The One Where I Tell You What to Read
Better write it down
Note: If you are reading this from your email inbox, I suggest you click on the title to open this on your web browser to read the whole thing. Thanks!
You know how everyone is doing end of year reflections (me), sharing lessons learned (also me), and sharing their top reads of the year? Well, I’m about to go 3-for-3 this month with cliché “end of year” posts.
But let’s be honest: I enjoy reading these and so do many of you. I’m simply quenching your thirst for wisdom and recommendations. You are welcome.
I’m going to share 5 of my favorite books this year and 10 of my favorite essays from Substack. Instead of telling you why I loved them, I’ll just share a quote from them.
I will let the author’s words be what sways you to indulge in their prose.
📚 Books 📚
The one you need to read if you don’t know what to do with your career
“If the default path is the story of the industrial world, then the pathless path is the natural story for a digital‑native world in which nothing can stop us from finding others who share our desires, ideas, and questions.”
The one you need to read if you want to understand why we can’t agree on anything
What’s Our Problem? a self-help book for societies by Tim Urban
If you put individuals together in the right way, such that some individuals can use their reasoning powers to disconfirm the claims of others … you can create a group that ends up producing good reasoning as an emergent property of the social system. This is why it’s so important to have intellectual and ideological diversity within any group or institution whose goal is to find truth.
The one you need to read to soothe your soul
To be clear, self-acceptance does not mean complacency. It just means that instead of rejecting or fighting whatever comes up, we acknowledge it for what it is and if there is a need to take action, we do so skillfully.
The one you need to read if you are a people-pleaser
The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga
All you can do with regard to your own life is choose the best path that you believe in. One the other hand, what kind of judgment do other people pass on that choice? That is the task of other people, and is not a matter you can do anything about.
The one you need to read if you are looking for love
How To Find Love by The School of Life
A sense of being in love with someone is seldom a prelude to long-term contentment. If we intend to get better at relationships, we must attempt to examine the calls of Romantic love rationally. This isn’t a question of abandoning instinct, but improving upon it.
✍️ Essays ✍️
The one you need to read if you think about AI and its repercussions on *everything*
The financial system has become this giant warped thing that inadvertently became the snake eating its tail. It’s not about building a better future, it’s about moving dollars around trying to scrape some semblance of premium. And AI is sort of at risk for worsening this giant warped thing too.
The one you need to read to see that freedom is relative
Not so many moons ago, freedom was simply a notion, a question, a politically-willless desire for many millions.
And for the generational, specific, targeted discrimination that continues for their progeny, varying degrees of freedom will always be contingent upon how institutions, state, local and federal governments, and private companies disseminate opportunities, access, and equity that become the blessings of liberty.
The one you need to read if you are addicted to the notion of being exceptional
Most of us experience that heroic self-image as a desire to be someone. That’s why, even hough we know the stories by heart, we all love a good rags-to-riches tale. We root for the underdog, not because he’s anything special, but because we want him to become someone special.
The one you need to read to love your body more
When I look at myself in the mirror, I wish to not minimize myself to a wrapper of skin. A paper origami body. Flesh. When I look at myself in the mirror, I wish to see fire. Fire with the power to destroy that chooses instead to warm cold spaces, cold hands, cold hearts. I wish to see myself for the depth of my heart, the vastness of my curiosity, the strength of my arms and legs, the capacity of my mind, and the goodness that stitches together the thread of my being.
The one you need to read if you want to hug your child tighter
We pulled up the CCTV footage and started to comb. If you have ever looked for your child in CCTV footage, you will understand the sudden split in consciousness between the imperative to look harder than you’ve ever looked before and the understanding that what you see might end your life.
The one you need to read if you are a creative and feel like you are “sell out”
There is a spectrum between [the marketer] and [the artist]. The marketer has a consistent brand identity and pre-designed content strategy, while the artist is a rogue explorer, sniffing ideas and digging to see what emerges. The marketer writes for their audience, the artist writes for themselves.
The one you need to read if you think we have a calling in life
But why is it so difficult to find our true calling? The number one impediment is that we follow, or are persuaded by, other people’s definition of success. So we want to be like them, and we try to do what they do and of course it’s hard and not natural at all to us, but we insist and insist, telling ourselves the story that by working really hard we can become like them. But that’s bullshit and so hard to let go.
The one you need to read if you love Taylor Swift
These ladies took pictures of each other like it was their actual job. One wore a lavender faux fur jacket (it was 80 degrees), and the other a cherry red nap dress. They posed flawlessly. With every punch-of-thumb-to-iPhone, a different position. Leg pop! Arm pop! Hands in the air! Hands in the shape of a heart! Repeat. “Professionals,” we muttered under our breath.
The one you need to read if you don’t want to feel old
When I was young, I yearned to be older. And now that I'm older, I miss being young. Pablo Picasso said, “It takes a very long time to be young.” But what does it mean to be young while growing old? There are idioms like "young at heart," "live with childlike wonder," "old soul," and "wise beyond your years" that point us towards some direction, like a GPS orienting our identities and livelihoods.
The one you I would like you to read if you just read one thing written by me
Friendship Lines by yours truly
There are friendship winters that freeze the relationship and it can never be unfrozen. Others that make you appreciate that person even more.
There are friendship summers that burn so intense they forge a bond between two people. Others that burn so intense they burn a friendship out.
Big life events like moving to a different city, getting married, having kids, usually onset a change in dynamics in a friendship. It’s impossible to predict which of these events will bring you closer or pull you apart.
Whew! I know that was a lot. Thanks for sticking around until the end. Pick at least one of these suggestions and go read it. I know you will be delighted.
Now, I’ll turn it back to you…
What’s something you’ve read this year that you loved? Share it in the comments!