Driven to Distraction (324p) *** One of the seminal texts on ADHD with great input on adult ADHD, child ADHD on biology and techniques of how to deal with it as well as the information on the history and the many types of ADHD. A slow read but a good book to learn about the issue.
A Primer in Ecology – Nicholas Gotelli (190p)**** A Short book on computational ecology, a great book for economist as it outlines the same forces that impact economies and corporations but also give some mathematical models that can be applied to markets. Goes into predation, resources, birth, death, species richness and how they all impact and ways to predict how species change in an area.
A Journal of the Plague Year, written by a citizen who continued all the while in London -Daniel Dafoe (400p) **** Daniel Dafoe is known for his novel Robinson Crusoe. But I enjoyed this non-fiction. Really calms one’s nerves to see how people lived through the plague before, and one where 20,000 people were dying a day, in a single city. Surprisingly, besides the vaccine, not much was different. They had quarantine, they had lockdowns and they had people who didn’t listen to the lockdown. There were scams and rich people fleeing for the hills. People were losing their business and losing family members and everyone was afraid of each other. Dafoe really goes into every possible group and nuance of living through the plague even how people act when they get tired of the plague.
Collected Works of Kafka (****) Each story by Kafka, even if 15 pages is a look into the modern human. The human who is callous, self absorbed and yet sensitive. The humans who seek attention from others and kindness but cannot bear to give it to others. Metamorphosis is the ultimate story of these failed human emotions in the modern world. The story of a man who becomes a cockroach, but to me, it is the HIV patient, the addict, the person that the modern family dare not tell the world about, who is dying in front of them and they fear showing kindness to the monster on the outside who is still their son and brother on the inside. The person knows it, but the family does not, and all they feel when the person dies, is not love or loss or grief, but relief.
Cochin Synagogue (52p) **** A book was given to me by a Jewish representative in Cochin. It was written in 1929 about the Cochin Jewish community by one of the representatives of the Jewish community who was the Jewish representative of India to Israel and was also a member of the Indian parliament. It was illuminating to learn about the pogroms by the Portuguese in the 1600s, the help to Jews by the Dutch, the help and good relations between Jews and the Rajas who gave land to Jews adjoining the royal palace. Also how Jews continued to read in Hebrew, had the Torah scroll and built in the local style but practiced the same Jewish holidays but with an Indian twist. It is a short book but is a treasure.
Don’t Leave Me! – Nicole Wilde (240p) **** We have a dog and it has some serious separation anxiety. I read this book in a day on how to train your dog, specifically for leaving home and leaving it alone. It is well researched, with great suggestions. It is written in an easy-to-follow manner with background, diagnosing, step-by-step training and tips and tricks with well-placed stories throughout the text as examples. Great book if you want to train a dog!
Predictably Irrational – Daniel Arieli (450p) **** I may have already read this book but it is always great to discover in Daniel Arieli’s writings. He is one of the best well-known behavioral economists, looking at how we actually interact in the economy. He looks at human nature, as we are, not as we should be according to the monetary system placed on us. Once you understand who we are and how we interact, our “irrationality” makes a lot of sense.
African Myths and Folk Tales- Carter Goodwin Woodson -(340p) **** When I was a kid, we had a book of African folk tales. I loved to lay on the bed and read stories. They were wild and from so far and yet they were so relevant with deep wisdom and life lessons. This book by Woodson was no different. But with 30 years of experience, I see the allegories and stories so much more interesting. Some of them are as imaginative as an LSD trip, like an Outer-space monster that eats children. Some explain the mundane in a funny way as just a way to answer a question that possibly some child had, like why people keep chickens. Some stories are practical like why men speak differently from women and why women get kids in a divorce. I love reading diverse stories from diverse authors as they truly expand our minds, and this book did not disappoint.
Designing Your Life – Bill Burnett and Dave Evans (300p) **** Great book that I wish I read as an undergrad and maybe even in High School of how to find what I love, work at it and stick to it. But who knows, maybe I’d have a less colorful life. Maybe not. It’s a book that is not just about finding a passion, but to how to find again and again and find work in that field, how to find people who help you and you help in the design of life. It is Stanford professors who approach life with the approach of a startup product design: gauge the demand, gauge ability and gauge what gives you energy and passion and what you are able to do well in. Good page of resources on their main page as well!
On Love- Bukowski (260p) **** I love reading Bukowski, he is my favorite poet. He doesn’t write about nature or the world, just himself and his experience as a poor man in Los Angeles and that makes him real. This collection is about his lovers, and loves. His ex-wives, his girlfriends, his friends and his daughter; the people he loved. He writes about the whores and the ones who got away. This one feels far more personal and makes him less of an asshole and makes him human. My favorite Bukowski book so far.
The Birth Partner- Penny Simkin (420p) **** This is a book written by a doula for a father or a partner of someone who is about to give birth. It goes through every trimester, describes different types of birth, what to do, how the partner will feel and how the person giving birth will feel. It describes what to expect, the complications, the difficulties and what to pack and to expect. It talks about the different drugs that might be used, pros and cons of each one, how to deal with Cesarean, and the after effects. I would say this is a great book with a lot of resources that scared the crap out of me, but also made me a lot more prepared. I read this one a little bit at a time (great toilet book) and go through it by about week 30. Highly recommend it to any expecting birth partner.
The Archer- Paulo Coelho (90p) **** I love reading PC, his books are not about the story but about life that always apply and have lines that follow you for the rest of the life. This is a short reader about a student and a master and how one can use archery to teach about life. I’m sure that you could do this with any sport and that is why sports are so applicable to life, but PC used Japanese culture and archery to connect to the reader and it does so magically, expressing the idea of the bow, the arrow, the student, the master, the stance, the target and all other ideas, especially doing what you love instead of doing what you are good at. It is a new must read.
Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx (89p) **** I’ve read Das Kapital but never the communist manifesto. It’s free on ibooks and I thought, why not, what is all the hooplah. But it became clear that Marx made a very good case not just for communism and end of private property but why there must an overthrow. He basically said that currently, the rich control the workers by force. The workers have no property so the anger at communism by the rich makes sense, they are the ones who would lose things but with communism there would be no effect on workers who already have nothing. He then goes to say that because the rich have a lot at their disposal, they could undermine any peaceful progress and basically hold back the workers indefinitely, which is why you cannot trust them. He also describes the Nazi party, the faux socialist who actually use the workers to actually create power for the wealthy. Which is what the Nazis really war, Socialists in name only since nearly everything in Germany was privatized such that all companies were able to profit from the war.
I wouldn’t say I agree with it, I certainly don’t like the tenor of the book but I can see how this short little essay would convince a lot of people to end the rule by the wealthy and why in America reading it is more taboo than Mein Kampf.
12 Angry Men – Reginald Rose (150p) **** The film was a case study in an MBA course on how to convince 12 people who disagree with you. Reading the script, it is so much more. It is a commentary on how people view each-other, how they interact, how they argue, how they see the justice system, how they see the poor and immigrants and even relationships between young and old, fathers and sons. I ended up reading this in one night and watching the movie again after (1997 version is superb). So much in this one script, this one play and movie that even now, 70 years later, it is as relevant as ever.
The Reason I Jump – Naoki Higashida (90p) **** Amazing book written by a 13 year old non-verbal kid on autistic spectrum. He typed it one letter at a time with help of his therapist and opens up the world of people with a completely different thinking pattern and sensing pattern but one thing that is the same is emotions and thoughts. The book makes one thing if they people on spectrum are not all savants, a next stage in evolution and how we have no idea how badly we hurt them by not treating them as fully conscious human being who simply cannot interact with us because of a completely different brain. It’s mind opening to see how little we know and see.
Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems-Mann 300p **** A text from 1979 about marine ecology. It goes over systems in micro and macro fauna, the circulation of carbon in various environments and effect of life on carbon.
The Invisible Man– HG Wells. 190p **** A great book that looks at positive and negative effects of bio-innovation, it looks at antisemitism and terrorism. The main character turns out to actually be an evil scientist bent on theft and murder. He is a loaner who seeks recognition instead of bettering the human race. He ends up meeting a sad end through the help of another scientist who actually uses his science understanding to contain the threat and get him to stop. The book is a quick and a great read. It’s great science fiction and free on iBooks.
America – Sholem Asch 150p **** A small book with a few short stories written in Yiddish in 1911 and published in 1960 and in Russian in 2008. The book is a few stories about Jewish life in pre Soviet Russia. The simple stories of simple and poor people. It is also a story of a movement of Jews to America. It was less about fleeing persecution but a move away from destitution but the trade for the opportunity was family separation and loss of culture. It follows a family where the husband moves to US, who sends for his family, who have to leave everything behind, including cemetery plots with kids graves and moving to US where they would suffer loss of culture and loss of belonging. The book could have been written in 2016 given how people are treated when coming to United States today.
The Way of the Superior Man – David Deida 180p-**** A strange, vaguely or largely sexist depending on who reads it. It looks at an average man and how he should act in life and with a woman but it is clear that no average man would read this. Some great lines and gems in this book, primarily having to do with live like your father is dead and follow your talents and your purpose. It basically states that if you don’t follow your purpose, you will live a sad life of mediocrity and everyone will hate you. Don’t know if that is true but an interesting read either way.