I read 18 books in the last year. I’ve realized that I enjoy listening to non-fiction using audiobooks but still prefer reading fiction on my kindle.
Here is a list of the books I read in chronological order along with a few notes I made while reading. I add a * next to the book name when I recommend it.
Links to my 2021, 2020 and 2019 book lists.
Top Pick: Outlive (Peter Attia)
The most impactful book I read this year was Outlive by Peter Attia. I’ve been following Attia for a while, but the book opened up my eyes to the power of exercise to improve overall healthy life. A few key takeaways:
- Modern medicine (medicine 2.0) has made progress at increasing lifespan (total years lived) by treating disease but medicine 3.0 is focused on improving our healthspan (healthy years lived).
- There is no better medicine than exercise and it has a profound impact on healthspan that exceeds any drug – both v02 max and strength matter.
- V02 max is a measure of fitness and cardiac health – focus on Zone 2 (barely able to hold a conversation) and Zone 5 (all out sprint).
- Strength training should focus on foundational movements – hip hinging (squats/deadlifts), pulling (rows/pulldowns), grip strength (farmer carrys/hangs), and eccentric loading (muscle extension).
- No type of diet is superior (too much tribalism) but prioritizing protein, eating whole foods and being in a slight caloric deficit if you’re overnourished are effective.
- *Power of Now (Eckhart Tolle): Live in the moment and not for tomorrow. Be completely present even if you’re performing acts that invest in your future. Enjoy and be fully present the journey, not for the outcome.
- *Build (Tony Fadell): Tony Fadell is was the “father of the iPod” at Apple. Be the right type of asshole – mission driven. Don’t settle for mediocre. Take breaks, have balance but work hard.
- *No Rules Rules (Reed Hastings & Erin Meyer): This book is about building Netflix. The best ideas should always win at your company. Pay at the top of market and what people are worth even if it means you’re above their expectations. Empower employees to make decisions without approval, have checks on the backend to catch issues.
- *Amp It Up (Frank Slootman): Frank Slootman is the CEO of Snowlake. Execution always comes first and then strategy – If you cant execute, strategy is irrelevant. Their operating model is to set objectives and then have substantial financial rewards for hitting objectives.
- *Who Gets What — and Why? (Alvin E. Roth): This book is all about marketplaces, incentives and rules that govern these marketplaces (including matching). For a marketplace to succeed it must be safe. Ranking your choices if they are public is entirely game theory (e.g. schools).
- Ghost in the Wires (Kevin Mitnick): Social engineering is as important as actual technical proficiency. Most hacking happens from tricking humans. Reads like a personal defense statement at times which was off putting.
- *The Alignment Problem (Brian Christian): First book I read on artificial intelligence. Training models is dependent on quality training data which is fraught with bias. Training models is as much like psychology as it is about math. The best analogy for a model is a toddler who learns similarly to the model.
- The War of Art (Steven Pressfield): A book about writing. If you cared and were dedicated enough you would make something your craft. Motivation and affirmation should come from within.
- Tools of Titans (Time Ferriss): Lots of good tips from successful folks to live a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life. He breaks it into “health”, “wealth,” and “wisdom.” Correlation of success does not equal causation but these get muddled in the book. We all think that what choices we made makes us successful but sometimes we are just lucky.
- *Dune (Frank Herbert): Power of a rich world and deep story. Lesson in world building. Analogies to colonization (Persian empire) and inspired a lot of incredible worlds like star wars. One of the best scifi fiction books ever.
- Immortality, Inc. (Chip Walter): Not that many new ideas and too much focus on the stories of individuals. Don’t recommend. Abandoned 60% through.
- *Tyranny of Merit (Michael J. Sandel): 1) Only 50% of children born in the 80s do better than their parents, whereas 80% of the children born in the 40s did better than their parents. 2) Social mobility is worse in the US than Europe, but Americans think they have a better shot.
- Working Backwards (Colin Bryar & Bill Carr): Book about Amazon. Controlling costs but sharing in global upside was a clear incentive mechanism. Writing is clear thinking drove the “PR-FAQ” process at Amazon. Bezos as uncompromising when asking for t the “impossible” which usually became possible.
- **Outlive (Peter Attia): This book is about extending your healthy life and what interventions we can do now that will massive impact on reducing all cause mortality as we age. Exercise is one of the best medicines.
- *Die with Zero (Bill Perkins): Don’t sacrifice living life and having great experiences when you are healthy and able for more wealth accumulation. Spend and enjoy your money now, because you may not get the same utility from it later.
- *Infinite Game (Simon Sinek): Play long term games and think about growing the pie over taking more for yourself. Vision and purpose matter not just hard nosed analytical execution. Prioritize people over outcomes.
- Built to Move (Kelly Starrett & Juliet Starrett): Basically advocates for more movement interspaced through our day – mobility, strength etc. balance of eating whole foods and protein and sleeping well.
More to come next year!
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