Reading List October 2020

13th October 2020


Books

A mix of cultural criticism and actionable advice, DEEP WORK takes the reader on a journey through memorable stories – from Carl Jung building a stone tower in the woods to focus his mind, to a social media pioneer buying a round-trip business class ticket to Tokyo to write a book free from distraction in the air – and surprising suggestions, such as the claim that most serious professionals should quit social media and that you should practice being bored.

99% of your thoughts are useless. William James, once the leading psychologist in America, and one of the founders of the philosophical school of pragmatism, put it best:

“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”

You have the ability to decide what you think. Or, you can choose NOT to think. THINK STRAIGHT reveals the recipe for taking control of your mind so you can improve your life, career, relationships, business. The mind is the most powerful tool on earth. Change the way you think. And you’ll change your life.

What Will You Learn With This Book?

  • What Are The Most Common Communication Obstacles Between People And How To Avoid Them
  • How To Express Anger And Avoid Conflicts
  • What Are The Most 8 Important Questions You Should Ask Yourself If You Want To Be An Effective Communicator?
  • 5 Most Basic and Crucial Conversational Fixes
  • How To Deal With Difficult and Toxic People
  • Phrases to Purge from Your Dictionary (And What to Substitute Them With)
  • The Subtle Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback

My Thoughts

For context, I have already read through the first 2 books and just started the last.

Deep Work is a book that I would unquestionably and unconditionally recommend to everyone. Don’t think about it, just get it.

As you all may or may not know, I have trouble keeping to schedules and routines. While I make do somehow with last-minute grunt work, I have been looking for ways to improve my precondition to procrastination. Many books have taken me through how to increase my focus, create a mental space for productivity, fight distraction, so on and so forth.

This book, however, tackles the quality of your actions. It drills you on how to actually work better. I have personal experience with the fact that working deeply may or may not make me happy, but it surely leaves me content. That is no mere achievement. I have chased happiness before, now I chase satisfaction in my work. The feeling I get after completing a grueling task to the best of my ability is like no other. While I always had trouble (still do) with actually starting deep work, now the fact that I know what I must actually do gives a direction to my wandering mind.

Speaking of a wandering mind, I think the second book complements the former quite nicely. I’ve been through several self-help books regarding the (un|sub)conscious, so while I may not have learned as much as I expected, it served as a glorious reminder nonetheless. I suggest you read those books in tandem. One tackling your thoughts and the other your actions. Few things besides those are under our control anyway.

Finally, the last book. I am hesitant to make a sweeping statement about it given I have barely started reading. Yet from what I have read so far, it looks like it’ll be an interesting read.

Also, I plan to read the first 2 books again. I refuse to believe that a single read is enough to get the best value out of them. Personally, I feel like I have extracted barely a fraction of their potential. I plan to use actionable from Deep Work into my (quite flexible) schedule and Think Straight into my daily ruminations. In fact, I’ve already started somewhat. In case of the former, I keep a chunk of my time allocated to “shallow work” and from the latter, I think ahead on what my next chapters for grand simulation will be like during walking my dog.

I plan to publish a post every month on the general books I am planning to (or have already) read in that month. If you would like me to check out your favorite book or share what you think of the books I recommended, do add the same in the comments below.