Tsundoku

I want to read more. On this page, I will share all the books I have finished with a short review and some information about the different titles. I am also open for any recommendations. And I also have a Goodreads profile where you can follow my progress.

A side-note though: I removed all the ratings from the website. I've realized that while perusing other lists I only considered books with the highest score. But sometimes there are books that are good but simply not for me. So I now simply tell you if I can recommend it or not.

2018

Goal: 20 books

Principles: Life and Work
ISBN: 1501124021 | Genre: Business | Recommended: Yes, especially if you run a company

I never heard of Ray Dalio or Bridgewater before. But this book kept being recommended by different people I follow so I had to give it a shot. And I liked it for the most part. The book is divised into three parts: One on Dalio himself, one his life principles and one on his work principles. I liked the first and second part the most. The third isn't really for me as I don't run a company and don't intend on doing so.

The Little Book of Talent
ISBN: 1847946798 | Genre: Self Help | Recommended: Yeah, kinda.

This was enjoyable. Fast read, took me a less than two hours to go through. Good reminder, but frankly: A blogpost would have done it too.

Bird by Bird
ISBN: 0385480016 | Genre: Writing; Memoir | Recommended: Yep!

This book is probably on every book list for writers. So I had to read it. And I liked it. A lot. Even though, it's targeted to fiction writers I still got something out of it. But I have to admit that I am not as depressed and as suicidal as this book thinks I should be? Why are so many creative people often depressed?

Goodbye, Things
ISBN: 0141986387 | Genre: Minimalism | Recommended: Not really

I am honest, I can't really remember what this book tried to tell me. I know it had to do with minimalism but in the end nothing was really knew. I know the benefits, I know what steps I have to do. But in the end, nothing changed and I didn't start cleaning up. I guess there are better books on minimalism out there.

The 4 Pillar Plan
ISBN: 0241303559 | Genre: Health | Recommended: Fuck yes!

This is probably the best book about a healthy lifestyle I have read. It teaches how to focus on four things: how to relax, how to sleep, how to eat and how to exercise. Everyone should read this.

A Mind for Numbers
ISBN: 039916524X | Genre: Science | Recommended: Hell, no. Except if you're still a student.

Wow, this is the first book I just couldn't finish. While I thought this was a book on how to understand math, it teaches how to learn. Probably interesting to students but not for me.

A Guide to the Good Life
ISBN: | Genre: Philosophy | Recommended: Yes, as a starter

Again, Stoicism. This is probably one of the most approachable books on the topic. It basically goes through the main teachings and distills them for the modern world. I'd read this as a starter and then dig into the different philosopher's.

Predictably Irrational
ISBN: 0062018205 | Genre: Psychology | Recommended: Yes

This book is great. I haven't read "Thinking, Fast and Slow" yet so I can't compare the two. But this book thought me a lot. Worth the read if you care about behaviour. (And you should.)

Letters from A Stoic
ISBN: 0141395850 | Genre: Philosophy | Recommended: Take your time

By now, you should have realized that I am into Stoicism. So I had to read Seneca. While not as approachable as Aurelius' Meditations, I can still recommend this to beginner's. But take your time to understand it.

Brave New World
ISBN: 0099477467 | Genre: Fiction | Recommended: Yes, but read "Island" too.

A classic I haven't touched before. I understand why this book is considered to be one but I liked Island by Huxley way more.

Ego is the Enemy
ISBN: 1781257027 | Genre: Philosophy, Psychology | Recommended: Yep, especially for the anecdotes.

Another Ryan Holiday. This goes hand in hand with The Obstacle is the Way. I liked it, as I do for most things Holiday created, but the best part were all the anecdotes.

South of the Border, West of the Sun
ISBN: 0099448572 | Genre: Fiction, Japanese Literature | Recommended: I think so?

I don't know how I feel about this one. I rushed through it trying to get to the end to figure out what was about to happen. And in the end, my reaction was simply "huh?". I think I like it? And I think I like Murakami? Need to read more books to be sure.

The Obstacle is the Way
ISBN: 1781251495 | Genre: Psychology, Philosophy | Recommended: Yes, as a start

Yep, I like Ryan Holiday. This book is a great start for people who want to get into Stoicism but use it as a base and follow it up with books like Meditations and Letters from a Stoic.

Perennial Seller
ISBN: 1781257663 | Genre: Entrepreneurship, Business | Recommended: Definitely, if you are a creator

If you are a creator not trying to hack the system and get rich fast, read this book. Seriously. It's that good. I may incorporate some things into my blog empire.

Man's Search for Meaning
ISBN: 1846041244 | Genre: Philosophy, History | Recommended: Yes

This is the first philosophy book I read in a while that is not about stoicism, though it's recommended by Ryan Holiday, the author of Daily Stoic. Good book, great message, fuck the Holocaust.

Homo Deus
ISBN: 1784703931 | Genre: Science, Anthropology | Recommended: Hell yeah

Get the Sapiens, read it, then get Homo Deus and read that one too. It's well worth it and I frankly can't wait for Noah Hararis next book.

The Summer Book
ISBN: 0954221710 | Genre: Scandinavian Literature, Short Stories | Recommended: Yep

The Summer Book was simply too sweet. A collection of short stories featuring a child and her grandmother. By the creator of the Moomins. Buy it if you like fiction and nostalgia.

My Morning Routine
ISBN: 0241315417 | Genre: Business | Recommended: Not really

This book is not for me. It is similar to Daily Ritual but in interview-form. It didn't click for me, I think the blog-format is better suited for this kind of things.

Norse Mythology
ISBN: 0393356183 | Genre: Mythology, Short Stories | Recommended: Fuck yes

I read this after finishing the newest God of War. I had a thirst for more Norse Mythology and Neil Gaiman, who by the way is one of my current favorite authors, gave me what I craved. Though I wonder if I somehow spoilered myself for the next couple of God of War games?

Rest
ISBN: 0241217296 | Genre: Science, Psychology | Recommended: Yes

This is a book is great especially for workaholics who think that you should sleep when you're dead and that resting is a sign of weakness. It made me relearn how to rest and how to use my downtime the best way possible.

The Myth of Happiness
ISBN: 014312451X | Genre: Science, Psychology | Recommended: No

I didn't really like this book. Maybe I already read all of it somewhere else but I found the book utterly boring. I rushed through it and was simply happy when I was done. Frankly, I am writing this weeks later and can't even really remember what it was all about.

How the Marquis Got his Coat back
ISBN: 1472235320 | Genre: Short Story, Fantasy | Recommended: Yes

A super short read by the same guy who wrote "Fortunately, the Milk" (Neil Gaiman, he also wrote American God's). I read it in less than an hour and was entertained. I actually have two other books by Gaiman on my reading list. Soon.

Fortunately, the Milk
ISBN: 0062224085 | Genre: Children's Book, Fantasy | Recommended: Fuck yes

This is actually a children's book but it's damn fantastic. The story is short but funny with a Dr. Who kind of vibe and the drawings are perfect. If you want to get back into reading and need something fast and easy, pick this book.

The Daily Stoic
ISBN: 1202221777 | Genre: Philosophy, Stoicism | Recommended: Yes

This is a very peculiar book as it isn’t meant to be read in one day. There are pages for every day of the year and the idea is to read them on a daily basis and think about the meanings. I read it in a couple of days though and now I am reading a page a day while adding my notes to the book itself.

The Brain
ISBN: 1782116613 | Genre: Science, Psychologly | Recommended: Yes

I bought this book during a trip in Milan after finishing all the books I packed. Every chapter was some kind of revelation on how the brain works and why it does why it does. I wonder why I didn’t learn these things during biology class. The book is btw by David Eagleman, the same guy who wrote Sum.

The Longevity Diet
ISBN: 1405933941 | Genre: Health, Nutrition | Recommended: Yes

This isn't the first book about nutrition I read, probably not even the last one but definitely the best one yet. It was so good, I actually followed that fasting mimicking diet for 5 days. And I plan to do make it a regular thing from now on.

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
ISBN: 1782119892 | Genre: Philosophy, Stoicism | Recommended: Yes

When felt like a combination of Night Owl, Daily Rituals and some productivity book. A recipe for a great book. When made me realize and accept that I am a hardcore night owl and that I completely ignore my chronotype by waking up at 5.30am on weekdays. And that I am should switch when I tackle my to-do list. Creative tasks in the morning, deep focus work in the evening. And don't ever visit a doctor between 2 and 4pm - ever.

Meditations
ISBN: 0812968255 | Genre: Philosophy, Stoicism | Recommended: Yes, yes, yes!!!

I have to be honest. At times I had to reread whole paragraphs twice to fully understand them. It‘s not the easiest book I read this year but it‘s maybe the book that got me thinking the most. So many words of wisdom. I now understand why so many successful people (e.g. Bill Clinton, Alexander Pope, Goethe) loved this book. This will be a book I‘ll reread several times this year. And the next year. And every year starting today. BTW: If you read this, get the translation by Gregory Hays.

Deep Work
ISBN: 0349411905| Genre: Management, Productivity | Recommended: Yes

I liked Deep Work although it doesn't really offer anything new. Everything in the book should be "common sense". But knowing is not the same as living. In the first part of the book Newport explains exactly what "Deep Work" is. In the remaining part he explains how to implement "Deep Work". I will definitely make some changes to my day-to-day work. And if you are curious but don't want to buy a book yet, Newport was a guest on the Ezra Klein show.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
ISBN: 0099590085 | Genre: History, Philosophy | Recommended: Yes, definitely

A brief insight into the history of humankind, which is not that brief after all but explains the world and its history in detail and taught me a lot. It confirmed many of my ideologies. Sapiens is at its best when the author starts to dip into philosophy. Should, in my opinion, be read in every history class. Homo Deus is now at the top of my reading list.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
ISBN: 1782392335| Genre: Fiction, Mystery | Recommended: Yes

My first novel of the year (and the first one in ages) and I finished the book in one sitting. There couldn't have been a more suitable one for me right now: a book about books and the influence of technology with a pinch of "mystery", nerd humor and a lot of Google.

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives
ISBN: 1847674275| Genre: Fiction, Short Stories | Recommended: So much yes

My first fiction book of the year and it is such a good one. In Sum, David Eagleman writes over 40 possible scenarios for"something" after death. Almost every story had something fascinating about it. And some of the stories would have been really good Black Mirror episodes.

The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
ISBN: 0062449923| Genre: Nonfiction, Psychology | Recommended: Nah

Maybe it's because I've only recently read Money and Sense or maybe Schwartz repeats himself a lot, but at times it seemed to me as if I'd read it all before. There were some pearls hidden here and there and in the vacuum it's a good book. But it was a bit too repetitive. But nothing bad in itself, repetition strengthens knowledge. Or something like this.

Night School: The Life-Changing Science of Sleep
ISBN: 1447264835| Genre: Nonfiction, Health | Recommended: Yes

Okay, this book has fascinated me to the very end. I am very interested in sleep and have always been a great fan of power naps. In Night School, the author talks for a long time about the advantages of good sleep and how dreams can be used to improve one's"waking life". After 100 pages I started to go to bed much earlier. Great book, important subject! Bye, I'm napping.

The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google
ISBN: 0593077903| Genre: Nonfiction, Tech | Recommended: Hell no

Actually, The Four doesn't really tell anything new, especially not to geeks who are already heavily involved with Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. The book explains in the mediocre first part how the four companies became successful - even though Galloway wrote more about the New York Times than about Google (he was on the board of directors of the NYT). The second part, on the other hand, didn't really matter. Galloway explains here how you can learn from the Four to become successful yourself. But what bothered me was this feeling that the guy was too involved and because he wasn't (is?) taken seriously, wrote this book. And wanted to make a name for himself. Over and over again. Like he's afraid no one's paying attention. Fun Fact: He writes in the book that this is in fact his greatest fear.

Dollars and Sense
ISBN: 0062699563 | Genre: Nonfiction, Economy | Recommended: Yes

One sentence stuck in my mind while reading summarizes my opinion about Dollars and Sense pretty well: The book is great, but an asshole. It made me very aware of all my incompetence and irrationality regarding money. It may be time to reconsider my relationship with the mammon.

How Not To Die
ISBN: 1509852506 | Genre: Nonfiction, Health | Recommended: Yes

Okay, the book is targeted more towards Americans who, if you believe the author, don't even know what vegetables look like. Also, the book is probably less meant for me, as I already live vegan. I still liked it though. Above all, I now know what happens when you suffer from Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease. And to what extent nutrition can reduce the risk of contracting various diseases. And although I am always a little cautious when studies are cited, How Not To Die is the best I have ever read about nutrition.

2017

Daily Ritual
ISBN: 1447271475 | Genre: Nonfiction, Biography | Recommended: Yes but no but yes

I like all the insider stories, but in the end, the book only showed me how important it is to have a routine. And to drink a lot and take drugs. But I might skip that one.

Born To Run
ISBN: 1861978774 | Genre: Nonfiction, Health | Recommended: Only if you like running

It took me a while to warm up with the book. The beginning was a bit long and I didn't really find the story of this Tarahumara race exciting. What I liked better, however, were the descriptions of why we should be running. Thanks to this book I learned how to do it properly. I really did not go running more often though.

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child
ISBN: 0751565350 | Genre: Fiction, Phantasy | Recommended: Fuck no

Whoa, where do I start? I didn't like The Cursed Child at all. I have no problem with the fact that the book is actually just a script. It's more the content that bothers me. The book reads like a bit better-written fan fiction. Why are already finished stories taken up again? Why is it thought that after all these years Voldemort has an interest in human desires? And have the authors really forgotten what the seventh book is about?

Island
ISBN: 0099477777 | Genre: Fiction, Philosophy | Rating: Recommended: Yes

I think Aldous Huxley has the potential to be my new favorite author. At least after reading Island, I am very interested in learning what else he has written. All the ideas that went into this book may have changed my worldview a little. Combining elements from Buddhism and modern science. Could work!

Siddharta
ISBN: 3518366823 | Genre: Fiction, Philosophy | Recommended: Yes

The first German book in years. Siddharta is one of those works I would have liked to have read (and understood) as a young person in order to incorporate some of the principles into my everyday life. At least now I have time to absorb some of the wisdom. By the way, I find it extremely interesting that Hesse created a better Buddha than the historical Buddha.

Choose Yourself
ISBN: 1490313370 | Genre: Nonfiction, Job | Recommended: Probably though I didn't like it that much

The idea of Choose Yourself is clear: The industrial revolution is over, we are all just gears in one huge machine and can be replaced at will. We have to do something about it, invest in ourselves and at best follow Altuchers advice. I found some passages of this book worth reading. In general, however, the reading bored me. I had a huge break between some chapters. And I am a binge reader.


PS: The (beautiful) Japanese word "Tsundoku" (積ん読) means acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one's home without ever touching them again.