Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

This book has been on my list for a while, many people recommended it and I see why. The authors are an interesting match - and economist and a writer. Asking weird questions, getting even weirder answers. The book makes several compelling points for reevaluating how we view our lives. It is written with the idea that incentives shape many aspects of modern lives and I can’t argue with this premise. …

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When Breath Becomes Air

Goodreads page My rating: 5 out of 5 My review: Severe illness is not life-altering, it’s life-shattering. Less of an epiphany and more like someone had just firebombed the path forward. There is no hiding from death. This book certainly doesn’t shy away from the message. I feel this will not really be a spoiler, as you’ll learn in the preface, the author is no longer alive. Speaking of the preface - there is a phrase that repeatedly came to my mind as I read this book - a prose poem. …

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So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love

My rating: 5 out of 5 Do not follow your passion. That’s the gist of this book, but oh would that be an oversimplified and ultimately useless advice it would be. And this could have been one of those “happy go lucky” type of books, full of personal anecdotes and fluffy marketing. The book is full of various personal anecdotes, but they are mostly there to show how messy good careers can be. …

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Thinking, Fast and Slow

My rating: 4 out of 5 Shortly after I started reading this book I read an article on taking smart notes and so I naturally applied it for recording interesting quotes and tidbits from this book. Following is not even close to all of my notes, but more their condensed summary. I no longer remember why exactly I added the book to my reading list. It’s in one of my self-improvement drawer. …

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Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker

Goodreads link My rating: 5 out of 5 My review: The politically incorrect advice I would (of course never) give is this: go to the pub for a drink in the morning. This books is a revelation. It describes in a vivid way what happens when we don’t get enough sleep (it’s worse than I imagined in my wildest dreams). Lack of sleep disrupts learning, memory formation, compromises immune system and contributes to various ailments. …

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The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Goodreads page My rating: 5 out of 5 My review: This might have been one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in a while. Going from ancient Egypt all the way to custom generically matched treatment for cancer. This book covers it all. It reads like a mystery novel where the killer is a disease leaving clues left and right for the right investigator. I specifically remember being surprised at the handling of smoking and lunch cancer in the past and all the denials that came with it. …

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War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence by Ronan Farrow

Goodreads page My rating: 4 out of 5 My review: I don’t read political literature, and sort of just stumbled upon this in the library. And what a great stumble it was. I am finding accounts of various pieces of diplomatic processes, quotes and recollections fascinating. It gave me a new perspective on what it means to be a diplomat. To bring to the negotiating table warring foreign sides, while fighting politics back home. …

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The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Senseless Bureaucracy by Philip K. Howard

Goodreads page My rating: 4 out of 5 My review: Book with an interesting idea - not just for US but for any government too bogged down in bureaucracy. What would happen if we let officials decide things based on very broad principles set by law, without laying out detailed plans in huge rulebooks nobody reads. This idea of returning responsibility for decisions to the people “on the ground” is mentioned right from the start. …

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Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

Goodreads page My rating: 4 out of 5 My review: It was quite fun watching the seasons change with the author. It certainly helps to have a vivid imagination while reading this book. It is full of trivia and biological information which I would not expect in a book about beauty of nature. But it shows the “ugly” side as well and shows that we can enjoy even those brutal, inexplicable parts of it. …

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