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Books I read in 2015

Colin Stuckert

We are now 25 days into another year.

Big deal, right?

January 1st, 2016 is just another day you being the person you were yesterday, right?

Or is this year going to be the year you finally do all those things you've wanted to do?

I mean, come on, who actually changes? Better yet, who actually changes at the start of a new year?

If you've ever read any Carl Sagan, watched any Cosmos (new or old), or spent anytime at all thinking about the vastness of space and time, you probably know how inconsequential 25 days is in the overall picture of things.

But then, what else do you have?

You and I only have this one life and whatever days we are fortunate enough to get during this absurdly short period of time.

So instead of needing some arbitrary "New Year" to give you a reason to make positive changes in your life, why not start right now? 

How about some New Minute Resolutions?

After all, you're going to get a whole lot more New Minutes than you are New Years in your lifetime.

If you start using even a few of these these New Minutes each year to become a better person and work towards your goals, a New Year is soon going to seem terribly slow and outdated.

So do it... Make New Minute Resolutions.

Then get started doing something that's going to get you a step closer to that life you want. Then set a new New Minute Resolution and get working on that one. And so on.

Before you know it, you'll have an entirely different life. And while everyone else is waiting for the next year to get going on their dreams, you're just waiting for the next free minute.

And trust me, you'll get far far ahead as a result.

It all starts with a minute.

And "yes" I say to the critics that would complain that it just isn't that easy. It absolutely is that easy.

Every new thing in the world starts with one minute. One minute this thing doesn't exist, then another minute someone is working on it, then a bunch of minutes later it exists.

All minutes.

The Earth rotates around the Sun in minutes. You get paid at your job for working minutes, or you spend minutes to complete a sale or project and then you get paid. Whatever. It's all minutes.


Minutes + Mindset = Winning

Life is nothing but what you make it. And what you make it is what you think about it. That's it.

Thoughts = reality. 

You know what's different about the people that seem to have all the things you desire?

This is what's different about those individuals: They expect more abundance than you.

Either they are born into abundance and so they have their bar of what's standard much higher than yours and so they expect more from life than you, or they've worked hard and learned to demand more from life while constantly raising their bar of standard and believing they deserve just as much abundance as the next guy.

I could go on and on about this topic, but instead I'm going to give you my top recommendation on this topic. And what I'm going to recommend is already something you already do a lot.

Hell, you're doing it right now.

It's this: read.

That's it.

You want to become a better person in every possible way? Read more.

I'm not going to go into why you need to read more because I think you already know why.

What I will say is, you should read more books and long, in-depth articles. Seek out really juicy content. Read things that interest you whether it applies to the way you make a living or not. Then read fiction.

A note about fiction: Some of the smartest and most admirable people I know and follow are voracious readers of fiction and nonfiction. I've also heard these individuals extoll the importance and power of reading fiction more times than I can count.

I totally agree.

To get you started on this new reading journey, I have compiled a list of some of the books I read in 2015. Before getting to that list, I have to recommend Audible because it helped me get through most of the following books during a time I was reading less and less due to lack of time.

Without further ado, here is my list of books I read in 2015.

I hope you'll use a book or two here to kickstart your first New Minute goal of reading more books!

Books I Read in 2015

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Format: Audible

Rating: 5

Notes: 

You’ve probably seen at least one movie depicting Steve Jobs, the infamous co-founder of Apple Computer.

I’ve enjoyed most of the movies, but it’s the book that’s going to paint the best picture of Jobs and his eccentric personality.

The main thing I’ve taken away from learning about Jobs for use in my life is the attention to—seeking of—perfection in design.

Jobs was notorious for demanding certain design elements of his products be a certain way, even the insides that a customer would never see. In fact, at Apple HQ, there is a top secret “packaging room” where a team tests and iterates the packaging experience for each one of Apple’s products.

These are the kinds of things that make Apple, Apple.

Whether you are in business or not, I highly recommend this book.

Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

Format: Audible

Rating: 5+

Notes: 

Elon Musk is my (now) all-time favorite entrepreneur.

If you want to think bigger, read this book. It will completely demolish your ideas about your life, future and worldview.

And that’s exactly why I loved it.

In short, Musk is the only person ever to found or co-found 3 companies with billion dollar market caps.

And he’s doing this all for the purpose of moving humanity into a better, more sustainable future.

If you’ve yet to watch this presentation of Tesla’s new battery technology, do it now

And I will be buying a Tesla at some point in the future when I can afford it.

Now, any skeptic might now be think I’m one of those confirmation-bias preening fanboys that worships anything and everything Musk does regardless of merit, but he/she would be wrong. Really wrong.

All Fanboy-ness aside (which is not something that comes to me easily for anyone, btw), Musk’s products and mission are so frickin legit that their legginess my only reason for wanting to buy a Tesla or power my home with the new Tesla Powerwall technology.

Nuff said. Read or listen to this book. Expand what you consider as possible for your life. Then go out and be apart of something bigger than yourself. <— Something we should all aspire to, in my not-so-humble opinion.

Zero To One by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters

Format: Audible

Rating: 3

Notes: 

There are a few good ideas in this book. Beyond that, though, it’s pretty short and not that interesting.

This book fell into one of those “popular because popular people are recommending it” categories and has been overhyped as a result.

Unless you are CEO of a company, or in some form of big business, this isn’t that useful of a read.

Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created An Empire and Transformed Pop Culture

Format: Audible

Rating: 5+

Notes: 

This is one of the best Audible books I’ve ever downloaded. The speaker of this one performs the story so on point that I don’t think it would have been as good if I decided to read it on Kindle.

I grew up with computers. I was a hardcore PC gamer in my high school years. I even sometimes refer to myself as “One of the best AOK Death Match players in the history of the world.” (AOK= Age of Empires Age of Kings, Death Match = a style of multiplayer gameplay made popular when Zone.com was around.)

I wasn’t that much into first person shooters, but I did play Doom here and there and had some fun with Unreal Tournament with friends.

Read this book for entertainment purposes. Not a ton of business or life-related ideas—unless you are starting a gaming software company.

If you played any of these games back in the day, you’ll definitely enjoy learning how those games came to be.

Ready Player One By Ernest Cline

Format: Kindle

Rating: 5++++

Notes: 

This book is in my top 5 books of all time. (I suspect it would capture the top spot if I sat down to think about it.)

It’s set in the future where the majority of the world is plugged into a virtual reality world. The creator of this world, now dead, was a boy genius that grew up in the 80s. The story starts with the main character participating in a “quest” unveiled by the late founder hidden somewhere in the virtual world that promises riches to whomever discovers it.

I’ve already said too much. Read this book. You’ll breeze through it. It’s one of those books that you forget your reading because you are so enraptured in your mind as you are “playing the movie.”

The Story of The Human Body by Daniel Lieberman

Format: Audible

Rating: 4.5

Notes: 

If you are at all new to evolutionary biology, this is a great primer.

There are a few things I disagree with Lieberman on, like his nutrition related analysis based on the evidence (it feels a bit like confirmation-bias the way he chooses to highlight/ignore certain data pertaining to nutrition). Overall, this is a great read and helps form the foundation of what human health is based on—human past.

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan

Format: Audible

Rating: 4 stars

Notes: 

A good solid book about food and cooking. You’ll learn some techniques for cooking, some history relating to food, and the science behind cooking and fermentation.

Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Format: Audible/Kindle

Rating: 4.5 stars

Notes: 

This book is long. It took me awhile to get through it. I think I’d recommend the Audible version on 1.5 or 2x speed over reading print.

Like the Musk book above, this book will help you think bigger. For me, I also enjoyed the portrayal of Schwarzenegger's personality; fun, daring, smiles a lot, interested in people, and determined. He’s definitely one of the greatest men of our time and a model we can also use as an “avatar” in our minds to aspire to.

(Not condoning his every action or behavior, but I'm not a victim of the "halo effect" that skews perception of an individual based on what one thinks about someone's actions from a moral perspective. In short, you don't have to like or agree with someone that does not mean you cannot learn from them. That said, I think that people that obsess about any of his mistakes are being extremely myopic in their thinking (to a point of delusion). After all, this man has done more for this country (one he was not born in) than probably any of us and continues to raise millions for charities and whatnot. To focus on his shortcomings is to say he's supposed to be perfect. That's just stupid. End note.)

Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground by Kevin Poulsen

Format: Audible

Rating: 4.5 stars

Notes: 

This is a great book and a great Audible performance. This is more for entertainment than anything. It tells the story of a hacker that falls into the “carding” world of stolen credit card numbers and credit card fraud. 

The Consolations of Philosophy

Format: Audible

Rating: 4.5 stars

Notes: 

Looks at some of the greatest philosophers and their ideas and how they can be applied to your everyday life.

I’ve been a philosophy fan for sometime now and I still appreciated this book. Serves as a great starting point for anyone looking to get into practical philosophy.

The Red Rising Trilogy - Book 1 and 2
(waiting on Book 3)

Format: Kindle

Rating: 5 stars

Notes: 

My favorite fiction series of all time. Pierce Brown has a unique style that takes a bit to get used to, but once you do, you’re his forever.

The characters in this book feel so real. Like Ready Player One, you forget your reading when you’re reading. This book is responsible for permanently shifting my sleeping schedule back 2 hours after reading it two nights in a row and forgetting to go to sleep each time. It’s that good.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Format: Audible

Rating: 5+ Stars

Notes: 

Another book about the history of humans. Includes a lot about evolutionary biology, but reads more like a history book than a science or biology book.

This is a must-read for just about everyone. You’ll learn about your biology and how current environment and our ancestors’ past shape human health. So imperative a read.

If you've read any of my stuff before, you know I'm a fanatic proponent of books and reading. For me, there is not a single thing I've ever done right in my life that could not be traced back in some form to something I read. 

Reading is how you train your mind and formulate your own ideas and opinions and beliefs and theories.

It's how you learn to question yourself, the world and those around you.

Reading is how you learn to become an individual instead of walking around like an automaton replica of the average person living in modern society.

If you want to be a better person, and especially if you want to be successful, you need to develop a strong reading habit. (Audible can help with this big time.)

Get to it. Start on those New Minute resolutions already!

Yours in Health,

Colin Stuckert
 

-Colin Stuckert
Wild Foods Founder