Life Book Notes

The Geography of Bliss

Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

RATING: 10/10…READ: August 11, 2011

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.


So Good They Can't Ignore You

So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

RATING: 10/10…READ: September 11, 2012

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.

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…READ: October 30, 2013

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.


Seeking Wisdom

Seeking Wisdom by Peter Bevelin

RATING: 9/10…READ: July 30, 2011

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.

Think and Grow Rich

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

RATING: 9/10…READ: September 3, 2011

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.


Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

RATING: 9/10…READ: December 14, 2013

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.


Man's Search for Meaning

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Emil Frankl

RATING: 8/10…READ: October 16, 2011

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…READ: September 16, 2012

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.

Improv Wisdom

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

RATING: 8/10…READ: October 1, 2013

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…READ: November 16, 2013

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.

Education of the Will

Education of The Will by Jules Payot

RATING: 8/10…READ: September 24, 2012

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…READ: September 30, 2012

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.

Present Shock

Present Shock by Douglas Rushkoff

RATING: 8/10…READ: April 18, 2013

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.

You Are Not a Gadget

You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier

RATING: 8/10…READ: August 2, 2011

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.

Amusing Ourselves to Death

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

RATING: 8/10…READ: September 24, 2013

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.

The Dip

The Dip by Seth Godin

RATING: 8/10…READ: May 10, 2010

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…READ: November 11, 2011

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.

Truth Imagined

Truth Imagined by Eric Hoffer

RATING: 8/10…READ: April 24, 2012

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…READ: July 1, 2012

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…ADDED: AUGUST 30, 2014

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…READ: September 26, 2013

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.

101 Ideas About Advertising

The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton

RATING: 7/10…ADDED AUGUST 29, 2014

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


The Book

The Book by Alan Watts

RATING: 7/10…READ: November 8, 2012

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.

Thinking Big

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

RATING: 7/10…READ: September 7, 2011

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…READ: May 15, 2013

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…READ: July 12, 2011

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

The Deep Self

The Deep Self by John Lilly

RATING: 7/10…READ: May 26, 2013

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…READ: December 2, 2012

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

Die Empty

Die Empty by Todd Henry

RATING: 6/10…ADDED: AUGUST 29, 2014

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


Measure Your Life

How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton M. Christensen

RATING: 6/10…READ: June 8, 2012

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.

Start with Why

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

RATING: 5/10…READ: July 7, 2012

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.