It’s been a little while since I’ve posted what I’ve been listening to on Blinkist. I was all set to post something last week but then the world fell apart. I know…excuses, excuses.
I am enjoying the format. It’s like a podcast minus the inane banter and CBD ads. I mostly listen at the gym and while hiking. And I’m going to try and keep it up while we’re all home. I’ve only found a couple where I feel reading the whole book would be enjoyable or beneficial. They really do get to the gist of the books in 15 to 20 minutes. Here’s what I’ve been listening to:
This is for the hardcore reader including different tips on how to arrange your books on the shelf. Spine color. Genre. Personal relationships. It’s like the interesting parts of High Fidelity. I can’t bring myself to throw away a book, but I’ll be sticking with the alphabet for now. Though I’ll admit I do have a fiction and non-fiction category. And the nonfiction shelves have several subcategories. I may need help. Or more books.
I knew very little about Nigeria. And here is a whole book about it. It’s a sad history. Forces from within and without have really robbed the people of a better life. Dickhead and dictators have been preying on the population for most of its history. There was hope at the end. The book is 12 years old but it sounded like fair elections were finally getting a chance. I hope the sequel is more uplifting.
I’ve been a copywriter for more than 20 years now. But I’m not one to think I know everything, so I’ll pick up a book every now and then to bone up. The big point in this one is to avoid cliches. They suggest you do this by using other cliches.
Uh oh. Look Out! Here comes another book with “Fuck” in the title. That means it’s edgy and only for people who are hard enough to handle it. Like Randy himself. Aside from the attitude, it’s like reading any other blog post about content marking.
One of my plans for this year was to do more events. Signings and maybe a con if it all worked out. But I’ve been working at home for 7 years and an introvert forever. So I’ve been listening to a lot of these on public speaking and networking. This was one of the better books on the topic. It had some helpful tips I was able to use before speaking at a book club.
This is one of those “Getting to Yes” sales books. I was hoping to glean some insight that could translate from personal sales to make my online marketing efforts more effective. Nope.
I’ve listened to a few like this and to be honest they are all kind of running together. The one common thread I’ve found in all of these is “lie.” It’s very much “The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made” kind of advice. Being that it’s the insincerity of small talk I hate the most, I haven’t really found a great how to talk to people book yet.
It was the great question of our time before “Did you just cough?” overtook it a week ago. “What are we going to ’bout all these robots taking all our jobs?!” This book examines how some industries will be affected by automation and AI. It’s not a doom and gloom look at the coming changes. A little overly optimistic in that we’ll all become poets. Apparently Andres has never been on social media and seen what people write.
Poke the Box is a term that derives from a box that the author’s uncle made for his son that had a lot of switches and knobs that did different things. The fact that it means boning to the rest of the world didn’t stop Seth from putting it on out there. The book is basically about taking chances to see great results. Ray Bradbury said it better with, “Life is trying things to see if they work.”
This book starts with the lie that everyone can be creative and everyone should be involved in the creative process. But that’s okay because it makes uncreative managers feel special and involved. And that they may make them more willing to follow the rest of the book’s advice which is to stay the hell out of the creatives way. It also sells them on the benefit of staring at walls and distractions. Something creative people know intuitively but accounting can’t quantify.
The discourse of today is maddening and unproductive. This book digs into the psychology behind the shouting matches and lays out some simple steps to have productive discussions instead of succumbing to the vitriol. There is some really great advice in here. The only trick is getting everyone else to read it. It’s like when my friend was having a kid. He said he read a book and had a plan to have the kids sleeping through the night in a month. I told him if the baby hadn’t read the book, it didn’t matter what his plan was.
One of the things I like about Blinkist is the complete and total lack of commitment that I feel to a book. Because of that, I put lots of stuff in the queue. I assumed this one was like a Lifehack kind of thing. How to simplify everyday tasks. Nope. Not even close. But I kept listening because I like to know how other people think. But by the time I got to the chapter on how to best choose a more Earth-friendly spatula I quit listening and ordered a V-8 powered blender.
Randall Munroe writes xkcd, a web-comic so smart that I can’t even fake understanding half of them. His first book What If was fantastic and had a t-rex being fed to the sarlac on the cover. So I was really looking forward to this one. He takes awesome topics like How to crash a plane or how to build a lava moat and explains the science behind it all. Very informative. Very funny. This is one book that I still want to read. There’s no way the abbreviated version did it justice.
Some people think shitting on ideas makes them look smart. But in a brainstorm or any creative endeavor saying, “No, that won’t work because…” doesn’t make anyone look smart, it makes them the asshole. And it makes me want to punch them in the dick. “Yes and…”
is the mentality that improv groups use to keep a scene flowing. The approach helps grow a germ of an idea into amazing things and helps avoid people getting punched in the dick.
What I didn’t know about the history and geopolitics of the world’s oceans could fill a book. This book.
Another look at the effect AI, big data and evil robots will have on our future. The coolest take away from this one is that it’s super easy to become an e-citizen of Estonia. Good fact to know if you ever need to disappear.
This all about the benefits of being a freak. But, you know, not the kind of freak that works at Hot Topic with a shaved head, eyelid piercings and dressed in clothes exclusively from the Daddy Issues boutique. (Yes. I was recently in Hot Topic.) This is about people who think differently and shift paradigms. You know? People who poke the box!
I’ve only ever known enough about philosophy to understand the Monty Python philosopher’s football sketch and to make Immanuel Kant jokes. (Transcendental idealism argues that we that things-in-themselves can exist, but nature Kant. They write themselves.) But I’m up for learning more. This book talks more about the modern philosopher’s role in the world and how it applies when most people believe its use has been supplanted by science.
A biography of our moon. How did it form? What role did it play in mythology? Are their Nazis living up? What did early science fiction authors get right? This was an interesting one.
A look at the day to day life of creative folks. There are a ton of books like this. This one actually gets it. It’s filled with tips and helpful advice for folks the deal with the blank page and staying focus when the only person pushing you is yourself. Great book.
I’ve read a couple of Gladwell’s books and usually find something interesting in them. This one is simple. Trust your gut. It’s not as dumb as you’ve been told.
The importance of play was a big marketing fad about ten years ago. They started to realize the importance of play and tried to figure out how to quantify, schedule and smother it to death like a relative who had you down for a huge inheritance. This book talks about the importance of play in history. Computers came from a couple of toymakers. We finally braved the Atlantic because people thought purple was fun. Canada was settled because Europeans liked hats. (That wasn’t in this book, I just like point it out whenever I can). I’m a big believer in turning fun into work. Like Vonnegut said, “We are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.”
Previously titled Bumping Uglies, until someone said, “Look, Seth. We didn’t say anything about Poking the Box but get your head out of the gutter.” This book is about the death of the mass market and rise of tribes.
This book instructs us that logic is anything you need it to be and if anyone argues with you its because they are racist and there is no other reason. I’ve never rage quit an audiobook before. It’s very unsatisfying. There’s no cover to slam. Nothing to throw. There is nothing logical about this. Even the definitions are incorrect. However, this is how everyone argues on Twitter.
The more tips I can find on how to stay focused or how to stay productive the better. This one didn’t really have anything new in it, but it was a nice piece of reinforcement.
COMFY stands for something. Calm, maybe. Others, I think. The Y stands for passion. Passion starts with a P. Twisting the rules of acronyms aside, this book is about getting in the right mindset before you sit down to work. I’ve come across a few blog posts by the author so I figured I’d try the book. Y is for Your passion. While I agree COMFP doesn’t work, that’s just cheating.
How timely! How nations overcame crises. I’m paying close attention to this one.
So there you have it. A few workouts, a few hikes and 28 books later. I’m still enjoying the format.
Check it out here. Go to Blinkist.