Book List of 2021

Books read during 2021 with notes to me

  1. The Breath – James Nester – Book about the importance of breathing. The author explores many techniques that have been lost over human history and re-discovering and shares w/ the audience. “Nature is simple but subtle” summarizes the simplicity of breathing yet one fundamental thing to keep one alive. Slow breathing, and breathing through the nose are the most important techniques for breathing properly and for maintaining health. Albert Szent-Gyorgi 
  2. Geography of Genius – Eric Weiner (Reread) – “What is honored in a country will be cultivated there” – Plato
    • Visited: Athens, Florence, Hongzhou, Vienna, Silicon Valley
    • Instead of having to live up to something, you’ve got something to push against, it forces you to make that extra effort. We Collect our dots in the company of others. We CONNECT them by OURSELVES. 
    • Articulate – means joint. To articulate an idea is to cement it, to co-create it. The conception of an idea cannot be separated from voicing it. 
    • Albert Rothenberg – Janusian thinking, that actively conceives two or more opposite or antithetical ideas, images, or concepts simultaneously. 
    • Small, confined sparks creativity
    • Janusian – Conceive and hold two opposite ideas
    • Dave Hume – Indulge your passion for (science) but let your (science) be human. Reason doesn’t determine what we want but only HOW we obtain it. 
  3. Permission Marketing – Seth Godin (order from Amazon to finish the book) – Permission marketing for 1-on-1, 
    • Be personal, be relevant, be specific, and always be anticipated
  4. Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman. Amazing book about human nature and how we think. The book gives insights into how we think and make decisions based on incomplete information. (Need to add more notes later)
  5. Listening Woman – Tony Hillerman Fiction
  6. People of Darkness – Tony Hillerman -Fiction Jim Chee story
  7. The infidel and the professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship that shaped Modern Thought– Dennis Rasmussen : Friendship during their life time in 1740 – 1770s. “Hume’s argument anticipates those of Smith’s great work: the true source of a nation’s wealth is not gold or silver or a positive balance of trade, but rather a productive citizenry; most attempts by politicians to que or control people’s economic choices are either futile or positively counterproductive; free trade works to the benefit of all parties involved – city and country, rich and poor, the government and the populace; free markets are also mutually beneficial in the international sphere, and it is impossible to attain prosperity by beggaring neighboring countries.”  Hume maintained that “industry, knowledge, and humanity are linked together by an indissoluble chain, and are found, from experience as well as reason.”
  8. War and Peace and War – Peter Turchin – Found this book after reading the Atlantic article’s book review (https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/12/can-history-predict-future/616993/) Dr Turchin’s thesis on growth and fall of an empire is cyclical and there are several main factors that contribute to empire’s growth/success to its downfall. He has searched through the history and extracts factors such as cohesiveness of the group(ethics/social of society), growth of “elite” class, a decline of living standards, and the inability of gov’t to control the financial burden.  Didn’t read the book, cover to cover but has lots of fascinating details of historical events. Talked about the expansion of the Russian empire, the growth of the medieval period in England, and part of modern US society. Felt like it was too much detail. Felt not elucidate enough in his writing style. Can not compare w/ Yuval Harari’s book and how much I appreciate Yuval’s book instead. 
  9. The New Map-energy, climate, and the clash of nations. – Daniel Yergin: Book about history of oil is divided up into various chapters; America’s Map, China’s Map, Russia Map, Middle East Map, and finally RoadMap and Climate Map. History of the modern era but told from the perspective of oil which has shaped and formed modern political boundaries, governments, and conflicts around the world. The author is really able to give perspective to policy and news events of the world. How US shale oil and Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) production in the last 15 years has changed the energy security of the US (one of the three largest oil producers in the world (US/Russia/Saudi). History of post-cold-war Russia and how it’s forming and relying on oil/gas to maintain its influence on geopolitics. Then the author’s description of the Middle East really gives a good understanding of middle east conflicts and current conflicts and wars. His take on the climate map part didn’t offer anything interesting or convincing as other parts of the book. He really doesn’t see or offer alternative options than oil/gas and their impact on future politics. Interesting book but did not read cover to cover except for America’s Map and China/Russia’s map segment. 
  10. Think Again – Adam Grant – The Power of Knowing and What you don’t know. “If knowledge is power, knowing what we don’t know is wisdom.
  11. Chatter – Ethan Kross – The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It.  Self to give more perspective, adopting a broader, calmer, and more objective perspective is an important tool to combat chatter. Techniques for Yourself to help You.
    • Imagine giving advice to a friend (to yourself)
    • Broader perspective
    • Reframe your experience
    • Watch your physical reaction
    • Engage mental time-travel
    • Write expressively in the journal
    • Adopt the neutral party perspective
    • Grab lucky charm
    • Perform ritual
  • Techniques for Others
    • Provide emotional AND cognitive needs (people looking for care – a listening ear, and Support-solution – cognitive needs.
    • Provide invisible support- not explicit- and don’t offer when not asked (threaten autonomy and self-efficacy). 

13. Pipe Dreams – Chelsea Wald 

14. The Foundation – Trilogy plus Prequel & Sequel (7 books)- Isaac Asimov

15. Prisoner of Geography – Tim Marshall : Author talks about ten maps in the context of its physical geography and how has impacted history, and cultural development impacting the current political climate in a short summary. These ten maps are China, Russia, US, Africa, Western Europe, Middle East, India/Pakistan, Korea/Japan, Latin America, Arctic

16. The Exponential Age: How accelerating technology is transforming business, politics, and society Azeem Azhar. The author is very familiar with modern computer technology’s evolution to the internet age. He now works as a journalist who condenses a variety of trends and developments with modern technology. The author explains that technology is remaking politics (economics, culture, business strategy) and politics is shaping technology (loop). With so much technology advancement coming so quickly, the author sees four domain fields that are facing exponential growth.

Four areas of growth: The author describes these domain fields as GPT (General Purpose Technology)

  • Computers – Moors Law – Doubling of processing power with half of the price
  • Energy – Solar panel 1975: $100/ watt -> 2010 $0.40/ watt –> 2020 $0.23/watt
  • Biology
  • Manufacturing

Explains why this GPT impacting this domain with the following 3 factors

  • Wright’s Law – Named after Theodor Wright – Demand and skills (More demand causing more, and that will create better skills).
  • Recombine – as things group and work together, will create standardization (fax machine)
  • The proliferation of network – Connectivity/ transfer of knowledge, with a network of information.

The author describes automation as “things that can be automatable only because previously unstructured tasks were subdivided and simplified” and “not automation itself driving job loses, but the difficulties faced by the companies that DID NOT automate” examples such as Blockbuster vs. Netflix. The author also mentions that automation is Zero-sum thinking in that jobs will be taken away by something (automation or immigrants). That’s been disapproved historically and economically called “Lump of Labor Fallacy“. Four main contributing factors for increase in economic productivity BUT decline in wages for workers.

  • Globalization – drives down wages due to competition around the world. Economic gains go to the owners of capital (factory, company stockholders)
  • Decline in union
  • Rise of the intangible economy ( software)
  • Dominate by a handful of big firms: Superstarfication – Market consolidated around ever-fewer super start firms, less competition for labors within less worker leverages.

User as an example: Senior Engineer 5 yr experience annual salary = $300K, Driver 40 hrs/week for year salary = $30K. Facebook: Ave employees $240K, Contact moderator (contract) = $28K, Content Creator = $0.00

4 methods to counter this trend of inequality wages and economic output growth.

  1. Dignify employees – workers. Workers need dignity and need to change their approach to management.
  2. Flexibility matters – Able to learn constantly, constantly educating workers via digital platforms.
  3. Workers need security (flexibility vs. UBC -universal basic income) company to change employees and gov’t to help fill the gap in income.
  4. Workers need equity – Technology, globalization and intangible economy lead all power away from labor but towards the capital.

The author states that as more high-tech society becomes, the more global and borderless will be and that IS NOT TRUE anymore and returning to local (geography matters). Adam Smith’s main point is that economic benefits arise from specialization and are more productive if we focus on one thing. David Ricardo, a 19th-century economist, stated the importance of “comparative advantage” that is nations export whatever they are relatively good at producing (either be a natural resource or cheap labor).

17. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind – Hayao Miyazaki. Amazing body of work by master Miyazaki. This is a graphic novel that he hand drew of 7 volumes story. It tells the story between humans and the story between humans and nature and its environment. Its a parable of the modern world and Miyazaki goes deep dive into hope and love within human nature. Himself living through WWII has many insights into humans and war. A very moving and hopeful story, especially at the end with an amazing line (translated from Japanese)

Book List of 2020

Books read during Covid-19 with short summary

  1. Pilgrimage to eternity: From Canterbury to Rome in Search of a Faith – Timothy Egan (Dec 2019 – Jan 2020) – Great travel log with self-reflection during his journey from England to Rome, Via Francigena, 1200 miles medieval route Canterbury to Rome. Very moving self-reflection with great facts on various Catholic churches’ history in France and various Saints. Saint Francis’s description was very moving so was many descriptions of various others. He shared his feelings toward a corrupted church with a long history of abuse and corruption and yet felt the pull of something “greater”. He ends with the word “Pilgrim’s progress: There is no way. The way is made by walking” we are all in this pilgrimage travel of life that we walk on….
  2. Life After College, Jeffrey J Selingo – Book about what to do after college but the author talked about 3 types of students, a motivator (who knows what they want and pursuing), an explorer/wanderer (not sure of what to study, and meandering type but arrives or focus on later), lost soul (who doesn’t know what to study and struggles through college). The author gives advice on what’s important in college and how it can help you pursue your career. Not just how to book but also give insights to how things have changed over the years w/ changing of the world.
  3. A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel – Amor Towles – A beautifully written book spanning 50 years long of a man in Russia. Very surprising ending and lots of wisdom shared in the book about life.
  4. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century – Yuval Harari, is another great book full of historical perspectives as well as thought-provoking arguments the author makes.  3-part series starting with Sapien book.
    • The world is changing too fast for some
    • Past experiences could be that they might be wisdom to share OR just outdated bias
    • Four Cs
      • Critical thinking -> Communicate -> Creativity -> Collaborate 
    • Instead of identifying traits in the group, look for common conflicts (or problems) to set up group identity. 
    • Will impact daily living and jobs – (AI/Big data algorithm/Bio-engineering)
    • What is Creative? – “finding a problem and then solving them”
  5. Post Corona – Scott Galloway: A short book composed and organized mostly from his personal blog post. Has very good insights into post-covid-19 world.
    • Scarcity creates value
    • College =  (Education x experience x credential)/ Tuition. 1400% increase since 1980’s. Increase in price without Value = Failure
    • Conflating Luck and Talent is dangerous
    • Conflating Freedom with NOT Civic duty is STUPID. 
    • The franchise model made Uber take 20%, pay 4-8%
    • Conflate Gov’t into an entertainment product
    • Protect people NOT jobs, Protect jobs, NOT Corporation, Protect Corporation, NOT Share Holders. 
      • People (give highest protection) -> Job -> Corporation -> Shareholders
    • Kurt Vonnegut “Step backward, after making a wrong turn, it is a step in the right direction”
    • Product Age NOT Brand Age
    • Disruption – Education & Health Care
  6. A.I. Super Powers – China/Silicon Valley – Kai-Fu Lee
    • AI needs 1. Abundant data, 2) tenacious environment 3).well train AI scientist 4). favorite gov’t policy
    • The difference in the political system – US combative political system aggressively punishing missteps OR waste funding technological upgrade/China – techno-utilitarian approach rewards proactive investment and adoption
    • Four capabilities – 1)internet AI, 2) Business AI  3) Perception AI  4) Autonomous AI – car/machine 2 industries. 
    • Two categories of replacement threaten the jobs 
      • 1-on-1 replacement
      • Ground-up disruption
    • By 2030, reduce 20-25% of labor reduced, and fewer employees need which translates to ~ 30 to 40 million people. 

Book List of 2019

List of Books I read in 2019 and their short summary

  1. Skin in the Game Nassim Taleb (Jan 2019):  Book had very interesting idea that old ideas/laws that have propagated from olden days “Lindy effect”(name after cheesecake store in NY burrough famous for longevity) survived and for reason (effective). Decision makers without actual “skin in the game” (no direct consequences impacted ) are not trust worthy and view w/ suspicion. Book was very disjointed and written like some blog posts without simple explanation. There were lot of good points but mostly covered by poorly written explanation with lots of snarky personal comments. Very hard to read through and had to push through to finish it. 
  2. Foundation & Chaos – Greg Bear (Feb 2019)
  3. Foundation Trilogy Series – Issac Asmov (Feb 2019)
  4. Foundation’s Triumph series – David Brin (Feb 2019)
  5. Foundation’s Edge – Issac Asmov (March 2019)
  6. Everest: The West Ridge – Thomas Hornbein – Re-read this classic, how Dr Hornbein and Will Unsoeld climbed West Ridge side of Everest which has yet to be climbed since. Amazing story of luck, foritude, and focus to summitting Everest. They weren’t the first Americans to summit yet was the most difficult route to summit.
  7. Thanks a Thousand – AJ Jacob (March, 2019) : Very well written with lots of gentle personality coming through. While reading the book and more afterward, felt more appreciative of things and people around me. Not just to my immediate surroundings with family and friends but bigger circle of people and accomplishments of so many people past. After the book, I want to start my own Gratitude project by sending a copy of the book for close friends and hand written note explaining my appreciation and specifics of each individual’s things they’ve done for me over the years.
  8. Upheavel: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis – Jared Diamond (skim through) May 2019
  9. Rethink – re-reading May 2019
  10. The Subtle Art of Not Giving Fu#k: Mark Manson- June 2019
  11. Never Lost Again – Bill Kilday : June 2019 – Story of how Keyhold went to GoogleEarth and making GoogleMap to dominate location data and maps for mobile device
  12. Everything is F*cked: A book about hope : Mark Manson: – Aug 2019 – great story of author of The Subtle of Not Giving F*ck of giving hopeful view of the world’s future in spite of bad things happening. Very heart warming stories and optimistic view of the world.
  13. Master and Emissary – Ian McGilchrist – Scanned the book (very difficult to read and written for academic purpose) after listening to author from Hidden Brain podcast. Great podcast, author saying importance of having two hemisphere of brain, (left side sees the world in details, logic/reasons but right side gives purpose, give bigger picture). His podcast was excellent:
  14. Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World – David Epstein 
    • Talks about how specialization sometimes blocks solution and not able to see outside of silo of knowledge. 
  15. Sapien – re-readed again. Yuval Hariai – great summary of human history and how it progress through

Book List of 2018

List of Books I’ve read in 2018 with summary and not

  1. The Undoing Project – Michael Lewis ( Jan, 2018) : Story of two very smart psychologist/mathematican/economistm Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman from Israeli academics and their friendship and their contribution to development of behavior economics and trying to better understand human nature through psychology/mathematics/economics.  Very entertaining and great back story to Daniel Kahneman’s book “Thinking Fast and Slow”
  2. Smartcuts – Shane Snow (June 2018)- . Tell stories amongst team members instead of facts to convince and persuade. Oxycotine produces more with story telling than fact telling. 
  3. Dream Team – Shane Snow (Aug 2018) – how to build an effective team and support to maintain it. meaning and result of being in a team where things be supported and able to grow as a person. Having intellectual humility which means having openness to experience and new ideas. When we trust someone’s intentions, it’s suddenly alright if they’re different. We can be free to dissent and disagree or correct each other, because we start from a place of “I know you don’t mean any harm to me”. 
  4. The Prophets and the Wizard – Charles Mann (Oct 2018):  Great book explainig modern environmental movement concepts but when it comes down to is this ancient ideas (from greeks and before antiquity of human history) that “Are we human part of nature with everything else or human being outside of it” Idea stem from these two contracting idea that has flown through out the history which impacted how people have organized and lived throughout the history with various results. The book talks about two figure, that have shaped modern environmental movement, WIlliam Vogt (representing Prophet) and Norman Borlaug (Wizard) who started Green revolution w/ agriculture by modified wheats with fertilizer for increase food production. Tales for these two people really shaped current environmental and policy discussion of how to move into future w/ 10 Billion population
  5. Reread : Nonsense – Jamie Holmes (Nov 2018): Great book of idea on how we don’t like to hold ambiguous ideas/situations.  It’s very difficult to hold any ambiguous idea and situations and this is due to our evolutionary situation. Like simple, black and white situations and ideas but all great problem solvers and creative thinkers all able to retain ambiguity and even embraced them.
  6. The Fifth Risk – Michael Lewis (Nov 2018) – “And so you might have good reason to pray for a tornado, whether it comes in the shape of swirling winds, or a politician. You can imagine the thing doing the damage that you would like to see done, and no more. It’s what you fail to image that kills you. “ “Kevin Concannon – I’ve always had enough. I’ve never felt the need to go over to the other side and make three times the amount of money. If you like what you do, you just keep doing it.”
  7. Life in Code – A personal history of technology by female programmer early 80’s and her journey.  – Ellen Ullman (Dec 2018)
  8. Scarcity: Why having too little means so much. Talks about how having little material resource and mental resource resulting detrimental decision making in economical and psychological situation. Complement and Helps understand behavioral economics book “Misbehaving” more.  – Sendhill Mullain athan, Eldar Shafir (Nov/Dec 2018)
  9. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway (Dec 2018)
  10. Bering Sea Strong – Laura Hartema (Dec 2018) Memoir. King County Co-worker who worked in Alaska bearing sea during 90’s as personal journey filled w/ funny, life reflecting situations which leads to growth and deeper understanding of human nature. 
  11. My Adventures with God – Stephen Tobolowsky (Jan, 2018) – One of the supporting character from “Ground Hog Days”, sharing his story as development of actor as well as spirituality through Judaism. Contains so many funny stories and moving story especially about a friend he met at his synagogue who survived Auschwitz death camp, powerful yet very poignant story.  

Book List of 2017

List of books I read in 2017 and their quick summary.

  1. Rethink: The Surprising History of New Ideas – Steven Poole: Author explains how old ideas(some ancient and some forgotten) how they have applied to modern world with new consequences.
  2. Rise of the Robot – Martin Ford. With advent of automation and machine thinking, world can expect abrupt changes in near future with disruptive economy for most of world’s population.
  3. How to fail at almost everything and still win big – Adam Scotts. His tale of success which fills with many failure and that he says is good thing. Opposite of success is not a failure is his main point of this funny book.
  4. Think like Freak – Steven Dubanar. Author of podcast of Freakonmoic gives practical approach to retrain your brain to break habit from forming bad decisions.
  5. The Power of Habit:Why we do what we do in life and business – Charles Duhigg. Great book explaining why habit is so important and how it works and how to help yourself in business and in life.
  6. But What if We’re Wrong? – Chuck Klosterman. Social commentary of various subject matter with great humor and thought provoking ideas.
  7. The Innovators – Water Issacson. Great stories of so many great people who have worked to make modern digital technology starting with Lovelace & Babbage computer to Google.
  8. Payoff: The Hidden logic that shapes our motivations – Dan Ariely. Great insight on our motivation and what drives us in our work and in our life.
  9. There is Life After the College – Jeffrery Selingo. A journalist who has explored current college situation and offers some solutions for current and incoming college students.
  10. Learning from the Octopus – Rafa Sagarin. Evolution biologist with insights to national security to navigating thorough world geo-politics.
  11. Life of Ignatious of Loyla – Philip Caraman, SJ. Detail life descritpion of founder of Jesuit Society during Reformation era in 1600s.
  12. Spiens – A brief history of humankind – Yuval Noah Harari. Summary of human history of past 100,000 to present with many insights.
  13. Misbehaving – behavioral economics – Richard Thaler. Summary description of how field of behavorial economic has grown in last 40 years.
  14. Why Buddhism is True – Robert Wright. Author’s journey of mediation and buddhism who shares his findings and insights.
  15. Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman. Great insights on inner workings of human mind and exploring ones built in tendencies.

Book List of 2016

List of books I read in 2016 and their quick summary.

  1. Geography of GeniusAndrew Weir. Stories of great thinkers throughout the history of how their location played important role.
  2. Connectography : Mapping the Future of Global CivilizationParag Khanna – Looking at how geography will play out the current and future politics.
  3. John Adams – David McCullough. Great summary of John Adams’ life through letters between him and his wife, Abigaile and with others. Great insights to the world he lived in during transformative period of early American history. One can peer into John Adams’ insights to life and his philosophy and how it guided and shaped to lead young republic.
  4. The Wright Brothers – David McCullough
  5. The Great Bridge – David McCullough
  6. Race Against machine – Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee. Discussion of how digital revolution is accelerating innovation and transforming employment and economy.
  7. The Second Machine Age – Erik Brynjoflosson: More in-depth with possible solutions and analysis of “Race against machine”
  8. The Men Who United the States of America – Simon Winchester. Using five elements (wood, water, wind, metal and fire) to narrate story of the US through infrastructure development and their success.
  9. Nonsense:The Power of Not Knowing – Jamie Holmes
  10. The Silo Effect – Gillian Tett. Anthropologist turned journalist who saw the dangers of our “silo information” practice in everyday lives. It can bring disaster and how to prevent them. When classification system becomes excessively rigid and silos dangerously entrenched, this can leave us blind to RISK and NEW EXCITING opportunity.
  11. Collaborative Intelligence:Thinking with People Who Think Differently – Dawna Markova. Workshop guidance with direction and insights on how different people think (auditory, visually and tactily) and process information and ways to create steps to share information and create collaborative environment between people.
  12. How We Got To Now: Six Innovations that made the modern world – Steven Johnson. Innovators who were not commonly known that played pivotal role in history.
  13. Thanks for being late – Thomas Friedman.
  14. Short History of Progress – Ronald Wright.
  15. Rejection Proof – Jin Jiang
  16. Choose Yourself – James Altucher