While I finished 10 books in May, many of them were quick listens, which allowed me to really take my time with the books that really caused me to think and take notes. There were no books on the list this month that I’d caution you to steer clear of.
It was “The Coddling of the American Mind” by Jonathan Haidt, Greg Lukianoff that really gave me pause, and prompted lots of rewinding to make sure I fully understood what they were saying. While the introduction really turned me off, the rest of the book had me holding on to the edge of my seat. Much of my work these days is related to building a greater sense of strength in the midst of challenge and discomfort, and this book maps out a very clear path as to why this is an essential part of any education. The book maps out the rise of victimhood culture, and the increasing intolerance of American youth on college campuses. It then goes on to look at possible causes for this epidemic of young fragility. The last part of the book outlines steps that parents (and concerned teachers/citizens) can take, to ensure that we don’t become a dangerously intolerant society, clamoring for an authoritarian regime to protect us from any disruption to our identity or personal pleasure.
Another great list was “80/20 Running” by Matt Fitzgerald. This book, which seems to go against other books that Matt has written (such as “How Bad do You Want it”), is a very well researched look into the benefits of running slowly 80% of the time… but not just for casual runners – this 80/20 principle works for runners at all stages of the game, all the way up to Olympians. It’s nice to see Matt embracing a more compassionate plan, even if his motives are not to increase self compassion in the runners he intends to reach.
While I’m giving “Everything is F#cked” by Mark Manson 3.5 stars, I must say that it was a disappointment. His book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F#ck” was surprisingly insightful and is one of my favorite books. But, I had a sense that it was simply well researched, and not a philosophy embodied by the author. That became glaringly obvious in “Everything is F#cked.” It’s another well researched book, but falls victim to the author’s arrogance and cynicism. So while it’s full of valuable insights, they are all surrounded by snark, and a cold sense of sociopathic indifference.
Here is my May reading list, in the order that I listened to them:
Training The Mind – Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche ***.5
The 3-Day Effect – Florence Williams ***
How to be a Good Creature – Sy Montgomery ***
Be Like The Fox – Erica Benner ***
The Coddling of the American Mind – Jonathan Haidt, Greg Lukianoff ****.5
Radical Candor – Kim Scott ***.5
Everything is F#cked – Mark Manson ***.5
Bursts – Albert Barabasi ***.5
Prediction Machines – Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, Avi Goldfarb ***.5
80/20 Running – Matt Fitzgerald ****
(if you are not yet an Audible member, you can get one of these books for free, by signing up for a 30 day trial – use this link, and you’ll help support my work as well – Audible Trial Membership)