We all make choices. Every day, from the banal to the life-altering, we can break these choices down into two different ways of thinking. It's amazing to me how this psychological subject presented in Thinking, Fast and Slow is so intuitive, but so difficult to control. Daniel Kahneman does a superb job bringing this topic down to the layperson level with plenty of examples and quizzes to show the reader how we can literally change an impulsive decision into a logical one.
Thinking, Fast and Slow opened my eyes to the two systems that influence every decision I make. The quick-thinking "System One" runs on emotions, whereas the slower "System Two" takes time to examine a situation thoroughly before deciding. The amazing thing about these systems is that sometimes the intuitive System One is correct—meaning that it can sometimes be easy to overthink a problem. What's even more fascinating is seeing how easy it is to switch our thinking from System One to System Two when we need an answer from the brain instead of the heart.
If I find this book at a used bookstore, I'll likely pick it up as a reference. I read it as an audiobook, so I could not do many (if not all) of the exercises detailed in it. This is yet another case of a non-fiction book being better in a physical format. Still, I gleaned a ton of useful information from it for the 20 hours I spent listening to its concepts. Even if you're not interested in psychology, I'd recommend reading this book merely for the insight into how you (and those around you) come to decisions.
An eye-opening look into the psychology of decision making, I give Thinking, Fast and Slow 4.0 stars out of 5.
Fast Food Nation is a nonfiction book that is extremely informative about the fast food industry. The book starts with the history of fast food and then informs the audience of business deals, the horrors of fast food, and ways the fast food industry affects others. I picked this book because I wanted to know the truth to what happens in the fast food industry and all of the gross things that are done to the food. Fast Food Nation has several local and state references from Cheyenne Mountain to Greeley, Co. I really liked this book since it was outstandingly educational about every aspect of the fast food industry such as the meat industry, fast food employees, advertising, food poisoning and more; however, I would have liked it more if it went even more in-depth about all the ways the food is handled. Overall, I recommended this book if you want a good nonfiction read and if you want to be more educated about the five to ten dollar meal you buy frequently.
Malcolm Gladwell takes a unique perspective on success in Outliers. Rather than focusing on the brilliance, innate talent, or incredible work ethic of successful people, Outliers concentrates on the advantages and unique opportunities surrounding the successful. Gladwell analyzes the culture, families, generation, and the upbringings of many successful people and groups of people from Bill Gates and successful New York lawyers to Canadian Hockey Players and airline pilots. Above all, Gladwell emphasizes that the truly successful do not do it alone, and Outliers encourages people to examine their own opportunities and advantages so that they too may become successful. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it for everyone.
Naked Economics by Charles Wheelan is an immersive and amazingly simple look at global economics. The explanations and simple and number-free and the examples Wheelan uses give life to the subject which is considered torture buy adults and children alike. The book was required reading for an AP Economics class I took, and it brought the field to life, showing the massive effect of market forces and changes in exports and inflation and much more. It is an amazing introduction to the concepts of economics without the statistics. Anyone who is interested in how economics works or what is really going on when you listen to the federal reserve chair should read this book.
Occasionally, I come across a book that doesn’t really work as an audiobook. Working with Difficult People is certainly a must-have for any working-class bookshelf. Still, it was difficult to follow the thread of different difficult personalities when it was being read aloud. Sure, there were useful descriptions of the types of people you’ll encounter in the workforce, but there were at least a few of them where I wanted to slow down and read through those archetypes again to better understand the people who irk me in life. Of course, going in, I was hoping I could read this book and understand how to handle people who I find difficult to work with. Instead, I kept listening to these people's descriptions and finding individuals who nearly matched them in my life. This was my main qualm with the book: people are more complex than a single difficult personality type. They often have two or three of these attributes combined in varying amounts to create their unique level of challenge. Alternatively, I also listened to this book and tried to identify where I fell in the “difficult people” spectrum. It can be a bit of an eye-opener when you realize, “Oh, I do that. That difficult person is me.”
I may still want to get this book in physical form, not only to appreciate its handbook format but to use it as a writer resource. I do try and strive for an amount of realism in the villains I write, so using this book as a structure for why certain difficult people (read: antagonists) are the way they are can help me create more meaningful and relatable villains and should help me avoid the standard supervillain archetypes that paint an antagonist as “purely evil.”
A simple resource for classifying difficult people, I give Working with Difficult People 3.0 stars out of 5.
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight is a book that you do not want to miss out on! This book is a memoir about the life of Phil Knight, the founder and creator of Nike. I really liked this book because I love Nike shoes and I am also very passionate about starting my own business someday. So this book gave me a lot of encouragement and motivation to start a business. Shoe Dog goes in depth about all the challenges Phil endured to create the empire that Nike is today. I choose this book because it seemed interesting to get the experiences as well as the ups and downs endured in the process of trying to create a world famous brand. I would highly recommend this book to anyone dreaming of becoming a successful entrepreneur!
I’m a little conflicted with this book’s message, mostly because it downplays its definitions at the beginning of what an “artist” really is. It would be nice to make a living on my writing, but this book isn’t about how to do that. In fact, I’m already the artist that this book describes: someone who sells their creative hobby while pursuing it on weeknights and weekends. I have a full-time job, so my art isn’t my primary profession like the term “starving artist” is meant to invoke. Sure, there are bits of useful advice sprinkled throughout this book, but it wasn’t anything I hadn’t already picked up by now.
Perhaps the audience for this book is the individual who is thinking of taking a considerable risk and quitting their job to jump wholly into being an artist? Any more, the current Millennial mindset of “hustles” makes this an old way of thinking. We don’t have just one job: we have many, which we also juggle with our relationships and our hobbies. Furthermore, with online communities bringing together like-minded creative individuals with no limitations of geographical separation, some of the advice in this book is already dated three years after it was published.
Even if I already knew a lot of the advice in this book, it was encouraging to know that I’m on the right track for the artist I want to be. There are plenty of examples of successful artists in this book that give me hope that I’m doing the right things to advance my artistic career. It even filled in a few gaps that connected pieces of information I had learned but hadn’t put together yet. In the end, being an artist is a mindset, and it’s not a binary “all or nothing” that we used to consider it. Hopefully, we can soon retire the “starving artist” moniker because many artists don’t make a living on their art.
Fairly evident advice for a redefined group of artists, I give Real Artists Don’t Starve 3.0 stars out of 5.
Written by the founder of the successful online learning platform MindValley, this book will change your life, or at least spark a bit of self-reflection. Vishen takes the reader through 10 life-redefining laws leading to success, which are then divided into 4 parts. Part I explains how we have each been shaped, for better and for worse, by our culture and childhood. In Part II, the reader is challenged to either accept or modify what was brought to the surface in Part I. Part III is entitle "Recoding Yourself" and delves into mindfulness, discipline, "bending reality," goal setting to lead to lasting fulfillment every time and other compelling topics. Finally, Part IV provokes the reader to find their quest, and change the world. This is one of the most worthwhile self help books I have ever read and I recommend it to anyone wanting to change their life, thinking patterns, or habits for the better.
"The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg is a great read if you are interested in changing your habits or changing your company's habits for the better. Duhigg guides the reader through how habits work in life and in business. What makes "The Power of Habit" a good read, though, is Duhigg's remarkable talent for storytelling. The narratives Duhigg presents are both informative and heartfelt. The stories are what make this book a real page turner, but when coupled with Duhigg's insights about habits, the book is both enlightening and informative.
In his book Barking Up the Wrong Tree, Eric Barker explains secrets to success in many areas of life. Using the latest in scientific research, he explains how to "find work-life balance using the strategy of Genghis Khan, the errors of Albert Einstein, and a little lesson from Spider-Man", how to lower stress and increase self love, and move through life more happily
Among other lessons, Mr. Barker teachers readers why most of what they previously believed about success is "wrong". Then he goes on to explain how they can improve themselves and their lives through lessons provided by unlikely - but entertaining - sources.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking to improve success in their lives. It is an excellent, helpful, and humorous read that will be good for any age range 16 and above.
I have been looking to develop my leadership skills over the past year or so and this title was on the Sergeant Major of the Army's reading list a couple years ago. While I feel as though most leadership books tend to overlap themes and some key points, author Sinek did a great job of providing well recognized examples for each idea he attempted to convey. His references to large company names and groups helped make the ideas practical and applicable to real world situations.
I appreciated that he seemed to get the idea for his title from military members; I don't think there are many places where leadership skills exemplified and decisions are that crucial. Sinek's ideas were easy to grasp, and easily applied if you are sitting in a leadership role. I will say, not currently being in a leadership role, I found it interesting to apply what I read to the leaders I have now. There are things that I'm frustrated with that I haven't been able to put a finger on and this book conceptualized what I have been feeling. I have been able to verbalize to my
leaders some ideas and perhaps improve morale for the staff.
The version I read was the expanded version that had added chapters for the Millennial generation. I was born at the very beginning of the Millennial years, however I do not identify with that generation. I have had the opportunity to lead multigenerational groups. I have often found myself aggravated when dealing with Millennials, however this book offered some wonderful insight on how to lead them and how you might utilize the unique set of skills and passions that identify that generation.
I greatly appreciated this book and the practical spin it put on some of the ideas that I have already read about. It clarified some old ideas and offered some new. I would absolutely recommend this book for anyone who finds themselves in a leadership role.
Don't let the genre discourage you from picking up this book. Extremely interesting and eye-opening, this book offers me lots of insight and tips on being successful in your professional and personal life. I'd encourage many young readers like me to pick up this book and give it a try. It's not a book to give excuses to why we are not the next Bill Gates or Einstein. It gives lessons to why these people became successful in the area they were/are successful in, and the steps they took toward it. It's a matter of whether you let their success discourage you or turn it into motivation and lesson to be successful in your own life.
Reviewer Grade: 12