An ongoing list of books that I have read. I have a new system for taking book notes and this page will reflect that as time goes on. For the books I have notes on, the summary will be posted here. All of them will have a short blurb about what I think in the dropdown. This is heavily inspired by James Clear’s book summary page.

Upgrade by Blake Crouch

A man with the genome of the next evolution of human beings must stop the upgrade from spreading.

Overall: 6.3 / Characters: 4 / Atmosphere: 9 / Writing Style: 8 / Plot: 7 / Intrigue: 6 / Logic: 4 / Enjoyment: 6

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Two programmers and best friends go through hardships and successes to tell their stories through what they love the most: video games.

Overall: 5.3 / Characters: 7 / Atmosphere: 4 / Writing Style: 5 / Plot: 6 / Intrigue: 3 / Logic: 9 / Enjoyment: 3

Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff

Neff lays out the benefits and a roadmap for becoming more self-compassionate. Full of exercises, this book is equal parts theory and practice.

Recursion by Blake Crouch

Barry and Helena must use her powerful invention to maintain the reality of the past.

Overall: 8 / Characters: 4 / Atmosphere: 9 / Writing Style: 8 / Plot: 8 / Intrigue: 9 / Logic: 8 / Enjoyment: 10

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Locke Lamora gets entangled in a revenge-fueled coup that puts his livelihood and new found family at risk of turmoil.

Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown

Atlas of the Heart is exactly that. It’s a glossary, a guide, for navigating the range of human emotions that we all experience.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns follows the difficulties and loss of two women in a war-torn Afghanistan.

Permission to Feel by Marc Brackett

Brackett provides five key emotion skills that are the basis of the book and a framework for becoming more emotionally intelligent and empathetic.

So Good They Can't Ignore You by Cal Newport

A nice short roadmap to finding a truly meaningful career. Ignore what you heard about trying to match your job to your passion. Instead, gain rare and valuable skills that you can trade in later for desirable career traits such as control and a mission.

Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenburg

Rosenburg provides a communication method that puts compassion and empathy first. He provides the steps to communicating more effectively with a mix of concrete tools and abstract ideas.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

The first in a trilogy, this is a strange (in a good way) start to an interesting dystopian world. A seemingly ordinary guy surrounded by much more interesting characters somehow evades a genetic catastrophe. Atwood takes us back and forth between his current life of him being worshipped by the next evolutionary species and the turns his life took to get to that point. Part action, part dystopia, and part love, this story has it all.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

A story about regret and what matters most in life told in the craziest way possible. By traveling to other worlds and paths not taken, Jason Dessen evades insanity to find his true identity and his true meaning. Crouch has a very unique, missing-pronoun writing style that adds to one of the themes of the book; Who am I? Who is she? Who are we?

All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

What a story. A group of young cronies fighting in a war that is not their own in the crucible that is the front-line. A constant pull between Life and Death, young boy and grizzled war veteran, fear and bliss, instinct and reason.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Extraordinary. Very similar to The Martian by the same author, but the stakes are higher. Instead of everyone on Earth trying to save one person, it is one person trying to save everyone on Earth. Weir’s characters are a marvel and no matter how bad a situation is, their problem-solving abilities always save the day.

This Is How They Tell Me The World Ends by Nicole Perlroth

Incredible writing and journalism from Perlroth about hackers, exploits, and the clandestine cyber-arms race. My hometown of about 9,000 people almost made it into the book. Iranian hackers tried to open Bowman Dam in New York (it was 20 feet tall and disconnected that day for maintenance). One theory is that they were trying to hit the much more significant Bowman Dam on the Crooked River about 10 miles from my childhood home in Prineville. “The dam, 245 feet tall and 800 feet long, holds back 150,000 acre-feet of water from inundating 10,000 residences in downstream Pineville.” … Pineville. So close.

Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch

Language (more specifically, how we communicate) is a living and breathing thing that changes with time. That next phase for human communication is through the internet. On the internet, we don’t have the luxury of using rising intonation or facial expressions to convey meaning but people come up with creative ways to convey the same information. We build new characters, emojis, and memes all to better understand and love one another.

Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from Data by Charles Wheelan

Wheelan makes statistics fun and applicable through real examples. It really helped me reinforce the idea of thinking probabilistically and goes hand in hand with the thoughts in “Drunkard’s Walk” by Leonard Mlodinow. Is it people’s choices that determine their outcome or are they the 5% that isn’t accounted for in a 95% confidence interval?

Deep Work by Cal Newport

For those in the field of knowledge work, the ability to truly focus and get into a flow state with their work is becoming more rare while at the same time becoming more valuable. The people who can master this skill can use it to get more meaningful work done and learn difficult things quickly to excel in their careers and life.

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor

An interesting read about something we all do naturally but haven’t actually had anyone teach us. Many major religions and cultures throughout time have stumbled upon the fact that breathing is important and can help tune us into the world. Breathe better to live better.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

A classic in the productivity/self help space. Atomic Habits gives clear and actionable things we can do to develop better habits and remove unwanted ones. Almost over-hyped but there are still some very powerful skills throughout the book.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

Lots of fun facts and factoids, all broken into fun bite-sized chapters. Almost as good as the podcast but Green’s voice and long pauses add a lot of emotion and human touch to the stories. This book weaves between fascinating, moving, awe-inspiring, saddening all within pages from one another. And at the end, you get plenty of trivia for your next Jeopardy! event or party…if your friends are into that kind of thing.

The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn't Have To Be Complicated by Helaine Olen & Harold Pollack

The easiest way to handle personal finances. Are you going to become rich by reading this book? No. But you will learn easy ways to increase your financial security in both the short and the long term.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Absolutely fantastic. Not many things in the world make me cry, but when I was bawling when I reached the end of this one. Lots of deeper meaning intertwined within the stories and experiences of the main character.

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker

Much like “Breath” by James Nestor, sleeping is something we all need to do but nobody has taught us the importance or how to sleep. Sleeping keeps us alive and allows us to learn, remember, and be creative. It is one of the most important activities we do and yet it feels like a burden or a waste of time. Walker describes this importance as well as actionable tips on how to sleep better.

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian & Tom Griffiths

Looking at normal everyday decisions through a computer science lens. What is the best way to reorganize your bookshelf? Should you park your car here or loop around again to try to find a closer space? Algorithmic thinking (the kind computers do) can help us solve problems like these.

Chasing Chaos: My Decade In and Out of Humanitarian Aid by Jessica Alexander

Real experiences of a humanitarian professional. This book is a simple biography that takes you through Alexander’s choices and experiences that led her into the humanitarian field and how she excelled in it.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

A gripping story of a person fighting against her own culture to discover truth.