Book I’m Reading Right Now
Miracle Creek – Angie Kim
My sister-in-law signed me up for the Book of the Month club as birthday present a while back. Every month you choose from five of the top new fiction books and have them delivered to your door for five months. This was the last one I got delivered and it’s wild. It’s about Korean immigrants in rural Virginia who create a new medical device that helps treat autism, cerebral palsy, infertility, and many others. When the device explodes and kills two people in a massive explosion, it creates a giant rift in the town. Did someone deliberately light it on fire? Was the Yoo family just trying to cash in on a big insurance payment? A trial ensues that divides the entire town. REALLY heavy courtroom drama that I just started. But I expect it’s going to be very very good.
Books I’ve Given Up On
Ok, it may look like I read a ton of books, which I do. You’ve probably even thought “It’s not humanly possible to read at that pace.” But sometimes I actually do. I get in to a groove and read two long books in a week. But every now and then I have to give up on a book. I get through a third, or half of it, and it either doesn’t do it for me or I get the gist of it within the first 100 pages and realize it’s not worth reading the extra 200.
Just like music, I’ll never trash a well-respected book. I hate when people are like “Ugh I HATE the Red Hot Chili Peppers“*
*By the way, are the Red Hot Chili Peppers the only band that we, as a planet, can unanimously agree on? Doesn’t matter what age, race, religion, or gender you are. They’re awesome.
Either way, you should never just rule out an entire genre, artist, or author… especially if they’re universally respected. Yeah, you can say a particular Lady Gaga song sucks if you don’t like it, for example. But you can’t say EVERY Lady Gaga song sucks. That’s just ridiculous and I lose any objective interest in your musical opinions after that.
Likewise, I don’t like to say books suck. If an author or an artist put in the time and it’s been critically reviewed by peers, and it’s been on the top charts, and it’s selling thousands of copies on Amazon… clearly A LOT of people like it. Maybe I just don’t. Or it just doesn’t match up to my interest/taste. I didn’t really like Harry Potter *gasp*, but I would never say it sucks. I just can’t get into that stuff for some reason, I wish I could.
Anyway, rant over. That was a long-winded way of saying sometimes you just don’t jive with things that are universally considered to be really good. Here are a couple of great books that I recently decided to wave the white flag on:
On the Road – Jack Kerouac
On the Road is a book that always seems to be mentioned in great literature or random songs. It’s a generational tale of Kerouac hitchhiking across America, meeting up with friends and writing about his travels in the year 1947 from Brooklyn, across the Great Plains, to Montana, to Denver, LA, Texas, and the Louisiana bayou. It’s one of those literary works that leaves you in awe. He’s a fantastic writer and views on humanity and the great country of America are mesmerizing, but it just didn’t vibe with me after 100 pages or so. May pick it up again in a few months.
The 48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene
This is one of those books that a lot of CEO’s and powerful people mention from time to time (Kayne West, Will Smith, 50 Cent, Brian Grazer). It’s up there with books like Influence, How to Win Friends and Influence People, or The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Jay Z even mentions it in his song “Primetime”
At 42, be better than 24s. I carry the 4-5, mastered 48 laws
Robert Greene outlines the habits of the most powerful people in history. Through each chapter, or law, he details how great leaders like Napoleon, Sun Tzu, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, or Genghis Khan used particular characteristics to get to their highly respected positions.
Some of the rules are contrary to what you’d typically read in a business book. Such as:
Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit
A lot of the stories highlight deceptive practices that are borderline unethical, but in no way is the author encouraging to do things like lie, cheat, or steal to gain positions of power. He simply is outlining how others came to power, and details those tricks through historical anecdotes. It’s a history textbook as much as it is a self-help or business book. It is a huge book, so I’m taking a bit of a break. It took me a week to get through the first 200 pages, but it might take me another month to get through the back half.
Great Reads Across the Internet
- How ‘Liberal’ Late-Night Talk Shows Became a Comedy Sinkhole: “I think the worst part is that every single person in late night knows it’s a dumb factory of lazy ideas,” This article makes really good points all across the board. Late-night talk shows are simply status quo, boring humor that would get chuckles from your coworkers. Many comedy and political satire shows on mainstream television have gotten so stale with safe humor and “god-forbid we say anything that isn’t progressive.” No shows are willing to take risks by offending people or straying from the norm. Make fun of something Trump said, don’t make risky jokes about racism/sexism/gender issues and your guaranteed regular viewership.
- The Moral Peril of Meritocracy: A friend recently pointed me towards New York Times Opinion writer David Brooks. I started reading some of his work and really like this article about how most people find meaning in life after an extremely impactful failure, change, death, or mindset shift. He equates it to two mountains. The first mountain is where life takes you – you try to reach success in your industry, get married, have kids, make money. Then the valley comes. Something big happens and you realize life is too short to continue doing something you don’t truly value. That’s where you begin to make your climb on the second mountain of life.
Have a good Easter/Passover weekend