Tag Archives: reading

Book recommendations on new Reading page

I created a new Reading page to organize and place all my favorite books. If you’re looking for book recommendations, then this is the page to turn to.

The list is not in any specific order. Nor is it featuring only certain types of books. If I read it and enjoyed it, then it’s on there (or eventually heading there).

The page is not fully completed, so expect many more book recommendations to be added in the next week or two. If one of them catches your interest, then I say buy it. At the very least, you know that I thought it was a great read.

The curse of knowledge

The curse of knowledge is something I was already beginning to notice before I read about it in Steven Pinker’s book Sense of Style. I noticed that there are two types of authors. One type of author is very smart and knowledgeable in a specific field. He/ she knows the subject very well and knows how to write, but they aren’t necessarily good writers.

I often read their books and find it hard to follow because of the jargon, big words and confusing sentences they choose to use. I can tell they are very smart, but not very good writers. These are the types of books that are not very enjoyable to read, and that I often find myself putting down for a later time.

The other type of author is the one who is very smart, but who is a great writer as well. They know their material well, and they are able to write about it in a clear manner that doesn’t require so much deciphering to understand. These are the books that I find enjoyable to read and that I find myself going through quickly. The subject can be philosophy, psychology, business or marketing. If the author is a great writer, they will figure out how to write the book in an understandable and clear manner.

I never knew there was a difference. I used to think that all authors were great writers. I thought you had to be great writer to be an author. I thought it was a prerequisite. Now, as I read more and more books the difference is much more noticeable.

A smart author will just write the book to the best of their abilities, and often you will find out what the curse of knowledge is referring to. An author who is a great writer, will write their book in a clear and easy to understand manner that their readers can follow with ease.

Have you noticed the difference yet?

Flow and joy deferred

While reading Still Writing by Dani Shapiro, I really enjoyed the way she described flow as joy deferred. I can see how flow can be described as joy deferred for some, while not necessarily for others.

A mathematician struggling to solve a certain equation might refer to flow as joy deferred, but a writer who enjoys the feeling of being in flow state while writing probably won’t. A marathon runner with burning thighs, yes, but what about a musician trying to perfect a rhythm or beat?

It’s definitely a description of flow that really paints a picture. Here is the paragraph it appears in:

“We don’t always get to feel unadulterated joy when we are in the midst of an optimal experience. Think of it as joy deferred. The work itself can be challenging to the point of physical  and psychic pain. ‘I hate writing. I love having written,’ Dorothy Parker once said. The runner whose thighs burn with every step; the mathematician wrestling with a seemingly impossible equation; the chef tasting his bechamel sauce, focused on the precise balance of milk and roux. And the writer? Well, one solitary writer in her Connecticut farmhouse is backed into a corner of her chaise longue, every muscle tense with effort.” -Dani Shapiro 

What do you think? Do you like flow being described as joy deferred? There is a popular book titled Flow by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi that is probably worth reading. It’s definitely on my book reading list.

A brief history of humankind

From what I’m learning we hardly know anything about the brief history of humankind. Every page in Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari is insightful. I literally learn something new on every page I read. It is a very good book and I’m glad I learned about its existence through a Tim Ferriss podcast.

There were originally 6 species of humans (Homo). We are the last ones standing (Homo Sapiens). From what evidence suggests every time we ran into contact with each of the other species of humans, they shortly went extinct. That is crazy. Does that mean we eventually slaughtered all the Homo Neanderthals in war after war? Did we do the same to the other human species?

Look at us now. We are quick to start wars based on differences as small as religions. We start wars over resources (oil, gold and spices). We have even enslaved each other based on differences in appearances. All this and we belong to the same human species. Now imagine what it would be like to run into a different human species. A species bigger, stronger and tougher. Or even a species with an average height of 3 feet. Like a fox running into wolves. Homo Sapiens killing all the others is not far-fetched to me. I could imagine us creating a senseless war to massacre the other species. Only because they are different from us. Over the last 10,000 years we have been the only human species on Earth.

As Homo Sapiens expanded across the globe and touched all areas, so did the extinction rate of large mammals follow closely after us. Large rodents, sloths, mammoths and cats (saber-toothed cat) all met their extinction shortly after we discovered their home. Even to this day, shortly after discovering the island of Madagascar tons of species are becoming extinct. They were able to thrive and remain intact before we began meddling in their environment.

I’ll leave you with a good closing thought to get you thinking.

“We are so enamored of our high intelligence that we assume that when it comes to cerebral power, more must be better. But if that were the case, the feline family would also have produced cats who could do calculus, and frogs would by now have launched their own space program. Why are giant brains so rare in the animal kingdom?” -Yuval Noah Harari