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Off to a Start…

by C. Ross Jam on May 15, 2018

There have been many times in recent memory where I’ve said, “I’m going to read more books.” Subsequently, that’s been followed by abject failure. Given my most recent such declaration, abject failure would be a reasonable prediction.

So far though, three books have been completed in my self-defined time off:

  1. “All the Birds in the Sky,” Charlie Jane Anders
  2. “You Are Now Less Dumb,” David McRaney
  3. “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World,” Cal Newport

Quick thoughts on each book.

“All the Birds in the Sky,” wasn’t quite what I expected. It was a little too fantastic for what I wanted at the moment. Enjoyed a lot of the premise, characters, and writing, but I never really connected.

“You Are Now Less Dumb,” is a worthy successor to “You Are Not So Smart,” but the topics are a bit more complex and don’t fit as well into the originator’s format, which relied on tidy, bite sized chunks discussing cognitive biases. Now we get bigger, less tidy hunks. Definitely worth reading but not quite as satisfying as the first book.

I had been subscribed to Cal Newport’s blog and was very sympathetic to his principles without being a practitioner. With time off, I’m now actively pursuing the potential to put his teachings in play. You can get most of the concepts from his blog, but the book provides excellent organization and refinement (not to mention some change in his pocket). Writing more about this deep work, “Deep Work: …,” and how to apply it will make for good blog fodder.

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