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Defying gravity

I get The Daily Stoic daily email. Today’s email quoted this passage from Walker Percy’s book, The Moviegoer: “I don’t know quite what we’re doing on this insignificant cinder spinning away in a dark corner of the universe. That is a secret which the high gods have not confided in me. Yet one thing I […]

What I’m listening to and reading

I recently listened to some fascinating interviews: Shane Parrish interviewed Naval Ravikant on Parrish’s podcast, The Knowledge Project. Ravikant is thoughtful and interesting and candid and often counterintuitive. And Parrish is a solid interviewer. He sets a good pace and does a nice job of facilitating and keeping the focus on the interviewee. Tyler Cowen […]

Invincible

“Who then is invincible? The one who cannot be upset by anything outside their reasoned choice.” –Epictetus, Discourses 1.18.21 (I came across this while catching up on my reading of The Daily Stoic, which has become a delightfully bracing start to most of my mornings.)  I had an interpersonal communication class in college where I […]

My beach read: The Name of the Wind

I had been shuffling through an increasingly large stack (hard copies and e-books) of partially read books, dipping in and out without making much progress on any one book. For my week off at the beach, though, I decided to go all in on this fantasy novel, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.  And […]

Current fiction: Pressfield’s Tides of War

Non-fiction by day, fiction by night.  I enjoyed Steven Pressfield’s Gates of Fire, his excellent novel of the battle of Thermopylae.  His non-fiction masterpiece, The War of Art, remains a key influence in my approach to the creative life and is one of a few books that merits rereading regularly.  Fiction has been missing from […]

What I’m reading: Tom Holland’s Dynasty

I can’t get enough Roman history. I’m currently reading Tom Holland’s Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar. Holland previously had written Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic, which, paired with Dynasty, tells a comprehensive and compelling and, frankly, disturbing tale of how the dominant empire of the ancient world […]

Meathead’s new BBQ book

I have been a big fan of Meathead Goldwyn’s web site, AmazingRibs.com. It is my go-to source for grilling technique and recipes.  Meathead is actually something of a science egghead. He meticulously probes cooking methods and recipes to debunk myths and come up with the best possible results. Now, he’s published a book filled with […]

Alexander Hamilton: Too good to be ignored

We are at peak Hamilton. The broadway musical is all the rage. Tickets are impossible for the foreseeable future. The cast just graced the White House for a mini performance. And the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, has a compelling story of his own along with charisma galore. I’ve had the soundtrack on repeat on my Mac […]

What I’m reading: Ron Chernow’s Hamilton 

  I’ve been missing a compelling read in my life.  I’m starting Ron Chernow’s acclaimed and hefty biography of Alexander Hamilton. There’s a lot of hype right now around the new Broadway show that was inspired by this book. And I enjoyed Chernow’s similarly epic biography of Rockefeller.  Some of my favorite books have been […]

My two favorite books of 2015

The best book I read last year was Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s an effectively audacious survey of all of human history. It’s grand scale doesn’t overwhelm and is remarkably concise. Harari fills the narrative with fascinating facts and profound insights (and some whimsy) as he details where we came […]

Bill Walsh’s leadership and life lessons

   Ryan Holiday had this book on his recommended reading list, and I was intrigued enough to put it on my holiday wish list. Bill Walsh was the cerebral, stoic coach who created the San Francisco 49ers football dynasty. He wasn’t known for sideline bluster or emotional outbursts. He was John Wooden-esque in his sage-like […]

Fiction therapy

There’s been something missing from my life lately.  Fiction.  My reading has been sporadic and mostly non-fiction over the last couple of months.  My wife and I haven’t even made time for television or movies.  And I can feel that something is off.  Maybe we need regular doses of story and mental escape. Too much […]

Amy Poehler? Yes Please!

  I spent more than five hours in the car tonight, driving to a family beach getaway for this holiday weekend.  My wife and I listened to the audiobook of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please.   It doesn’t seem to have much of a narrative arc, but it’s a fun listen. Poehler narrates herself and there […]

The transformative power of deep practice

Daniel Coyle’s book, The Talent Code, is one of the best books I’ve read in the last couple of years. He explores “talent hotbeds”, places that produce a disproportionate amount of talented people in various fields—sports, the arts, and academics. And he comes up with key factors that separate the best from all others. His […]

Work alone

From Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, there’s this excerpt from the memoir of Steve Wozniak, the quieter and lesser known of the two Steves who founded Apple: “Most inventors and engineers I’ve met are like me—they’re shy and they live in their heads. They’re almost […]

The ambivert advantage

I’m currently reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. It’s making me realize my personality is a fairly even split of introversion and extroversion; I suppose that makes me an “ambivert”, and I’m sure most people are more split than they assume. Most people who know me wouldn’t hesitate to label […]

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