Ingeniously, the Japanese use the word Tsundoku” to describe those times when you buy books, but let them pile up in your home without ever touching them again.

In that spirit, I love reading and listening to (audio-)books and inspired by fellow blogger @cliophate I’m sharing all the books I have finished with a micro-review and optional recommendation.

2019

Why we sleepWhy we sleep

Matthew Walker - Why we sleep

Genre: Non-Fiction Medical
Recommendation: Yes
Astounding beyond my expectations. I took little care of my sleep in my teens and twenties, and have only started to take sleep more seriously about 4 years ago. The author has rationalized and intensified my wish for at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Not matter from which perspective you look at it, economically sleep is a competitive advantage by increasing your intelligence, medically sleep reduces your risk of severe sicknesses such as e.g. cancer, health-wise sleep makes you happier and fit, socially sleep makes you more likable, and so on and so on. I find this book to be very important for everyone to read and highly suggest those who regularly sleep less than 8 hours a night to study Why we sleep” intently. Only long and deep sleep can built the foundation for our bodies to live long and healthy. If you’re in any way concerned about your diet, level of exercise, work performance, creativity and life expectancy you should be concerned about your sleep first.

The subtle art of not giving a fuckThe subtle art of not giving a fuck

Mark Manson - The subtle art of not giving a fuck

Genre: Non-Fiction Self Help
Recommendation: Yes
Care less about the things that occupy your mind on day to day basis, and care more about the things that really matter to you. The message of the book is really simple, and thus the book is a quick read. It’s an entertaining contemporary piece of literature that drives home the point of why everyone should just do whatever the fuck he so wishes to do. Of course, there are laws, morals, norms that get in the way of some of the things one might like to do, but nobody should stop doing the things he really cares about just because he worries it will reflect bad on himself.

The Silk RoadsThe Silk Roads

Peter Frankopan - The Silk Roads

Genre: Non-Fiction History
Recommendation: Yes
The trade routes through the middle east, where east meets west, have at least hundred, if not thousand of years of history. This book tries to give us a perspective of eastern and western civilizations from the perspective of the middle east. A literary herculean task that while well executed was confusing from in parts as someone not well studied on the shahs, khans and imperial empires that ruled parts of the world a thousand years ago. This confusion was dreading at worst, but exciting at best and strengthened my opinion that the current political world is more complex than meets the eye. Of course the Middle East played a huge role in our civilization, just how big that impact has been is attainably clear in this book. I liked the book most when it talked about the last 100 - 200 years as the impact of the 19th & 20th century is most noticeable in our lives today. The importance of the silk roads becomes clear with the Chinese Belt & Road Initiative, giving new importance and capital to an age old concept. I’m looking forward to read The New Silk Roads” by Frankopan soon, as they give a more forward-looking view of the importance of the Middle East.

The Jesus IncidentThe Jesus Incident

Frank Herbert, Bill Ransom - The Jesus Incident

Genre: Science-Fiction
Recommendation: Yes
A science-fiction drama that reflects on the human struggle to survive, and the oxymoron of survival guaranteed only through deadly sacrifices waged in wars. I don’t remember how this book was recommended to me, but saw it on my kindle collecting dust’ for quite a while before I finally committed my time to it. The book is a quick paced read that makes appetite for more as it keeps the plot unpredictable when switching the characters perspective mid-chapter. There are two more books in the series which I didn’t now existed prior to reading the first book. While The Jesus Incident’ ends on a full-stop and left me satisfied, I think I’ll be enjoying to read more of the authors idea about the human civilian process.

Killing CommendatoreKilling Commendatore

Haruki Murakami - Killing Commendatore

Genre: Fiction
Recommendation: Yes
As a Murakami fan, I wouldn’t give this book anything but a recommendation but also in regards to his most recent works I enjoyed this coming of age story relatively well. The book is way better than the previous Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki”, the plot of which I have already completely forgotten. Having just finished it I also think its better than his epochal 1Q84, which felt like a tough read sometimes. Killing Commendatore was a fun book until Chapter 52 of 65, when the story goes underground’ and becomes very abstract and metaphorical. As an intermittent trip into some sort of parallel world this part would have been better, if it wasn’t for the rather abrupt and unmoving ending that unfolds right after this excursion. As ever though Murakami has elegantly developed his characters that for one part feel so very real, and on the other hand are too perfectly Japanese that I started envying their character’s constitution. Killing Commendatore beautifully describes a world of focus, determination, wonder, excitement and skill that drew me in and made me continue to explore this painting-like environment. It was a sensory pleasure that I felt at home in and wouldn’t wanna miss having read. It was exactly what I read and appreciate Murakami’s art so much for. It seems a women at any age, 13, 14, you name it, feels that she is facing a delicate time in her live” - this was one of the funnier comments made by the books unnamed main character.

PrinciplesPrinciples

Ray Dalio - Principles

Genre: Non-Fiction Management
Recommendation: Yes
I’ve heard about Bridgewater Capital years ago in the news. Reported was that Founder Ray Dalio was surveilling his staff without respect for data privacy and had job applicants reveal their most private data through in a myriad of tests. This book gives you a completely different picture of Dalio, his company, and then so much more. Dalio does a great job of passing on his knowledge in this book making me feel appreciative of the life advice from one of the richest men in the USA. Principles led me to do my own personality test and has invoked in me a slew of goals I am to achieve in 2019. There are lots of great thoughts worth quoting in principles and I seriously wonder why Mr. Dalio is not one of the potential candidates for next presidential elections in the USA. I listened to the audio version of this book and it was very impressively read by Mr. Dalio himself the majority of the time. I’m not sure whether it was the content or the fact the last third of the book was read by someone else, but it got less interesting and more repetitive in this part of the book. I’m looking forward to check out the tools Dalio is providing online and will sure come back to the wisdom of this book in the future. One of my favorite quotes from the book, that I will try to follow in bringing up my son, is: Giving people the opportunity to struggle rather than giving them what they struggle for, will make them stronger.”

The AlchemistThe Alchemist

Paulo Coelho - The Alchemist

Genre: Fiction Spirituality
Recommendation: Yes
A beautiful little tale of perseverance, love and faith. The text blurb introducing the book doesn’t do the book justice with all its messages and hidden meanings and hints at something greater in live those things that are right in front of our eyes. The Alchemist is very profound and sophisticated, and at the same time simple and and easy to read. I think its strengths lies in the narration and the many ways a reader is able to interpret the book according to his own statute. The audiobook is so pleasantly narrated by Jeremy Irons, that I finished this romantic little piece of literature in just two sittings within 24 hours of each other. I recommend you slow down the speed to appreciate the narrative, in case you usually listen to audio sped-up.

Smart Money Smart KidsSmart Money Smart Kids

Dave Ramsey, Rachel Cruze - Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money

Genre: Non-Fiction Personal Finance
Recommendation: Yes
I noticed the book while casually browsing micro.blog and found the title captivating enough to put it next in my reading list. The book didn’t disappoint at all, with practical advise confidently presented by the father and daughter Ramsey. Though I was adverse when the authors first spoke about their faith and how it manifests itself in their financial convictions, I enjoyed their convinced and passioned way in bringing their life experience across to other people. The advise is nothing earth-shattering new but served me as a good reminder to rectify my habits with Eli needing my guidance and parenting.

The Bitcoin StandardThe Bitcoin Standard

Saifedean Ammous - The Bitcoin Standard

Genre: Non-Fiction Economics |
Recommendation: Yes
It’s great to have started 2019 with such a powerful book. The book is packed with knowledge about monetary finance and gives a new perspective on the last 200 years of central banking and capitalism, leading up to the intrinsic values that make Bitcoin an competitor for global reserve currency. I especially loved the chapter on low and high time frames as it inspires me to stay fervent in focusing on the long-term. I’ll try to find more literature on this topic in 2019 and hope that Saifedean himself will elaborate on the idea in regards to Bitcoin with a follow-up book. I do not agree entirely with the book, e.g. the connotation that the past 100 years of human & economic progress has always been accompanied by chaotic boom & bust cycles, or that all progress we see today is fundamentally based on the time when gold was the global reserve standard. I do understand the argument though and accept it has some merit, i just wouldn’t paint such a bleak picture of our past, and instead highlight how Bitcoin is able to improve on our future even more. A must read for everyone interested in Bitcoin, money, fintech, economics and cryptocurrencies.

2018

Ball LightningBall Lightning

Liu Cixin - Ball Lightning

Genre: Science Fiction
Recommendation: No
While reading Cixin’s Three Body Problem I accidentally read Ball Lightning because I thought it was part of the trilogy. I did enjoy the book and finished it fairly quickly. In general though, I’m not a huge science fiction fan and the books narrative about a person’s passion to find this exotic form of lightning was not as grand and inspiring as the Three Body Problem.

Three-Body ProblemThree-Body Problem

Liu Cixin - The Three-Body Problem Triology

Genre: Science Fiction
Recommendation: Yes
Being a recommendation by my wife and Barack Obama I liked this book a lot. The science is mind boggling, even though I have no competency whatsoever to verify any of it. I got a little lost in Book II when a weird kids fairytale took center stage in the narrative. Never-minding this, the theories in the book are captivating. The thought of multiple thousand of civilizations living in the dark forest of space is grand and one i love to ponder on. Most positive thought I gained from the book is, love is the answer.

DebtDebt

David Graeber - Debt: The First 5.000 Years

Genre: Non-fiction Economics
Recommendation: Yes
Debt is one of those books that linger on subconsciously longer than you anticipate. Of course, 5.000 years of debt is way too much to read, learn and remember in daily live, but the underlying philosophies of how humans have defined debt over centuries gains headwater and you’ll look at money, economics and debt differently after finishing this book.

SapiensSapiens

Yuval Harari - Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Genre: Non-fiction History
Recommendation: Yes
An absolute blockbuster of a book. Recommended by the great @naval on twitter, I finished this book in no time. Sapiens transpires a breadth of knowledge and is hugely entertaining. You have to know the past, to understand the present, and this book takes a huge effort in explaining our past. Loved almost every chapter in it and never got bored, as it was just so mind-opening to get a broader understand of who and why we are. A definite recommendation. If you read one book this year make it Sapiens.

Plus, the audiobook is beautifully read by Mr. Derek Perkins.


Dein kompetentes KindDein kompetentes Kind

Jesper Jens - Dein kompetentes Kind

Genre: Non-fiction Parenting
Recommendation: No
A German book on parenting I read some time after my son born. I read the book in anticipation of some good advise, but found it’s semi-scientific ideas mostly far-fetched. I appreciate that the author tried to give case examples, however I didn’t think they were straightforward and more importantly didn’t agree with half of the proposed resolutions. The author and this book is apparently one of the more popular and regularly recommended books in German parenting literature. I don’t really see why. Having read up on the authors biography, I was even less staunched. I think the author take his parenting approach too serious, and I my believe a less planned” approach is okay as long as the child feels loved along the way.

2017

Here I amHere I am

Jonathan Foe - Here I Am

Genre: Fiction Drama
Recommendation: Yes
A New York Times Bestseller this book about responsibilities as husband, father, citizen, Jew caught my attention in a time when I just became father and felt the responsibilities and connected stress of marriage and fatherhood creeping up. I couldn’t entirely identify with the Jewish American protagonist, but understood his nostalgia for times past and the conflicts he was fighting in daily life. It’s an entertaining book and easy read that gave me a comfy feeling at times, because shared pain is half the pain.

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