biannual Books Roundup 2016

My bookshelf at home started stacking up more and more books that I hadn’t read. Something always came up, but at the same time I had a lot of time while driving or just lazing around town. I drive around 1.5 hours on average a day.  I used that as a trigger to read books. And it’s been working so far.

I’ve read 17 books in six months which isn’t bad, that’s 4 more books than the first 6 months. The books I’ve enjoyed the most have been about human behavior, economics and psychology. It’s just fascinating when someone dissects the world by numbers or explains that little quirk of yours from an evolutionary perspective, gets me everytime.

So here’s the list with one line reviews and a link to a full review on goodreads.

Psychology / Philosophy

Freakonomics – Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner – 320 pages ★★★★★

Highly engaging, entertaining, one of the best I’ve read in 2016. This book won’t change your life but it will leave you with perhaps a cynical but more real perspective about the world. A world driven by numbers.
Read Full Review of Freakonomics

The Art of War – Sun Tzu – 273 pages ★★★★☆

It’s such a wonderful book, minimalist at its best. Every word is in it’s right place and you cannot take a single word away without losing its meaning.

It’s stripped off any frills and tells the philosophy as it is and you keep nodding your head yes master, true master.
Read full review of Art of War 

Outliers: The Story of Success – Malcolm Gladwell – 309 pages ★★★★★

This is must read for us Pakistanis with a Jew conspiracy theory of success. We who clicks on a Rags to Riches story on a click bait website. Us who in our past time either talk about corrupt politicians or Property Dealers and how much they make.
Read full review of Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Biography

Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson – 656 pages ★★★★☆

The biography for me was a battle to understand was job’s a good guy or not. I think we have to ignore that. He was a selfish guy, who did not often care for people or things, he wasn’t a humanitarian, a philanthropist nor did he want to fix the world.

What he wanted to do was to make great usable products and leave his mark on the world, in which he succeeded. And he succeeded in a way other companies never can.
Read full review of Steve Jobs Biography 

 

Elon Musk – Ashlee Vance – 392 pages ★★★★☆

Wonderful book about a super interesting man. The good thing is it’s not just about Musk it’s a lot more than that, it’s about entrepreneurship, futurology and the craziness that is silicon valley.

What elon musk is and what he’s not is a separate debate than the book. It feels like he’s portrait honestly but at times the writer does seem just a tad biased about what elon created.

Fascinating book, about a fascinating man. There is so much to learn from this not just about Einstein but his work, philosophy and political views. The Einstein’s perspective.

Business

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us – Seth Godin –  151 pages ★★★★☆

Tribes talks about some wonderful things which are very relevant not only to giant businesses but the little guy, trying to find his right footing. Some great advice in it, I like that seth never feeds you some mantras that you can repeat and be successful. He always just tells you a direction and let’s it go.Read full review of Tribes by Seth Godin

Cracking the Tech Career – Gayle Laakmann McDowell – 275 pages ★★★★☆

Wonderful for anyone who is serious about his career. its just not about tech job but any jobs in the modern world. Great detailed analysis with research from resume to interviews.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Greg McKeown – 260 pages ★★★☆☆

The books which focus on look what he did wrong and what happens feel like a chain letter. More than good examples it often focuses on things that went wrong. Personally I enjoy more how can you implement the concepts with examples.

Self Help

Mastery – Robert Greene – 318 pages ★★★★☆

I’m not sure what genre to put this book in, it’s part biography, part self help and a whole lot of great research on human behaviour to take in. But it’s a great read lets you have an in depth look at old and contemporary masters, their journey and their lessons.
Read full review of Mastery

The Millionaire Fastlane – M.J. DeMarco – 322 pages ★★★★☆

The only thing terrible about the book is it’s title. It’s a horrible one, if all self help gurus combined their power to create the cheesiest sloppiest title for a book this would be it.Read full review of Millionaire Fastlane

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie – 288 pages ★★★★★

The writer explains the simple rules and takes incidents from history of people applying them and the results that follow. These stories come from Roosevelt trying to win an election to house wife’s trying to raise their kids right. And work for both and everything in between.These are such simple rules which were true in 1939 (when it was written) and still hold true today.

Read full review of How to make friends and Influence People

Who Moved My Cheese? – Spencer Johnson – 96 pages ★★★★☆

This book is just right, short enough that you can read it in a sitting. Comprehensive and entertaining so you fully grasp the concept and enjoy it. A must read for everyone, because we all deal with changes all the time.

Science Fiction

2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C. Clarke – 297 pages ★★★★★

A classic for a reason, it’s not everyday there’s a novel written just for the purpose of making a film on it. From Space Travel, AI to intelligent life forms it’s got it all one of the best sci fi I’ve read. The only regret I have is why didn’t I do it earlier.

The book on which blade runner is based. If you’re looking for a bleaker more complicated blade runner this is it.
Hyperion – Dan Simmons – 482 pages ★★★★☆
Hyperion. A story that goes beyond, religions, space and time with the right amount of wit, mystery and science.The stories expand to hundreds of years (because of inter galactic frozen space travel of course) which include aliens, androids, space portals, time travel, mysticism, poetry and so on. There’s a lot to each story and to each character and every single one is enjoyable.

The only science about the book is the fact that the man is from mars, everything is pretty much fiction. It’s an interesting take on human behavior but I’d want it in a smaller package.


Do check out Zaki’s year in books round up some great books in there. And if you’d like to read more of my ramblings, consider signing up for the email alert.

And if you’ve got any recommendations please send them over, I’m always looking for good books.

Why is change so hard? Why can’t we do what we know is good for us?

“Perspective” is all there is to life. It makes you and it breaks you. It is perspective that makes your life a heaven when its hell and it make you stress, crash & burn till your life is all ashes – when it really is not! It can marry you to the spouse of your dreams and it can have you hating your super model girlfriend for that one thing she does with her hair.

State of mind is all there is to it. One who controls it wins; peace & happiness and all that entails. So, basically, we have it in our hands, all we need is the will, the will to make our minds see things to get things. That too the things that really matter.

But who said each one of us comes with an iron clad will. Even when you have done all you can to align yourself in that perfect perspective and figured it all out – all it takes is a bump in the road to send it all clattering down. All the boxes in which everything was juxtaposed and prioritised comes tumbling down. Just that one small wrong slippery turn!

It would be very easy to choose the right path if you were a child with the young head laid in a white horizon. In a world where everything was levelled and you were a crisp blank page, well balanced and with no prior inclinations, kinks or bends. Sadly, that isn’t the case!

We are a collection of our memories, experiences and like the saying ‘things we’ve done repeatedly’. We are not a “crisp blank page, well balanced and with no prior inclinations, kinks or bends”. The whole supposed process of aligning ourselves is synonymous to someone waltzing in and making you learn to walk again.

Now this man comes in and wants to fix it and even if you want him to fix it you’re doomed for the rest of your life to be acutely conscious of every single step you take. Stagger, realise, understand and fix it over and over again. This re-start would continue to hammer in until the new way becomes a part of you. Your brain stops thinking about walking like it did when you were you, when you learned to walk.

But, when the time comes when you have to rush; you might jump back to your instinct, like you always ran. It would take the mind of a monk to realise at that point of the rush that you had to run in your new fixed way. And this is just running to do the deed – think of the deed itself, would we really stick to the change we painstakingly adopted!

All this is similar to brainwashing one’s self (for the good) Sadly its easier to be brainwashed by World War II propaganda films than it is to be by oneself. To  realign our perspective to see things in a brighter more understanding light.

Its perhaps not impossible but requires work, a lot of it. To understand that a change of perspective is required, is the most important step. This holds true not only for an individual but a community, a nation. To see the good we have, things we can do and things we can achieve by not waiting for someone else to fix the mess we have created but to pick up the tools and do it ourselves.

This is the way out and to get to it we need is an understanding of perspective and how to change it. Can we?

“And those who were seen dancing, were thought to be crazy, by those who could not hear the music.” –  Friedrich Nietzsche

I believe in peace, Bitch!

Pride KillI don’t care for Palestine or for Israel, what I do care about are all the innocent lives suffering from mutiny and violence. I don’t care which side whose on, but the children dying are on nones side in fact they didn’t have the right to choose a side in the first place!
Get a separate battle ground, blow the shit out of each other for all I care, just don’t take defenseless human lives. I’m using the word human, not Muslim, not Jew but human!

Stop the conspiracies! Stop the hate for once, be satisfied on what you have and make it a better place for heaven’s sake! Acquiring another piece of land will get you what? What’s the price your paying for it ? Is it really worth so many human lives?

I’m not saying that people don’t die on the Israeli side, but I certainly condemn soldiers posing over dead bodies and taking it as if it were a kill. That’s inhuman and I know any religion would condemn it.

Oh and please don’t tell me that Israel is doing it because Hamas did this and that, the death toll of  Israeli civilians in 2005 was 37, where as in the same year 255 Palestinians were killed. In 2004 it was 60% less than that and these were civilians not children.

Figures from Palestinian medics indicate at least 909 people have been killed. The health minister in Gaza’s Hamas-run government said that approximately 400 of those were woman and children!  Reuters.com

So lets not play with facts and only kid ourselves or mock our intelligence. Its like telling your kid, Timmy your dog is with grandmother, WTF? Grandmother died a million years ago!

The part I hate is the fact that Israeli soldiers are considering everyone as a road kill! Homie, that’s GTA you leave that shit when you turn off the PS console. You don’t carry that baggage around and get higher credits for being a ruthless bitch! ( that has points in other arena’s ).

I do appreciate the Muslims stand on it, or rather Muslims standing on the thing!

Stop Hating, believe in Peace!