Reading List — July 2013

My introduction to Cal Newport’s book So Good They Can’t Ignore You was in a Fast Company article which I wrote about here. I’ve been interested to read the book since but just haven’t made time. I finally got a copy of the book and the Fast Company article does not do it justice. I wrote a review of the book; you can read it here. Before you read my review I’ll preface it with this, if you’re struggling to find meaning in your work or looking for a new career, you need to read this book.

Since I was thinking about career trajectory and was riding a wave of motivation after reading Newport’s book, I decided to see what Steven Pressfield had to say in Turning Pro. I was a little disappointed. The War of Art is a great book, and one I’d highly recommend, but Turning Pro seemed, at best, an addendum—_The War of Art, Revised and Updated_ would have been better. If you’ve already read The War of Art, you can skip Turning Pro. If you’re decided between the two, well…

Still in the mood to read about career theories and since it was just published, I read James Altucher’s Choose Yourself. A lot of the book was republished blog articles. Not that this is a bad thing. I hadn’t read them on his blog yet and I only noticed after I had read the book. The main premise of the book is to follow a “health” regimentation focusing on four areas: mental, spiritual, physical and emotional. I think it’s easy enough to learn the ideas on his blog and wouldn’t recommend the book.

After two failed attempts to read different career theories and being disappointed, I thought I’d read Dan Pink’s Drive. Newport referenced it many times in So Good They Can’t Ignore You and I thought it would be best to see where the research came from. It was a great follow-up to Newport’s book. In fact, I’d go so far as to say Newport took Pink’s research and molded it into a career advice book. That’s not to say Newport stole the ideas. Newport first wrote about what would become Career Capital Theory a year or so before Drive was published. But Drive gave him the research on motivation he needed to round-out his theory. If you’re interested in intrinsic motivation theories, Drive will be a good read. But you’ll probably want to start at the back. In “Part Three,” he gives an overview; the theories and a some thoughts on applying them.

I heard good things about the meta-learning sections of Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Chef and decided to give it a try. I skimmed mostly since I wasn’t interested in learning to cook but the parts of the book about how to learn skills quickly was very interesting. It’s a massive book and, what little I read in the section, gives a great introduction to cooking. He puts structure behind cooking so as not to intimidate the reader. It’s likely I’ll buy a hardback version to keep as reference for his ideas on meta-learning.

Web Articles

Below are the articles I found on the web this month that were interesting or educational. They are listed here in the order I found them:

That last one, Solitude and Leadership, is a must read if you have any intention of being a leader. Once you read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email me at [email protected] and let’s talk about it.

Update: Most books I read don’t make it onto the blog but if you’re interested you can see all the books I’ve read on Goodreads.