Weekly Non-Fiction Reading List 5.3.21
Whoa! I haven’t finished 10 books in one week in a while, but here we are. I read some incredible books from so many different niches. As a newer investor, this week’s review starts out with an awesome book about keeping your priorities straight while building wealth and security. I also read about managing anxiety, how our genes influencer our behaviors, why conflict is not abuse, and one of the most insane non-fiction books I’ve read about some shady and unethical things that go down in the science community. Enjoy!
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’m newer to investing, but something I learned when I got sober almost 9 years ago is that money doesn’t guarantee happiness. A week or two before starting this book, I noticed myself veering off my path by caring way too much about money as I started to see some of my investments perform well (and it didn’t help that some unexpected bills hit). I’ve heard nothing but good things about The Geometry of Wealth, and I decided to read it at the exact right time. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure what it was about, but it was perfect timing when I started reading it.
Brian Portnoy does an incredible job with this book, reminding us about what really matters in life. As a psychology nerd, I was glad that Brian started the book off by discussing hedonic adaptation and why we’re always striving for more. Portnoy then lays out a sort of roadmap/formula for how we can live a fulfilling life while also making good investments. He reminds us to remember to put our intrinsic motivations above our extrinsic motivations and keep our priorities in line. I was pleasantly surprised that this book leaned more towards philosophy and mental health than actual investments. But with that being said, there’s also a ton of great investment advice in here, such as being mindful of our fast vs. slow thinking and some of our biases.
I highly recommend this book to not just investors but anyone who ever stresses about money (which is just about everyone). I can definitely say that I’ll be reading this book again when I need a reminder to get back on the right path.
How I Invest My Money: Finance experts reveal how they save, spend, and invest by Joshua Brown, Brian Portnoy, and Carl Richards
The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel
Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind by Dr. Judson Brewer
When I got sober in 2012, I still had massive amounts of anxiety and depression. Once I discovered mindfulness, it changed my life, but I wanted to learn more about the science. Years ago, I came across Dr. Judson Brewer’s work, and not only is he a neuroscientist who studies how mindfulness affects the brain, but he’s also experienced in addiction treatment. Through evidence-based methods, Jud’s work has helped me tremendously, and that’s why I started using his Unwinding Anxiety app when it was still in the beta.
I’ve been waiting for months for this book, and it didn’t disappoint. Jud breaks down how anxiety works and how we get into terrible habits that perpetuate anxiety. Without even realizing it, we’re making our anxiety worse, but there are simple ways to become more mindfully aware and begin managing it in a much better way. Jud’s mindfulness methods have taught me to work with my anxiety and not run from it through practices like R.A.I.N., and it’s a life saver. While there is some repeat information from his first book The Craving Mind, it was great to have a refresher to better understand the teachings of this book.
I may be a little bias because I’ve had the honor and the pleasure of speaking with Jud on many occasions and even interviewing him for my YouTube channel. But to date, he’s one of the kindest guys I’ve ever met who is passionate about helping others. So, if you’re struggling with anxiety, do yourself a favor and get this book.
The Mindful Path to Addiction Recovery: A Practical Guide to Regaining Control over Your Life by Lawrence Peltz
Rewire Your Anxiety by Chris Boutté
Usually, books about biology and genetics bore the bejesus out of me, but I really enjoyed this book by Bill Sullivan. Not only do you learn a bunch of interesting ways genetics influence a wide range of aspects of our lives, but Sullivan also slips in little jokes randomly throughout the book that catches you off guard. After reading the intro and chapter one, I wasn’t sure if the book would keep my attention, but when chapter two explained why I dislike cilantro and how our genes affect what tastes good or bad to us, I was sold. Pleased to Meet Me also has chapters on our addictions, moods, romantic relationships, and beliefs. As someone who typically reads books on psychology, Pleased to Meet Me had some great discussions about the nature vs. nurture debate, and Sullivan does a fantastic job sticking to evidence-based science every step of the way.
Unique: The New Science of Human Individuality by David Linden
Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky
The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity — and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race by Daniel Z. Lieberman and Michael E. Long
Welp, I mistakingly picked this book up, thinking it was a non-fiction personal development book, but it was fiction. Usually, I stay away from fiction, but this was a really good book. The author’s prologue gives a little bit of his background and how he grew up trying to learn from the mistakes of others who were experiencing hardships, and that’s why he wrote this book. I’m not a fiction reviewer, so I will say that when this comes to giving suggestions for living a better life, this book was spot on. It was serendipitous that I accidentally bought this fiction book because I’ve been in a weird, stagnant place in my life, and the book helped remind me of some valuable lessons that I’ve learned but haven’t been putting into practice. I’d definitely recommend it, especially to young people.
The Serendipity Mindset: The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck by Christian Busch
The Success Equation by Michael J. Mauboussin
The Rudest Book Ever by Shwetabh Gangwar
Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair by Sarah Schulman
The first 3/4 of this book was absolutely amazing, but I found myself struggling to get through the last few chapters. Once I read the title of this book, I knew I had to read it. I’m a firm believer that the only way we’re going to discover solutions to a ton of societal problems is to have conversations without seeing them as some form of abuse. Sarah Schulman did such an incredible job outlining her thesis and giving great examples of how various situations and conversations are called “abuse” when they’re really just normal conflict. As someone who has struggled with mental illness and has worked in mental health treatment, I especially enjoyed her chapters on how mental illness affects how people perceive conflict as abuse and it shouldn’t be enabled. This book is a much-needed read for everyone in this day and age where people are afraid to share certain views or opinions.
So, what happened at the end of the book? Well, I knew what was coming, but it just seemed so out of place in this book. Towards the end, Schulman tells stories of real conflicts around the world, and the whole flow of the book completely changed. It went from this deep philosophical discussion for most of the book into the author writing about specific stories from Twitter and Facebook where people are arguing about Israel and Palestine. Schulman is a great writer, but it felt like this should have been two separate books. With that being said, I still highly recommend the book so more people can learn how to calm down and have mature conversations without feeling as though it’s abuse.
Giving the Devil His Due by Michael Shermer
I tried reading this book a while back before I started investing because I enjoy learning about the psychology of groupthink. Unfortunately, I couldn’t grasp the book back then because you need a basic understanding of markets. About a year later, now that I started investing and learning about the markets, I had to give this book a try, and I really enjoyed it. Robert Shiller is a voice of reason in an insane world of stock traders and investors. Shiller takes a deep dive into how stories can affect how stocks go up and down, and he even goes into a lot of history to give examples for various narratives. I think my favorite chapter of the book was towards the end, where he explains that no matter how much we learn about narrative economics, even experts can’t predict the markets because they’re so irrational.
Irrational Exuberance: Revised and Expanded Third Edition by Robert Shiller
Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception by George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller
The Influential Author: How and Why to Write, Publish, and Sell Nonfiction Books that Matter by Gregory V. Diehl
As an author, I love reading books from other self-publishers for tips, tools, advice, and various outlooks on the process. After reading dozens of books like this, I can honestly say that this book from Gregory Diehl is one of the best out there, and it doesn’t get nearly enough credit. This is probably the most in-depth book I’ve read on being a self-published author. While most books like this cover some different angles or limit to one aspect of self-publishing or writing, Diehl covers them all. In this book, you learn about researching your topic, creating an outline, coming up with a title, marketing your book, editing, and much more. Usually, I speed through books like this, but this book took me a while because I kept revisiting various sections to really soak in the wisdom. So, if you’re an author or thinking about becoming one, get this book ASAP.
The Business of Being a Writer by Jane Friedman
The Unstoppable Creative by Todd Brison
Content Marketing for PR: How to build brand visibility, influence and trust in today’s social age by Trevor Young
I hadn’t heard of Trevor Young, but I came across this book and decided to pick it up on a whim. I’m a content creator and work in marketing and PR by day, but I’m always looking for new perspectives and ideas. When it comes to this book from Trevor Young, he was definitely able to deliver on both. This book covers just about everything you need to know if whether you’re starting your own at-home business or you’re running a major company. Trevor discusses the importance of PR, how to be seen in this social media age, and how to create content that provides value. In-between all of this practical advice, he also helps the reader navigate various pitfalls and gives tips for reputation management. Sometimes, books like these are just a ton of anecdotes to back the author’s opinions, but Trevor saved those until the book's conclusion, and I appreciated that. I highly recommend this book for anyone trying to gain traction and visibility online.
Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin
My YouTube channel and blog are called The Rewired Soul because I became fascinated when I learned about neuroplasticity. So many of us have the false belief that our brains are fixed and stop improving after a certain age, but this isn’t true at all. In Elastic, Mlodinow does an awesome job with this book explaining how our brains continue to evolve and change with a ton of research and great examples to go along with them. If you’re a creative person who hits blocks or you need to come up with ideas for work or solving problems in your everyday life, this book will teach you how to untap that potential through what Mlodinow calls “elastic thinking”.
Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by K. Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool
Perception — How Our Bodies Shape Our Minds by Dennis Proffitt and Drake Baer
Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined by Scott Barry Kaufman
The only way I can describe this book is a rollercoaster of a ride through the field of science and ethics. Alice Dreger started out learning and writing papers about intersex people because she saw how much pain the community was going through due to misinformation and bad science. But once Alice saw some shady things happening within the community from other activists, she realized that sometimes scientific truth can get you into trouble. That’s when Alice goes on a journey of looking into various researchers who have been shunned by the scientific community for their findings, but she also discovers scientists doing extremely unethical research as well. My review of this book can’t do it any justice, so if you’re an advocate for truth, science, and ethics, just get this book and buckle up.
The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It by Shawn Lawrence Otto
Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World by Carl T. Bergstrom and Jevin West
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.