While it’s only been a month since my last reading update, I’ve turned-over a fair number of books in that time. Here’s what’s on my nightstand or playing from my speakers this month.
If You’re In My Office, It’s Already Too Late by James J. Sexton
No, I didn’t get this book because my relationship is in trouble. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. My relationship with my wife is great, and I want to keep it that way. I first came across Sexton in a Lifehacker podcast along side Esther Perel and I thought he had some interesting perspectives on relationships as a divorce lawyer. This book distills his 20-years of law experience and covers a gamut of reasons why relationships fail. The thinking is that while he doesn’t know what makes a good relationship, he knows all sorts of reasons why they don’t work, and the reader of his book can learn from the mistakes of his clients.
The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene
I pre-ordered this a few weeks back and it just came in the mail, so I haven’t had a chance to get very far into it. I first encountered Greene through a book recommendation from a friend of mine for his book, Mastery. I was intrigued with the material in Mastery, so I’ve kept an eye on Greene since. I listened to a the audiobook for the 48 Laws of Power, and I listened to a bit of his Art of Seduction (though I never finished it). Greene, like his protege Ryan Holiday, is a master of research synthesis. While his books are a bit of an animated bibliography, I think it’s the best representation of the genre. He digs into history to learn lessons from key figures to articulate his thesis. Instead of reporting on the achievements of others, Greene feels like a chronicler of insights. I’m looking forward to what this book has to offer.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I’ve never read this one until now. I’m familiar with the well-known courtroom scenes from the movie, but I was never assigned this while I was in school. Since I’ve been reading a steady diet of non-fiction, I thought I should dig into some quality fiction. I’m less than an hour into the audiobook, but already I find Scout to be an intriguing character (narrated by Sissy Spacek).
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
While my wife and I were heading off on our mini-honeymoon after the wedding last month, we found it difficult to talk about anything that wasn’t about the wedding. The planning and lead-up to our nuptials was over a year in the making, so in the afterglow of the party, we didn’t have much to talk about. Instead of riding in complete silence, we bought a copy of the Deathly Hallows on audiobook for the drive. I’ve only read the book once, and that was way back in 2007 when it was released (I bought it during a layover in Heathrow Airport on my way home from Kenya). We only listen to the book while together in the car during long(ish) drives between cities, and it’s funny how often we shut it off to talk about the story, or how stupid Harry (the character) is when you really think about it. It’s honestly among my favourite times spent with my wife.
I bought this book with high hopes, but sadly I’m finding it a bit of a let down. The Ikigai concept has floated around the interwebs and on my radar for a little over a year now. It got picked up in the blogosphere (mostly on Medium for me), so when I saw the book I thought I should check it out. This particular book is a hard animated bibliography. I think its greatest sin is that it talks about Ikigai by first covering other well-known philosophical ideas, such as Frankl’s work in Man’s Search for Meaning. I had hoped the concepts would stand on their own, or at least be situated with the original Japanese contexts that they were born out of. Instead, it cobbles together a bunch of summaries of other publications and presents them in digest format. Because the book is short with big font, I’ll slog through it, but it’s not what I had hoped it would be.