2020 wasn’t any different than any other year.
Okay, it was a leap year so it had 366 days vs 365. But it still had 12 months and 4 seasons. Okay, so it also had a worldwide pandemic. A tiger king. Murder hornets. Protests. And an overwhelming sense of doom that microwaved our brains from the inside.
Yea, 2020 sucked. But this is not a post about 2020 and how it sucked. This is my yearly wrap-up post about the books I read in 2020.
And since I couldn’t go anywhere and do anything, I had a lot more time to read this year than ever before. Over the last four years, I averaged around 3 books per month. Check the books I read in 2017-2019 below.
But with all the extra time I had in 2020, I ended up adding about a book per month and topped out at 48 books for the year.
And like I’ve done each year for the last four years, here’s a rundown of what I’ve read over the last year with a brief sentence or two about what I learned from each book. I highly suggest picking any of these up for 2021; you can do that by clicking the image of the cover of the book.
*Note: some of what I learned are sentences directly taken from said books because the author said it better than I could summarize. These will marked with parenthesis. Everything else will just be italicized*
Growing up is hard.
“Life is like an extremely difficult, horribly unbalance video game…to win the videogame of life you just have to try to make the experience of being forced to play it as pleasant as possible, for yourself, and for all of the other players you encounter in your travels.”
“It’s not about win or lose, it is about do you accept the challenge.”
Reading this set of essays made me really wish Hitchens was still around today.
Y’all, the CIA did some fucked up shit in the 60s.
We are more Greek than we are Roman.
Living a creative life is hard.
Free will isn’t what you think it is; many of us are ruled by our habits and constrained by our psychological nature, leaving us with less freedom than we assume we have.
“No pleasure is a bad thing in itself. But the things which produce certain pleasures bring troubles many times greater than the pleasures.”
Living a life of pleasure isn’t about getting drunk on the immediate, but slowly sipping the longterm.
“Emotionally mature people acknowledge reality on their own terms. They see problems and try to fix them, instead of overreacting with a fixation on how things should be.”
“You are powerless in the problem. You are powerful in the solution.”
We need more people running for the office of President who are like Teddy.
The raptors in Jurassic Park were heroes and not villains.
“The greatest obstacle to pleasure is not pain; it is delusion.”
Men and women overall are not that different. But where we are different, holy crap, are we different.
Change your story, change your habits, change the system of your life, change how you see problems and your response to those things, and that’s how you become successful.
“We are constantly being shaped by seemingly irrelevant stimuli, subliminal information, and internal forces we don’t know a thing about.”
This one kind of bogged me down a bit. But if you love computer science it might be a good read for you.
Even if you come from abject poverty, be willing to work harder than everyone around you and success will come to you.
“We learn who we are in practice, not in theory.”
There are super weird worlds of hobbies you’ve never heard of; and sometimes people in those communities do crazy things to get treasures they seek.
There is one rule to a good business: Create value for your customers.
If you post on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter you’re a writer; and if you want to have better clarity in life, become a better writer, because we are all writers.
“Discipline is the path to freedom.”
Before you can change yourself, you must accept yourself for where you are currently.
The real architect of America.
What you think you know about ‘big political issues’ is probably wrong, so learn more.
The human brain is an interesting organ, but it has its shortfalls; we make up those shortfalls by creating tools and stories to help us make more sense of things.
Some people are assholes and we have to learn how to live with them.
There are some characters you want to hate but love how ruthless they are.
Art is an experience.
Marketing is about solving a problem, not some ‘product.’
Do I need to say anything else that the title doesn’t already say?
“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.”
“Work is love made visible.”
“Practicing for the purpose takes the best of generally applicable skills and combines them with specific applications.”
Question what your mind sees, hears, or thinks because often can play tricks on you.
WW2 was fucked up.
“Self-care is an attitude toward ourselves and our lives that says, I am responsible for myself.”
Most of the things you think are a big deal in life aren’t that big of a deal.
“Whiskey is an expression of egalitarian credentials and national unity, it also complemented the fast, intense hustle of America’s work ethic.”
There is more to sex than what your parents or any adult every taught you.
Everyone needs a Samwise in their life.
“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance: one cannot fly into flying.”
Surround yourself with people who will make any journey you go on a little bit easier.
Don’t fuck with Mother Nature; she will come to your precious tower and ravage you if you piss her off. (And by her I mean trees)
Environment affects how we change and that change affects how life morphs and grows.