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January 31, 2011

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Recent reading

  • Stephen Batchelor: Buddhism Without Beliefs

    Stephen Batchelor: Buddhism Without Beliefs
    One of Batchelor's more controversial works, this is a slim volume with a huge message: that agnosticism of a very profound kind can go hand in hand with mindfulness and compassion. Beautifully written, impeccably argued - and an evening's read!

  • Jon Ronson: So You've Been Publicly Shamed

    Jon Ronson: So You've Been Publicly Shamed
    Genuinely unputdownable. Ronson has matured into a master story teller and he uses that gift to make a fairly depressing case about the role of social media in shaming, scapegoating and bullying.

  • Shaa Wasmund: Do Less, Get More

    Shaa Wasmund: Do Less, Get More
    Given Wasmund's personal backstory this is disappointing, little more than a series of footnotes on The Four Hour Work Week, and written in a fairly glib style at that (and with terrible, unnecessary illustrations). Nothing new here at all I'm afraid, so one for life-hacking completists only.

  • Ha-Joon Chang: Economics: A User's Guide

    Ha-Joon Chang: Economics: A User's Guide
    A fantastically clear, lucid and accessible introduction to the topic. Chang is clearly centre-left in his politics, but throughout the book he is even-handed and, in analysing every major economic area, encourages a plurality of thinking.

  • Andy Miller: The Year of Reading Dangerously

    Andy Miller: The Year of Reading Dangerously
    Writer Andy Miller talks us through a year that changed his life, as he returned to reading as a serious pursuit, having challenged himself to read 50 great books across that year. It's oddly moving but also very, very funny.

  • Philip Glass: Words Without Music: A Memoir

    Philip Glass: Words Without Music: A Memoir
    Glass's memoir is a must read for anyone with even the slightest interest in contemporary music. Although there are some biographical lacunae, it is a largely frank and utterly fascinating record of an extraordinary life - and focuses very much on the music.

  • Daniel J. Levitin: The Organized Mind

    Daniel J. Levitin: The Organized Mind
    Part pop-sci, part-behavioual economics, part-self-help, psychologist and musician Levitin's book examines why we are all floundering in an age of information overload, before mapping out strategies for mitigation in our social lives, at home and in business.

  • Dr Jeremy M Silver: Digital Medieval

    Dr Jeremy M Silver: Digital Medieval
    My former colleague and friend Jeremy Silver's book is a fine - and personal - account of music in the age of the world wide web. Jeremy is simultaneously amused and enraged at how the industry has (or rather too often) hasn't adapted to technological disruption. He also sees music as the "canary in the coalmine" for all the content industries who should take heed - but probably won't.

  • Jamie Andreas: The Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar

    Jamie Andreas: The Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar
    Not sure I'll ever "finish" this book so much as return to it for the rest of my life. Which is what I've just done, now that I'm down the classical guitar rabbit hole. Andreas' book is the ultimate "meta" method book, looking at guitar playing not in terms of notes or even "music" but instead in terms of the body and the mind. Essential for all guitar students - - I wish I'd read it 30 years ago.

  • Dave Asprey: The Bulletproof Diet

    Dave Asprey: The Bulletproof Diet
    Asprey is a bit of an outlier even in the food/fitness firmament I follow, but he's remarkable nonetheless - not least for his own personal journey. This book maps out the basic principles of his eating strategy (let's call it paleo+) with guidance on other lifestyle areas like exercise and, crucially, sleep.

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