What I’ve been Reading Lately – My Bookshelf #4

What I've been Reading Lately - My Bookshelf #4


It was July 2014 when I last wrote about the books that I read. Many things happened ever since. I’ve been traveling to different countries and had a lot of amazing experiences, but I never stopped reading.

There are 50+ books that I’ve read so far in 2014 and what it seemed very interesting to me is that while being in New York City for 3 weeks during September 2014 and attending many conferences and meeting new people, I was able to read 5 books. I didn’t realize it until after I got home.

For reading purposes, I mostly use my Samsung Tablet that has an S-Pen that I can use to annotate, highlight and interact with the text that I’m reading. I usually later review the annotations and notes that I’m doing in each book. It helps me reprocess the information and view it from a different perspective.

That’s why I came up with the idea of MyNotes. Go there and vote for the book you want me to read…

Now back to the list… Here are a few of the books that I’ve read since July…

The List #4

1. Daniel Goleman – Focus

I initially got fascinated by the work of Daniel Goleman through his Emotional Intelligence. That’s basically how most of us know him. He’s been revolutionizing this field. In my opinion, Focus takes you from improving the perception of yourself (proprioception) to understanding system’s thinking.

I cannot ever over-emphasize on the importance of reading books. My god!…this one is a pearl that been left undiscovered by many if not most of the people…And yet we still wonder why we do not get along with others, why we hate our jobs and why we’re not successful in what we do…

Back to reality 🙂

Daniel describes the anatomy of attention (the part I love most because it gets scientific), then he talks about self-awareness and then provides insight on how to read other people (how to improve our empathy). There’s a lot to be said about this book, but I have to write a few words about the other books as well.

2. Gilbert Ling – Life at the Cell and Below Cell Level

This is a highly technical book that I would not recommend reading, unless you really want to know more about cellular membranes and how most of the bio-chemistry textbooks may have gotten it all wrong when it comes to the “active” pumps of the cell membrane in eukaryotes.

3. Chris Walker – Testosterone I/O

Many of you know that I’d been conducting a 6-month experiment on naturally increasing my T levels. It was quite successful (if I may) and I condensed all my experiences and my research in a mini-book (70 pages long). I wanted to read other people’s experiences and I found that Chris was and still is an authority on the subject.

My approach is a bit different than his, but I do recommend reading his stuff because he’s a very knowledgeable guy.

4. James Altucher – Choose Yourself

This is one of the books that had tremendous impact on me over the past few months because it helped me maintain my focus. I knew that dividing my attention is not the best way to succeed in life and I knew that the saying yes to everything approach may not work for me.

James’ book helped me reinforce what I already knew: that it is healthy to say no and that’s even healthier to focus on improving yourself primarily because this is the only way you’re gonna be able to efficiently help other people in the long term.

I hate decisive words like: “only”, “ultimately”, “the best”, “the most popular” and I refrain from using them as much as possible. But, this is one of the contexts where I need to reiterate:

Choosing yourself and improving yourself first is the only way to help others in the long term. This is not to be confounded with the popular meaning of the work egotistic.

James’ concepts from Choose Yourself are reinforced in his newer book The Power of No.

5. Ryan Holiday – The Obstacle is the Way

Ryan’s a stoic. He’s been able to dive deep into that type of thinking that few of us can…that type of thinking that most of us ignore everyday.

And I’m talking about the clichés of positive thinking, greater good, and failure as a bridge to success. I personally thought I knew what I was going to read about when I started this book, but man, I was so wrong…

This is a short book compared to the other books that I’m reading, but it’s a fountain of knowledge because it takes you back in time and it slices down the lives and the experiences of great people like Marcus Aurelius, Demosthenes, General Rommel, General Grant, as well as the experience of contemporary people like Silicon Valley CEOs, which makes it even more interesting.

I use to re-visit the book every couple of days because it really helps me seeing the obstacles in my life as opportunities.

And you think you can see that too, but in fact, you can’t!

Your animal instincts, your social connections and the need to be appreciated and cared for, as well as your mammalian brain prevents that from happening, unless you actively over-ride the commands…

Ryan’s book was a blessing to me because it came into my hands in the moments I needed it most.

When traveling to the U.S. from Europe in September 2014, we had an engine problem right after lift-off:

“A big bird crashed into the left engine…” the captain said.

We had to fly around in circles for nearly 4 hours before we could land (we couldn’t land immediately because of the big load of fuel). I wrote about this on Facebook.

What I've been Reading Lately - My Bookshelf #4 - Flight

Here’s one of my notes from back then…

what I've been Reading Lately - My Bookshelf #4 - Alive

6. Erwin Schrodinger – What is Life

This is another of my hard to read books because even though the author tries not to go too much into the technical language, he has to, for the sake of better grasping the book. I would not recommend reading this book, unless you want to lay down a strong foundation for understanding genetics and even further, life at quantum levels.

7. Bruce Alberts – Essential Cell Biology

This is more of a molecular biology book, the classical bio-chem textbook, but a really good one. It helps me get information from both sides: in this case, the conventional side, while in Schrodinger and Gilbert Ling’s works from the controversial side, even though I would not like to call them controversial.

8. Shane Snow – Smartcuts

It’s one of the books that I read while being in New York City. I actually read it in NYPL and in a nearby Starbucks, which are two of the places where Shane Snow researched and wrote it. I actually wrote a blog review on it here.

9. Thalma Lobel – Sensation – The New Science of Physical Intelligence

This is another one of the books that I read while being in NYC, mostly when commuting with the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan. I found about it in NYPL.

Thalma tells us how all the stimuli from our environment impact the way we perceive the world, with actual research studies. Some of the research studies she mentions I find inconclusive, but the book over-all is well written and it made me reconsider the way that I plan my day.

For example:

– dressing in white or lighter colors, you may be perceived as a nicer and more approachable person compared to dressing in darker colors.

– why warmth is usually associated with positive feelings and why cold is usually associated with loneliness. I was able to overwrite this deeply ingrained association as I’ve kind of developed a warm relationship with cold.

– why the way we talk to ourselves and to others can have an impact on how we perceive ourselves

Overall, fascinating stuff! And you know what?! I enjoyed this book even more because I can apply the concepts from it to make my life better everyday as I’m more aware of all the cues that I get from the environment through my senses.

10. Chris Guillebeau – The $100 Startup

Some of my travels to the local library have put this book in front of my eyes many times. One day I got the chance to open it and read a few lines from it. Twenty minutes later I found myself still reading it, mostly because I was able to relate to Chris’ experiences.

It’s on online business and entrepreneurship and it’s full of case studies of ordinary people (like you and me) that make it through adversities to be able to generate a full time income (and many times even fortunes), starting with little or no investment.

11. John C. Havens – Hacking Happiness

If you don’t read the subtitle of the book, you may think this is a motivational book. But it’s not…it’s the opposite. It’s a book talking about the quantified self-movement.

The subtitle is: Why your Personal Data Counts and How Tracking it Can Change the World

I was personally not aware on how much data all the websites and phone apps we are using are gathering about us. They are making a lot of money that way because they can sell the data to other companies. Frankly, I don’t care about these apps collecting data on me.

I don’t care as much about web privacy because I have nothing to hide.

On the other hand, I can personally make use of my own data and let me tell you how.

For example, I use Cronometer to log my daily food intake and activities. If I do it for a couple of months, I could make charts on the data and analyze it based on different variables.

In fact, this strategy helped me improve my approach on my experiments with the Testosterone Protocol. So it basically helped me improve myself and also create a product that could potentially help other people.

There are tons of similar applications and John’s book even tells you how to hack happiness with one of them.

12. Adam Grant – Give and Take

I never thought that such a broad and abstract subject can be broken down into thousands of pieces. I never thought that people can be categorized into various types of matchers, givers, and takers.

This is one of the most controversial books of 2013. Garry Vaynerchuk and his Jab Jab Jab Right Hook is similar to it but it is not as thorough.

In order to succeed in business, love relationships, and life in general, one would have to model himself into a certain type of giver and adopt certain strategies. Simply giving back is not enough. Read it and see for yourself.

This is another one of those most influential books for me. I can easily compare it with Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. I can see it as a modern and very scientific adaptation of it.

“On the one hand, we want to fit in: we strive for connection, cohesiveness, community, belonging, inclusion, and affiliation with others. On the other hand, we want to stand out, we search for uniqueness, differentiation, and individuality.

As we navigate the social world, these two motives are often in conflict. The more strongly we affiliate with a group, the greater our risk of losing our sense of uniqueness. The more we work to distinguish ourselves, from others, the greater our risk of losing our sense of belongingness. How do resolve this conflict?”

Find out in his book 🙂

13. Jeff Walker – Launch

I consider Jeff as the pioneer of email marketing. Without his careful strategy, I would not have been able to recently launch my T-(Rx).

Besides, I learned and I’m currently applying his concepts on increasing my email list, on getting closer to each of the subscribers from the list and engage them in conversations. Sending simple newsletters is not enough and the responsiveness of email lists is growing shorter everyday. Jeff’s book gives you a better insight into this problem and how to fix it.

Jan, thanks for pointing me out to the work of Jeff Walker.

14. Elizabeth Kolbert – The Sixth Extinction

Elizabeth’s book caught my eye while searching for new titles in NYPL’s Science, Industry and Business department in Manhattan. It basically takes you back in time and it analyzes the 5 major life extinctions on Earth over the last 500 million years.

A useful mnemonic for remembering the geologic periods of the last half-billion years is:

Camels often sit down carefully, perhaps their joints creek.

C – Cambrian
O – Ordovician
S – Silurian
D – Devonian
C – Carboniferous
P – Permian
T – Triassic
J – Jurassic
C – Cretaceous

15. Ray Kurzweil – Fantastic Voyage – Live Long Enough to Live Forever

The book was written in 2005 and some of the information from it may be outdated. Even so, current research has validated many of the concepts from the book. Some of the current technology that’s available to us even surpassed the predictions of Ray Kurzweil.

Basically, the book takes you through different approaches: dietary, lifestyle changes, exercising, supplementation, technology usage, hormonal activity improvement, detoxification, and many others that will help you slow down the natural process of aging with the ultimate purpose of living up to the time (~2040) when life could be prolonged indefinitely.

Even though it’s not quite in line with my dietary convictions, it’s a quite sane approach to increasing lifespan. It’s well written and it’s backed up by hundreds of research studies. So, it’s not a fantasy book!

16. Ron Rosedale – The Rosedale Diet

Whenever people ask me for dietary recommendation, I often send them to visit Ron’s book and/or, more currently, Wahls’ Book. I’ve actually released my book notes for Wahls’ book here.

I mostly agree with Ron’s approach to health and I enjoyed reading his book because he’s touching the subject of optimal living through a high-fat-moderate-protein-low-carb diet, through smart supplementation and through exercising efficiently.

Somehow, I think he missed the point on saturated fat intake. Maybe there wasn’t too much good research on it back when he wrote the book. Even though he doesn’t say you should totally avoid saturated fat, he’s kind of paranoid about it, as I can see. But this fact alone doesn’t prevent me from warmly recommending this book to you.

17. Brad Stone – The Everything Store

All about Amazon.com!!! How it started, how it grew, how it struggled and the personal story of Jeff Bezos, the founder. This book is very useful to me because I try to understand the business model behind Amazon.com since my two books Ketone Power and T-(Rx) are being sold there. If you’re an entrepreneur or just another wanna be entrepreneur you may check it out.


I’m not sure if you’ve made it this far because the post is 2,500+ words long and the current average attention span of people is less than 60 seconds. Thank you Internet! …

But if you did, you can see that my focus is on entrepreneurship, molecular biology, nutrition and metabolism, as well as quantum biology. And these are only some of the books that I’ve been reading over the past few months.

If you have any recommendations for books 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. If you want MyNotes on one of these books go and vote for it here (if it’s not on the list, put its title in the “other” field).

Photo: here

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