How I read 40+ books in 5 Months. My Bookshelf #6

How I read 40+ books in 5 Months - My Bookshelf #6

Intro

The more I read, the more I realize the little I know. Reading is not a hobby; it is part of my daily routine. It wasn’t always like that…

I hated books. I even laughed at people who said they were reading; until 2011 when I started reading practical books. I began applying concepts from the very first book I read…

I saw that it was working; of course, not from the very beginning; sometimes after much trial and error…That’s what got me hooked to this habit.

Then I started reading more, everyday. I don’t do speed reading. I don’t want to skim through the books I read. I take significant amount of time to digest each of them slowly. I read from 7-10 books at a time. It’s part of my eclectic approach to everything I do.

In 2015, until June when this post is out, I have read more than 40 books. Even though I do not practice speed reading, it seems that I can visualize and process words faster; so I read faster. I think that through practice, I’ve been able to develop this skill.

In the past I wrote similar posts on the books I read. You can see them here: #1 #2 #3 #4 and #5. And here are a few titles from the books I read this year.

The List #6

1. James Altucher – The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth

I couldn’t have started this list without an Altucher book. I admire James tremendously. He’s one of my mentors. I met him in person 2 weeks ago in NYC. We had a great time. I got his latest book a couple of weeks before being published. I made lot of annotations. Here’s one of the most insightful of them, which I repeat to myself and to people seeking excuses everyday:

“What can I do right now to move forward, in this second?

Having a goal in the distant future is almost a damnation of this moment in time. An insult. We can’t predict the future. And the history of mastery shows that nobody was able to predict which goals would work and which wouldn’t. Only this moment matters.

Health-wise: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Can you move forward today in each area? Then you will attract mastery.”

Here are some of the best nuggets (ideas) from the book.

2. Ryan Holiday – Growth Hacker Marketing

A friend of mine, Andrei, reminded me of this jewel of book. Ryan is another person who I deeply respect. He’s only 28 and he’s already achieved so much. This book is quite short but fully packed with important and quickly applicable advices:

“The old model makes being wrong incredibly expensive. Who can afford to learn that the product isn’t resonating after they’ve pet months planning a campaign? Growth hacking fundamentally reduces the costs of being wrong, giving us freedom to experiment and try new things.”

The most important take-way for me from Ryan’s book was about product market fit: building something that people really need and then making sure you put it in front of them as much as possible. This is the new model of doing business…

3. Michael Ellsberg – The Education of Millionaires

I recently wrote about ways people can start making money on the side on the Internet. I still find it incredible how many of my friends and acquaintances regard the Internet solely as playground and time spent only for fun, while to many it is the ultimate and quickest way to become extremely knowledgeable on anything you want and eventually start making a living (or a fortune) based on that.

Michael’s book was as an eye opener to me. Along titles like: The Highly Paid Expert, The $100 Start-Up, and The Millionaire Messenger, these serve as a Bachelor’s Degree in Leading-Edge Ways to Generate Income on the Internet. Here’s an important passage from the book:

“Education is still necessary to learn how to do the great work that gets you paid. But these days, almost all of the education that ends up actually earning you money ends up being self-education in practical intelligence and skills, acquired outside of the bounds of traditional educational institutions.”

4. Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler – Bold

I first found out about Peter Diamandis from a podcast he was invited as a guest, along with Tony Robbins. He’s the kind of person I want to follow; he’s always thinking beyond the boundaries of human imagination. If that’s possible, Peter is the man to do it. He and Kotler co-wrote another book called Abundance. I mentioned it previously.

Bold addresses the current major problems the human society is facing: clean water supply, learning and literacy, poverty and inequality of income, space exploration, and several others. The authors came up with top-notch ideas for people like you and me to implement so that we can help solve these problems in an entrepreneurial fashion (in a way in which we can also make money in the process).

“There are now kits that let your plants tweet when they need to be watered, Wi-Fi connected cow collars that let farmers know when their animals are in heat, and a beer mug that can tell you how much you’ve drunk during Oktoberfest. As Arduino hacker Charles Charalampos Doukas says, as sensor prices crash downward. “The only limit is your imagination.”

and

“Of course, the big dream is to be able to create 3-D printers capable of printing entire space stations in space and, even better, to do it with materials mined from space. Once this becomes possible, the creation of legitimate off-world habitats (i.e., space colonies) becomes a viable reality.

Imagine being able to colonize a distant planet by bringing nothing but a 3-D printer and some mining equipment, says Mike Chen. It might sound like science fiction, but the first steps toward making it a reality are happening in our lab right now, an aboard the ISS.”

5. Ray Kurzweil – The Singularity is Near

Ray is a friend of the authors from above. Of course, birds of a feather flock together. Ray is one of the brightest minds of today, a futurist and a person who has contributed so much to humanity; he still does. He has the same level of big thinking as Peter Diamandis. They are two of the founding fathers of Singularity University, an institution dedicated to solving humanity greatest challenges. He’s been the author of several books, The Singularity is Near being one of his widely cited. Ray is all about exponential thinking and exponential technology:

“Another advantage of the non-biological intelligence is that once a skill is mastered by a machine, it can be performed repeatedly at high speed, at optimal accuracy, and without tiring.

Perhaps most important, machines can share their knowledge at extremely high speed, compared to the very slow speed of human knowledge-sharing through language.”

6. Alanna Collen – 10% Human

You’d think this is another book on technology, but you couldn’t be farther from the truth. Alanna talks about the microbes that inhabit the human body. The title is inspired by the claim that there are almost 10 times more microbial cells in/on the human body that are human cells.

Starting from a personal story, the author talks about all the promises and dangers that studying and investing in researching the microbiome brings today. She discusses about the possible negative impacts of C-sections on the future of the baby, the impact that taking antibiotics has on the human gut, the connection between obesity and the gut microbiome and many more interesting concepts from the same topic.

I found out about Alanna’s book in the New York Public Library, a place where I spent a huge amount of time during my recent 5 weeks stay in New York City. You’d be surprised to see the little reviews the book has on Amazon. I’m not sure how she’s promoting it, but it’s a pity that such a great book seems to have so little exposure. I’m personally gonna recommend it as much as I can.

7. Gerald Pollack – The 4th Phase of Water

For some folks this book may be included in the realm of controversy rather than real science. However, it can undeniably be considered real science since it’s backed up by significant practical and insightful experiments.

Water seems to exist in more than 3 phases: gas, liquid, EZ (exclusion zone), and solid. EZ water is fascinating as it has many implications with regards to the surfaces in which it enters in contact, as well as to the organisms in which it is present. Pollack’s book is extremely user friendly for the non-technical; it is a light read with dozens of illustrations that make the understanding process much easier. It makes you feel a true scientist when you read it, even if you have little background on the topic.

Before considering reading it, you can check this Youtube 50-minute lecture about it.

8. Mary Spio – It’s not Rocket Science

Call to action.

Mary is all about that. I’ve been so inspired by this book that I felt the urgency to get even more involved and spend even more time in the projects I currently focus on. Mary has very humble beginnings. She made her way up hierarchy chains until she reached the very top; she always had the boldness to try something new – from a career in the movie industry to a career in rocket science – and not only, and she always had and still has the thirst to be engaged in lifelong learning.

She was betrayed in some of her businesses, but instead of quitting, this made her even stronger. This book is a truly modern-day inspirational book that I finished reading in 2 days, while commuting from The Bronx to Manhattan. I definitely recommend it as a must read.

9. Steven Kotler – Tomorrowland

It was the science of flow that got me introduced to Steven’s work. He co-authored Abundance and Bold with Peter Diamandis and he also wrote The Rise of Superman and most recently Tomorrowland.

Tomorrowland presents the science that exists today, which many people think it’s only gonna be available in the distant future. This type of information is probably lost and unavailable to the general media consumer probably because of the priority that’s put on negative news all over media channels.

Throw your TV off the window, or do something useful with it (like watching educational Youtube lectures – if you own a smart TV).

Steve’s book gets us into the fascinating world of bionics, superfast transportation, the science of using hormones and other tools to prolong life, the science of psychedelics, out of the body experiences, artificial intelligence, brain hacking, and many others from what’s considered by many science fiction – currently science fact.

“Staggering doesn’t come close to describing what I found when I landed. Day one: I met a blind man. Day three: He could see well enough to drive a car around a crowded parking lot.”

10. Henry David Thoreau – Walden

This is probably one of the first books that is a bit out of the areas I’m most interested in reading about. I heard Tim Ferriss mention it about a dozen times and then when I met a friend for coffee in NYC he had it with him. He said he was reading it while commuting. That was when I decided I will prioritize it on my reading list.

Walden is about a man who decides to spend 2 years in the woods, living as minimally as possible. What could I say more?!

11. Dorie Clark – Stand Out

As you enter New York Public Library at 33rd Street with Madison Avenue in Manhattan, New York City, there are three book stands with recently added and very popular titles.

During my routine visits in May 2015, Dorie’s book was clearly standing-out as its yellow cover got my attention from the very first day it was available there.

I quickly took it, along with other 6 or 7 books and randomly open it to see if it’s gonna make my reading list. And it did. I didn’t check it out of the library because I already had checked-out two books and I didn’t want to carry too much physical reading material with me.

Instead, I contacted Dorie and she was kind enough to send me an electronic copy of the book, which I added to my unlimited virtual library on my tablet.

As I finished it, I wrote an Amazon review. The book clearly stands out as it has 107 reviews 2 months after release, with an average of 4.9 stars. You can’t see too many books of its caliber out there.

12. Susan Greenfield – Mind Change

I just finished reading this title 2 days ago. I’ve been really interested to see the impact that technology has on our neurobiology. Susan is one of the most entitled persons to discuss that. I cannot enumerate enough her endless credentials, but if you want to be astonished, look at her Wikipedia.

She presents both the promises and perils of including technology in our daily lives. I will only tell you about the dangers for now 🙂

“Although it’s still unknown whether these impairments would extend to deeper processes of face perception, such as face memory and face identification, these observations indicate that excessive Internet users have deficits in the early stage of face-perception processing, an impairment that is in turn associated with a range of disorders including psychopathy and autism.”

Conclusion

As I mentioned in my previous bookshelf posts and as you can see here, I read books from various different topics at any given moment. Even though my strategy may seem diversified, it is not. I focus only on a couple of categories that represent my greatest interests. This prevents me from getting biased (to a certain extent) and allows me to see a bigger picture instead of becoming fully immersed into and absorbed by a single topic.

I also revisit the books that I previously read so that I can enforce or reconsider thoughts I left in those books. I use different annotations techniques for the books I read. It allows me to interact with the book. I also listen to audiobooks. I wrote about it in this post.

If you have any book recommendations or if there’s one book that you’ve enjoyed most, please tell me which one it is in either of the comment sections below.

Photo: here

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