Winter Book Reviews

Factfulness

By Hans Rosling

This is a facts-based look at world statistics, and it’s fascinating.  Bill Gates calls Factfulness “One of the most important books I’ve ever read.”  If that’s not enough to make you rush to your smartphone to order it, maybe this review will be.

We’re constantly told the world is dangerous, but as the author writes, “The image of a dangerous world has never been broadcast more effectively than it is now, while the world has never been less violent and more safe.”  Negativity sells.  The media preys on our fight or flight instincts and our hyperawareness for danger.  Yet, natural disasters accounted for 0.1% of all deaths, plane crashes 0.001%, murders 0.7%, nuclear leaks 0%, and terrorism 0.5%.  In fact, you are 50 times more likely to be killed by a drunk person in the U.S. than by a terrorist.

Most interesting for me was the 13-question quiz at the beginning of the book where you can test your understanding of the world.  My results were humbling.  Unfortunately, I am in good company.  I highly recommend you read this book.  It was eye-opening for me.

 

The Power of Moments

By Chip & Dan Heath

From the authors of Made to Stick and Switch, the Heath brothers do it again.  Whether you’re in a relationship, run a business, manage people, or just want to fully enjoy life, there’s something for you in this book.  The authors encourage you to think in moments and look for moments, defined as meaningful and memorable.  Here are a few takeaways:

  • The first day of work should be a peak moment, not a list of bureaucratic activities.
  • If you’re a youth sports coach, consider taking a video of each kid on your team doing drills at the beginning of the year and the same drills at the end of the year.  This will help them to visualize the progress they’ve made.
  • Implementation intentions – These mental rehearsals pre-load a response so that, in the moment, you can act without deliberation.  If X happens, then I will do Y.  When intentions are pre-loaded, you have 2 times the success rate.
  • In many organizations, our daily obligations (emails, meetings, to-do lists) can numb us to the meaning of our work.  Don’t forget your purpose.

 

Tools of Titans

By Tim Ferriss

You might know Tim Ferriss as the author of The 4-Hour Workweek or from his podcast.  His style isn’t for everyone and this book includes some far out stuff.  I skimmed over the first third (topics include fasting and ketosis), but I did find some good nuggets in the “wealthy” and “wise” sections.  This book is aptly subtitled: “The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers.”  If you’re a Tim Ferriss fan, there’s plenty to like in here.  If you haven’t been exposed to Tim yet, you might want to read the Amazon reviews on this book before diving in.  I will say, if you want to fill up your “books to read” list, Tim will definitely help.  Lots of great quotes in here as well.

 

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