At the beginning of 2020, I wanted to read more than my abysmal 2019 three books total. I’ve already read my 2019 total before the whole 2020 ‘situation’ hit. This made it harder for me to read since I was stuck at home most of 2020 and I usually read in my commute. Nonetheless, I managed to read 12 books last year. Here is the rundown of all the books I’ve read last year, I think I might do a full reviews of some of the non-fiction books later this year, we’ll see.
Stillness is the Key
This is the third installment of Ryan Holiday books on stoicism, the two others being Obstacle is the way and Ego is the enemy.
Sometimes when everything seems to get faster, more stressful and even crazy around us. While some philosophy might say to go with the flow, stoics show us that deliberately slowing down is what you should do. By slowing down, you will notice what usually goes unnoticed and, in a Matrix like slow motion montage, dodge what is unimportant and focus on what truly matter.
If you’re into stoicism or like the obstacle is the way or ego is the enemy, then is book is definitely for you. If not I would recommend reading the Obstacle is the way first, I found that some idea are repeated and Obstacle made more of an impact on me. Note that I say this and I’ve read Ego is the enemy first.
Piège au royaume des ombres
Piège au royaume des ombres is the third installment of the French Fantasy Fiction ‘’Les Chevaliers d’Émeraude’’ series. Kira has finally reached an age where she can show what she is capable of and set on an expedition with Wellan, her master and other fellow knights and squire.
I tend not to review too much fiction because the fun of it is to discover the story and reviewing quickly enters spoiler territory whereas non-fiction having a review will help you decide if the book talks about subject matter you want to expand on or not.
Everything is F*cked
From the author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck comes a counter-intuitive guide to the problems of hope.
I really liked The Subtle Art of NotGiving A F*ck with his gritty writing and mind opening view so I was really excited when I’ve heard that Mark Manson was writing another book. While I liked the book, I would recommend reading first book before this one, they’re not mutually exclusive and can be read on their own. However, is first book is more packed with information and reflection than this one.
The Power of Creativity
A small book I bought a while ago seems to be part of a series by the same author. It gives some good advice even if it’s mostly stuff I already knew. Advice that is always good to revisit like what your audience demands vs your craft and that you should invest in your side project.
If you follow Seth Godin or read Steven Presfield non fiction you will know most of what he talks about in the book.
Dividend Investing for Everyone
It’s been awhile since I haven’t read a book about investing and I was looking for a way to invest that could create recurring revenue from investing. This book is short and sweet if you already know a bit about investing in general. However, the lack of a table of index is a bit annoying for this review though. He goes on explaining what is dividend investing and how it will generate more money for you that bond and saving account. The most interesting part of the book is when he shows how he picks his own dividend stock, what are his criteria and what type of dividend stock there is.
The Lost Symbol (Fiction)
Note I’ve read this one in french, Le symbole perdu by Dan Brown.
The sequel to the famous Da Vinci Code, we follow again professor Robert Langdon, this time involved in a plot linking the Freemason and the founding father.
I won’t spoil you much, if you liked Da Vinci Code you will like this one. I follow the same formula of his last book, a little too much in my taste. I had the impression that in some part of the book I was just rereading Da Vinci code, but except for being in Paris we’re in Washington.
Another book from Ryan Holiday, this time not really the kind of book we are you to get from him. Holiday dissects the involvement of Billionaire Peter Tiel in helping bring down publisher Gawker by helping Hulk Hogan in his trial against them without Hogan knowing it.
When I saw one of stackingthebricks author wrote a book I immediately ordered it. Unfortunately it didn’t live up to the level of their amazing long form post they usually do. It’s more like someone was following every business thought leader and CEO and collected all theirs insightful tweets then put them in a book. While some can really be inspiring and insightful, you kind of eager to want more after going through it.
Stop People Pleasing
Stop people pleasing is about how to balance helping other people and not being a yes man that other people don’t value your time. I think I got this one through a newsletter that sells books for one dollar and sometimes gives freebies.
The main takeaway of the book: is to learn what you want to say yes to and no to, common phrases to use to imply a no without saying it and stay away from manipulators.
Live of the Stoics
A third book from Ryan Holiday this year, this one is more in the vein of the Daily stoic I’ve read through in 2018 (http://cjacques.me/the-20-books-ive-read-in-2017/). He goes through the list of all the major stoics from the founder of stoicism Zeno to philosopher king (emperor) Marcus Aurelius. I’m kind of a sucker for this book because it’s a mix of things I like to read about, Roman history and philosophy. If you’re interested in one or both of these subjects it’s definitely a good read.
The Art of Learning
Josh Waitzkin, former chess prodigy and martial Tai Chi World champion, walk us thought is life and how he learned to master those two disciplines in this self-help memoir.
While Waitzkin can kinda sometime sound like a d*&k and that can be off putting at time, he goes deep into what was going in his mind in different key learning points in his life. While being world class might not be your thing, understanding what got them to that point can definitely be useful.
Learn Like a Polymath
I got this one on a kindle sale. It might be a good idea to do the same. There are some tips and tactics that I’ve probably read in other books like space your learning, deconstruct what you learn to a manageable piece. However, instead of focusing these on the broader concept of learning the author apply them at connecting knowledge between disciplines.
If you’re interested in learning in general or searching for a way to connect knowledge between your field of interest you will probably find some good nuggets here and there.