Weekly Non-Fiction Reading List 4.26.21
This week I finished six incredible books on a variety of topics. Not only did I learn about why so many startups fail, but I also learned about what makes us curious as well as how blockchain technology is going to change the world. But the first book on the list is one that I binged because I wanted to learn why so many of us harm ourselves just to harm someone else.
Each of the links to the books are affiliate links, so if you use my link to purchase any of these books, some comes back to support what I do (and it also helps fund my reading habit).
I wish I could put into words how much I enjoyed this book, but I don’t think any review I could write would do it justice. The societal norm is to look down on spite, anger, sadness, and any other negative emotion, but we often forget that we evolved this way for a reason. Simon McCarthy-Jones wrote an incredible book explaining why we evolved for spite and how it helps us as a whole. But like any other emotion, when not kept in check, it can be our downfall. Personally, I had a lot of anger issues and spite issues growing up that I’ve been able to get in check, but I feel awful when the emotions start to bubble up. This book allowed me to cut myself some slack and realize it’s not just a “me” issue, but it’s something we all deal with.
More specifically, this book dives into some amazing topics like why we hurt ourselves just to harm others. Throughout history, we’ve seen marginalized people take actions that can hurt themselves in order to hurt others, but the author explains how that is how we push forward to achieve justice. I think one of my favorite chapters was about the 2016 election and why people voted for Trump even though they knew it would harm themselves and the country as a whole. Sometimes, there’s a narrative that Hillary Clinton only lost due to misogyny, and while misogony is definitely an issue, the chapter gives a much more nuanced look at the mistakes Hillary made to make people want to spite her.
I could talk about this book forever, but I’m going to stop there. Go out and get this book to have a better understanding of yourself and the world as a whole.
The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self — Not Just Your “Good” Self — Drives Success and Fulfillment by Todd Kashdan and Robert Diener
As an entrepreneur, I enjoy reading books like these. Although I’m not trying to start a company, I’m always coming up with ideas for content and branding. Tom Eisenmann did a great job with this book covering various reasons why startups fail. Each chapter focuses on specific issues he’s seen with startups that may have lead to their downfall, which we can all learn from. Personally, I think the book would have been a lot stronger if there were fewer anecdotes and more data, but that’s just my personal opinion. It would have been interesting to see data compared from a wide range of startups, but instead, these are mainly theories based on the author’s research and experience. He’s definitely a smart guy who has a ton of experience though, so I do think this book is a beneficial read for entrepreneurs as well as investors.
The Power of Experiments: Decision Making in a Data-Driven World by Michael Luca and Max H. Bazerman
I personally believe learning methods for thinking and seeing clearly is one of the most important skills any of us can have, and that’s why I read books like this. Months ago, I heard about this book but hadn’t heard of the author, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I read a ton of books on critical thinking and decision making, so I usually run across a lot of repeat information, methods, and studies, but this one surprised me. You can tell Galef put a lot of thought and research into this book and was able to touch on angles that other books in this genre don’t.
To start the book, Galef discusses why we get defensive when people criticize us or point out something we may not see. What I loved about her writing is throughout the book, she shares little anecdotes of personal experiences when she became defensive. It provides a very human element to the book that lets us know that the best we can do is try to recognize when we do these things and adjust along the way. From defensiveness, she covers many other topics such as how our beliefs and identities form our opinions as well as the benefits of leaning into confusion and the joy of curiosity. I could go on about this book for hours, but instead, do yourself a favor and read this book ASAP.
Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam M. Grant
The Intelligence Trap: Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes by David Robson
The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain by Talia Sharot
Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Is Changing the World by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott
This is by far the best book I’ve read so far on how the blockchain works. I’m brand new to investing and even newer to crypto, and this book lays it all out perfectly. Prior to this book, I read four or five books that gave a brief overview of crypto, and one was way too in-depth about the history of currency. I bought this book because from my research, I knew that the blockchain must be more than just an investment opportunity, and it absolutely is.
The book starts by explaining the blockchain, why it’s decentralized, and how it came to be after the crash of 2008. Like many people, I lost faith in Big Banks in 2008, and crypto is the solution. The authors did an incredible job explaining all of the ways the blockchain can be used to help with wealth equality and a better system for everyone. They also discuss the potential of the blockchain in all aspects of the world and how it can help make the world a better place. While the book is very pro-blockchain, I could see how some people would argue that the technology can be used for bad intentions by billionaires and big companies, but we’ll deal with that as we continue this journey.
My primary takeaway from this book is that we’ve barely scratched the surface with cryptocurrencies and the blockchain. So, if you’re like me and thought you were too late, you’re definitely not. This book helped me realize that I can invest in companies who have values that I believe in while also making a little bit in return to support myself and my family.
Much like Blockchain Revolution, this is an incredible book explaining how the blockchain can help change the world for good. It covers topics such as security, how it will level out equality, and more importantly what it can do for lower-class citizens. What made this book different from others I’ve read is that it really took the time to dive into the possibilities of what the blockchain can do for people, and it made me really hopeful for our future.
I read between 5–10 non-fiction books a week on various topics because I love to learn, and I have no clue why. Curiosity is also something that helps with my mental health, and it’s something I’m trying to teach my son. So, after reading Ian Leslie’s newest book Conflicted, I found out he had this book, and I had to pick it up. After reading this book, Ian Leslie has convinced me that he’s a solid writer and I’ll enjoy just about anything he writes. In this book, Ian helps explain various scientific findings when it comes to curiosity while also explaining some philosophy and history behind it.
Curious helped me understand where my thirst for curiosity comes from, and the book taught me about the Need for Cognition (NFC) measurement. Knowing that there’s a type of measurement out there helps me feel like less of a weirdo for wanting to learn everything I can about different topics. Later in the book, Leslie discusses how the ability to be curious and ask questions is something that we shouldn’t take for granted. He discusses how lower-income children are less curious because their cognitive capacity is typically being used up by the stress of just getting by, which I wish more people understood. Fortunately, Leslie ends the book with seven short chapters about how we can remain curious and improve our curiosity to live more fulfilling lives.
How Not To Be Wrong: The Art of Changing Your Mind by James O’Brien
If you need help with your mental health, I highly recommend the service I use, BetterHelp. They’re an affordable online therapy service, and by using this affiliate link, you help support The Rewired Soul.