.
+ Drink Vinegar. The author suggests drinking 1Tbsp of vinegar with water before consuming sugar/carbs will attenuate the resulting sugar spike. Honestly I thought this was pseudo-science when I read it, but it it genuinely works. If drinking vinegar isn’t your thing, eat two small dill pickles (savory, not sweet, of course).
There’s lots more advice, but you’ll need to read the book and check out her IG account. While you might find the information in other places, the author’s data driven approach and approachable writing style make it easy to take action and form habits. Very much recommended.


The Way Out: A Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven Approach to Healing Chronic Pain
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
There is nothing quite so powerfully motivating as seeing a loved one in pain. I picked up this book to help someone experiencing debilitating pain, without matching physical symptoms. Imagine feeling pain and being told it’s all in your head. Turns out that’s a thing and that’s what this book is about. “The Way Out: A Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven Approach to Healing Chronic Pain" by Dr. Alan Gordon offers a new perspective on chronic pain.
The central thesis is that neuroplasticity makes us adaptable, but also susceptible to the long-term effects of trauma. Neuroplastic pain is caused when trauma results in strong emotions which causes the brain to misinterpret nerve signals from the body as physical trauma. Easy to say, hard to prove. Except that Dr. Gordon backs his observations by taking MRIs of hundreds of patients experiencing neuroelastic pain. The book outlines evidence-based exercises and strategies that empower people to break the cycle of pain and fear and take control of their pain.
If you experience any kind of chronic pain (i.e. fibromyalgia) and want a way to control it without meds, this book is for you. If you’re caring or helping someone wanting these things, pick up this book today. I’m glad I did.


Breath
⭐️⭐️⭐️
I was both fascinated and repulsed by “Breath” by James Nestor. On one hand, it’s an insightful exploration of the importance of proper breathing and its impact on health and well-being. On the other hand, it makes some dubious claims, such as breathing cured scoliosis for some individuals. Bright spots I took from this book:
+ The lost art of proper breathing: Nestor argues that modern humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, mainly due to factors such as poor posture, sedentary lifestyles, and mouth breathing. This shift in breathing habits has led to numerous health issues, including sleep apnea, asthma, anxiety, and other chronic conditions.
+ The power of nasal breathing: The book emphasizes the benefits of nasal breathing over mouth breathing. Nasal breathing filters, warms, and humidifies the air, resulting in better oxygen absorption and overall respiratory health. Nestor also discusses techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing and slow, controlled breaths, which can improve mental and physical well-being. I personally have incorporated nasal breathing and controlled breathing into my walking workouts and have felt much more energetic, with much more stamina than before.
+ Overview of various breathwork techniques, such as Pranayama, Tummo, and the Buteyko method, that have been practiced for centuries to promote relaxation, focus, and healing.
Read this book for greater detail and some compelling stories, but be aware it contains some claims that need much more support. I rated this a 5 initially, but every time I think about those weaker parts, I reduce my score.


The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Quick summary: "The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma" by Bessel van der Kolk is a groundbreaking book that delves into the complex world of trauma and its long-lasting effects on individuals. Drawing on extensive research and clinical experience, van der Kolk provides readers with a comprehensive understanding of trauma's impact on the mind and body, while offering a range of innovative and evidence-based therapies for healing. This powerful and empathetic book is a must-read for mental health professionals, trauma survivors, and anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the human capacity for resilience and recovery.
I found book equal parts eye-opening and harrowing while being both relatable and informative. I read this with "The Way Out" to understand how neuroplastic pain originates in trauma and how it might be treated. It’s earned a permanent place on my bookshelf.


Health, Psychology, Relationships - abandoned

The Five Love Languages of Teenagers
⭐️⭐️⭐️
I dove into this book thinking I might gain insights on how to talk to teenagers or to empathize with their thought processes. Though the other “Five Love Languages” book is insightful and excellent, this version is repetitive and a bit confusing. Pass on this and read the original.



2022Books
2
Genre
Hidden
Summary
Status
Search
Title
Score
Author
Summary
Genre
Type
1
Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
David Goggins
"Can't Hurt Me" by David Goggins is a memoir that chronicles the author’s journey from an abusive childhood to becoming a Navy SEAL and ultramarathon runner. This is tough reading- Goggins had a turbulent upbringing and lived at the edge of endurance. The book itself verges on self-torture porn. That said, the book offers valuable lessons on the power of mindset, determination, and perseverance:
Embrace discomfort and challenge yourself: push through physical and mental barriers to go beyond their limits.
Cultivate a growth mindset: Instead of being limited by self-doubt and limiting beliefs, practice constant self-improvement and progress.
Take extreme ownership: taking responsibility for one's actions and outcomes, rather than blaming external factors or circumstances.
Use visualization and positive self-talk: overcome fear and doubt by visual and verbal affirmation.
Focus on the process, not the outcome: rather than obsessing over the end result, focus on completing the process incrementally.
Be willing to adapt and pivot: be flexible and willing to change course when necessary - lots of examples here.
Note: there are two versions- I read the full which contains brutal language and vivid. raw descriptions of his experiences. Seek out the clean version if that’s not for you.
Self Improvement
Book
2
The Wisdom of the Enneagram
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Don Richard Riso
As a user of EI/EQ, MTBI, DISC, and Predictive Intelligence, I found the Enneagram a fascinating and complex system for understanding my personality and motivations. I think what struck me is the recognition that anyone can exhibit any of these profiles depending on their state of mind and life conditions. Like most of the other tests, Enneagram tests are prevalent online and there's one included in the book. Both wildly varied- in fact, I received two "diametrically opposed" results. The book couldn't resolve it for me, but the Enneagram Institute cleanly explained that the opposite sides were inner-focused vs. outer-focused. Nine basic profiles proliferate into 27 types with scales of development. Reading this book will give enough information to start, but others resources are needed to put the concept into practice. I've also found that this particular book is heavy on the spiritual, while others favor scientific/self-help language, which I prefer
Self Improvement
Book
3
Brag Better: Master the Art of Fearless Self-Promotion
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Meredith Fineman
I picked this up looking guidance in developing my thought leadership skills, organizing existing assets, and planning complementary activities.
That said, this book is written for early career professionals who might be starting out with self-promoting, but don’t know where to begin. If you’re at that state, there are some wonderful tools and nuggets about self-assessment and promoting through one’s professional network.
Self Improvement
Book
4
Star Trek: The Original Series: Khan #3: To Reign in Hell
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Gregory Cox
One of the great mysteries in Star Trek lore is the fate of Khan. While we saw his journey’s end in Star Trek II, the events leading to his madness were never recorded in canon. This book imagines what happened to Khan from the moment he landed on CETI Alpha V to the moments he left. No spoilers here. I read this book to inhabit Khan’s world; to understand his leadership style and how 20th century “supermen” would adapt to living on an inhospitable planet with future tech. The book delivers on both points. Despite facing tough fauna (and later a deadly environment, they ultimately were their own worst enemies. Plus points for the clever ways the book expands on the movie (i.e where did so many people live- surely not in one cargo container?). I took out points for the lightweight story arcs of main characters and some super-stilted language. This is the third part of the Eugenics wars series documenting the life of Khan. I read this one first and plan to read the other two, which take place on Earth.
Science Fiction
Book
5
Six Thinking Hats
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Edward De Bono
This is a very easy read and provides a good simple approach for exploring ideas and problems through thinking from different perspectives in a structured manner. There are six hats, each of which have different characteristics: - White Hat: facts, figures, information - Red Hat: emotions and feelings, hunch and intuition - Black Hat: devil's advocate, negative judgement - Yellow Hat: optimism, positivity - Green Hat: creativity - Blue Hat: controlling of the hats and thinking, orchestration I’ve facilitated a lot of events where different kinds of thinking need to be combined to maximize creativity and productivity. The Six Hats framework is a simple shortcut to assign roles or help people adopt the right lens for their participation. This quick read is a must-have for anyone facilitating events or sessions where you need the best ideas on the table.
Innovation
Book
6
The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow's World
⭐️⭐️
Charles C. Mann
On paper, this book looks like an awesome read. "The Wizard and the Prophet" explores the contrasting visions of two influential scientists - Norman Borlaug, the father of the Green Revolution, and William Vogt, a conservationist. Borlaug believed in using technology to increase agricultural productivity, while Vogt emphasized the importance of environmental conservation and population control. The book is dense and covers a lot of scientific, historical and political ground, which might make it challenging for some readers to finish. Personally, the writing style and the meandering story ultimately made me put it down.
Science Fun
e-Book
7
Brag! The Art of Tooting Your own Horn without Blowing it
⭐️⭐️⭐️
Peggy Klaus
@Great section on bragging myths spanning culture, assumptions, and more.
Self Improvement
Book
8
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Yuval Noah Harari
Quick review: An insanely wild tromp through the entirety of human history. What is lacking in precision and depth is delivered as a breathtaking glimpse at just how far we’ve come with so little time. Instead of writing a summary, I’d encourage you to read others’ critical reviews of this book- after you’ve read it.
NonFiction
Audio Book
9
Emotionally Immature Parents: Guide to Strengthen Your Mind and Build Confidence to Overcome Childhood Neglect and Rejection from Parents
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Samantha Adams
Nicely done. Uses Attached styles
Psychology
e-Book
10
Master of None- How a Jack-of-All trades can still reach the top
⭐️⭐️⭐️
Clifford Hudson
Goodreads recommended this book for generalists or Multipods. This is the story of Clifford Hudson, former CEO of Sonic, who used experimentation and broad expertise to rise to the top and solve thorny problems. Though parts were thought-provoking it doesn’t break much new ground I haven’t seen elsewhere. Pick it up for the stories and experience, but don’t expect to learn anything new if you’re well-read in the art of Lean Startup or Corporate Innovation.
Memoir
Book
11
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love
⭐️⭐️⭐️
Amir Levine
A friend recommended this book to understand how people form attachments to one another. I learned new vocabulary around attachment styles (secure, anxiously attached, avoidant) and the importance of having a secure base. I was most interested in undertstanding the avoidant style, but the book could be summarized as “avoid them at all cost.” Other reviewers talk about bias favoring anxiously attached people and I have to agree. Much of the book talks about their needs and sometimes excuses bad behavior as well-intended. I wish as much care was given to the other types- THAT book would have been excellent. Give this a try if you want the vocabulary of attachment styles and to understand each one, but be ready for depth only in the anxiety style. This was disappointing enough for me to downrate by two stars.
Relationships
e-Book
12
I Will Teach You to Be Rich: No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Ramit Sethi
Recommended by lots of my friends, this book contains solid financial advice... for my kids.+ The best advice, worth the price was two services around opting out of paper catalogs (catalogchoice.org) and junk mail (optoutprescreen.com)+ Lots of recommended tools in this framework including You Need a Budget, but used in ways probably not intended by the creators.+ Fabulous set of systematic tricks for people just getting started. Punchy delivery and desi jokes too.- I have implemented almost everything else he suggested, over years of learning and making mistakes.- Not much to say about partners who could help older readers, other than "Dave Ramsey"Overall, I'll be buying a copy for each of my kids and helping them setup their automated investment framework. Well worth your time if you're getting started or have kids that will be.
Business
Audio Book
13
The Apollo Murders
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Chris Hadfield
Alternate History? Check Written by an actual Astronaut? Check Sci-fi intrigue? Check Audible recommended this book to me and I was absolutely ready to read it, having just completed Chris Hadley’s Masterclass on Space Exploration.
Science Fiction
Audio Book
14
The Five Love Languages of Teenagers
⭐️⭐️⭐️
Gary Chapman
I dove into this book thinking I might gain insights on how to talk to teenagers or to empathize with their thought processes. Though the other “Five Love Languages” book is insightful and excellent, this version is repetitive and a bit confusing. Pass on this and read the original.
Relationships
e-Book
15
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Gary Chapman
A vocabulary and framework for the different ways people give and receive love. Types:
Gift giving - buying or making something that the other person really wants
Words of affirmation - not just praise, but the words that the other person needs to hear, when they need to hear them.
Acts of Service - doing something specifically for the recipient, small effort or large.
Quality time - not just activities, but presence and sole focus on the receiver
Physical Touch - not just intimate touch, but frequent touch to emphasize emotion
I could do without the Bible stories; other reviewers noted that this book is also excessively heteronormative, but I didn’t think that detracted enough from the lessons. If nothing else, I think there might be many more languages - one of mine would be “turning introspection into action.” Well worth a read for anyone.
Relationships
e-Book
16
How to Spend a Trillion Dollars
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Rowan Hooper
I read this book to prepare for a job interview. No joke.
"How to Spend a Trillion Dollars" by Rowan Hooper is an exploration of the potential impact of investing a trillion dollars in various global challenges. The book presents different scenarios, examining the consequences and feasibility of directing such an enormous sum of money towards solving some of the world's most pressing issues, such as climate change, poverty, and disease.
One of the scenarios discussed in the book is investing a trillion dollars in climate adaptation and mitigation measures. Hooper envisions a world where this investment could bolster efforts to build resilient infrastructure, protect vulnerable ecosystems, and promote sustainable agricultural practices. This massive financial support would not only help communities adapt to the impacts of climate change but also contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preserving biodiversity for future generations.
Two key learnings from the book are:
The power of targeted investment: Hooper demonstrates that directing resources towards specific, well-defined problems can have a significant and lasting impact on the world, driving meaningful change and progress.
The importance of collaboration: The book highlights the need for global collaboration and cooperation in addressing these complex challenges, as no single nation or organization can solve them alone.
"How to Spend a Trillion Dollars" is an ideal read for policymakers, business leaders, philanthropists, and entrepreneurs interested in understanding how strategic investments can shape the future of our planet. Its imaginative and well-researched scenarios offer valuable insights into the potential of large-scale funding to drive transformative change. Consider pairing this with Bill Gates’ excellent , a very complementary read with additional insights on the math behind the problem scope.
Climate Science
Audio Book
17
Invisible Storm
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Jason Kander
"Invisible Storm" by Jason Kander is a heartfelt and insightful read that delves into the author's personal journey of grappling with mental health challenges while in the public eye. Kander's vulnerability and honesty make this book both relatable and inspiring, though his experience is as far from my own as can be. My takeaways: + Acknowledge yout struggles and seek support. Kander's courageous decision to step back from his political career to focus on his mental health sends a powerful message about the importance of prioritizing well-being. + We need to destigmatize mental health issues. By sharing his own experiences, Kander contributes to a broader conversation about mental health, demonstrating that these challenges can affect anyone, regardless of their status or achievements. + Resilience is needed to overcome adversity, but so is self-compassion. Kander's journey serves as a reminder that healing is a process, and that it's essential to be patient with ourselves as we work towards recovery and growth. + Sections of this book are written by Diana Kander, Jason’s partner. I’ve extensively read her work and count her as a friend. Her sections are just as raw and candid as Jason’s and underscored for me how easy it is to miss struggles even among friends. Overall, "Invisible Storm" is a valuable read for anyone interested in understanding mental health issues from a personal perspective. Hopefully you’ll be inspired and encouraged by Jason’s story.
Memoir
Audio Book
18
The Next 500 Years
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Christopher Matheson
The Next 500 Years" by Christopher E. Matheson explores the possible future of humanity as it becomes space-faring over the next five centuries. The book covers a wide range of topics, including technology, social structures, and political systems. I dove into this book and found that I didn’t have enough scientific vocabulary to fully understand it. I actually started several hard sciences books on this list as a primer. Ultimately, I skimmed this book and promised to revisit it over time. It’s filled with heady ideas including practical space colonies and genetically modified astronauts. This book dense and its highly speculative nature may not be for everyone, but if you love space, you must try it!
Hard Science
Book
19
The Bitcoin Standard
⭐️⭐️⭐️
Saifedean Ammus
I really wanted to love “The Bitcoin Standard” but it felt like two books in one. On one hand it was an approachable history of monetary systems leading up to cryptocurrency. On the other, it’s a dry textbook about how money works. I was looking primarily to understand why Bitcoin is going to be the next big thing. I got that by reading Chapter 8. If you’re like me, I suggest doing the same!
Business
Book
20
Finding Your Artistic Voice
⭐️⭐️⭐️
Lisa Congdon
I picked this up thinking I might learn more about refining my creative voice. Instead, I learned a lot about what artistic voice is and where it comes from. Worth reading if you’re early in your exploration, but not so much for those making sense of their existing journey. ChatGPT summary: “Finding your artistic voice involves experimenting with different mediums and techniques, exploring your personal interests and experiences, and being willing to take risks and make mistakes. Embrace your unique perspective and to use their art to express their authentic selves.”
Self Improvement
e-Book
21
The Gene: An Intimate History
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Siddartha Mukherjee
I picked up "The Gene" originally on sale at Audible and promptly forgot I owned it. A few months later, I was reading "The Next 500 Years" by Christopher E. Mason, a uniquely compelling vision of the future of space travel influenced by genomics. That book is incredibly dense with ideas and technical language, to the point that I needed a primer on genomics to appreciate it. "The Gene" provided that primer around the key terminology, history, and application of genomics in a way that I could not only understand the other book, but that left me with a much stronger conceptual base for DNA, genes, gene therapy, mRNA, and more. I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to build a strong conceptual understanding from which to study advanced topics, or if you just enjoy learning how modern genomics evolved. The author's style is personal and and evocative. I found myself both curious and sympathetic to the family history that inspired the book. He wove his own story into the science discussion as well as the historical discussion quite effectively. Overall a great read that even my family liked listening to in the car. + Excellent conceptual primer on the science and history of genomics + Enabled me to understand another, more advanced book + Jargon rich, but not jargon-heavy; it's there, but you learn to understand it progressively + Author's personal story sets the stage for the "Why" of the book + Accompanying PDF clearly describes the concepts- one of the better companions I've read. - Sometimes the personal stories were really hard to hear - PDF lacks description of the "The First Derivative of Identity" which is a shame
Hard Science
Audio Book
22
This Book is Gay
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Juno Dawson
A guide to all things LGBTQ+. The book covers topics such as the history of LGBTQ+ rights, coming out, gender identity and expression, sex and relationships, and activism. Dawson uses a humorous and informative tone to provide advice and support for LGBTQ+ readers, as well as their allies, to navigate the complexities of sexuality and gender identity. I picked this up on my journey to internalize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion practices.
Self Improvement
Book
23
Exhalation
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Recommended
Ted Chiang
Like many, my first experience with Ted Chiang's work was "The Story of Your Life" which was the basis of the movie "Arrival." Thought provoking, deeply emotional, and complex ethics feature into his work. "Exhalation" is no different. A collection of nine thought-provoking short stories by Chiang, you'll explore the intersection of technology, humanity, morality, and the nature of existence. I'm highlighting three of my favorites, but each is excellent. Please read this book, especially if you love science fiction.
"The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate": Set in ancient Baghdad, this time-travel narrative follows a merchant who encounters an alchemist with a time-traveling gate. The story explores the consequences of our choices and the nature of fate and whether we really have a choice in changing the future.
"The Lifecycle of Software Objects": The narrative delves into the world of artificial intelligence, exploring the relationships between humans and sentient digital beings as they develop over time. I never felt so connected to the idea of a digital life form as I did to the Digients in this story. Would we be able to treat them with kindness needed to raise a well-adjusted being, even if they were made of code, rather than flesh?

"The Great Silence": A meditation on the Fermi Paradox and the search for extraterrestrial life, highlighting humanity's failure to recognize the value of life on Earth. What if we have already met intelligent alien life here on earth, but we just can’t understand them? As Jain and lifelong vegetarian, this story gave me pause to think of the alien life we may already live with, and, for lack of communication, already harming.
Science Fiction
e-Book
24
The Orville: Sympathy for the Devil
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Seth McFarland
If you love The Orville, you will want to give this a read. Normal episodic television has given us solid storytelling, but the written format elevates the storytelling. Set after episode 308, Sympathy for the Devil is a heartbreaking story of unintended consequences - in this case, of entertainment technology. Unchecked, technology corrupted this man, leading to three kinds of loss. I won't spoil any further, but the reactions from the crew and the moral questions raised stuck with me long after I put this down. + Amazing to experience The Orville in print + A unique storytelling twist and moral question - The first five chapters drag a little
Science Fiction
Audio Book
25
Pale Blue Dot
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Carl Sagan
Quick summary: In "Pale Blue Dot," Carl Sagan invites us on a cosmic voyage, traversing the vastness of space and time, while reminding us of our humble origins on a tiny, fragile speck in the universe. Through poetic prose and vivid imagery, Sagan eloquently conveys the marvels of our cosmic neighborhood, while delving into the profound implications of our place within it. He implores us to cherish and protect our home, the Earth, as we endeavor to explore the cosmos and search for our cosmic brethren. Those yearning for a deeper connection to the universe and a renewed sense of wonder will find themselves captivated by Sagan's masterful storytelling and awe-inspiring perspective.
This book has been on my “want to read” list for far too long. As I contemplated a career change this year, I picked this up looking for inspiration. There is unless you know what it is. An image of Earth taken from Voyager 1 at a focal length of almost 4 billion miles. The image made me feel so small, but so filled with wonder and curiosity. I had no idea that blue dot was actually a seed; one planted in my heart that grew into a career filled with high technology and deep personal meaning, along with a few projects that will help humanity see that pale blue dot with human eyes.
Hard Science
Audio Book
26
Go Big or Go Home
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Diana Kander
Disclosure: I was an early reviewer of this book.
I am a big fan of Diana Kander, both as a person and author. Few people know how to push themselves outside their comfort zones, learn, and then teach others the way she can. Two of her books - “The All-in Startup” and “The Curiosity Muscle” are already on my Innovator’s Bookshelf, having given me quick frameworks and vocabulary for teaching entrepreneurship skills. “Go Big or Go Home,” her latest work, is no different. Unlike her previous works of fiction, GBGH is her own journey, working with a team that builds business proposals. Not just any dry presentations- magical proposals that make the decision makers feel equally inspired and at home. Proposals that stand far apart from the crowd. This book frames up the principles needed to build magical proposals, starting with the eponymous idea - Go Big or Go Home. That is, invest all of yourself in the proposal. Think different to solve problems near/dear to the people making the decisions. There are five steps:
Get their attention in an unexpected way
Research like your pitch depends on it
Try to connect rather than impress
Show them something they can’t unsee
Turn them into a co-creator
My favorite takeaway from this book is the “Talk to Diana” principle for Step 3. Diana was trying to connect with a local entrepreneur and was having a difficult time getting their attention. She had several connections in common, so she went to each one and explained why she needed to talk to that person, asking her connections to recommend they “talk to Diana.” After a week, they’d heard “Talk to Diana” so many times, Diana got that meeting (and a fun story to kick it off).
At the time of this writing I’m finding my next career adventure and this book has redefined how I approach the search. I can’t recommend it highly enough to anyone interested in corporate innovation, storytelling, or taking bigger risks. This one goes on my Innovator’s Bookshelf, along with her other books.
Business
e-Book
27
The Almanack of Nawal Ravikant
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Recommended
Eric Jorgenson
I’ve written a lot of long reviews in my 2022 Reading List. This one will be short. “The Almanack of Naval Ravikant" by Eric Jorgenson is a compilation of wisdom and insights from Naval Ravikant, a successful entrepreneur, angel investor, and philosopher. The book is divided into two parts, focusing on wealth and happiness, and covers a range of topics, including startups, investing, decision-making, and personal growth. Part 1: Wealth is Naval’s story intertwined with his philosophy around wealth building. It’s not just business basics, but gaining specific knowledge, building real relationships, and deeply understanding where the world is going. Reading this made me feel understood in a way that I couldn’t put into words (until I discovered Strategic Innovation by Mohan Nair, but that’s for 2023 RL). Part 2: Happiness ironically made me feel deeply uncomfortable. While the advice is sound and indeed can be found elsewhere, the particular combination made me challenge my own identity and motivations. Maya Angelou famously said “They may forget what you said, they may forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” This book advised and challenged, made me feel seen and understood and will stay with me for a long time. I’ve added it to my Innovator’s Bookshelf and highly recommend you check it out.
Business
e-Book
28
Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Kamal Ravikant
I picked this book thinking it was the other book on my list written about/by someone named Ravikant. Happy mistake. "Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It" by Kamal Ravikant is a heartfelt and inspirational guide to self-love and personal transformation. The book follows the author's journey of overcoming depression and achieving emotional well-being through the simple yet powerful practice of self-love. Yes, this might sound a little strange, but there are some great lessons. + The author emphasizes that loving oneself is essential for healing, personal growth, and achieving a fulfilling life. He believes that self-love is the foundation for happiness and success. + The author provides easy-to-follow practices, such as repeating the mantra "I love myself" and using visualization techniques to help readers cultivate self-love and overcome negative thought patterns. + Focus on consistency: Kamal stresses the need for consistency and commitment in practicing self-love, as it is a lifelong journey that requires constant effort and dedication. This he shows, rather than just telling. This is an ideal read for those who are struggling with self-worth, anxiety, or simply looking to improve their emotional well-being. I loved the stories, but practicing my own self-love mantra has been transformative regaining my own creative voice.
Self Improvement
e-Book
29
The Greatest Salesman in the World
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Og Mandino
Recommended by Diana Kander. The Greatest Salesman in the World" by Og Mandino is a classic and inspirational book that tells the story of Hafid, a poor camel boy who becomes the world's greatest salesman through the guidance of a wealthy merchant. The book unfolds as a series of ten scrolls, each containing timeless wisdom and principles for achieving success in sales and life. Mandino's parable is not only a compelling narrative but also a powerful self-help guide, teaching readers the importance of persistence, self-improvement, and the unwavering pursuit of one's goals. Filled with universal lessons and timeless wisdom, ending with a lovely twist I saw coming a mile away. Definitely give this one a try.
Self Improvement
e-Book
30
Love + Work: How to Find What You Love, Love What You Do, and Do It for the Rest of Your Life
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Recommended
Marcus Buckingham
Recommended to me by Vikki Mueller-Espinosa, executive coach and career consultant, Love+Work speaks to how you bring your whole self to work. The concept is simple- live in the intersection of passion, strengths, and values in your professional setting. This is much harder to implement. One way is to look for “red threads” or activities that you love to do or that puts you into “the zone” or flow state. Weaving these red threads into your day will creates a quilt of your work that’s uniquely you, and uniquely fulfilling. For years I’ve been struggling with self-promotion. In fact a number of books in this reading list were intended to help me along that journey. Love + Work made me realized that I had no “red threads” for self promotion, that it was inauthentic for me. Flow state was just impossible until I applied a teacher’s mindset to self-promotion. My “red thread” became teaching others how to apply my experience to their own work. I’m navigating a deeply personal journey as I find my next career and this book has provided me a foundation, a starting point, a vocabulary. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Business
Book
31
God's Debris: A Thought Experiement
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Scott Adams
"God's Debris: A Thought Experiment" by Scott Adams is a stimulating and thought-provoking read that delves into the realms of philosophy, religion, and science, presented through a fictional dialogue between an old man and a delivery person. The book invites readers to explore fundamental questions about the nature of reality, free will, and the existence of God, challenging conventional wisdom and prompting critical thinking. I sought this out after reading “The Almanac of Naval Ravikant” to understand some of the philosophy presented there. What I found was a thought experiment around life's big questions and the nature of God, which required me to hold some ideas in my head that were quite antithetical to me. I found it hard to read at first, but the sci-fi setting helped me stretch my own thinking in ways I’d never considered. As I read more startup leadership books, I keep running into these ideas and this book seems to be the source. Well worth your time if you like to challenge your own world view; hard reading if you can’t abide that.
Science Fiction
e-Book
32
Signal Moon
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Kate Quinn
Quick review: Short time-travel story via radio communications. I picked this as a free listen on Audible and was so engrossed I doubled the length of a workout just so I could finish it in one sitting. If you love alternate history and time travel, give this one a chance!
Science Fiction
e-Book
33
The Craftsman
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Richard Sennett
This book was recommended to me by the excellent John Tigh, Executive Coach and friend, after discussing the difference between Consumers, Makers, and Creators.
"The Craftsman" by Richard Sennett is a profound exploration of craftsmanship, which delves into the historical, social, and philosophical aspects of skilled work. The book emphasizes the intrinsic value of craft and how it can contribute to a more fulfilling and meaningful life. Here are three learnings I took away:
Craftsmanship as a universal human impulse: Sennett argues that the desire to do a job well for its own sake is a basic human instinct that transcends time, culture, and occupation. The pursuit of quality and mastery is central to Craftsmanship.
The importance of skill and learning through practice: The book highlights the significance of skill development through hands-on experience, practice, and repetition. Sennett emphasizes that mastering a craft requires dedication, curiosity, and a willingness to learn from mistakes. Craftsman practice continuous improvement.
The connection between craftsmanship and ethics: Sennett asserts that craftsmanship is not just about technical expertise but also involves a deeper ethical commitment to the work itself. The craftsman's dedication to quality and care for the materials, tools, and processes fosters a sense of responsibility and integrity, which in turn contributes to personal and societal well-being. One point stood out for me- craftsman use their tools/resources, they don’t use them up.
In summary, "The Craftsman" connects craftsmanship to the act of creation in an ethical framework. This book left me questioning whether I connected with well-made art or products for anything more than aesthetics. At this moment in time, I’m interviewing 100 craftsman/makers/creators to discover my next adventure. This book has given me one more question to ask- how do you practice your values in creating or in doing your work?
Thought provoking and worth a read for anyone creating new things or managing creatives.
NonFiction
Audio Book
34
What If?
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Randall Munroe
Loved everything about this. Wildly entertaining mix of science taken to extreme, prompted by simple questions. Besides being fun, it outlines _how_ to think about seriously answering seemingly absurd questions. Very useful skill in my line of work.
Science Fun
Audio Book
35
What if? 2
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Randall Munroe
A lovely sequel to the original's unique premise - apply light scientific analysis to outlandish premises. Precision isn't the point, the thought process is. Everything I loved about the first book was present here without losing the charm. The thought experiments went in wildy convergent directions, the scenarios inventive, and the jokes witty for those conversant with science or not. Will Wheaton is rapidly becoming one of my favorite narrators- he adds just enough incredulity and lightheartedness to the performance without being cheesy.
Science Fun
Audio Book
36
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert
John M. Gottman
Relationships
Book
37
Glucose Revolution
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Recommended
Jessie Inchauspé
One of the most important books on my 2022 RL. Anyone who ages will eventually run into the effects of insulin resistance or diabetes. “Glucose Revolution” is one person’s quantified study on the effects of different kinds of food on blood sugar. Jesse Inchauspe, AKA the , started wearing a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) several years ago. Normally meant for people trying to control diabetes, CGMs provide high-frequency data about blood sugar, without the need for drawing blood. She used her CGM to graph her body’s blood sugar content after meals. The results were compelling- some foods release immense spikes of sugar which the body must consume by producing insulin. Other foods prevent or reduce those spikes. Well-timed activities change the consumption of sugar. Bottom line. Read this book, especially if you’re 30 or older.
Four major tips that have absolutely changed my life:
+ Wear a CGM: Recording my sugar data has given me insights needed to control my sugar and insulin resistance.
+ Eat foods in this order: Fibers → Proteins / Fats → Starches/Sugars. Elimination of sugar isn’t the goal; controlling it’s negative effects are. Reordering consumption of food allows the body to build up enough insulin to handle sugar spikes.
+ Post-prandial walk. The 70 minutes following a meal is a window in which exercise has the most effect in reducing sugar spikes. A simple 17 minute walk will reduce the effect of carb/sugar intake dramatically.
+ Drink Vinegar. The author suggests drinking 1Tbsp of vinegar with water before consuming sugar/carbs will attenuate the resulting sugar spike. Honestly I thought this was pseudo-science when I read it, but it it genuinely works. If drinking vinegar isn’t your thing, eat two small dill pickles (savory, not sweet, of course).
There’s lots more advice, but you’ll need to read the book and check out her IG account. While you might find the information in other places, the author’s data driven approach and approachable writing style make it easy to take action and form habits. Very much recommended.
Health
Book
38
The Way Out: A Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven Approach to Healing Chronic Pain
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Alan Gordon
There is nothing quite so powerfully motivating as seeing a loved one in pain. I picked up this book to help someone experiencing debilitating pain, without matching physical symptoms. Imagine feeling pain and being told it’s all in your head. Turns out that’s a thing and that’s what this book is about. “The Way Out: A Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven Approach to Healing Chronic Pain" by Dr. Alan Gordon offers a new perspective on chronic pain. The central thesis is that neuroplasticity makes us adaptable, but also susceptible to the long-term effects of trauma. Neuroplastic pain is caused when trauma results in strong emotions which causes the brain to misinterpret nerve signals from the body as physical trauma. Easy to say, hard to prove. Except that Dr. Gordon backs his observations by taking MRIs of hundreds of patients experiencing neuroelastic pain. The book outlines evidence-based exercises and strategies that empower people to break the cycle of pain and fear and take control of their pain. If you experience any kind of chronic pain (i.e. fibromyalgia) and want a way to control it without meds, this book is for you. If you’re caring or helping someone wanting these things, pick up this book today. I’m glad I did.
Psychology
Book
39
Ready for Launch: An Astronaut’s Lessons for Success on Earth
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Scott Kelly
I found this book while taking Chris Hadfield’s masterclass in becoming an Astronaut. One of my projects was to protect astronauts using AI and I wanted a deeper sense of the emotional side of Astronaut experience. "Ready for Launch" by Scott Kelly offers that in spades- it’s a remarkable and insightful account of the author's experiences as an astronaut, from the demanding training process to the breathtaking moments spent in space. Kelly's vivid storytelling and first-hand perspective as a record-breaking astronaut provides a unique opportunity to understand the inner workings of the astronaut program, as well as the human side of space exploration. The book delves into the challenges, dedication, and rewards that come with being an astronaut, giving those of us working in the program a sense of pride and validation in our contributions to this incredible field. Kelly's humility, humor, and passion make his story not only relatable but also deeply inspiring to those of us striving to advance human space exploration. "Ready for Launch" is a must-read space enthusiasts, and anyone interested in gaining an insider's perspective operating at the peak of human innovation. Kelly’s accounts helped me internalize the importance of pushing boundaries and pursuing dreams, and finding our own vital role in the exploration of the cosmos.
Memoir
Book
40
Untangling Your Marriage
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Nanci A. Smith
Relationships
Book
41
Breath
⭐️⭐️⭐️
James Nestor
I was both fascinated and repulsed by “Breath” by James Nestor. On one hand, it’s an insightful exploration of the importance of proper breathing and its impact on health and well-being. On the other hand, it makes some dubious claims, such as breathing cured scoliosis for some individuals. Bright spots I took from this book: + The lost art of proper breathing: Nestor argues that modern humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, mainly due to factors such as poor posture, sedentary lifestyles, and mouth breathing. This shift in breathing habits has led to numerous health issues, including sleep apnea, asthma, anxiety, and other chronic conditions. + The power of nasal breathing: The book emphasizes the benefits of nasal breathing over mouth breathing. Nasal breathing filters, warms, and humidifies the air, resulting in better oxygen absorption and overall respiratory health. Nestor also discusses techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing and slow, controlled breaths, which can improve mental and physical well-being. I personally have incorporated nasal breathing and controlled breathing into my walking workouts and have felt much more energetic, with much more stamina than before. + Overview of various breathwork techniques, such as Pranayama, Tummo, and the Buteyko method, that have been practiced for centuries to promote relaxation, focus, and healing. Read this book for greater detail and some compelling stories, but be aware it contains some claims that need much more support. I rated this a 5 initially, but every time I think about those weaker parts, I reduce my score.
Health
Book
42
Apocalypse Untreated
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Gaby Dunn
A fresh look at post-apocalypse adventures that explores what happens to people experiencing mental illness that requires continuous medication. + I enjoyed the creativity in approaching this subject and in the characters’ problem solving. + Voice acting was good given the number of characters. - Lost a star because some characters were just awful people and others felt like caricatures rather than complex people. Ultimately the series left me wanting more and curious how it might improve with a few seasons development.
Science Fiction
e-Book
43
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Bessel Van der Kolk MD
Quick summary: "The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma" by Bessel van der Kolk is a groundbreaking book that delves into the complex world of trauma and its long-lasting effects on individuals. Drawing on extensive research and clinical experience, van der Kolk provides readers with a comprehensive understanding of trauma's impact on the mind and body, while offering a range of innovative and evidence-based therapies for healing. This powerful and empathetic book is a must-read for mental health professionals, trauma survivors, and anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the human capacity for resilience and recovery. I found book equal parts eye-opening and harrowing while being both relatable and informative. I read this with "The Way Out" to understand how neuroplastic pain originates in trauma and how it might be treated. It’s earned a permanent place on my bookshelf.
Psychology
Book
44
Refresh
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Salim Lemelle
A clever take on current events surround police brutality and two-way recording of events. I won’t spoil it, but will say the more things change, the more they stay the same, just a little less equally distributed. Also worth noting is that this piece polarizes listeners on a very particular bias, which is the mark of a good piece of writing. Well worth a listen, in my opinion.
Science Fiction
Audio Book
45
The Myth of the Self-made Man
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Ruben Reyes
This short story was recommended to me several times before I decided to give it a listen. Though it started slow, it unfolded into a moving story of rediscovery of one’s roots after having them technologically excised. Set in a world of stark differences in equality, it tells the story of a boy seeking a better life who is mechanized against his will and forced to serve as a domestic appliance. Over many years, people awaken to the horror this process inflicts on its victims. More horrible is how normalized the it becomes. The story is narrated by the boy as half-remembered memories and the struggle to remember and feel anything is palpable. A book that can transport me so vividly into the emotions, and not just the world, is well worth reading, imho.
Science Fiction
Audio Book
46
This is How We Do It : A Pep Talk
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Kevin Hart
I’ll admit I picked up this book because it was free on Amazon Kindle Unlimited. Kevin Hart’s comedy isn’t exactly my thing and I was curious what I might learn from his life. Truthfully, I had heard much of his advice before, and even stated more eloquently elsewhere. However, his stories resonated with me and two quotes have stayed with me:
"In a world that constantly tries to change you, staying true to yourself is the most powerful act of rebellion." As a multi-pod, I’ve been told all of my life that I need to choose one path or focus on just one thing. What’s true for me is living on multiple paths and living in the intersections where I can produce interesting results.
"Success isn't just about what you achieve for yourself; it's also about what you do for others." The author talks about the satisfaction of helping others follow in your path, mentoring and opening doors. This quote had a different effect for me- choosing paths to maximize self-benefit is planting seeds of future regret. I wish more people internalize this earlier in life.
I was surprised that these two gems affected me as they did. Maybe you’ll discover something precious in here too?
Self Improvement
e-Book
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