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2020 Bookshelf Takeaways
My key takeaways from each of 26 books I read in 2020.
Hey, 2 holiday newsletters in a row — neat! Happy New Year!
As I’ve spent time on other folks’ websites, something I kept seeing pop-up as a new convention were pages that included a bookshelf of things that the person had read, with something like a favorite quote or a rating of each book.
Wanting to add the same thing to my website, I ended up doing this by taking every book I read in 2020 and posting it with a link and my highest level takeaway. I will do the same thing for my 2021 reads sometime in the next few weeks, but until then, here are all the books I read in 2020 with those takeaways to serve as a stand in for this month’s Page Crimps newsletter.
For new subscribers who aren’t familiar with my page crimps posts, you can check out my last one on Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov here.
Scale: The patterns that exist from micro to macro are often the same.
Factfulness: The world isn’t as bad as you’ve been led to believe.
Wild Ride: Meteoric rises require astronomical energy to propel them.
Shadow Dance: Acknowledge and take pride in the ability to overcome a dark side rather than pretend it doesn’t exist.
Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynmen: Curiosity pays dividends.
Creativity on Demand: Creativity is an improvable skill.
Guns, Germs and Steel: Small advantages in the early stages of development lead to large advantages in later stages.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: The Shadow cannot be suppressed.
One Taste: There’s a place you can get to beyond the present, where you perceive the totality of the present.
The Origin and History of Consciousness: There are consistent patterns that reflect the nature of consciousness across the religious texts of history that can teach valuable lessons.
127 Hours: Try the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing. Endurance with a stoic mindset pays off.
The Italian Summer: There’s no guilt in earned pleasure.
The Brain that Changes Itself: Our brains are adaptable to maximize the ROI of our experience.
The Jefferson Bible: There are moral truths that exist in the Bible. Religious or not, it’s not worth throwing the baby our with the bathwater.
1984: Complacency at scale will lead to amorphous existence devoid of truth.
The War of Art: It takes discipline to be a successful artist, in any domain.
The Stranger: If you are complacent to the whims of the world around you, you will deserve whatever it brings you.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: The process of defining quality, otherwise known as ‘the journey’ is the most virtuous and powerful thing a human being is capable of.
Finite and Infinite Games: Some games you play to win, but the more fun games are the ones you play to prolong.
Crime and Punishment: Living a nihilist doesn’t net you any return comparable to subscribing to a mode of meaning.
The Hobbit: You experience adventure as much as it experiences you.
Bhagavad Gita As It Is: Morality, faith and religion are practices of intuition.
The Three Body Problem: Complexity can’t be solved, it can only be simplified.
Seven Pillars of Wisdom: An incredible experience can take place over any stretch of time, but one on a longer stretch is made up of a myriad of smaller experiences of comparable value.
Candide and Selected Stories: The same negative social norms that plague us now, plagued us in the past, their amplification has only increased. The right behaviors are generally common sense.
The Odyssey: If you choose the right objectives, the universe will conspire with you to achieve them. Otherwise, it will conspire to send you in the right direction, often through struggle.
Next week, I’m going to talk about theming your year.
Enjoy a new day.