Last Updated on March 29, 2021

Think before you speak. Read before you think.

Fran Lebowitz

I read widely. I am old enough to have grown up without the internet and so reading books was peak entertainment when I was young. Reading still is one of my favorites activities and is how I do most of my learning.

I mostly read books. Blogs and podcasts are nice for time sensitive info, but I find that books/audiobooks generally are better quality.

The library

The library was the most exciting place to go after school when I was young. I haven’t asked my parents if I went there out of choice or if it was some kind of free childcare. I would hang out wander the shelves and read for hours! It must have been formative because I still love reading now. I have incredible gratitude for the libraries. Thank you Yarra Plenty Regional Libraries and the Mitchell Shire Libraries, and the governments who kept up your funding.

Why read

I love deep diving into a topic and reading is the best way to do it. I think deep down the other reason I read so much because I’m always trying to get smarter, or maybe to avoid being dumb (terrifying to me).

I think I have a similar condition to Anne Lamott:

I devoured books like a person taking vitamins, afraid that otherwise I would remain this gelatinous narcissist, with no possibility of ever becoming thoughtful, of ever being taken seriously.

Bird By Bird

Influential books

Here are some work-in-progress lists of books that had a big influence on my thinking.

Philosophy

The timelessness of philosophy lends itself well to a book. Here’s some of the books that had a big impact on my worldview, and here’s a semi-redundant work-in-progress list here:

On the lighter side – (lighter to read, still heavy themes):

More on philosophy here.

Psychology

Habits

Behavioral economics

I’m fairly obsessed with behavioral economics.

Morality

Business

I’ve read a lot on business and leadership in the past. I don’t read this genre as much these days. A few classics:

Business fiction

  • The Goal. I a still a sucker for the business fiction genre though. Often the narrative is clunky as the poor author must sprinkle the education into the story, but it’s worth it. If I even end up writing a book it will probably be some kind of educational fiction.
  • The Phoenix Project
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

True business stories

More on business here.

Probability & statistics

I have a lot more to add here, but here’s two of my favorites:

Technology

There are very few timeless books in this category. I get more of my tech info from blogs and twitter so it’s more timely. That said, I loved:

More on technology here.

Health & Fitness

I read a fair bit about health. I have written about those books on these pages:

True survival stories

Fiction

About a third of what I read is fiction. Mostly sci-fi, or something with a philosophical bent. I’ve tried to read the classics lately.

For lighter fiction reads, some of my favorites are:

Also I am getting into short stories, these are some of my all time favorites:

Thinking, Fast and Slow
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
Einstein's Dreams
Letters from a Stoic
The Stranger
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
The Last Question
Tao Te Ching
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
Flowers for Algernon
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

What I’m currently reading