January 24, 2023 5:01pm / / Book Review

Quit (2022)

Quit (2022): A psychology book, written by professional poker champion Annie Duke, about the skill of knowing when to quit when the time is right.

"The aim of this book is to create a better understanding of those forces that work against good choices about what and when to quit and the circumstances in which we are reluctant to walk away, and to help all of us view quitting more positively so we can improve our decision making."

—p.xxiv

Not that I have read anything else on this topic before, but I feel like there are likely many other books that offer similar advice but from a different perspective. Nothing in this read seemed all that original, and like any other secondary source the value of Quit was bringing together related concepts and mental models to contract a fuller image of what quitting when the time is right looks like.

There's certainly lots to unpack from my reading notes— I am particularly interested in quitting in relation to careers, and how quitting is informed by and shapes a person's identity. With that said, this book is one that I'm unlikely to recommend to someone unless they're really struggling with breaking away from things/people they should no longer be connected to. If someone is in that situation and they're looking for broad and theoretical perspective to aid them, this might be the read for them.

January 18, 2023 5:34pm / / Book Review

Smart Brevity (2023) 📚

Smart Brevity (2023): A short business book authored by Roy Schwartz, Mike Allen, Jim VandeHei; about how to write concisely and with purpose. This read focuses on the purpose of helping readers to make their point and have it heard following a traditional ‘how-to’ approach.

“If you do THIS you will succeed.”

Much of this book is one mention after the next of the author’s business; it reads like one long sales pitch. Given the purpose of this book, the content could be reduced to a 10-page booklet and the same point would still be conveyed— though, this wouldn’t sell many copies.

June 13, 2022 10:04am / / Book Review

Atomic Habits (2018)

Atomic Habits (2018): I can appreciate why this book receives the hype and attention it does. For the masses, this offers some initial insights into taming lives that are out of control. Sadly, what this book offeres is shallow and only goes surface deep.

Atomic Habits is like most of the other self-help books out there. Same take on a topic that has been covered a thousand times over. It's run of the mill.

It is likely best if one heeds Patrick's warning/method for consuming this book.

June 10, 2022 5:24pm / / Book Review

10% Happier (2014)

10% Happier (2014): Again, a book which turned out to be something other than what I thought it might have been about. This book provided a gateway to other potential future reads regarding the power of meditation in every-day life and how an individual can integrate such a practice to support their basic needs. I am not certain that I would recommend this book to anyone as it did not include a truly compelling, underlying statement, but it might be valuable to some.

June 10, 2022 5:24pm / / Book Review

A Good Neighborhood (2020)

A Good Neighborhood (2020): A must read. A book about race, neighbours, family, lovers, and the relationships which exists among all of these intertwined elements. An intense and moving fictional image, which seems all too real given how society is unfolding daily around us. Although I can’t remember why I picked up this book, I am thankful that I did. Upon finishing the book I found myself contemplating some of the more important questions surrounding my everyday existence and how I interact with those I engage with. A highly recommended read.

June 10, 2022 5:24pm / / Book Review

A Grief Observed (1961)

A Grief Observed  (1961): A short but intense read. A series of notes written after the author's wife had passed. I particularly enjoyed—if one should enjoy reading such a volume—the thoughts on the existence of God, the dead, and the impact they can have on someone's day-to-day life. Not a read I would normally pick up, I can imagine that this would be useful to individuals in certain circumstances where they are grappling some of life's greatest challenges.

June 10, 2022 5:24pm / / Book Review

A History of Reading (1996)

A History of Reading (1996): As the last book of the year for me, this read was a struggle. Rooted in the history of literature, Greek and Roman cultures, and religious stories, there was a great deal of this book that I found myself not able to understand in the moment. With that said, I worked my way through the entire book and by the time I was finished I was thankful I did. The why and how the written work has come to be printed on pages, to the reader as a distinct individual; I found myself picking up enough value from the parts of the book that I could understand to really enjoy it. The last chapter titled, “The Book Fool,” was of particular interest. Helping to distinguish between High Society and Popular Culture, this section was a great way to wrap up the read. If I have one criticism it would be this: A History of Reading was hardly a complete history. Most of the 20th century, aside from a couple of mentions of specific events, was excluded from consideration within this work. Perhaps the author could revisit his work and update it to take into account new, more modern elements of reading.