Gluttons of the written word, how are you? It’s been a good long while since I’ve put out a Reading Romp. A couple of months to be exact. I meant to put together a list of all the books I read in 2015, but I’m a world class procrastinator. I still need to get around to that, and I probably will later this week.
For now though, we’re talking about 2016 baby! 2016. So new, so young, so exciting. 2016 just sounds so fresh and so clean.
It’s okay, you can jam this right now:
I’ve gotten a ton of great reading done so far. Lots of introspective reading, which wasn’t planned at all. Once I got started though, I didn’t want to stop. I think my year is off to a better start because of it.
Without further bloviating on my part, I give you the January Reading Romp:
One theme you’ll likely see this year is me touching on a lot of classics that I just never got around to reading. The Alchemist is a perfect example. I always knew of this book, I always knew people raved about it, I just never actually bought it.
Thankfully my lovely Mother (love you, Mom) bought it for me this Christmas. I put it off until January because at the time I was binge watching all 5 seasons of Game Of Thrones. Once I got around to reading it though I knocked it out in a day and a half. It was that addicting.
The Alchemist is a story of a young boy named Santiago, who dreams of seeing the world. He shirks the idea of a conventional life, the one his parents probably wanted to see him live. In his journey Santiago runs into a number of mentors, and learns a number of lessons.
Finally he meets with the mentor of all mentors, The Alchemist. Not to spoil it for you, but let’s just say that Santiago winds up becoming enlightened as fuck. It’s a fantastic book, and one that I found especially relevant for someone in my own situation. If you’re an entrepreneur, a fuck up, a wanderer, or a human being I’d highly suggest reading it.
You can get it here.
Hey Jon. Hope you enjoy reading my review of your book here. Can’t wait to eat pie in Toronto.
Jonathan Goodman, all around good dude and founder of ThePTDC was kind enough to get me an advance copy of his new book. For those who don’t know, Jon has become one of the biggest influencers in fitness and marketing. If Jon says something people are listening. Not just average bro’s either.
People like Jonah Berger, a best selling author and marketing professor at Wharton endorsed this book. When people who research why we share things endorse your work, that’s what the kids call a big fucking deal.
Viralnomics is all about social media and sharing. Why people share things, how to craft your message, how to reach more people, and how to reach the right people. Those of us who have followed Jon for all of eternity know that this sort of thing is Jon’s passion, and it shows in this book.
Not only does it show, but the methods in this book are proven time and time again. Everything is proven to work without making you feel like you just sold your soul to the devil, which is surprisingly uncommon in the marketing world.
If you’re interested at all in growing your personal brand, business, or communication in general this book is a must read. It’s an easy read full of little gems that you’ll want to highlight, and some pretty nifty artwork.
You can grab it here.
Stumbling On Happiness.
Stumbling On Happiness is one of those classics that everyone always tells you to read. Hell, even Malcolm Gladwell endorses it.
I wasn’t blown away by this book though. It could be because reading about social science and psychology is a favorite of mine, and most of that is influenced by this book. So naturally a lot of the ideas presented I was already familiar with.
Also, there isn’t a ton dealing with how to find happiness. I didn’t expect there to be, but just be warned if you pick this book up hoping it will deliver happiness. It’s not that kind of book.
It was still insightful in a few ways, which I enjoyed. Specifically this little fact that I’ve been dropping on everyone lately:
We’re obsessed with control. We like having control of our world and our environment. We learn this from the time we’re toddlers, and by the time we’re adults we grossly overestimate how much we can control. The only people who don’t overestimate what they can control are typically clinically depressed.
That’s not an exact quote, but it gets the point across. Pretty fucking crazy right?
If you’ve never gotten into social science or psychology and you’re looking for an easy and accessible read this is a great place to start. If you fit that category, you can grab it here.
Man’s Search For Meaning.
I find it highly ironic that I read this after Stumbling On Happiness, because this bad boy focuses on finding happiness infinitely more than Stumbling On Happiness did.
Viktor Frankl is Psychologist and Holocaust survivor. The first half of this book is his story from concentration camps, and the second half is more or less a primer on his pet project, logotherapy.
I’m not playing when I say that I completely and thoroughly loved every minute of this book. I must’ve underlined something on every single page. It’s a book that slapped me in the face with truth, honesty, and forced me to look inside myself.
It’s full of gems that you can marinate on as well. One of my favorites?
“It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”
That’s what you’re getting into with this book. I demand you give it a read. You can grab it here.
The Way Of The Superior Man.
Ohhhhh baby. What can I say about this book? I’m not sure if I’ve read a more uncomfortable book in my entire life. I definitely haven’t ever read a book that made me look so deep within myself, and I’ve never read a book that highlighted my failures as a man more than this.
This book isn’t a manual on how to be a man in the “I’m gonna go fucking kill some shit and drink the blood of my enemies” way. It’s nothing like that, actually. It’s a book on relationships. On the dynamic between masculine and feminine. Because of that I think women could learn just as much from this as men.
I am not kidding you when I say that this was a life altering read. So much so that it’s actually helped me repair my failings as a man with various relationships, and serves as a true north for me at this very moment. My life, my business, and my relationships are different because of this.
Especially because it followed Man’s Search For Meaning. I couldn’t have picked a better 1-2 combo for making some great shit happen in life.
If you’re looking to see all the ways in which you’ve been failing, how to remedy those, and valuable insight into the dynamic between masculine and feminine this is an absolute must read. I’ll touch on it again and again throughout my life.
You need to grab it here. When you do, let me know how on fire for life you after reading page 33.
The Obstacle Is The Way.
I decided to read this again to start off my year, and I think that alone should tell you how highly I think of this book. This book was my original intro to stoicism, and really thinking more in depth about philosophy.
More importantly though, this book truly is a manual on how to take advantage of every single obstacle you run into in life. It’s not a book on the power of positive thinking or some other shit that makes me want to jump headfirst into a meat grinder.
Instead it’s a book about the realities that we all face. Specifically, when reality can be real shitty. And then how to take those realities and use them to your advantage.
For good measure it’s full of anecdotes from the world’s greatest individuals, the obstacles they faced, and how they used those obstacles as advantages.
I’ll read this book every single year for the foreseeable future. I’m anxious to see what I decide to underline next year because of how relevant it is. I suggest you do the same. You can get it here.