Books have always occupied an upper shelf in my life. I find them introducing me to people I wish I knew. Through them, I travel to places I have never experienced. My reading habit is eclectic. I read a little fiction, history, biography, and books that give me insights into how I live and how I work. Most of my reading is done through audiobooks (thanks to traffic in Dallas). This is a list of books read during the first two months of 2020. (I was in Nicaragua at the end of January.)
When did we get too busy to live? That is the premise that Dr. Richard Swenson brings. He insists we have crowded life out. His answer is to create margin in time, things, finances, and in spiritual things. The book is written from a Christian perspective. Few books have spoken to so much in my life.
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
I am ashamed I did not read this book when I was younger. The excellent movie by the same name (starring a dog with a supporting role played by Harrison Ford) prompted me to get the book. I found myself enthralled with the story while angry at men and sympathetic to wolves.
Smarter, Better, Faster by Charles Duhigg
This is one of my books I re-read each year. This is my third time, but I found things resonating with me better this time. Duhigg, a former New York Times journalist, keeps attention with stories that illustrate principles that are hard to understand by themselves. The book is about productivity using diverse topics such as West Side Story and the U. S. Marines.
Caffeine by Michael Pollan
Pollan recorded a small audiobook on the role caffeine has played in civilization. I learned a lot about coffee and came to appreciate the jolt I get every morning.
The Power of Bad by John Tierney and Roy F. Baumeister
This is the second book I have read by these authors. Tierney is an engaging writer about science. We are surrounded by bad. He gives practical advice about the use of criticism and avoiding the mess modern media has created (avoid it). Great book and another book I will re-read.
Successful Aging by Daniel J. Levitan
I have a vested interest in this book since this year, I become officially “old” by signing up for Medicare. Levitan is a neurologist who decided to investigate all the claims about how aging happens. He teases out the facts from the fictions as to dementia prevention. The book also differentiates between lifespan and healthspan. Like others, he gives down-to-earth insights into how we can age more successfully. Two of my takeaways: walk outside on uneven ground to stimulate your brain and ward off dementia and try (emphasis mine) to practice caloric restriction.
This is a book I struggled with three years ago. Dini, a psychiatrist, and pianist is a devotee to productivity patterns. What brought me back to the book was hearing him on the podcast Focused. While returning from Nicaragua, I opened it again on the plane back from Nicaragua and got through it. Dini approaches workflow from a different angle, but this was a more philosophical look at productivity.