What I’m Reading (Like you care, I know)

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Another Note: I’m compensated for any other items you purchase after clicking on these links. So please, feel free to load up the cart with things you don’t need that will take up space in your home for years because you refuse to throw them away, like this, or, maybe this

One Final Note: I am an Amazon shareholder and early advisor to the company however I turned down a board seat in the mid-nineties to focus on competitive yodeling. To date, this is the best decision I have ever made.

Just One More Note: The final note is not true.

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story

by Dan Harris

Category: Memoirs Meditation

10% Happier - Dan Harris10% HappierWhy I Dug it:

10% Happier is an entertaining memoir with a focus on Harris’s personal transformation after adopting a formal meditation practice.

Considering Harris has an insanely demanding job as an on-air journalist with ABC News, it made his transformation that much more relevant to me.  Meditation helped to increase his focus and quiet his reactions while still maintaining an edge in a competitive profession. Harris often discusses this balance with guests on his equally outstanding podcast.

Favorite Passage:

“Your demons may have been ejected from the building, but they’re out in the parking lot, doing push-ups.”

The War of Art

by Steven Pressfield

Category: Inspiration Creativity Books that help you move your ass. Metaphorically, I don’t mean like a Brazilian dancer

The War of ArtWar of ArtWhy I Dug it:

Total game changer for me. If I could make every high school kid in American read a book it would be The Great Gatsby The War of Art. It’s about the inner struggles we endure during the creative process of our work. Pressfield calls it the “Resistance”.

He explains that the Resistance wants us to be comfortable, it rationalizes why we don’t need to do the necessary work, or take risk. While Pressfield only makes few passing references to the Resistance as the ego, I’d argue they are one in the same.

Favorite Passage:

“Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much Resistance.”

The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness

by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche and Eric Swanson

Category: Meditation Happiness Books that made me want to shave my head and put on a sick robe

The Joy of Livingjoy-of-living-reviewsWhy I Dug it:

Very approachable introduction to different forms of Tibetan Buddhist meditation. Although Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche is a practicing monk, the presentation of meditation practice is done in a predominantly secular way.

The book also highlights recent studies that have documented increased happiness during meditation. A study conducted at the University of Wisconsin showed that Mingyur Rinpoche himself had a 700% (!) increase in neural activity in the area of the brain linked to happiness.

Favorite Passage:

“Ultimately, happiness comes down to choosing between the discomfort of becoming aware of your mental afflictions and the discomfort of being ruled by them.”

The Bassoon King

by Rainn Wilson

Category: Memoirs Happiness Books that Dwight wrote

The Basoon Kingbasoon-king-reviewsWhy I Dug it:

It’s Dwight, what’s not to like? Wilson has lived a pretty fascinating life with stories in the book ranging from pooping out live worms, to throwing lit candles at a friend during a panic attack. It pretty much runs the gamut.
It’s also really funny. Wilson’s humor is a lot like Dwight’s, which makes the character even more interesting to me now. What I liked most about the book though was WIlson’s random asides on happiness, spirituality, and being an artist. They stand out when you read them but still blend into the flow of the story.

Favorite Passage:

On the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness:

“It really should read “LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF ACCRUING CRAP.” And implicit in that “right” to buy, stockpile, and obtain is that eventually, once you have the right home on the right plot of land, the right mate, the right family, the right job, the right savings, the right everything, THEN you will be happy. It’s an “if-then” proposition. And it just doesn’t work that way, I believe.”

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

by Yuval Noah Harari

Category: History

Sapienssapiens-reviewsWhy I Dug it:

An easier read than the title suggests. The book seeks to answer some of the questions of how we have become who we are as a species. My takeaway was that the evolution of the human condition is pretty fucking random influenced mainly by stories we adopt as truths (i.e. corporations, religion and nations).

Harari also makes an interesting argument that the average quality of life for humans went down after the agricultural revolution.

He also does a great job of putting our most recent technological advances in historical context. Prior to our most recent advances, our species barely advanced for 2 million years! His observations on this rapid acceleration of new technology makes his predictions for the near future super interesting (AI alert!).

Favorite Passage:

Unlike lying, an imagined reality is something that everyone believes in, and as long as this communal belief persists, the imagined reality exerts force in the world.