Book Notes



The Geography of Bliss

Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

RATING: 10/10

NPR Journalist Eric Weiner searches across the globe for what makes the happiest countries happy and unhappy countries unhappy. A great book for thinking outside America’s metrics for success.


Blue Zones

The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner

RATING: 10/10

A book that documents populations with high densities of people living to a hundred or older. This book chronicles their lifestyle and how you can incorporate similar habits to promote longevity and happiness. A book that stands out amongst the cagillion diet/wellness books for approaching the issue holistically and within context.


So Good They Can't Ignore You

So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

RATING: 10/10

This book ditches conventional career advice of “follow your passion / dreams / calling,” in favor of working right, building up career capital (skills), and cashing them in for greater opportunities. In other words, passion comes as a result of a strong work ethic.


Daring Greatly

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

RATING: 10/10

The go-to book on learning how to be more vulnerable and deal with shame. Yes, it’s self-helpy, but also a book that cut deep to the heart of my problems in life and the defensive mechanisms I use. A great book for dealing with emotional insecurity.


Turning Pro

Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield

RATING: 10/10

The Follow up to the War of Art. Turning Pro rips into your soul and forces you to confront all the bullshit excuses inside of you for not practicing your full potential–whether it be your career, love, being a mother, &c. “The amateur fears that if he turns pro and lives out his calling, he will have to live up to who he really is and what he is truly capable of.” A quick and powerful read.


How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams

RATING: 10/10

Unconventional strategies from the creator of Dilbert for success in life from career, relationships, diet, fitness, and more. The big idea, ditch goals, embrace systems.


On Writing Well

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

RATING: 10/10

A simple guide to find your own voice and write like a human being. Whenever fear creeps in and I don’t write, I reference this book.


Personal MBA

The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman

RATING: 10/10

A short but comprehensive guide on all there is to know about business. If you want to learn the fundamentals of business, start with this book.


Personal MBA

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

RATING: 9/10

One of the best books on time-management / clarifying life choices. Essentialism keeps illustrating the value of focus and cutting out all distractions.


Refuse to Choose

Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher

RATING: 9/10

Strategies for people who can’t seem to choose a career / create balance between jobs that provide the money and hobbies.


Seeking Wisdom

Seeking Wisdom by Peter Bevelin

RATING: 9/10

A Field-Guide To Life. Seeking Wisdom details the common misjudgments we make and how we can improve our thinking and mental systems with much insight from Warren Buffett and Charles Munger.


In Defense of Food

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

RATING: 9/10

In Defense of Food chronicles what has happened to our Food System and what we can do about it. If you care at all about your health in relation to food, read this book.


The Alchemist

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

RATING: 9/10

A simple parable on following your heart and fulfilling your destiny. The lesson of this book, although a bit hokey, connected with me. Irrespective of religion, it made me see the beauty that is God and the connectedness of all things sacred in life.


Brave New World

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

RATING: 9/10

Aldous Huxley’s classic work on the Dystopian future of the world. Written in 1932, his predictions from Prescription Drugs, Genetic Engineering, and the Loss of Reading books still makes this novel relevant today.


Think and Grow Rich

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

RATING: 9/10

A book that reads like a wise old grandfather imparting knowledge upon you. A great book on developing an attitude and mental framework for life.


All Marketers Tell Stories

All Marketers Tell Stories by Seth Godin

RATING: 9/10

My favorite Seth Godin book. I feel this is his magnum opus on marketing. Perhaps his most misunderstood book (originally titled “All Marketers are Liars), It breaks down the importance of creating a story around what you sell, whether that be a product, service, or yourself. Like most of Godin’s books, it’s a quick read. If you’re a fan of Seth, but have not checked this out, you are in for a treat.


Anything You Want

Anything You Want by Derek Sivers

RATING: 9/10

A very quick read by CD Baby founder Derek Sivers who chronicles his business and life lessons. A small little book that packs a lot of punch; one of my favorite books on entrepreneurship.


Don't Make Me Think

Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug

RATING: 9/10

Filled with numerous examples, Don’t Make Me Think guides you along the path of designing a useful “thoughtless” website.


Picture This

Picture This by Molly Bang

RATING: 9/10

Why does red feel more passionate and alive than purple? Why do diagonal lines give motion to a picture? Why does a light background feel safer than a dark background? These are some of the many questions Molly tackles in this very clear, memorable, and fun read.



Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

RATING: 9/10

How to benefit from risk and uncertainty (Black Swan events) by making yourself what Taleb calls Antifragile. A great book espousing the virtues of partaking in opportunities with more upside than downside, becoming a doer versus academic theorizer, and living a simple, but robust life. The book is a lot to take in and feels rant-y, but has deeply altered my thinking.


Moviemakers Master Class

Moviemakers Master Class by Laurent Tirard

RATING: 9/10

My favorite book on directing. It features interviews with 20 Legendary filmmakers on their craft from Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, The Coen Brothers, David Lynch, Jean-Luc Goddard, and many others.


Advertising Secrets of the Written Word

Advertising Secrets of the Written Word by Joseph Sugarman

RATING: 9/10

An amazing guide to copywriting. Several people and websites have recommended this book as the go-to copywriting book and it delivers. Expensive to buy, but a super useful resource for writing well and learning persuasive copy.


To Sell is Human

To Sell is Human by Dan Pink

RATING: 8/10

Dan Pink exploring the power of selling in our lives, both professionally and personally.



Models by Mark Manson

RATING: 9/10

A men’s self development guide. From defining your values, pursuing a career, dating, sex, and more, Models explores male masculinity today, post consumer and PUA culture.


Mating in Captivity

Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel

RATING: 8/10

Mating in Captivity explores one sexual relationship to themselves and within a relationship. Explores sex as separate from intimacy and covers erotic intelligence. A very provocative book with the changing attitudes about sexuality.


Sex at Dawn

Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan

RATING: 8/10

Sex at Dawn explores the evolution of sexuality from prehistoric times to the present. Changed how I think about relationships, monogamy, and the devastating effects of culture on sexuality, mainly the repression of female sexuality. Helped reduce shame about my natural sexual tendencies. Highly recommended.


Man's Search for Meaning

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Emil Frankl

RATING: 8/10

A man’s search for meaning during and after life in the concentration camps. A quick, but powerful read on how to find meaning when everything is taken away from you.


Origins of Virtue

The Origins of Virtue by Matt Ridley

RATING: 8/10

Using biology as his guide, Matt Ridley demonstrates how we had virtue before religion, cooperation before government, and trade before capitalism. This book breaks down the many misconceptions regarding individualism and society and our role in it, delving into incentives for human interaction and division of labor.


The Ignorant Schoolmaster

The Ignorant Schoolmaster by Jacques Ranciere

RATING: 8/10

An overlooked work on why schools don’t work and a pledge for self-education or (intellectual emancipation). Joseph Jacotot in 1818 was able to teach in French to Flemish students who knew no French. Ranciere (a noted French philosopher) breaks down Joesph Jacotot’s philosophies in a somewhat dizzing fashion. A very slow and deep read, but nonetheless a solid read.


Principles of Jacot

A Compendious Exposition of the Principles and Practice of Professor Jacotot by Joseph Payne

RATING: 8/10

A small handbook of Universal Education Teacher Joseph Jacotot’s teachings. This book breaks down his principles and explains the exact methods used by him. The book’s hard to read small text size makes it the only drawback. A great book not only for insight into Jacotot’s teachings, but methods for improving self-education as well.


Improv Wisdom

Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up by Patricia Ryan Madson

RATING: 8/10

Improv wisdom takes the fundamentals of improv and applies those fundamentals to everyday life. A book that moves away from the 3,5, 10 year plan and helps readjust you to just going with the flow and taking positive actions without knowing where they are going to lead.



Play by Stuart Brown

RATING: 8/10

A book that helped me realize life is not all about productivity and how starved for play I really was. This book helped me refocus my priorities to doing things because I genuinely enjoy them versus doing something for some monumental impact, productivity, or status seeking.


Truth in Comedy

Truth in Comedy by Charna Halpern

RATING: 8/10

The basics of Improv as taught by the master Del Close. This book is as relevant in regards to everyday social interactions and general philosophy as it is a manual for aspiring improvisers. A very accessible and fast read.


Acting for a Living

Acting for a Living by Rob McCrerey

RATING: 8/10

A very helpful guide for crafting an acting career outside Hollywood, from the creative and business side of the Industry. Very inspiring to learn the other options available to perform and create you own acting path.


Purple Cow

Purple Cow by Seth Godin

RATING: 8/10

A close contender for my favorite Seth Godin Book. Purple Cow breaks down how you’re product must be remarkable (a purple cow) in order to spread. Godin gives numerous examples of companies that have created companies built around a purple cow and how they have become successful. An excellent book on making sure you’re creating a spreadable product (or business) from the start.


Power Negotiating

Secrets of Power Negotiating by Roger Dawson

RATING: 8/10

Master negotiating and sales advice. If you’ve felt like you got less in a deal than you hoped for, want to gain the confidence to negotiate for more, and sell more in life, I highly recommend this book.


Education of the Will

Education of The Will by Jules Payot

RATING: 8/10

Educationalist Jules Payot distills in this book how to form a hardy mind–a mind devote of laziness. Again and again Payot emphasizes continual work, continually testing our will which will bring us the life we desire. From avoiding trivial matters and lazy friends, not scattering our attention, and persistence, this book cuts through the bullshit and stands out far above the productivity blogs of today.


Will Power and Work

Will Power and Work by Jules Payot

RATING: 8/10

Jules Payot’s follow up to the Education of the Will. Will Power and Work lays out more precise strategies for developing will power and productivity techniques. From Time Management to What to Read and How to Study, it is a productivity book from a much deeper angle.


Design of Everyday Things

The Design of Everyday Things by Dan Norman

RATING: 8/10

Basic Principles of Design. Some parts are dry, but overall a great read to understand designing usability for everyday objects.



Maverick by Ricardo Semler

RATING: 8/10

The Amazing story of Semco, a Brazilian machines company that completely restructured their workplace by ditching the Henry Ford style of management for giving great autonomy to workers. Through constantly adapting to change, Semler shows how to give power to employees and have management get out of the way.


Blue Ocean Strategy

Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne

RATING: 8/10

A systematic way to analyze and disrupt markets, creating uncontested market space aka a Blue Ocean. Somewhat academic in language and has a “corporate” feel, but the strategy as a whole makes this a noteworthy read.


Ad Contrarian

The Ad Contrarian by Bob Hoffman

RATING: 8/10

Traditional marketing is dead! Social Media is King! – This is the advice ad man Bob Hoffman rejects in this book, ignoring the cult of social media marketers claiming its the future of advertising. Instead, it’s a book of well tested advertising principles that have existed throughout history, not a fad of the moment–ignoring such jargon like “branding” being an action instead of a result of great products and services.


101 Ideas About Advertising

101 Contrarian Ideas About Advertising by Bob Hoffman

RATING: 8/10

A complement to the Ad Contrarian. The basic philosophy of this book: We don’t get them to try our product by convincing them to love our brand. We get them to love our brand by convincing them to try our product.” Nuff said.


Common Sense Marketing

Secrets from the Lost Art of Common Sense Marketing by Brad Antin and Alan Antin

RATING: 8/10

Common Sense marketing contains 12 overlooked “secret” ways to improve your marketing. The tone is very conversational and feels like a friend is talking to you. The authors were proteges of marketing guru Gary Halbert. An overlooked book that’s highly useful.


Digital Vertigo

Digital Vertigo by Andrew Keen

RATING: 8/10

While many are championing the social media revolution, Andrew Keen urges us to take a step back and remove the blinders. Instead of connecting us, Social Media he argues is dividing us and making us more lonely–observers in a mob, rather than active participants. It is a book that cuts through all the Silicon Valley BS of the social economy being the new future.


Present Shock

Present Shock by Douglas Rushkoff

RATING: 8/10

An exploration of the “Always On” economy. Rushkoff breaks down our addiction to the always present moment and instant gratification culture over the long term, deep thinking work necessary for meaningful interactions. A great look at the evolution of technology and how we can slow down in a rapidly changing society.



Culturematic by Grant McCracken

RATING: 8/10

An exploration of the culture change from Reality TV, Burning Man, Starbucks’ Third Space, Pie Lab, to the Old Spice Man Commercial. This book does a great job of making sense how and whey we got to our current culture combined with practical how-to advice. With a general theme urging for continual experimentation and constantly asking “what if…” Culturematic offers a sobering view culturally of where we are going and how to thrive in uncertain times.


You Are Not a Gadget

You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier

RATING: 8/10

A humanistic perspective on the direction technology is taking us & what we can do about it. Lanier rejects the singularity argument by prominent technologist such as Kevin Kelly; this work is a contrarian view to such thoughts. A great book that not only dissects our problems, but offers solutions as well.



Makers by Chris Anderson

RATING: 8/10

A great overview of the maker movement.


The Shallows

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr

RATING: 8/10

The shallows examines are relationship to online reading and distraction. I know internet reading leaves me distracted and thought I would get bored with this book after a chapter, but Carr’s book kept me turning the page learning about our relationship with the printed word and examining how our mind is changing as a result of constant ADD.


Trust Me I'm Lying

Trust Me I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday

RATING: 8/10

A look behind the scenes of how the modern day media system works. The first half gives the tactics of media manipulators, while the second half explains the consequences of how damaging these tactics have been. Despite being a media manipulator himself, I feel he still stays on the “ethical” side of these dark arts. It’s a book sure to piss off many. I knew modern media was corrupt, but not to the extent laid out in this book. Highly Recommended.


Amusing Ourselves to Death

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman

RATING: 8/10

Written in 1985, Amusing Ourselves to Death advocates deep reading over TV and quick news tidbits. It’s a book that still is relevant today with the information overload of the internet. A great breakdown of media, its uses and consequences.


Player Piano

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut

RATING: 8/10

A dystopian novel where the ruling class is engineers and society is automated by machines. A great book to examine the extent of which technology makes life easier (automation) but also less human.


The Dip

The Dip by Seth Godin

RATING: 8/10

A book about quitting the wrong stuff and sticking with the right stuff. It’s a book about intense focus on mastery. A short pleasurable read; a book I pick up every so often for a kick in the ass.


Folks this Ain't Normal

Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin

RATING: 8/10

A book that reminds me of how far detached from the food system I really am. Every bit as shocking as Food Inc. and then some. It’s a call for a return to “normal,” adapting to biological life systems as nature intended. A great book not only for detailing farming and the injustices, but looking at how distorted are reality really has become culturally.


Mindless Eating

Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink

RATING: 8/10

A book that explores behavior change when it comes to eating. We are more prone to environmental forces than simply relying on will power in following a diet. A bit academically dry, but solidly recommended.


Highschool Superstar

How to be a Highschool Superstar by Cal Newport

RATING: 8/10

A fantastic read that goes way beyond high school. Cal Newport dissects “relaxed superstars” as he puts it, who live under scheduled high school lives and get into top tier universities without feeling stressed out. A great look into cultivating “interestingess,” dispelling the passion myth, and leading a life of one focused pursuit in which rewards compound upon each other.


Against the Odds

Against the Odds by James Dyson

RATING: 8/10

The crazy story of James Dyson and his super-human persistence getting his revolutionary Vacuum to market. A super inspiring story for instilling the want to make things and fight industry giants like great inventors from the past.


Small Giants

Small Giants: Companies that Choose to Be Great Instead of Big by Bo Burlingham

RATING: 8/10

A Book that profiles companies that choose to remain small, despite the external pressures to become big. I found this book most useful for an alternate angle on what it means to be an entrepreneur and how you can create happiness for yourself & the world through entrepreneurship without losing your mojo.


Truth Imagined

Truth Imagined by Eric Hoffer

RATING: 8/10

The short autobiography of “longshoreman” philosopher Eric Hoffer. Hoffer, a migrant worker and obsessive reader, recaps the people and stories prior to writing the best selling book the “True Believer.” It is an interesting tale of a drifter who no matter where he went put service and a positive attitude first. In a technology & white collar driven world, this book is a refreshing perspective from a very smart blue collar worker.


Showing Up

Showing Up by Stratton Horres & Michala Perreault

RATING: 8/10

Showing up is a an actionable personal growth book that features a series of in-depth, long (multi-day) exercises to make you question every aspect of your life–from your belief in God, personal beliefs about yourself, belief about others, etc. Based on the teachings and wisdom of ancients–From the Egyptians to Jesus–if you go through the exercises, you will have a new outlook on yourself and life.


Emerson Selected Essays

Emerson Selected Essays by Emerson

RATING: 8/10

The analysis of life, culture, philosophy, and more by Ralph Waldo Emerson.


5 Elements of Effective Thinking

The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking by Edward B. Burger & Michael Starbird

RATING: 7/10

Practical mental frameworks for effective thinking and overcoming cognitive biases. A great book for learning how to learn the fundamentals of any subject and relentlessly focusing on them.



Unlabel by Marc Ecko

RATING: 7/10

The autobiographical story of how Marc Ecko built Ecko Clothing, his rise, struggles, losing his way, and lessons learned. My favorite part of this book was learning about Marc trying to hang out with celebrities/become some mega huge Ralph Lauren type clothing company, losing his way, and then becoming authentic to who he really is.


Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

RATING: 7/10

The man, the myth, the legend…Steve Jobs. If you haven’t read much into the life of Job’s life, you’re in for a page turner. A solid bio by Isaacson.


Design for the Real World

Design for the Real World by Victor Papanek

RATING: 7/10

Viktor Papanek’s classic book on sustainable design. The second edition was published in 1985, so many of the concepts are dated, but nonetheless still provides a solid foundation for sustainable design.


Alone Together

Alone Together by Sherry Turkle

RATING: 7/10

An examination of our social relationship to technology from robotics to social networking; More of a description of our relationship with technology than a prescription. While I agree with the author’s premise that we are becoming “Alone Together,” the book could easily be cut down as it contains too many repetitive case studies.


101 Ideas About Advertising

The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton

RATING: 7/10

A great book on epigenetics and how thoughts and environment affect genetics.


No More Mr. Nice Guy

No More Mr. Nice Guy by Dr. Robert A. Glover

RATING: 7/10

A book about becoming a MAN. It breaks down “nice guy” tendencies and how you can become the best MAN you ought to be. If you like Fight Club, you’ll appreciate this book.


I Will Teach You To Be Rich

I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

RATING: 7/10

A great primer on personal finance, getting on debt, investing, and automating your finances by Ramit.


The Charisma Myth

The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane

RATING: 7/10

A solid guide to What Charisma is, how to cultivate it, and why it’s important. Not just a douchey book of manipulative tactics, but delves deep into the psyche of people and how to change the negative self-scripts you have going on. Backed by research.


The Choice Effect

The Choice Effect by Amalia Gibbon, Lara Vogel, Claire A. Williams

RATING: 7/10

Explores the mindset of those in their 20s facing indecision in their relationships and careers. The book focuses specifically on women, but I found it very relevant to men as well. Many case studies of women who put aside meaningful intimate relationships in favor of lots of friends, getting ahead in their career, and exotic travel…yet many are still unhappy.


How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

RATING: 7/10

An essential book in your library for everyday social interactions and basic social etiquette.


Book of Pook

The Book of Pook by Pook

RATING: 7/10

While the Pickup Industry began on manipulative tactics and techniques, the Book of Pook’s focus was on yourself and your own masculinity. Part Male Self Development Guide / Part Philosophy, this book is a collection of posts from an anonymous Pook on So Sauve forum.


Quiet The Power of Introverts

Quiet the Power of Introverts

RATING: 7/10

“Quiet” breaks down the misconceptions of introverts and emphasizes the strengths that introverts bring to the world without apologizing for being one. Besides the psychology behind introversion, Quiet provides strategies for work, jobs, social life, and spending your free time. A must read if you are an introvert.


The Undefeated Mind

The Undefeated Mind by Alex Lickerman

RATING: 7/10

Written by a Therapist, this book utilizes principles in Nichiren Buddhism & common therapy principles for dealing with anxiety and fear. Many common principles if you’ve read other self-help books. I’ve found myself skimming several chapters. I’ve found the author’s personal experience the most helpful of all advice in the book.


Love Yourself

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant

RATING: 7/10

A short read on chilling the fuck out and loving yourself. With all the self help platitudes and exercises, this book is quick and simple…what would you do, how would you act if you loved yourself?



Mastery by Robert Greene

RATING: 7/10

Mastery breaks down the “Experts” in history’s paths to achieving amazing success from Mozart, Darwin, to Paul Graham with numerous strategies from discovering your calling, skill acquisition, apprenticeship, creativity, and much more. This book takes a shotgun approach and packs so many principles in one book that it left my head spinning. I found So Good They Can’t Ignore You much more helpful.


Icarus Deception

The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin

RATING: 7/10

Another Classic by Seth Godin. This book as a linchpin vibe in describing the current situation of the working world, and why you desperately need to forge your own path and do what’s not been done before by creating “art.” This reminds you to forget the books that promise an easy path full of strategies and tactics, but rather start creating and connecting by doing something original.


Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become

Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become by Michael Schrage

RATING: 7/10

The title says it all: Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become?–All business, marketing, and design decisions should stem from this foundational question. Includes numerous examples throughout. The book is short and to the point. How Business books should be.


Design Revolution

Design Revolution by Emily Pilloton

RATING: 7/10

Great book of sustainable design porn which inspires you to create more than just beautiful objects. The first part includes essays by Allan Cochinov ( and by Emily Pilloton, founder of Project H Design. Calls for us to think about what we are designing, not just how.


How to Win at the Sport of Business

How to Win at the Sport of Business by Mark Cuban

RATING: 7/10

Mark Cuban on kicking ass at Business.


The Education of Millionaires

The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg

RATING: 7/10

How to get a REAL World Self-Education in today’s society with a large entrepreneurial focus. A great book on Networking tips alone. A bias towards marketers/infopreneur/techie case study examples–but nonetheless a solid read.


The Book

The Book by Alan Watts

RATING: 7/10

Basically this book breaks down the entire universe, the entirety of existence, and dealing with our egos. That sounds like a load of bullshit, but Watts makes some really good arguments and definitely changed how I see the world.


The Gifts of Imperfection

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

RATING: 7/10

I’ll admit, I am a sucker for these type of “self-help” books. I first heard of Rene Brown after her inspiring TED talk and this book is an extension of that. It’s a book that will teach you to accept your vulnerabilities whether you are a perfectionist, always trying to playing it cool, or are depressed. A very enjoyable uplifting read.


Thinking Big

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

RATING: 7/10

If you find yourself stuck, this book will open up possibility once again. THINK BIGGER. MUCH BIGGER. A book that mirrors/compliments Think and Grow Rich.


The Effortless Life

The Effortless Life by Leo Babauta

RATING: 7/10

A quick read by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. Slow down. Reduce your need for accomplishment and always trying to live in the future. Stop doing shit you don’t want to do and start focusing on the shit you do want to do.


The Fred Factor

The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn

RATING: 7/10

A great motivational book. The Fred Factor details the life and work Lessons from Fred, a Postman who turned an ordinary job into the extraordinary. If you’re bored at your job and looking for meaning in your life or work, start here


Anyone Can Do It

Yes You Can! Behind the Hype and Hustle of the Motivation Biz by Jonathan Black

RATING: 7/10

A look at the inner workings of the motivation business and inspirational speakers from Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, to the aspiring wanna be. Written from a journalistic perspective, you’re left to draw your own conclusions on the validity of the industry as a whole. If you’ve struggled with with thoughts of the motivation business being a scam, this book will provide answers.


Body and Soul

Body and Soul by Anita Roddick

RATING: 7/10

The amazing journey of Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop. Written in 1991, Anita details her journey into social entrepreneurship and her status quo challenging principles ahead of its time even today. The book is 40% focused on business and 60% on her biographical story with many chapters devoted to body shop’s social causes involvement. A great insight into a go-with-your-gut entrepreneur.


Anyone Can Do It

Anyone Can Do It by Duncan Bannatyne

RATING: 7/10

The biographical story of Duncan Bannatyne, the guy from the Dragon’s Den. I knew little about him before reading except he got a later start in entrepreneurship. A great look into a millionaire who didn’t have contacts, money, expertise, or a USP —he just hustled and was ambitious. Some of the later chapters wean a bit, but overall highly recommended.


Fashion Label

How to Set Up & Run A Fashion Label by Toby Meadows

RATING: 7/10

While this is a good primer into the business of fashion 101, it is very very mainstream, meaning if you into bootstrapping, this book will leave much to be desired. Innovative this book is not. It’s more of a primer of how business has been done, will be done, and will continue to be done. A good book for challenging conventions.


The Deep Self

The Deep Self by John Lilly

RATING: 7/10

Written by John Lilly, this book explores his theory of consciousness and the history and techniques of using the float tank. Some of the principles are dated, but nonetheless a fascinating read and highly useful information for using float tanks.



ReModel: Create mental models to improve your life by Joshua Spodek

RATING: 7/10

A book about challenging your beliefs. Most helpful tip, beliefs are helpful to the extent they help you. Contrarian advice and interesting mental frameworks.


How to Disappear

How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found by Doug Richmond

RATING: 7/10

A shockingly detailed account of how to actually change your identity and disappear. From getting a new ID, passport, setting up in a new city…it’s all here. The book was written in 1986, so its a bit dated, but surprisingly most of the information seems like it would still hold up today. If you ever want to entertain fantasies of becoming Jason Bourne for real, check this book out.


100 Startup

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

RATING: 6/10

A beginners book to the vast world of beginning an online based business today. An inspiring book more than anything with numerous case studies of people who have began low overhead businesses. Would have liked more depth, but if you are new to information marketing or online businesses, this book is a good start.


Growth Hacker Marketing

Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday

RATING: 6/10

A primer on Growth Hacker Marketing–with marketing baked into companies using analytics and social metrics to grow a company without spending money.


Die Empty

Die Empty by Todd Henry

RATING: 6/10

How to step out of your comfort zone and unconventional strategies on passion and career.


To Save Everything Click Here

To Save Everything, Click Here by Evgeny Morozov

RATING: 6/10

While many are looking to the internet to solve all our problems, this book takes the opposite view and criticizes internet solutionism. There is much good criticism, but the book as a whole feels more like a rant then a cohesive argument. Worth checking out.


Method Method

The Method Method by Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry

RATING: 6/10

The Story and Principles of how Method came to be. A Great Story of how two individuals disrupt the giants of the cleaning product industry and the insanely emotional hard work that goes into it. A valuable book for navigating the world of retail and what big business “2.0″ looks like.


Measure Your Life

How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton M. Christensen

RATING: 6/10

How Will You Measure Your Life aims to give you ways of thinking about your career and relationships in regards to living a happy life. While the lessons are useful, the language/length of the book could have reduced, as simple concepts are made more complicated than needed. With that said, it is still a good book for questioning your line of thinking as it relates to happiness.


Jobs War

The Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton

RATING: 6/10

The World Gallup Poll found what the whole world wants is a good job. This book is a frightening look at where the United States stands economically and the daunting measures it will need to take to continue it’s leadership position for another 30 years. With a huge focus on the call for more entrepreneurs, some of the prescriptions seem a bit simplistic and overlook the question of should GDP be growing indefinitely or is being the GDP leader the primary goal of a country.


End Malaria

End Malaria by Michael Bungay Stanier

RATING: 6/10

A book with insights from 62 leading creative thinkers amongst many industries, from Ken Robinson, Seth Godin, Pam Slim, Daniel Pink, to Kevin Kelly, and Others. The book as a whole I felt is a bit disjointed with overall so-so content. However, the book supports a great cause as all proceeds go to ending Malaria…The book is really just a bonus.


Time Investment

The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment by Elizabeth Grace Saunders

RATING: 5/10

The first half of this book tackles a lot of useful invisible scripts we have running our lives when it comes to how we spend our time. This was very useful. The three secrets are action, realistic expectations, and creating routines to stick to your plan. This half of the book was a grab bag of ideas and scenarios. I did not need 256 pages of time management.


Poke the Box

Poke the Box by Seth Godin

RATING: 5/10

An 84-page quick read on starting and becoming an initiator. If you have become stuck and feel you are not doing meaningful work, this book is the kick in the ass. It seems repetitive at times (and I believe that is Godin’s point), but you will definitely not finish this book without feeling guilty for staying idle. As Godin puts it, we have an obligation to start things.


Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson

RATING: 5/10

A very factually dense biography of Benjamin Franklin. The book starts strong with a compelling narrative but fades 100 pages in or so. From here, the book is a very slow read as the narrative disappears into different factual bits. I would recommend finding a more accessible biography of Franklin.



Identity by Milan Kundera

RATING: 5/10

The story of a relationship between Chantal and Jean-Marc who both are struggling with how to define themselves. Chantal sees herself as no longer desired by men. Jean Marc noticing this starts sending her secret admirer letters under a pen name, reenergizing the life in her…until she finds out the truth. Some interesting quotes, but a depressing book.


Start with Why

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

RATING: 5/10

This book is an extension of Simon Sinek’s TED talk. The core concept of the book is we should question WHY we do what we do. Despite a great TED talk, this book is very redundant. If you watched the TED talk, you’ll find little more added information beyond it.


Full Engagement

The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

RATING: 5/10

A book on how to manage your energy, not time. Focus on short term sprints followed by time of recovery; not marathons. Features many case studies that seemed dull and repetitive after a while. It’s a quick read, but I felt the book could have been drastically reduced further.


History of World in 6 glasses

A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage

RATING: 5/10

An dense novel explaining world history through the development of Beer, Wine, Spirits, Coffee, Tea, and Soda. While I found this book very informative, it is not a quick read. I found the language dry and cringed turning to the next page. If you are looking for specific history on the 6 drinks mentioned, this book is for you, but don’t expect it to be a joyous read.


Engineering the Alpha

Man 2.0 Engineering the Alpha by John Romaniello

RATING: 5/10

Engineering the Alpha touts itself as a “man’s guide” to a great life, but it’s simply a diet and fitness book. The book draws upon intermittent fasting for a diet and circuit training for exercising. I tried the program for 2 1/2 months. The intermittent fasting part did not work for me, and the circuit training was great, but hard to do all the exercises in a circuit due to the busyness of the gym.


Publishing for Profit

Publishing for Profit by Thomas Woll

RATING: 5/10

A basic book outlying creating a small publishing company.


Crash Proof 2.0

Crash Proof 2.0: How to Profit From the Economic Collapse by Peter Schiff

RATING: 4/10

Peter Schiff who predicted the 2008 housing bubble lays out his predictions for the decline of the American Economy including the coming collapse of the U.S. Dollar and places to invest your money. His investments might not be for everyone, but this book is worth a read if you want to better understand the fragility of our economy.


Engineer is Human

To Engineer is Human by Henry Petroski

RATING: 3/10

The role of failure in engineering. Reads mostly like an academic textbook with hints of humanity within. Starts strong, but then jumps all over the place content wise. Look elsewhere for a better introductory engineering book.



Bossypants by Tina Fey

RATING: 2/10

The autobiography of Tina Fey. The first part of the book I found very interesting, but slowly the stories and humor wore thin for me. Seeing as how I have not watched 30 Rock, many of the later bits I skimmed over. I felt like this book only went so deep into Fey’s life and I wanted more.


Up Down Sideways

Up, Down, or Sideways by Mark Sanborn

RATING: 2/10

A motivating and inspiring book in some respects, but leaves much to be desired. Would have liked to see some practical application behavior change tactics in addition to the many rehashed self-help themes. Check out my notes on the Fred Factor for a much better work by Sanborn.


The Front Nine

The Front Nine: How to Start the Year You Want Anytime You Want by Mike Vardy

RATING: 1/10

A time management book that stretches the metaphor of golfing throughout that wears thin after about 5 pages. While I believe books on time management should be short, the content in this book feels more rah rah more than anything else.