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What I’m Reading Now

Updated 11.4.2010

I love to read and I do a lot of it, so here are the books I’m reading now and some I’ve recently finished.  Note – I don’t have any sort of affiliate relationships whatsoever.  I just thought it’d be fun to share.

If you’ve read something awesome recently, please share in the comments!

CURRENT BOOKS

At any given time, I am usually reading 3 books at once – a personal development book (print), a “fun” book that I read at night before bed to relax (either fiction, bio, or non-fiction and print), and an audio book (usually personal development or business) for my commute to the office.  So here’s the mix I’ve got going on now (11.4.2010)…

The Power, by Rhonda Byrne - The Power is the new follow-up to Byrne’s 2006 book, The Secret.  I’m about 50 pages into it right now.  At first I thought this book may just be a reiteration of The Secret, but so far I’ve learned a lot.

Barbarians at the Gate:  The Fall of RJR Nabisco, by Bryan Burrough & John Helyar – An essential business book about the monumental takeover of one of the largest companies in the world in the late 1980s.  The book was penned twenty years ago, but is one of those books that business professors and gurus always recommend.  So far, it’s pretty entertaining, as the authors depict the greed and irrationality that consumed Wall Street in the 80s.


WHAT I’VE READ RECENTLY

Purple Cow, by Seth Godin - I know, this was long overdue.  Seth published this book in 2003 and I just got to it now, despite having been a fan and reader of his blog for some years now.  The message is simple.  In a world of brown cows, build a Purple Cow, a business that stands out and offers something unique that no one else offers.  Seth is inspiring and motivates me to think in different ways.  There are options A, B, & C, of course.  But why not invent your own option D?

The Art of Nonconformity, by Chris Guillebeau - I was lucky enough to be one of only 99 people who received a free copy from Chris a few weeks before the book launched.  I read it in a weekend and have read it again since.  I’ve been a huge fan of Chris’ blog of the same name for about a year now and he is really doing some amazing work.  I recommend this quick read to anyone who cares about doing anything cool in this world.  Stay tuned to Dynamic Life for my full review to be posted this week…

Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill - The original and legendary book of success, on the shoulders of which countless books on success have stood.  This book has been recommended or mentioned by nearly every successful person I’ve read about.  After reading it, I confirm that it lives up to its hype.  It’s so densely packing with good, inspiring, and practical information that it took me almost two months to read.  You can read 3 pages and think about those 3 pages for a half hour.  If you haven’t yet read this and are serious about taking control of your life, don’t wait any longer to pick yourself up a copy.

Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?: A Swashbuckling Tale of High Adventures, Questionable Ethics, and Professional Hedonism, by Thomas Kohnstamm - This was a hugely entertaining read for me.  Kohnstamm is a fun, honest, and open writer, characteristics that lend themselves to great stories.  He’s sent to Brazil by Lonely Planet to research a huge portion of the country, but he’s so short on time and money that it becomes impossible for him to do his job in an honest, upright manner.  His only option is to do what every other travel writer does – bribe, cajole, lie, and fabricate reality to finish his assignment at make deadline.  If you like to travel, this book will surely entertain you.

Kitchen Confidential:  Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, by Anthony Bourdain - Tony is the star of The Travel Channel’s No Reservations program, where he travels the world in search of culinary and cultural adventure.  Tony is an attention-grabbing write with a helluva story to tell.  I learned a lot about food and also a ton about how the restaurant industry in New York City operates.  Tony is brash, but he’s honest, and that makes him a likable guy.  This book is a rags to riches story without any pompousness or self-righteousness, just hilarious stories and adventures.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma:  A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan - I’ve been a huge Pollan fan ever since digesting his In Defense of Food a couple years ago.  He teaches us where our food comes from, how over-processed it is, and provides solutions for eating more naturally and thus more healthfully.  I ditched this book about one third of my way through it.  I was listening to the audio version in my car and quit after 5 of the 13 discs.  It was all good information, and Pollan delivers it passionately and educationally, but I just got bored.

Predictably Irrational, by Dan AirelyI was hooked immediately after reading the introduction by Airely.  Airely argues (empirically and effectively) that human beings make decisions not rationally, but irrationally.  What’s more?  Our irrational behavior is totally predictable.  He backs up his argument with extensive research (both his own and others) and really makes you think.  I love this type of book.  He gets a bit long-winded at times, so I skipped through some sections, but certainly a good read nonetheless.  I’m going to seek out more of his work.

Linchpin:  Are You Indispensable?, by Seth Godin - Seth is a modern blogging and writing legend.  I scored a free copy of this book when I attended a conference that Seth headlined.  The secret to becoming indispensable is to create art and give it away.  You can’t and won’t stand out by being a cog in the corporate machine.  Stand out and carve out a life for yourself by creating art.  I can’t wait to get my hands on more of Seth’s books.

The Big Short:  Inside the Doomsday Machine, by Michael Lewis – I’m a huge Michael Lewis fan.  I love his subjects and style of writing.  In this book, the Doomsday Machine is Wall Street.  More specifically, it is the sub-prime mortgage market that caused the huge economic meltdown we are currently climbing out of (or are we?).  He goes behind the scenes as a former Wall Streeter himself and explains how, looking back on it, it all makes perfect sense now.

The Rich Dad Series, by Robert T. Kiyosaki - I recently drove from New Jersey to Norfolk, VA and back – 7 hours each way.  So before the trip, I picked up an audio 3-pack of the Rich Dad series:  Rich Dad Poor Dad, Cashflow Quadrant, and Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing.  I’m a big fan of Kioysaki and his pragmatic style of teaching.  He’s an essential read for those looking for financial freedom.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon – I picked this book up in Beijing Airport because it was one of the few English-language books on the shelf.  It has won quite a few prestigious awards and has even been compared to Catcher in the Rye, but I honestly cannot figure out why.  I wouldn’t recommend this unless you’re stuck in Beijing airport looking for something to read.

Have a Little Faith, by Mitch Albom - Again, I read this book due to limited resources.  It was one of the only fiction books at the library at our hotel in Hoi An, Vietnam and I was looking for something to read by the pool.  Review?  It’s a very quick and inspirational read – perfect for lounging by the pool or on the beach this summer.

A New Earth:  Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, by Eckhart Tolle - This is a fantastic follow-up book to The Power of Now:  A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, also by Tolle.  A New Earth is about living a fuller life by being present and destroying your ego.  It’s a book that needs to be read a few times.  I will read it again this summer for sure.

To Hellholes and Back:  Bribes, Lies, and the Art of Extreme Tourism, by Chuck Thompson - I had to pick this up after reading Smile When You’re Lying, also by Thompson.  Nomadic Matt also wrote a great review of the book, which includes an interview with Thompson, on his blog.  In the book, Chuck faces his biggest fears – traveling to Congo, India, Mexico City, and Disney World.  It’s a hilarious and witty account of his non-stop adventures.

Lonely Planet Vietnam - At the last minute, my wife and I honeymooned in Vietnam instead of Thailand, due to the escalating violence and hassles in Thailand.  If you travel, you either love or hate the Lonely Planet series.  I’m a fan, especially of this one.  Why?  Tourism in Vietnam is relatively young, so LP is able to cover everything you’re going to want to see, not just the editor’s fave picks.

Smile When You’re Lying:  Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer, by Chuck Thompson – Chuck is a witty and sophisticated writer.  He tells it how it is in this book that exposes the real side of commercial travel writing.

The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture:  Thailand – Alyssa and I are going to Thailand on our honeymoon in May, so I’m learning about the interesting Thai culture and way of life.

Force of Nature:  Mind, Body, Soul, and, of Course, Surfing, by Laird Hamilton – This is a nice, quick read that details all areas of the surfing legend’s healthy lifestyle – healthy mindset, balanced life, yoga, anywhere workouts, recipes, and healthy eating and living strategies.  It’s really inspiring to read about a fitness animal like Laird who lives his dream every day.

The Best American Travel Writing 2009, edited by Simon Winchester – A collection of the best travel writing of the year.  The stories were okay, but many were longer than they needed to be.  The book didn’t thrill me, so I stopped about 2/3 of the way through.

The 4-Hour Workweek:  Expanded and Updated, by Tim Ferris - I’m a huge TF fan.  Not too much new material in here compared to the first book, although the updated references and links at the ends of the chapters are great.  Definitely worth the purchase, even if you already have the orig.

Fit to Lead:  The Proven 8-Week Solution for Shaping Up Your Body, Your Mind, and Your Career, (several authors) – This is a good read for the busy corporate guy or gal who wants to adapt a healthier lifestyle.  But if you’re already a healthy and fit guy or gal, this book may be a bit basic.

Imagine:  A Vagabond Story, by Grant Lingel - Follow Grant as he backpacks his way through Mexico and Central America.  His writing is simple, no-nonsense, and funny.  What I love about his story is that he reminds me of why I like traveling so much – the random people and situations you encounter on the road.

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