No, I haven't written any. But I read and always take notes. The entries below are some of the more comprehensive notes I've taken so I put them online. Always happy to talk about them. I'm also taking recommendations for what to read next.
Chuck Palahniuk - "Fight Club"
Highly recommended. Well written in direct Hemingwayan prose. The unnamed Narrator of the book is intriguing, and his story-telling is ripe with unique quirks and figures of speech, which make him sound real. The story is off-the-wall and captivating. It’s an interesting read even if you know the movie pretty well.
Amanda Petrusich - "Pink Moon"
It’s a little unclear to me what this book wanted to be. It’s part a detailed story on the album’s creation and cultural influence, and part a memoir by the author and others on how they first heard Nick Drake, as well as what his music and this album meant for them.
Marc Weidenbaum - Selected Ambient Works Volume II
This is a wonderful book about a mind-bending music album by Aphex Twin that I loved from my first listen. What follows is part review, part note taking for my own future use. Consider this a “spoiler alert” if a non-fiction book can be spoiled. Later in the article I call the album simply SAW2 for convenience.
Thomas M. Sterner - The Practicing Mind
The core idea of the book is that practice isn’t the same as learning. The latter doesn’t imply the former, but the former does imply the latter. Practice is applied learning which requires a lot of repetition. Sports studies say 60 repetitions per day for 21 days. A related insight is that 10,000 hours doing a thing makes you an expert. The missing insight in both of those is that it’s not the outcome that matters but the process.
Isaac Asimov - Foundation (the original trilogy)
Strange books. They are well-written, neatly composed (each one around 250 pages), and describe an almost 1,000 year long piece of our galaxy’s future history. It’s a single story but composed of a series of smaller stories. Due to the passage of time, many characters only occupy a short span of the book. I enjoyed the books but some parts didn’t exactly stand the test of time.
Isaac Asimov - "I, Robot"
An inspiring fixup novel about the rise of AI. Pretty short with the stories being relatively self-contained, revolving around the Three Laws of Robotics. There’s a few surprises.
James Clear - "Atomic Habits"
This is a short and to-the-point book sprinkled with anecdotal information to keep things relatable. If you’re looking for hard peer-reviewed science, this ain’t it. That being said, its core tenet and particular pieces of advice sound sensible. Many you have probably heard before communicated in less coherent fashion. I’d say, worth a read!
Daniel Kahneman - "Thinking, Fast and Slow"
While it starts somewhat cringeworthy and could have easily been three times shorter, I still found it a great read in the end. I won’t be making a thorough summary as it appears Wikipedia’s got a very good one. I’ll focus on the things that made the biggest impression on me.
Yuval Noah Harari - "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind"
I’m hearing this is a rather controversial book. In my view it organizes the understanding of the dual reality we live in, where there’s some objective truth of “rivers, trees, and lions”, but there’s also the imagined reality of “gods, corporations, and nations”. Here’s some notes I took while reading.
Safiya Umoja Noble - "Algorithms of Oppression"
Important subject matter and good data-backed observations. On the other hand, a dry and somewhat uninspired execution. But maybe it’s partially due to the topic being unpleasant to deal with?
Jerry Z. Muller - "The Tyranny of Metrics"
Starts off very strong against metric fixation but at some devolves into an argument against transparency.
Emily Nagoski - "Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle"
A more accurate title for the book would have been “hashtag burnout: a feminist perspective”. As a man, I realize I’m not in the target audience for this book. I’ll keep this short and will not put a numeric rating.
Marshall Rosenberg - "Nonviolent Communication"
Nonviolent communication is about establishing a relationship of honesty and empathy. Here’s my notes from reading the book.
Julian Jaynes - "The Origin Of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind"
A fascinating and unexpected perspective on what makes us human. We are far less conscious than we think. I recommend you read it yourself as my summary below is rather hastily written during reading.
John Kotter - "A Sense of Urgency"
Rather a tedious read but there’s some insight there nonetheless. I made some short working notes.
Chris Voss - "Never Split The Difference"
The best book on negotiation I’ve ever read. I successfully used the techniques described in it many times, including during some pivotal moments in my life. It does change how you perceive dealing with other people. What follows is a working synopsis that I come back to every now and then.
Stephen Batchelor - "Buddhism Without Beliefs"
Since death alone is certain and the time of death is uncertain - what should I do? What does it mean to lead a life that will stop? In this book Stephen argues that Dharma practice is the courage to confront what it means to be human. What follows is less of a review and more of a digest, or synopsis.
Eckhart Tolle - "Power of Now"
Profound ideas buried in pseudoscientific nonsense.
Miyamoto Musashi - "Book of Five Rings"
One of my favorites, it’s a poetic yet pragmatic depiction of Zen philosophy under the guise of a swordmanship manual. Here’s my working summary of the work.
Scott Rosenberg - "Dreaming In Code"
Follows the development of Chandler, a now defunct attempt at creating an open-source Outlook competitor. The company behind the project, OSAF, tried to differentiate themselves radically from typical software house corporations but ended up repeating every mistake in the book, including the ones described decades before in The Mythical Man Month.
Daniel Golberg - “Minecraft"
The Unlikely Tale of Markus “Notch” Persson and the Game That Changed Everything Not a great art piece. Nonetheless, an interesting book.