The Reading List - February 2017

Everything mentioned below is something you can feel confident about clicking on. I've read the book, skimmed the article and watched the video and they are only on here because I recommend it.

Hope you enjoy this month's reading list. - Dan

Read

The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy - As someone who has spoken in front of crowds both small and large, I know how nerve-racking it is to get up in front of people. That's why I'm in awe of comedians, who night in and night out, do their set in front of crowds of rowdy drunks (2 drinks in at least). The Comedians goes into the history of comedy from the early Vaudeville era to the present day, introducing you to colorful characters and weaving in mentions about gender, race, and politics along the way. It's pretty astonishing to learn that comedians writing their own jokes only really took off in the 1960s and that joke stealing is a fact-of-life. This book is a great introduction into comedy, giving you a broad overview, while not diving too deep into one area. I added Born Standing Up by Steve Martin to my reading list because of this book.

The Association of Small Bombs - Karan Mahajan dives deep into the topic of terrorism in this beautifully written fictional account of a bombing that occurs in New Delhi, India. That's just the beginning. The aftermath of the horrific event is explored through many different points of view, parents who lost their children, people who survived, people falsely arrested for the crime and people who actually committed it. Just like in the real world, it's more complicated than you think. Karan's second novel has been named one of the best books of 2016 by the New York Times.

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! - In this semi-autobiographical book about Richard Feynman, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who passed away almost 30 years ago, you get into the head of a scientist, teacher, raconteur, musician, prankster, and traveler. You see how he saw life at Los Alamos when he worked on the Manhattan Project, how he learned to play instruments in Brazil on his sabbatical between teaching at Cornell and Caltech to how much fun he had in Las Vegas. If this book seems to jump around, that's because it's been entirely transcribed from conversations Richard had with a friend, which makes it all the more raw and fascinating. By the end of this book, Richard's curiosity for life will rub off on you.

Skim

The Book of Coach -  Bill Walsh is one of the greatest head coaches in the history of the NFL. After winning three Super Bowls, he retired. Although he created an innovative offensive scheme that's used widely today, his greatest contribution to the sport is a book that is almost on every coaches bookshelf that most people have never heard of.

How to Schedule Your Day For Peak Creative Performance -  How someone gets their work done is different from person to person, but what I love about this article is that it gets you thinking in blocks of time rather than in tasks.

Why Rural America Voted For Trump - Democrats and Republicans see the world differently, but did you know that there's only one fundamental idea that all their differences stem from? It's pretty fascinating and I hope it makes you see the other side differently (whichever side you may be on).

Isaac Asimov: How to Never Run Out of Ideas Again - Keep moving, don't be paralyzed by all the bad ideas you come up with. We all have them.

The Most Important Question of Your Life - Life is hard. This article gave me a kick in the pants and something I know I'm going to come back to time and time again.

The Man Behind Moneyball - This is a fascinating portrait of Michael Lewis, the author of Moneyball and the Big Short, and about how he came to write his newest book, The Undoing Project, which is the real-life story about the two men who developed the first algorithm and their tumultuous relationship. It's a departure from his previous books about Wall Street like Flash Boys, which I highly recommend.

Inside Instagram's Reinvention - Saying Instagram cloned Snapchat when they released Instagram Stories is an oversimplification. This article goes into the thought and research behind one of the most impactful additions to Instagram in years.

Watch

Nerdwriter - Nerdwriter is a weekly video essay series on YouTube that examines the process of how creative things work. The topics span art, entertainment, and social studies. Some of my favorites are how Louis CK tells a joke and What You Don't See in Casey Neistat's Vlog. This channel even tackles Disney movies.

That's it for this month. How you read anything good lately?