Sometimes I read books I like, but sometimes It feels like I don’t

Book I actually Like

  • The New Turing Omnibus: A. Dewdney : Great text on how computers work. One of my favorite computer books.
  • Every Tool’s a Hammer: Life Is What You Make It : Adam Savage (4 out of 5) : Good account of how Adam got to the place he is today.
  • The Wander Society : Keri Smith : get out and do stuff, find things, and be creative!
  • The Making of Pricnce of Persia : Jordan Mechner : Easy; quick read from journal entries of a kid making a video game.
  • The Revenge of Analog : David Sax : need more tactile things in your life; get off the computer and find other ways to interact with the world.
  • Digital Minimalism : Cal Newport : Again, get off your phone and experience the real world.
  • The Creative Habit : Twyla Tharp
  • The Hike : Drew Magary : fun finciton book.

Past Books

  • 101 Things I learned In Art School : Kit White : (1 out of 5) I wasn’t getting much out of this book, and then decided to investigate the authors “art” After seeing what his definition of art was, I gave up on the book.
  • How to be Idle : A Loafer’s Manifesto : Tom Hodgkinson (-1 out of 5): He constantly uses fictional characters to try and prove his non-fictional point which just destroys his argument every time. He also seems to imply throughout the book that the perfect day is just sleeping all day, smoking, and drinking; and if that is the alternative to being “busy”, I think I’d rather be busy. Overall he comes off as a teenage boy trying to convince his parents why he should be able to sleep in and smoke all day
  • Masters of Doom : David kushner (-1 out of 5) : I realized I didn’t really care, both of the Johns could die, and I could care less.
  • The Practice : Seth Godin (-1 out of 5) : not very insightful, mostly garbage advice. Could have been written by GPT3
  • Mathematics for Human Flourishing : Francis Su (2 out of 5) : meh. first 1/2 ok, then just repeats over and over.
  • Every Tool’s a Hammer : Life Is What You Make It : Adam Savage (4 out of 5) : Good account of how Adam got to the place he is today.
  • Yes Man : Danny Wallace (1 out of 5) : just does dumb shit
  • Chess Story : Stefan Zweig (3 out of 5) : interesting enough to finish

A process to find new books?

I’ve been reading a a lot of bad books. I could blame amazon for recomending me books that look like they could be intersting, I could blame all the fake reviews, I could blame all the clueless people that would give a pile of dog shit a 5 star review, or I could do something productive and find a way to stop buying all these worthelss books:

This is what I have so far:

  • Before you buy the book, ask: “what question do you want this book to answer”. Then at least look at the Table of contents and see if the book covers that. Maybe skim though as much of the book as you can to see if it’s going to answer that question. If you are just looking for motivation/inspiration, that might be a different problem.
  • Instead of having books suggested to you (amazon), do actuall stuff in your life, and when you get stuck, then go out and research a book:
    • Find a person who is doing things you have questions about. Look at their body of work and see if it agrees with you. Have they written a book? do they have a list of books on their website they recomend? Go for those.
    • On another note, if you do find someone that does work that you like, and they have a list of books they recomend, maybe grab that list for later.

This is my working system for at least non-fiction, but fiction is going to be a little harder. People have images they need to live up to for their social groups; for example geeks HAVE to love starwars, so all their reviews will be great for every starwars book even if it’s trash. I’ve seen reviews where people like the author but hate the book they are reviewing yet give it 5 stars because they still like the author, so the entire rating system can mostly be thrown out.

If you have a good system for finding book YOU like, and YOU actually read let me know.