Books to Read to Get Smarter

I've spent too much of my life playing video games and surfing the internet. Mostly as a mind-numbing way to decompress from work and escape from the stress and anxiety of daily life. It feels like a waste in some ways ... all those hours and nothing really gained. Even now with two young kids at home, there are all these little moments in the day I could use to enrich my mind and broaden my horizons, rather than scroll political news on Twitter.

That wasted time was one of the reasons I recently Googled, "books to read to get smarter." Apparently this is something that others have given thought to and made lists about, including more than one from Bill Gates. I decided to start with this list from Business Insider, "44 books everyone should read in their lifetime." If you look at the URL, it reads, "books that will make you more well-rounded," and that's exactly what I'm after.

It's only been a few weeks, but with not that much effort, I've already read 3 of the books on the list. They were, in the order I read them, "A Visit from the Goon Squad", "Hyperbole and a Half", and "1984." The last one was a re-read from high school ... enough life has passed that it felt worth a second perusal. It was a struggle to get through, but the idea of perpetual war as a means to manufacture scarcity in the age of machines is still noodling around in my head.

I also read 2 books that I added to the list, "Win Bigly" and "How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big", both by Scott Adams. He caught my attention during the 2016 election when he analyzed Trump's powers of persuasion and predicted his eventual victory. Whether you agree with Adams or not, he has a perspective that is worth exploring.

Yesterday I started, "To Kill a Mockingbird", which I'm surprised wasn't assigned in high school. I'm enjoying it despite the heavy subject matter. It's a much easier and more pleasant read than "1984."

Overall, I'm enjoying this process, even if some moments are a drag, and I'm excited at the prospect of being exposed to new ideas. I will conclude this post by noting the books on the list I've already read. Only 30 more to go.

Books on the List I've Previously Read
  1. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
  3. Pride and Prejudice
  4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  5. Fahrenheit 451
  6. Kitchen Confidential
  7. The Omnivore's Dilemma
  8. Guns, Germs, and Steel
  9. Between the World and Me
  10. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
  11. Romeo and Juliet


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