@amit's notes

Book Notes and Highlights

Here's a sumary and detailed notes from all the books I read. I want to make this a practise and a habit. So currently there is no structure, no order to any of this. My idea is to build this as Derek Siver's does with the books he reads. I eventually want to reach there. But till then, it's a huge work in progress.

This FAQ from Sivers is really helpful. Especially this quote, "When I’m reading and come across a surprising or inspiring idea, I save it. That’s all my notes are. I’m not summarizing the book. I’m just saving ideas for myself, for later reflection."

Notes aren't summary. They are just ideas I like.

[[The Obstacle Is the Way]]

Date Read - 6th November 2022

Laced with real-life examples and a corresponding lesson in each chapter, Ryan Holiday presents valuable insight into handling obstacles. Nicely structured in three sensible parts – perception, action and will – this is a good, practical guide to staying balanced without getting bogged down by roadblocks and failures in life. Ryan doesn’t want to make this a guide for stoic philosophy. Instead, he sprinkles the best of the lessons throughout the book. That helps keep things simple, which most books on Stoicism fail to do.

As he mentions towards the end, many people he tells the tale of “embodied the best practices of Stoicism without even knowing it”. Ryan recommends that just doing matters more. For his intention to not complicate the philosophy, he deserves credit.

[[Stolen Focus]]

Date Read - 26th September 2022

I loved the premise of this book but found the second half unconvincing. Sure, lack of sleep or hunger or extended work hours does lead to loss of focus. But they do harm our society in a lot of other ways. We can’t point to every problem that plagues the world today and say it affects our focus. Similarly, ridding ourselves of the focus problem can help us solve even more significant issues. But without concrete actions, it is all talk.

The extent of topics that Hari wants to cover with the book is too spread for my liking. I wished it was more focused on the subject.

Think Again

Date Read - 4th September 2022

Though the book is in no way short, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Grant presents numerous ideas across sections and chapters – some focused on individuals, others on teams. Some on one’s personal life, others on the professional one. Given the recent trend of expanding trivial ideas into a book, I admire the depth Grant attempts with this book.

Sure, not everything works for me. Not all suggestions are practical. A few chapters and their conclusions contradict the more significant point being made. Some sections just have no relation to the central premise of thinking again. The conclusion sounds weakest as if it was added after the thought (something that Grant acknowledges in the Epilogue).

As I struggle today with forming opinions amidst the information overload, this was an essential read. Every help I get to think better is welcome.

[[A View to Die for]]

Date Read - 12th August 2022

I really enjoyed this one. Paul Gumbs, the central character, comes out as a natural hero. The mystery is breezy and never slows down unnecessarily. I am involved in Butterfly Island and the characters living there enough that I’ll no doubt pick up the next one in the series.

[[The Psychology of Money]]

Date Read - 29th July 2022

A short, but brilliant read. Housel writes in an easy-to-follow manner even though the topic he talks about is not. Some might say this belongs to a series of blog posts. But the chapters and respective takeaways sound coherent.

As Housel mentions, there cannot be a single investing strategy for every person out there. Each individual’s background is different. Their goals are different. And so are their perspectives. In the same spirit, two individuals cannot have the same set of takeaways from this book.

So do give this a read and discover for your own.

The Comfort Book

Date Read - 14th July 2022

Though I really enjoyed this book, I don’t think I am done reading it. I will keep this book close and revisit a chapter randomly whenever I feel down. Or feel that I need a nudge in the right direction. I don’t think this one is a book. Each chapter is a nugget of inspiration, of motivation, of reminders for what matters, presented in the most no-nonsense way by Matt Haig.

[[Death in the Clouds]]

Date Read - 1st Jan 2022

I didn’t enjoy this Poirot adventure as I did his earlier ones. Sure, the plot, the mystery is interesting. But the way the story unfolds leaves me wanting for a lot more. It’s not a satisfying conclusion — too farfetched. Rushed. Maybe, I am done reading all the good Christie novels.

Four Thousand Weeks

Date Read - 30th November 2021

This one is the best time management book that preaches one should not fret too much about managing time. Live life being aware of its finitude. Doesn’t matter how much we try, we can never master time. It reminds you throughout the book that you don’t have time, but time is what you are.

Just like Burkeman did with his previous book, [[The Antidote]], he left with so many profound observations and thoughts. This is not a practical guide of hacks that you could try to follow to improve your life. Rather, it lends an opportunity to reflect on at least a couple of ways you perceive the concept of time, and consequently, lead your life.


Date Read - 28th February 2021

Given the times we are living in today, whoever claims that “the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think” has my attention.

[[Endless Night]]

Date Read - 27th February 2021

I am not at all impressed. This review might contain spoilers, but I can’t help I have to rant. Nah, I am not letting the ending influence the overall rating for the book again. It is easy to get wowed by the intelligent ending and rate this book highly. But it wasn’t a good read for me. This may have been a brilliant psychological thriller for its time. But a lot has happened since 1967 and too many have been inspired by the style of surpriseful narration from this mystery master for this style to create the necessary impression anymore. This read was so unlike any other from Agatha Christie and this time it is not in positive sense.

Here's a list of other books that I have highlights from, in no specific order. I haven't summarized them, though I should have. I intend to make this a habit to summarize every book I read.

Links to this note

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Book Notes and Highlights