What I’ve been Recently Reading – My Bookshelf #3

What I've been Recently Reading - My Bookshelf #3

This is the third part of the series on the books I read. For the other two parts, check #1 and #2. It’s a list of the titles I’ve been reading over the past three months.

1. Maxwell Maltz – Psycho-Cybernetics

Approximately two years ago I started becoming interested in the strong connection between thought, the brain and the body. This is where personal development and motivational speaking meet with their scientific roots.

Dr. Joe Dispenza was the door opener for me with his title Evolve your Brain. Maxwell Maltz has written about many of these subjects approximately 40 years ago, even though he didn’t use the science that Dispenza puts in his books. Psycho-Cybernetics inspired me on writing a blog post on the topic of dys-inhibition and I really think that if you are persistent in applying the concepts from the book, you may get wherever you want and you may become whoever you want.

There’s no specific personality that you’re bound to for the rest of your life. If you are shaped in a certain way by the environment in which you live in and you want to become different, you can do it, but it takes effort. You can turn into a bold, very confident person from the shy and introverted person you are right now. And Maxwell Maltz adds up to the formula for achieving this.

2. Steve Andreas – NLP – The New Technology of Achievement

This book goes hand in hand with the one from above. It focuses on the ability on programming your own mind. You may not realize this because every body is fed up with the clichés of “positive thinking”. Everybody knows that you have to be an optimist and you have to take consistent action and so and so.

That’s why many people ignore good advices and the usual “cheer-ups” that others give them when they have a problem. But when you go beyond the surface, far beyond, when you see the neural implications that positive thinking has on your body, when you see how it can totally alter your bio-chemistry, that’s when you start asking questions. It depends whether or not you wanna go there.

Personally, I started with the usual motivational books of Brian Tracy, Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, Norman Vincent Peale and the entire crew. They are good, very good and they are written in a language that anyone can understand. But the science behind the psychology of success is somewhere else.

NLP is the bridge connecting self-growth and science. It’s like hacking into self-growth. And Steve Andreas lays down a good guide full of practical exercises that anyone can follow to reach it.

3. Terry Wahls – The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine

This is the nutritional protocol for folks suffering from different degenerative and inflammatory related diseases (i.e. Multiple Sclerosis) to heal their bodies, starting at cellular level. Terry Wahls has recovered from her MS, which a few years ago didn’t give her much time to live. She was in an extremely poor health condition.

I love the way she approaches to healing the body, from the bottom-up. She says that you have to start healing your cells (especially the mitochondria) so that you can be able to heal your organs and their functions, and then the entire body.

Thousands of people have benefited from her expertise on this topic. The book lays out three major protocols that people can use based on their conditions: Wahls Diet, Wahls Paleo, and Wahls Paleo Plus.

Wahls Diet’s purpose is to kick boost your metabolism, flood your body with vitamins, minerals, and thousands of trace nutrients. You have to eat many cups of leafy green vegetables, sulfur-rich vegetables, and other colored vegetables. Wahls Diet is 7-8 times richer in nutrients than the Standard American Diet (SAD).

Moving on to Wahls Paleo, you remove some of the cups of vegetables and add more protein and fats to the diet. You’re basically using an ancestral R(x). However, the nutrient rich approach is still persistent.

Wahls Paleo Plus is recommended for more severe conditions and disorders, but it can be used by folks like you and me. It mimics a ketogenic diet, it’s still several-fold richer in nutrients than other ketogenic diets and it still pales into comparison with the SAD. I love the hack that Terry Wahls uses to be able to slightly up the carb intake and still maintain ketosis under Wahls Paleo Plus.

Hats off for this book! It’s like a reference book to me.

4. Robert Greene – Mastery

I recommended this book to a friend the other day. I’ve been fascinated by the high-level of details that Robert Greene was able to put into his writings. He reveals facts about great human achievements throughout history that are not easy to find even with the loads of information we have at the tip of our fingers today.

It really shows that Robert Greene has done his homework because there’s no way I could find out so many interesting aspects from the lives of Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo Da Vinci, Mozart, and other great achievers throughout history.

Besides, he gives examples of amazing contemporary achievers, such as: V.S. Ramachandran (who I deeply respect), Paul Graham, Yoky Matsuoka, Teresita Fernandez, Daniel Everett, Freddie Roach and others. I’m sure you may not have heard of many of them, but they are true masters in their fields.

This book is very validating to me because I know that it takes lot more than just hard work and some luck to become a master in a certain field.

Each of these folks have amassed thousands of hours of practice (it’s more than just hard work – it’s a combo of hard work, passion, commitment, frustration, persistence, and a little dose of insanity) and focus in their craft and that’s the natural way to become a master.

I’ve heard and I’ve read that the 10,000 hours is not necessary nowadays to develop mastery. Are you crazy? There are folks who wrote books about becoming an expert at something in a few days, or even hours.

That is pure insanity and if you know how your brain works you will say that too. This is probably a de-motivator for the folks who want to achieve something without effort. They will most likely get no-where.

Look, once you spend thousands of hours immersed in your craft, enjoying it, becoming extremely frustrated sometimes, you are confronted with numerous different situations and scenarios. You are able too see every freaking possible and impossible outcome. You develop some sort of symbiosis with your craft. And it’s fascinating what happens inside your mind as all of these take place.

I’m a firm believer that mastery is achieved in a direct proportion with the time invested into the craft. Removing the time constraint, mastery is flawed; there is no mastery. If you read this book, I’m open to debate in the comment sections below 🙂

5. Daniel Lieberman – The Story of the Human Body

After reading the conventional books on low-carb-high-fat nutrition, I’ve became more interested into the science behind it, as many books didn’t go deep enough. It’s understandable because most of them are addressed to the public at large, and not some geeky freaks.

Daniel took me back in time approximately 7 million years ago and started explaining how early human species evolved on this planet, what they ate, how their bodies changed (evolved from one species to another), how they migrated from Africa to the rest of the continents, how food affected their life-span, and many many other fascinating aspects of human evolution.

He really is a true master of his craft and you can see it in the references list of the book which comprises of a couple of hundreds of titles and papers. Daniel teaches Human Evolutionary Biology and Biological Sciences at Harvard. I’ve written a blog post related to his book.

This is not yet another paleo cookbook. It goes deeper into human evolution and I find it not biased towards a certain way of eating. That’s why I consider the book illuminating and extremely insightful.

6. Stuart Hameroff – Ultimate Computing – Biomolecular Consciousness and Nanotechnology

If you fancy nanotechnology, quantum biology, and evolution, this is a good read. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart because it does not spare you by explaining everything like in those “dummies” books. It’s extremely technical and some concepts may be difficult to grasp.

It was written in the late ’80s and I believe it’s way ahead of its time even in 2014. You will not find concepts from it in the average bio-chem textbook. Now, that I’ve given you all the reasons not to read it, why would you read it?

Personally, I think this book gives me a better insight about the life at cellular level and even below. This satisfies my obsessive compulsiveness for details and it helps me make my own inferences about the phenomena.

However, once you try observing life at these deeper levels you can only make mere predictions, and you can only reckon about things in a probabilistic fashion.

That’s what the quantum theory is all about. I haven’t finished the book yet and I will discuss more about it when it’s done.

7. Nassim Nicholas Taleb – Fooled by Randomness – The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

I don’t know how I keep finding these books. I can honestly empathize with Taleb’s thinking because I know that humans are deeply connected with their habits, always seeking for patterns, always seeking for the common in everything.

If you know that the brain works by the path of least resistance, you will validate what I’ve just said (though you are not required to).

This is even truer when making predictions solely based on past data. Taleb explains it in the context of trading markets. You cannot and you should not predict what’s gonna be next in terms of fluctuations based on past experience because the extraordinary can always happen (future discontinuity).

You cannot infer there are no black swans only by observing a couple of thousands of swans out of which all of them are white. This is a good read for those of us who read scientific articles.

We know many of the papers published in journals every day are deeply flawed. Most of them develop a hypothesis and then find a couple of other papers validating their hypothesis and voila! Some of them are based on experiments where very few variables are considered.

Taleb’s suggestion, which I sincerely applaud, is that if you develop a hypothesis, try to find all the ways that reject it in order to prove its validity.

If I say that a well formulate ketogenic diet is good for many folk, I would try to find studies and data disproving my hypothesis and analyze them in terms of their consistency with my theory.

When are we gonna be able to conduct such types of studies if we’re not even able to shake hands on what a well formulated high-fat-very-low-carb diet compared to a high-fat (high-fat-high-carb) diet is?

Taleb gives me a breath of fresh air; one that has been much needed in this extremely biased world. Hopefully, someday my way of thinking will become saner than now.

Conclusions

Like Taleb said, every book that I read influences me in a way or another. I try to apply concepts from each and every one of them. That’s why I should try and read only good books. 🙂

But what defines a good book?

Whenever I read these books, I try to question everything the authors say and not take anything for granted. I usually head-over to the References and read many of the papers and the books that are listed. That’s why it can take quite some time for me to finish reading a book.

That’s why I also think speed reading and/or photoreading sucks. Sorry Paul Scheele, but that just doesn’t feel natural to me.

Along with the titles from above, I’ve been reading many studies on cold thermogenesis, cold adaptation, intermittent fasting, as well as my everyday companion, the bio-chem textbook of Guyton.

If you’ve been following my blog you know that I routinely review all my notes and highlights from the books I read in the past. It’s getting very difficult to keep up with that.

I’ve been recently reviewing my notes on Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono, and Practical Intelligence by Karl Albrecht.

What have you been reading lately?

References:

1. Maxwell Maltz – Psycho-Cybernetics

2. Steve Andreas – NLP – The New Technology of Achievement

3. Terry Wahls – The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine

4. Robert Greene – Mastery

5. Daniel Lieberman – The Story of the Human Body

6. Stuart Hameroff – Ultimate Computing – Biomolecular Consciousness and Nanotechnology

7. Nassim Nicholas Taleb – Fooled by Randomness – The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

8. Dr. Joe Dispenza – Evolve your Brain

9. Edward De Bono – Lateral Thinking

10. Daniel Goleman – Emotional Intelligence

11. Robert Greene – The 48 Laws of Power

12. Karl Albrecht – Practical Intelligence – The Art and Science of Common Sense

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