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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 […]

Road-trip audiobooks

This is a good week to load up an audiobook or three for road-tripping. I just added SPQR and Stumbling on Happiness to my Audible queue. SPQR is Mary Beard’s new history of ancient Rome, and it’s gotten strong reviews. And I can’t seem to get enough of Roman history. Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness […]

Sampling books

I typically have at least two books or more in play at any time. Right now it’s Sapiens, a “history of humankind”, and the sci-fi novel Seveneves by Neal Stephenson.  But I can’t resist adding to my reading list. E-books make it easy to try samples of books before buying.  Here’s what’s on my to-consider-next […]

Fiction as fuel for the imagination

Author Neil Gaiman from his lecture on the power of books and libraries: I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What […]

Humans of Earth

I’ve started two new books this week – Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari and Seveneves, a new novel by Neal Stephenson. I like to balance non-fiction and fiction, usually reading a novel at night and the non-fiction earlier in the day. Non-fiction tends to spark ideas, and I don’t need […]

On Writing Well, on living well

The author William Zinsser died recently, and his obituary in the New York Times prompted me to start reading his highly acclaimed book, On Writing Well. The book had been recommended by several writers I respect, including John Gruber of my favorite Apple web site, Daring Fireball. The book begins with a firm exhortation to […]

Current reading list

  I’m currently switching between Natural Born Heroes and James Michener’s Hawaii.  Michener’s novel is such an epic, and I’m only 75 percent through it after weeks of light reading. But it holds up and keeps pulling me through it.  Next up in non-fiction after Natural Born Heroes will be Greg McKeown’s  Essentialism. And my […]

Sunday morning Stoic: Only the present

A crisp, bright, quiet spring Sunday morning. A cup of tea (coconut) and Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations. A Sunday morning ritual for me. It’s hard to open this book without reading a passage that delights or challenges and refreshes my mind with its clarity and straightforward insight. This passage today, 8.35: “Don’t let your imagination be […]

Michener’s Hawaii: Pairing reading and travel

   My wife’s company is sending us to Hawaii for a week as a reward for her great sales performance in the past year.  I’ve never been to Hawaii, but it’s a place that’s always been near the top of my dream destinations list.  To get myself in an island state of mind I started […]

A book that goes the distance: Born To Run

I have a stack (a virtual stack, that is) of unread books that I am genuinely interested in reading. I often go through long periods of dipping in and out of different books, making little progress on any one book. My potentially unlimited access to almost any book I want at any time is a […]

Tim Kreider’s manifesto on the merits of idleness

Tim Ferriss is featuring an audiobook version of Tim Kreider’s book, We Learn Nothing, on his podcast. He posted a sample of the audiobook with a free chapter, Lazy: A Manifesto. The sample chapter is a terrific essay on the crazy obsession our culture has with being “busy”. When you ask someone how they’re doing, “Busy” […]

The book as a souvenir of ideas: Elle Luna’s new book

I received The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna today. I read the essay that ended up being the seed of the book earlier this week, and the book itself is a delight to hold and page through. Books like this are why ebooks will not put an end to printed books. Beautifully […]

Elle Luna: The crossroads of should and must

This epic essay by Elle Luna was posted almost a year ago. I discovered it only today when Seth Godin linked to her new book that came from that essay. The book looks beautiful. Purchased. In this essay (and now in her book) Elle tells her story of finding her calling by resisting the path of Should […]

Born To Run: Christopher McDougall’s TED Talk

I am reading Christopher McDougall’s book, Born To Run, and it is fascinating. So much so that I’ve been Googling characters from the story and found the author’s web site and got lost in videos on his site today. Again, I’m no runner, but the story McDougall tells is intriguing. It’s beyond just an exposition […]

Monday night Stoic: Take Antoninus as your model

Meditations 6.30: “Take Antoninus as your model, always. His energy in doing what was rational … his steadiness in any situation … his sense of reverence … his calm expression … his gentleness … his modesty … his eagerness to grasp things. And how he never let things go before he was sure he had […]

Books in the queue

I just finished two Walt Disney biographies, and I’ve started the new Steve Jobs biography. Those two men, Disney and Jobs, compare and contrast very interestingly, and it’s particularly compelling to read their stories back-to-back. I can’t seem to stick to just one book at a time, of course, and I started another book this weekend: […]

Becoming Steve Jobs: Adversity and failure before triumph

  The new, much-hyped biography, Becoming Steve Jobs, was released yesterday, and my pre-ordered copy was on my porch when I got home last night. This is the rare book that I’m choosing to purchase as a physical book instead of an ebook. The advance praise was sufficient enough and the topic is one I […]

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