The past few years have been fun and a bit out of character for me. I've done less reading and deep thinking and more projects and getting to know new people. All of those are good things but as there are only so many hours in the day everything is a trade-off. I had a teacher in high school who told us that one day in class and it might be the truest thing anyone ever said in a classroom.
Everything you choose to do comes at the cost of some other thing.
So while working and meeting new people wasn't much of an option in 2020 and I had time to finish the main projects I'd been putting off, The desire to read along with the time to absorb and connect with what I was reading returned. I can only tolerate enthralling fiction. My preferred reading material has always been non-fiction. In particular personal development but also, history and biographies.
I revisited Marcus Aurelius and began Churchill's History of English Speaking Peoples: The Birth of Britain which I'm still working on. It's a book that I often put down to do online research about a place or person mentioned because Churchill assumed a lot of knowledge about English history on the part of his reader. Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules for Life was a game-changer when it came to getting myself in order and sorting out what my priorities should be. Candace Owen's Blackout was enlightening. A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich made me grateful for even the simplest pleasure. Reading The Fourth Turning gave me a fresh new view of history and changed my perspective about what looks like chaos.
The first quarter of this year is dedicated to reclaiming mental and physical strength and energy. My current reading list reflects that.
Atomic Habits might be the best book on improving habits and hacking your own brain I've ever read and trust me, I've read a ton of these kinds of books. Backed up with plenty of science and research, heavily footnoted, and easy to read you can use this book to change your behavior and your life. I'll be keeping it around as a reference tool and rereading it as well.
Becoming Bulletproof is about how to overcome fear, learn to read people, and gain situational awareness. Written by Evy Pompouras a former Secret Service agent it's full of practical tips and things everyone should know. The lessons she teaches, if put into practice, can help you feel more powerful and less likely to be a potential victim.
Loserthink. I like everything Scott Adams does. This book is no exception though his best book is actually How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. In Loserthink he's working on getting the reader to look for flaws in their own thinking and to see how little credence we should really give our thoughts and opinions and those of others until we evaluate them.
Essentialism is exactly what it sounds like. A book about determining what's essential and how to let the rest of it go. The author, Greg McKeown, has written this helpful book so that it's beneficial whether you are using it to make career decisions or use it to evaluate and enhance your personal life. For instance, what's the most important thing now?
For something other than personal development I'm reading A World Beneath the Sands: The Golden Age of Egyptology. It's a subject I'm interested in, my vision board has quite a few pictures of Egypt on it. This book is a detailed account that starts with Napoleon and ends with Carter. The pages in between are filled with people who changed Egypt and Egyptology that you've never heard of.
I'm currently building the list for February. You'll notice that I've linked to Amazon so you can see the books and get more information about them, but please purchase from your independent local bookseller.
What's on your reading list right now?