Sunday, January 21, 2018

Books read in 2017

In 2017, I didn't fulfill my goal of reading 52 books a year. The number of books that I had read is a far cry from my goal. I had read a total of 11 books, and that is all. The reason for this is the lack of energy, time and commitment because I had a child. Whenever I feel I feel I have the energy to read, there will be a nagging feeling in my mind that I'm not doing my duty as a father. Could I have missed some important development that I would regret eternally by keeping my eyes on the pages of the book I'm reading?

Anyway, here's the list of books read in 2017:

1) Step by step trading - Dr Alexander Elder
2) The new trading for a living - Dr Alexander Elder
3) Anti supernatural assault team - Book 0 - Michael Keyth
4) Search inside yourself - Chade-Meng Tan
5) Lost cat - Caroline Paul & Wendy MacNaughton
6) Pre-suasion - Robert Cialdini
7) Anything you want - Derek Sivers
8) Tools of Titans - Tim Ferriss
9) Three Squares - Abigail Carroll
10) The subtle art of not giving a f@#k - Mark Manson
11) Two roads diverged: trading divergences - Dr Alexander Elder

Like the previous years, I'll highlight a few books that I thought are worth recommending to others, and to re-read for me.

1. Tools of Titans - Tim Ferriss

You cannot profess to be a lover of self help books without having read Tim Ferriss books at all. This is a monstrous, thick compilation of all the interviews done by him over a course of several years. It breaks down all the interviews into 3 broad categories, namely health, wealth and wise. There's always some lessons to be learnt in each of the interviews and there is so much wealth of information that I probably have to revisit this book again when I require certain information. The book should be treated as an encyclopedia of empirically proven good living.

This books was so good that I kept my study notes on it. I link it here for your reference.

2.  Anything you want - Derek Sivers

This book is about an accidental business owner who stumbled onto a multi million dollar business while trying to find the solution to his own problems. Since the problem cannot be solved by existing businesses, he just started it himself. In the book, you'll read about the author trying to do all the things that are not conventional business wisdom, like trying to keep the business small instead of expanding it. It's interesting because the author is not trying to make money but trying to go back to his roots of solving a problem in the first place, hence this book is very refreshing. In his own words, he said that a business is a little utopia world where you get to decide the rules. It's a reflection of the creator, and nobody, not even profits, should take that idea away from you. If you're losing meaning and happiness in your work, read this. It's a short and sweet book that you should read whenever you're lost.

3. Pre-suasion - Robert Cialdini

This is the sequel of one of the best book I've read on social psychology, Influence. If Influence talks about the different techniques used by influencers to persuade you to do what they want you to do, then this book talks about how you can set the context right even before you ask the prospect to do what you want them to do. One book is about defense, while the other is about offense. One book talks about the period in which the sales presentation take place, the other talks about the period before the sales even happens. Rightly, one should read both books, in either order.

4. Search inside yourself - Chade-Meng Tan

This is the second book that I've read about mindfulness. The first book is by the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. I think while the first book is my spiritual motivation to begin meditation, this book by Meng (as he is affectionately called) is the users manual on meditation. Written with the precision and clarity that only an engineer can, this book gives the reader a very good grounding in mindfulness practices, complete with superb and clear instructions. This is a book that is life-changing and will definitely be re-visted time and time again.

This is a sure re-read for me in the future. I suspect I will get different results in different reads. I did my study notes on this book and I link it here for your reference.

5. Three Squares - Abigail Carroll

This interesting book talks about the history of American meals and their eating culture. It traces the historical influences from firstly England and the native Indians, and then the French, and finally all the different immigrants who came in to America after the world wars. I always thought that the proper study of how and what food we eat can be the social history of our forefathers, so this book did not disappoint. What follows is the breakdown of what we know about breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. It's a bit long winded though. If you want the summary, just read the last two chapters of the book. It summarizes all the other chapters and also give a taste of what is to come in the future with regards to American meals.

So there it is. I will try to read more in 2018, at least much more than in 2017. While I feel like I'm not learning anything new without a book on my lap all the time, I also felt that I have a lot more time to consolidate all the knowledge and insights gained from this reading habit that I started in 2007. 10 years of reading and trying to read 52 books a year must mean something. 

I don't think I can ever read 52 books a year anymore, but that is no longer important. I started the challenge of reading 1 book a week to discipline myself and to avoid wasting time on other frivolous pursuits like checking on social media etc. It succeeded wildly beyond my imagination. But with a growing kid and still, that nagging feeling that I might miss something important while my eyes are on the books, I think it's time to move on from that challenge. 

I counted back in 2007 all the way to 2017, exactly how many books I've read (or re-read). It's 419 in total over 11 years, which is about 38 books per year. Even if I retained 10% of what I've read, it is still a lot of knowledge to be had. It certainly also improved my language a lot too. Well worth the price of my kindle LOL


Anonymous said...

I've always enjoyed reading your book recommendations, Thanks for sharing!

Jojo said...

How do you find time to read? And you do read physical or e-books? For info, I recently started on listing on audio book and that helps to fill up my time while travelling

la papillion said...

Hi anonymous,

No problem!

la papillion said...

Hi mimosa,

I find that there's always time that we spent doing things that are aimless and pointless, like scrolling through social media or just watching tv. I cut those times to read. While I can still cut more time for reading, I think I need a balance between zoning out and reading, so after having a kid, I find that that balance is definitely less than 52 books a year.

Still trying to find that equilibrium now, but I really want it to be at least 12 books a yr.

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