I completed my annual reading goal today. My plan was to read one book for satisfying my curiosity, one that directly helps me in business, and one that provides an escape every month. Here are the books I picked along with a short review:
And Then There Were None (5/5): The thought process that went into writing this is simply incredible! I might not pick up the Mystery genre again for a while as this has set the bar quite high.
The Psychology of Money (5/5): This book combined my favorite topic psychology with finance, which I’ve been subconsciously avoiding for a long time. I got a good definition of freedom - being able to wake up one morning and change what I’m doing on my own terms. In other words, do the work you like with people you like at the times you want for as long as you want.
The Little Prince (5/5): It’s the most beautiful book I’ve ever read! This will now be my choice of gift for all ages. The Little Prince is one of the top translated books of all time, and I now understand why. If you’re reading this and have some recommendations for me, please let me know.
The Almanack of Naval Ravikant (4/5): The content is really good and crisp - it’s just that I had read most of it in bits and pieces already.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (2/5): I hated the font! There wasn’t any coherent story either. It felt more like random motivational posts stitched together.
The Courage to be Disliked (5/5): It’s the most powerful book I’ve ever read. The book provides a nice introduction to Adlerian psychology with a unique conversational format between the philosopher and youth, which grew on me. I had a lot of aha moments and will be picking this again soon.
Recursion (3/5): I liked the concept of traveling through memories; the story wasn’t a page-turner though.
The Courage to be Happy (5/5): One of those rare sequels that make you want to read more. I found a lot of parallels with religious texts. Everyone should read this.
The Midnight Library (3/5): The ending was predictable. Pick this up if you want to read self-help books but get bored quickly.
The Selfish Gene (5/5): When we die, there are two things we can leave behind us: genes and memes. I enjoyed the rich examples. You should definitely pick this up if you liked Sapiens.
Project Hail Mary (5/5): Andy tickles my nerdy bones. If you liked “Dark Matter” or “The Martian”, you’ll love this as well.
Meditations (1/5): This is the first book I have left halfway. Life’s too short to spend time on things I know I’m not enjoying.
The Phantom Tollbooth (5/5): I enjoyed the wordplay. I’d love to write a witty book like this down the line.
Siddhartha (5/5): You need to experience a lot to achieve inner peace. Knowledge can be transferred via words, but wisdom must be earned on your own.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull (4/5): This is for people who think there’s more to life and are in the pursuit of perfection.
Freakonomics (2/5): It felt like individual blog posts, which can be compressed to a tenth of their size.
Animal Farm (5/5): I’m falling in love with the fable genre. Kudos to Orwell’s effort for putting this down in such a simple language.
The Science of Storytelling (5/5): If you want to write a story, read this book. It is one of the densest books I’ve read so far, with a lot of great examples. This is going into my rereading list. I picked this up at the right time as I have recently started penning down another story. I got solid frameworks to develop the main character and the overall plot. This book has single-handedly improved my mental models around storytelling by an order of magnitude. There was so much I didn’t know.
Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives (3/5): I liked the variety of explanations but I have forgotten a lot of them already.
Bird by Bird (4/5): Anne talks candidly about the insecurities you feel while writing, especially when your early drafts are bound to be shitty.
Big Mushy Happy Lump (2/5): I LOL’d at some of the comic strips in the first half; the second half was a drag for me.
On Writing (4/5): You need to read a lot and write a lot. There’s no other way to become a great writer.
Until We Meet Again…