I took two weeks off to be with Tim before his
summer camp and managed to finish three books.
- Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand
Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman
I have borrowed and tried to read this book
since two months ago after seeing it mentioned
in a review of the book "The Art of Not Giving a
F*ck" by Mark Manson, an amazingly young
author with some funny and deep insights
about the current states of human happiness.
The "Antidote" is very well written. It goes
deep to explain why positive thinking doesn't
cut it, e.g., goal-setting doesn't work as well
in the real world and ways to achieve true
happiness, e.g., Stoic practices, Buddha's
teachings and meditation, etc. I have learnt a
few things from Burkeman including the daily
trick of "memento mori" to keep death in mind.
He also explains and debunks "I think and
therefore I am." I think I will buy this book.
- Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
I love Tim's podcasts and have benefited mostly
from listening to his guests Pavel and Jacko. I
have read his 4-hr series of books. Each makes
many good points and I have referred to the 4-hr
Body a few times.
This new book consists of summaries of his
podcasts. One chapter per guest, I believe.
Those interesting to me are a good reminder of
what I once decided to do. I have jotted down
yet another todo list after leafing through the
700-page tome, including pullups, dead-lifts,
cossack squats, meditation, sauna, less fruits, etc.,
and a to-read list, including "Hardcore History"
by Carlin, "Siddhartha" by Hesse, "Natrual Born
Heros" by McDougal, etc.
It's interesting that the "Tao Te Ching" ranked
the most recommended by guests but not a single
Chinese came on Tim's podcast.
- Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by
This is a re-read and re-listening. It's well
worth the effort. The book has introduced many
new concepts to me. One is the "Lindy's Effect"
where for the perishable, e.g., a human, every
additional day in its life translates into a
shorter additional life expectancy. For the
nonperishable every additional day may imply a
longer life expectancy, e.g., books or
technologies 2000 years old can be expected to
last another 2000 years. Another is "iatrogenics"
meaning harm done by the healer.
His fictional character, Fat Tony, is hilarious.
The imagined dialog between Tony and Socrates
gives an idea why the ancient Athenian was
sentenced to death.
Taleb shared some dietetic and weight-lifting
experiences with me and seemed to have the same
taste in shoes. I'd recommend the Xeros to him.
The author is very well-read and in his word,
erudite. I learned so much from his books. Taleb
is one of Pavel's favorite authors, too.