What I've been reading

This page is dedicated to the books I've read. If you think there is something I should explore, please suggest in the comments.

I used to read one book every few months or so until I found audiobooks and realised I could speed them to 3x (like I do with podcasts) and still get good comprehension (probably better than I do when I read from a book). Since then, I've been "reading" while riding the train to work, at the gym, and pretty much any time I can stick my AirPods in my ears. 

It's probably the single most valuable thing I can tell you. It sounds like an ad, but you should consider downloading Audible and start listening to books at 3x while commuting, walking, relaxing, or any time when you can't be sitting down and reading.

Below is a list of the books I've read thus far, in order. If you'd like me to dive deeper into any of these books, please let me know in the comments.

2018

  1. Michael Jordan, by Roland Lazenby
  2. Deep Work, by Cal Newport
  3. The Art of Thinking Clearly, by Rolf Dobelli
  4. The Art of Learning, by Josh Waitzkin
  5. The Inner Game of Tennis, by W. Timothy Gallwey
  6. Predictably Irrational, by Dan Ariely
  7. Superforecasting, by Philip Tetlock

2017

  1. The Everything Store, by Brad Stone
  2. Hatching Twitter, by Nick Bilton
  3. Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
  4. The Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  5. The Art of Learning, by Josh Waitzkin
  6. 48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene
  7. The Most Important Thing, by Howard Marks
  8. The Rise of Superman, by Steven Kotler
  9. Benjamin Franklin, by Walter Isaacson
  10. The Brain That Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge MD
  11. The Art of the Deal, by Donald J. Trump
  12. Grit, by Angela Duckworth
  13. Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell
  14. Charlie Munger, by Tren Griffin
  15. The Upstarts, by Brad Stone
  16. The Marshmallow Test, by Walter Mischel
  17. We Learn Nothing, by Tim Kreider
  18. The Code of the Extraordinary Mind, by Vishen Lakhiani
  19. Surely, You're Joking Mr. Feynman!, by Richard R. Feynman
  20. Essentialism, by Greg McKeown
  21. Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari
  22. Business @ the Speed of Thought, by Bill Gates
  23. World Order, by Henry Kissinger
  24. Basic Economics, by Thomas Sowell
  25. Team of Teams, by General Stanley McChrystal
  26. Flash Boys, by Michael Lewis
  27. Liar's Poker, by Michael Lewis
  28. The Big Short, by Michael Lewis
  29. The Hard Thing About Hard Things, by Ben Horowitz
  30. Andrew Carnegie, by David Nasaw
  31. On Writing, by Stephen King
  32. Writing Tools, by Roy Peter Clark
  33. The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand
  34. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
  35. Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
  36. Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse
  37. Nudge, by Richard Thaler
  38. Misbehaving, by Richard Thaler
  39. Influence, by Robert Cialdini Ph.D.
  40. Fooling Some of the People All of the Time, by David Einhorn
  41. The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro
  42. Fooled by Randomness, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  43. Our Oriental Heritage, by Will Durant
  44. The Life of Greece, by Will Durant
  45. Caesar and Christ, by Will Durant
  46. How Will You Measure Your Life?, by Clayton M. Christensen
  47. The Innovator's Solution, by Clayton M. Christensen
  48. Swann's Way, by Marcel Proust
  49. Peak, by Anders Ericsson
  50. Republic, by Plato
  51. Principles, by Ray Dalio
  52. Nicomachean Ethics, by Aristotle
  53. 1984, by George Orwell
  54. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
  55. Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
  56. Zero to One, by Peter Thiel
  57. Hillbilly Elegy, by J. D. Vance
  58. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, by Al Ries
  59. Perennial Seller, by Ryan Holiday
  60. Learn or Die, Edward D. Hess
  61. Originals, by Adam Grant
  62. An Everyone Culture, by Robert Kegan
  63. The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro
  64. Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty
  65. Leonardo Da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson
  66. Propaganda, by Edward Bernays
  67. Crystallising Public Opinion, by Edward Bernays
  68. Bored and Brilliant, by Manoush Zomorodi
  69. Gut, by Giulia Enders
  70. Deep Work, by Cal Newport
  71. Win Bigly, by Scott Adams
  72. Impossible to Ignore, by Carmen Simon Ph.D.
  73. Yes! 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini Ph.D.
  74. The Goal, by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
  75. It's Not Luck, by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
  76. Critical Chain, by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
  77. The Innovators, by Walter Isaacson
  78. American Prometheus, by Kai Bird
  79. Fermat's Last Theorem, by Simon Singh
  80. To Sell Is Human, by Daniel H. Pink

2016

  1. Scientific Advertising, by Claude C Hopkins
  2. Business Adventures, by John Brooks
  3. The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham
  4. The Undoing Project, by Michael Lewis
  5. The Grid, by Gretchen Bakke Ph.D.
  6. Chaos Monkeys, by Antonio Garcia Martinez
  7. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
  8. Deep Work, by Cal Newport
  9. Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim
  10. Zero to One, by Peter Thiel

Writing to learn

Richard Feynman (read Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman!) had a brilliant way of learning something new. When he wanted to learn something new, he'd try explain it in simple language, language that a toddler could understand. If he got stuck somewhere, and couldn't explain it simply he'd go back and learn more until he could.

Given that he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965, I assume it works. Given that he had time to learn how to pick locks and play the bongo drums, I'd assume it works well.

In honour of Mr Feynman, and for my own selfish benefit, I want to use Feynman's technique to learn more about my own cognitive biases by writing about them, and hopefully overcome them. 

My intention is to improve my own thinking and decision-making. By taking what I learn when I read and trying to communicate it to you in simple language, ideally with actionable insights that you can apply to your daily life. I think once you get your daily life under control you can then start solving the big, difficult, important problems that most people never get to (because they haven't built out systems to deal with the minutiae).

It's easy to find a list of cognitive biases, just look to Wikipedia. It's a little harder to understand the theory, but again, still pretty easy. What's hard is learning how to practice seeing your biases. I haven't figured that part out yet either...

I think writing about it will help.

What I currently believe is you need to internalise biases not know them by name, as Josh Waitzkin says, you need to study numbers to leave numbers. Ideally, you have a community of people who are willing to learn with you, I hope this blog becomes that community.

I also believe that taking the time to improve your decision-making will pay dividends, it's a valuable past time, one that's not taught in schools. It's not even taught in a systematic way, there are a lucky few who pick it up along the way, pulling together information from here and there. Or they learn it indirectly through another discipline, like science or engineering, where they teach to say "I was wrong" and then work out why your initial hypothesis didn't work.

But you don't need to be working in a lab to benefit from the scientific method. Being able to say you were wrong is valuable, no one wants to do it. But If you can't say "I was wrong" then figure out where to go from there, what's the point reading more books? Confirmation bias is killing the new information anyway. Learning about our biases can help us stop doing that.

Decision-making is hard to learn, but it's the bedrock of our economy, and it's fascinating. It just takes looking at the same thing from multiple angles until it clicks. That's what I'm trying to do.

In the end one thing matters, that it improves our lives. Who knows, I could be wrong, maybe I'll never overcome my biases and maybe the best you can hope for is knowing each bias by name. If I am wrong, I hope I'll be able to say "I was wrong" and figure out what to write about from there.