Book reviews

All reviews are also on goodreads.

Let Your Life Speak by Parker J. Palmer

Rating: 5 stars

This book surprised me. In discussing vocation, Palmer introduced themes I did not expect and convinced me of the essentiality of each. Themes included inner voice, not knowing, accepting limitations, depression, and seasons. Although the ideas presented were of the deep and mystical kind, they sat lightly with me, likely due to Palmer's honesty and humility.

Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal by J.K. Rowling

Rating: 5 stars

I read this book alongside an audiobook to improve my Spanish. My level is B1-B2 and I'm familiar with the Harry Potter films. To be honest, I didn't follow all of the story but I understood the general outline and enjoyed the challenge of reading loads of Spanish.

Write Useful Books by Rob Fitzpatrick

Rating: 5 stars

Easy to read and straight to the point, the author shares his tried and true methods for writing nonfiction that is useful and sells. The author focuses on topics like structuring the table of contents, getting feedback and marketing rather than the writing process itself. It's suggestions cater to nonfiction writing in general so it would also be a great read for aspiring authors and bloggers alike.

Range by David Epstein

Rating: 5 stars

Range presents the case for the value of diversifying one's skill set and life experiences. Pursuing range can enhance problem-solving ability and increase the chances of discovering fulfilling work. This book's message should be more widely known.

Zero to One by Blake Masters and Peter Thiel

Rating: 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. It succinctly shares the fundamentals of launching a startup that has potential to radically change the world. It's made me more optimistic for the world's future and has instilled in me a desire to contribute to its transformation.

“The perfect target market for a startup is a small group of particular people concentrated together and served by few or no competitors.”

“A startup is the largest endeavor over which you can have definite mastery. You can have agency not just over your own life, but over a small and important part of the world.”

“But in a power law world, you can’t afford not to think hard about where your actions will fall on the curve.”

“If you think something hard is impossible, you’ll never even start trying to achieve it. Belief in secrets is an effective truth.”

“The best place to look for secrets is where no one else is looking.”

When by Daniel H. Pink

Rating: 3 stars

The book has three parts. Part 1 is about how the rhythm of a day affects us. Part 2 focuses on broader life situations such as how aging affects goal setting and the timing of divorces. These parts were good. Part 3, which examines team dynamics, however, was a bore and felt less connected to the overarching theme of timing. Overall, the book may lack cohesiveness, but still offers valuable insights.

Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner

Rating: 4 stars

Fluent Forever offers practical strategies with clear explanations. Three takeaways I'm implementing in my language learning are:

  1. Learning grammar is important

  2. Combining reading and listening to a book for effective practice

  3. Write lots.

P.S. The author really likes flash cards. Don't feel obliged to adopt this approach. Many polyglots choose different methods.

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

Rating: 5 stars

How do we create original work when there is nothing new under the sun? We steal. This book dissects the unofficial practice of the artist and presents approaches for cultivating artistic work. The book is insightful and a speedy read.

Hell Yeah or No by Derek Sivers

Rating: 5 stars

An enjoyable book with easy-to-read life lessons. The insight-to-word ratio is strong with this one. Here's one idea I'm taking home from this book: Motivation is delicate so be mindful of the delicate aspects of your environment. A small alteration may go a long way.

Optionality by Richard Meadows

Rating: 5 stars

Optionality presents a lifestyle philosophy centered around optimising one's freedom to engage in meaningful pursuits. It is easy to follow with a touch of a rebellious spirit. This book is a welcomed addition to the self-help genre. P.S. I had a coffee with Richard. He's an all-round great guy.