Tom Being Tom

Just me, talking about stuff.

books

compiling a reading list

Your Help Appreciated

By on 16 Dec 2017

I have a simple question for you today:

What would you have me read?

I know, that’s a loaded question. You probably looked up from the falling snowflakes of my overproduced new blog theme, towards your bookshelf, and said to yourself, hmmm? 🤔

If you’re like me there’s a hell of a lot of material up there, covering a wide range of topics, so how do you pick just one? Well, don’t. Don’t pick just one. Pick a few and command me to investigate their contents. Command me to go forth and read.

Why?

I was talking to a fellow blogger in the comments section of her very inspirational, humorous, and quite ambitious New Year’s Resolutions post (go read it), when a thought occurred to me… I need to produce a reading list for next year. If it’s a good one, I typed aloud, I will post my 2018 reading list on my blog, and allow others to follow my progress. It sounded simple enough.

So, I mused.

And I researched.

What I found was that the average reader, according to this website, reads about 15 books a year. About 75% of Americans, they say, read at least one book annually. The median number of books read was 6, but the average is pushed up to 15 by you folks who always seem to have a book in your hand. God bless you; you are the wise.

I am not among the wise. I don’t always have a book in my hand. But I do know people that do, and they probably read at least one book a week. Maybe more. I do not.

But I am above-average in my absorption count, I’d say. 20-25 books a year, for me, sounds about right.

However, I like to leave myself some variance, for flights of fancy, so I’ve decided my cemented reading list for the coming year will equal the national average. So, I am preparing a list of “15 Books I Will Read in 2018.”

Once I’ve composed my list, I will put them in order and begin. I may even discuss each one briefly, upon completion, if so encouraged.

So, what I need from you is a little help in completing my list. I’ve been scanning the great electronic divide for ideas, and I have some. But I trust you, faithful reader, far more than the star-system “out there.”

“But what does Tom like,” you say, “How can I properly guide Tom?”

I’m glad you asked!

I’ve composed a list of some things I’d like to read, eventually (and maybe even this year). But before I get to that list let me quid pro quo ya, preemptively, and tell you what I would recommend for your reading list, if ya asked.

I highly recommend Yuval Noah Harari, both Sapiens and Homo Deus. I am finished with one and halfway through the other. My intention is to read them both again, in time, and take notes. Best. Stuff. Ever. I also recommend Flow, by Mikhail Csikszentmihalyi and, even better by him, The Evolving Self. I very much enjoyed Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael and adored Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. Jonathan Haidt’s The Happiness Hypothesis is probably my favorite book on positive psychology. Please read anything by Joseph Stiglitz. Take in Carl Sagan’s classic The Demon-Haunted World, also, several times if you can.

These are but a few of my favorites, all-time. There are many more I could recommend, but let’s move forth.

The books below pique my interest, or have been sitting on my electronic shelf*, waiting for me, for some time. Consider:

Abundance, by Peter H. Diamandis

To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

The Time Keeper, by Mitch Albom

This Changes Everything, by Naomi Klein

The Global Minotaur, by Yanis Varoufakis

In 100 Years, edited by Ignacio Palacious-Huerta

Kane and Abel, by Jeffrey Archer

Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis, by Anne Rice

Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Milliman

Capital, by Thomas Piketty

The Autobiography of James T. Kirk, by David A. Goodman

Elon Musk, by Ashlee Vance

The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz

Anything by Chomsky.

A biography of Frank Sinatra.

More comic books. 😇

Again, this is not my reading list for 2018, but samples of books that might be included in it. I would like to read them all, at some point. My reading list for 2018 will evolve from this, and from your recommendations.

So, dig into your own archives and tell Tom, what would you have him read?

Your participation is greatly appreciated. 😊

*Any book that makes my list will have to be available in electronic format, through Amazon. I don’t carry a book with me everywhere I go, but I am always within hand’s reach of Kindle. 😉

 

Thinking Is the Enemy

By on 25 Aug 2016

During the move, and the time leading up to it and after, I spent a lot of time doing things I didn’t want to do. That’s okay; sometimes we must. But in order to accomplish those grave daily responsibilities we must give up something that truly matters to us, at least in the short term.

For me I cut a little bit of time out of everything I do and a whole lot of time out of reading books. The reading of books suffered the most.

I do a lot of reading, and not just books. I get daily news sources delivered to my e-mails, I get suggested articles from Facebook and pocket.com – and from friends – and I have a sitting inventory saved in my “pocket” for “later.” I try to read other blogs to see what interests me about them that I might incorporate in my own blog. I also read other blogs to see what does not thrill me, so that I can avoid the purgatory of monotony. I hope I do that. I hope you let me know if I don’t.

But books.

I can’t say I’ve ever been an avid book reader. I never read a book in high school. Seriously. My career in reading started some time in my twenties and consisted almost entirely for the next decade of science fiction or Anne Rice. I probably read more books in my twenties than I have read since. Some time in my early thirties I stopped reading fiction, at all, just because it didn’t thrill me anymore.

I’m a plodding reader, who has tried his hand a million times at speed reading. I assimilate information pretty quickly, so that’s not the problem. The problem is one of focus. I think quicker than I read so often I’ll be a page and half into the meat of something really invigorating but I haven’t actually read a word. I was a million miles away, thinking of some game adventure, or about finances, or what I’m going to grill for dinner or the next book I’m going to read after this one. My reverie is usually broken by some incredible line in a book that makes me go back and find out how we got there. So I’m a slow reader, because I have to read so much of it twice.

Still…

I would say I finish about 20 books a year. Some years less, some years more. I will read 1/3 of a book a lot and then put it away and never finish. I think by a 1/3 of the way through a book if it hasn’t captured you it’s wasting your time. Sometimes I’ll read 5-10 pages and already decide.

I’ve tried listening to books but I have the same problem. My mind wanders. Call it attention deficit disorder if you must, or call it an active mind. I call it a scattered brain. My scattered brain has probably robbed me of more accomplishments than any other factor has. Focus is so important to setting and keeping goals. It’s practically mandatory. I lack it.

What was I saying?

Oh yes, books. This entry started with a desire to tell you a few words about a short book I started this week, now that I have time to read again, and how interesting it is only 16% of the way into it. I was even going to quote a pretty cool phrase – “ego is stolen; confidence is earned” – in describing my thoughts about it. But I got derailed.

You’re probably used to that by now.

Next time I boot up I’ll probably have something entirely different on my mind so I doubt I’ll get around to telling you about Ryan Holiday’s “Ego Is the Enemy” but, so far, it’s a pretty good book. He also wrote “The Obstacle Is the Way” a couple of years back and I’ve read it, too. Cover to cover. If I finished it, it must be good.

If you finished this, you probably have better focus than I. Thanks for doing that, it means the world to me. Now go read something substantive, you’ve earned it. If you’re inclined, post below what you read immediately after this and I’ll go read it, too. I promise. I might not finish it and, in fact, I might not actually digest the words I’m reading, but I do promise to check it out.

After all, now that I have more free time than I have boxes, I have a whole scattered brain to fill. 😉

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