Books read – August 2017

I only managed to start a single book in July which I finished this month. I realised I spent too much time on social media which distracted me a lot and resulted in less reading time.

That's why I decided to cut down on distractions by deleting both Twitter and Reddit (the main culprits) from my phone so that my Kindle became my main source of entertainment again.
This little social media diet worked out quite well as I began feeling more productive and intellectually stimulated than before just a couple days into it.

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Sometimes when I play basketball or write code I get into a "zone" where time flies and everything seems easy. Turns out this is better known as a flow experience. Basically your abilities increase when you accomplish tasks that are challenging yet within your reach and offer continuous feedback.

This book also made me re-evaluate how I choose to spend my free time. I'm trying to focus on more complex activities that challenge me instead of opting for the easy option like watching TV or playing games. Ironically I have to admit that I found it hard to get through the chapters at times because it required a fair amount of concentration to follow the author's train of thought.

Get Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience on Amazon

Norse Mythology

As a big fan of Marvel's Thor and the TV show Vikings this book was right up my alley. It was the first time I read something by Neil Gaiman and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. He narrates the stories of many characters in the nordic mythology and takes the reader on a fast-paced adventure to the end of the world.

Get Norse Mythology on Amazon

Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business

I mainly read this one because I enjoyed Charles Duhigg's previous book The Power of Habit and to be honest I enjoyed Smarter Faster Better even more. He uses examples from a variety of industries to illustrate how anyone can become more productive by changing your mindset and workflow just a little bit.

Get Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business on Amazon

Ready Player One trailer

The book that pulled me back into reading over a year ago, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, is being adapted for film. The first trailer just appeared on the internet and at first glance it did a great job capturing the world as it's described in the book.

Without giving away any spoilers, the story is about a teenager in a futuristic setting where everyone is connected to a virtual reality called "Oasis". This alternate world is where the population's daily activities take place until one day a treasure hunt of epic proportions changes everything.

There's been a lot of hype surrounding this movie since it was announced that Steven Spielberg would be directing it and I can't wait to watch it later this year. In the meantime, check out the book if you haven't already.

Ready Player One is due to come out on 30 March 2018 in the UK, US and Australia.

Books read – June 2017

June was interesting in terms of reading–I didn't do a lot of it. Looking back it seems I was often distracted or simply not interested in reading as much during my routine. For example during my commute I would prefer doing something that required no mental effort whatsoever, such as browsing reddit on my phone or taking a nap. I still managed to finish a few though, which is surprising.

When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air is one of my favourite books this year. The author Paul Kalanithi writes about his life and how much it changed when he was diagnosed with cancer. It's refreshingly honest, candid and really heartbreaking. If there's one book you should read this year it's this one.

Get When Breath Becomes Air on Amazon

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

A friend recently had me take a personality test and it turns out I'm 54% extrovert and 46% introvert. Since I was a kid, I would've told you I'm introverted but I guess things can change over time. I wanted to dig a little deeper into that topic with this book by Susan Cain and it was truly eye-opening. Being an introvert is cool and often almost better. I would especially recommend this to parents who are trying to "fix" their kids just because they like to be by themselves often.

Get Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking on Amazon

The Elements of Style

The Elements of Style is supposed to be a classic when it comes to writing properly in every sense of the word. Even though it's a small book, you'll find lots and lots of advice on which bad writing habits to break and how to correct the most common mistakes. These concepts are usually explained along with examples and better alternatives are offered.
It's quite an old book and I had the impression that some things were out of date. Since English isn't my native language I learned many new things which allowed me to reflect on my own writing. It can get a little dry at times but it's worth to read this book at least once.

Get The Elements of Style on Amazon

IKEA makes cooking easy with "Cook This Page" recipes

In an attempt to make cooking less intimidating for the masses, IKEA Canada teamed up with ad agency Leo Burnett for their latest campaign. Taking cues from their super simple self-assembly guides for furniture, they now extend their reach into your kitchen.

With recipes printed on cooking paper (using food-safe ink), people just have to fill in the ingredients blanks, roll the whole thing up and put it straight into the oven. It doesn't get much easier than that and it seems the hardest part is waiting for your delicious meal to cook.
Really like how it looks so simple and yet is more interactive than traditional cookbooks or even apps.